Friday, February 17, 2012


After a long morning of bus travel, our host, Paul, met us in Ubeda to drive the remaining distance to our next destination. Cazorla greeted us with a clear day that offered enchanting views of mountains and endless olive orchards, and we were immediately excited at the prospect of exploring our incredible new surroundings. Moments later, we arrived at Paul's house to discover that we would be living in a luxurious, castle-view room right at doorstep of the town's historic center, and the gateway to the mountains. Paul assured us that if the weather held up it would not be long before we were spending the majority of our days hiking, and a few days later he made good on his promise, as we made a day long trek up steep ravines and across broad plateaus, which afforded us sightings of exotic (for us) wildlife at seemingly every turn. On our very first hike we saw the most well known inhabitant of Cazorla's mountains, the ibex, and moments later with a view of Cinco Esquinas (the older of Cazorla's two castles) it became very clear that we were in an extremely unique place.

Hiking would turn out to be a consistent venture on clear days, and in the three weeks at Paul's we managed to go on some of the most memorable hikes of our lives, which included amazing forays along pristine mountain streams, tempting caves, and even the mighty Guadalquivir. We also managed to see every species of large mammal in the park, including Roe deer, Red deer, Fallow deer, European mouflon, Spanish ibex, and most importantly for Roy, wild boar!

When we weren't hiking, we were doing our best to turn Paul's home into the ideal guesthouse, as he intended to begin renting half of the property out once the spring season came around (bringing with it a flood of tourists). Our tasks were varied, ranging from interior design to finishing work on light fixtures, wall hangings, and curtains. Roy took on the task of turning an old built-in wall cabinet into a display alcove, while Catherine began painting from some of the photographs Paul had taken in his extensive travels around the globe. We also decided to do a series of paintings of the local wildlife to cover some more wall space with a bit of relevant information for future guests. Our evenings were often spent cooking delicious meals or drinking beers and eating delicious tapas at the local meson.

Our three week stay at Paul's seemed to go by at lighting-speed, but we still managed to form a strong friendship with Paul, as well as our fellow workawayers in Lauris and Natasha (who came a week before our departure), and a great respect for his generosity and hospitality in hosting us. As we rushed to board the train departing from Ubeda, we waved quick farewells to him and the girls, hurriedly shouting out intentions to see each other again in the not too distant future.

No comments:

Post a Comment