Our crash course in adapting to life in Spain continues. It’s ironic, but in some ways getting oriented to Spain has been more challenging than Africa. While the physical and social aspects in Africa were difficult, we’ve found the language, food, and day-to-day living far more complex. There are very rigid hours for shopping and eating and they seemed closed more than open - especially when we're hungry! Fortunately we're making better menu choices than in our first week but still resort to pointing at plates of other diners if we can't understand what's on the menu! Most of all, we are looking forward to getting into our own place, and having some home cooking.
Roger is getting immersed in his new job and dealing with a steep learning curve. At this point there are 2 underground drills (2 kms down a mine) and 1 surface drill working with a skilled crew from: Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Chile and Switzerland – a mini U.N.! Fortunately Roger has an interpreter who has been a big help while I’m left to my own devices. In moments of exasperation/desperation, I sometimes add an “o” to the end of a French or English word and see if that works!
I’ve gone to the mine a couple of times to help him set up some administrative forms and processes, and it’s given me a good opportunity to see what he’s doing.
Below are pictures of the portal leading into the mine, the lunchroom (where you can get espresso!), Roger talking to the guys, and the old Rio Tinto mine which stopped production a few years ago.
Last Sunday we took a day trip and it turned out to be one of those great experiences where you weren’t sure what you saw – but you were glad you did! We chose to take the scenic route (a nice way of describing a butt clenching narrow road with more curves than the Monte Carlo Grand Prix) to Aracena, a village less than an hour north of us. Along the way we saw what looked like a group doing a pilgrimage so we followed a road that led to a church perched on a cliff near the village of Aroche. When we arrived, there were throngs of people waiting for the group, and later we saw them proceed into the church. We found out the next day that each village has a festival and this is one of the ways they celebrate.
Throughout the area, there are mineral springs where we often see people filling up their water bottles (above picture).
We then arrived at Gruta de las Maravillas and toured the spectacular caves. Photos were not permitted, so the ones below are from the internet. The guide only spoke Spanish, but we still enjoyed the tour and will add it to our repertoire of places to take visitors. Afterwards, we ate tapas and drank wine/beer at an outdoor cafe – one of our favourite things to do.
One of the trademarks of the province of Andalusia where we live, is ham. And boy, are they serious about their hams! In fact, we saw people carrying bags with “Museo de Jamon” so apparently there is a museum that pays homage to it as well! In stores, the ham section is as large as a typical produce or bakery section --- who knew it could be prepared so many different ways?
The best news lately is that we found a furnished apartment in Valverde del Camino and hope to be moved in by late September as it is just finishing construction. It’s a small 2 bedroom unit (consider this an open invitation!) that is in a great location for me to get around on my own.
It’ll be a 40 minute commute for Roger which isn’t too bad, and the village itself looks really interesting and is only 1 hour NW of Seville. I’ll post pictures of it when we move in so you can see some of the “unique” features it has! We could have chosen a larger villa outside the town, but it did not have internet, and was too far for me to walk --- which would have driven me bonkers in short order. As Brad said – as long as we have internet and peanut butter – we’re all set!