Venta Micena – Day 22/30

One early morning, on the way to climb the Sierra de María, I saw this table-topped mountain.

mesa sunrise.JPGTal mit Mesa.JPG

Tonight, it walked into the photo again.

mesa mountain.JPG

I jumped into the car to chase it down, managed to stop it near Velez Blanco, but the mountain refused to provide its name.

Blick auf MesaVelez Blanco with Mesa.JPG

I wonder if there is a hiking path to the summit. From afar, it looks too tricky/steep/dangerous.

mesa top.JPG

This one mountain mightily adds to the Western-feeling in Andalusia.

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Venta Micena – Day 21/30

The moonrise was more spectacular, and I have come to prefer sunrises over sunsets here, but I guess you also want to see some sunsets.

Sonnenuntergang1Sonnenuntergang2Sonnenuntergang3

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Venta Micena – Day 20/30

In the countryside, we go to bed early and we rise early. The latter isn’t that hard when sunrises like this one expect you almost every day.

Sonnenaufgang 1

Sonnenaufgang 2

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Venta Micena – Day 19/30

When I spoke of people shooting at me, nobody believed me.

So, I ventured outside again and took photos of the many bullet casings lying around.

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Also, I noticed someone following me with a drone.

drone

And then, most cunning of all the attempts on my life, I have narrowly avoided such holes, again and again. They are dug on the paths that I normally walk along, dangerously also at night. They are so deep that it’s impossible to see all the way to the bottom. The walls are so steep that there wouldn’t be any chance of climbing out. And, of course, nobody would ever find me there.

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I am dreading the thought of how many skeletons are down there.

Why anyone would want me dead or disappeared so badly, I really have no idea.

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At the Cigar Shop – 50 Years later

I had gone to Huéscar for market day and I thought I might as well look for my favorite Spanish newspaper, El Pais. It might find it at the tobacco shop, I was told.

As I entered the store, just around the corner from the cathedral of Santa María la Mayor, the old owner, in a plaid shirt with a few buttons too many unbuttoned, didn’t bother to look up from his own newspaper. But the cigar which he held between his lips, early in the morning, gave me another idea.

“Sir,” I announced my presence, “you wouldn’t happen to have any Toscano cigars?”

He raised his head slowly and squinted at me, as if trying to ascertain if I had spoken in earnest or in jest. “What?”, he asked.

Toscano cigars. The ones from Italy.”

“From Italy?”, he repeated, his expression unchanged, as if we were playing a game of high-stakes poker. “Well, what do they look like, son?”

“They are about 10 cm long and you break them into two parts.”

While this may sound strange to anyone not familiar with cigars, it spurned the old man into slow motion. “Wait here,” he commanded with a pointed finger, stepping down the stairs below his shop. Something was creaking terribly, and I couldn’t make out if it was the wooden planks or his bones.

After what seemed like eternity, he came back up with an old cardboard box. I could see that he had just removed the dust of decades, for cobwebs clung to his right sleeve.

“When you spoke about breaking them into two parts, I remembered something,” he said, clinging to the closed treasure chest. “We used to have one customer, just that one, who ordered large quantities of these cigars. He came up once a month and bought whatever stock we had.”

The gentleman was still puffing on his cigar, throwing the ash on the ground, as he continued: “He was a tall, handsome fellow, like you. I was only a boy back then, working with my father, so it must have been in the 60s.”

“So, do you still have some?”, I inquired.

When he opened the box, there were six packages of the finest Toscano cigars, untouched. “I don’t know what happened to the fellow. He didn’t pick up the last order and I never saw him again. Got no idea who he was and what became of him.”

Sensing the opportunity of a bargain, I proposed to buy the whole lot.

After the transaction was completed and I was about to leave the premises of the tobacco shop, the owner called after me: “You know, I seem to remember that the fellow who ordered these cigars had a hat just like yours.”

“What a coincidence,” I said nonchalantly, but with a mischievous smile. I almost knew for certain whose cigars I had bought. In 1964, 1965 and 1966, the movies A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly were filmed in Andalusia.

As I got home to Venta Micena, I stepped out of the house (we house-sitters never smoke inside) to enjoy one of the cigars, and I felt like I was traveling back in time. Or maybe the cigars had somehow gotten stronger while stowed away for half a century.

smoking.JPG

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Should I go to a bullfight?

Today in Huéscar, I saw this poster.

bullfight.JPG

I was a bit shocked because I didn’t know there were still bullfights. After all, Pope Pius V had already banned them in 1567. Since then, we call the Pope’s edicts “papal bulls”.

Now, I am in two minds.

On the one hand, I detest spectacles like that and don’t want to support them. Also, I am really worried that I would get sick or faint. (I fainted in the first-aid course and I can’t even watch horror movies, and by that, I mean those with a PG-13 rating.)

On the other hand, as a blogger, I am your eyes and ears in this world. My own feelings and my subsequent nightmares are less important than your right to first-hand reporting.

So, I am asking for your opinion on this matter. Just write “yes” or “no” in the comment field below, with an explanation if you want. As the whole thing costs a whopping 18 €, with no student discount given (although there is one for children under the age of 14, and am I the only one who finds that sick?), I am also thankful for any donation to my blog. You will receive a personal postcard, probably splattered with blood.

(Hier gibt es diese Frage auf Deutsch.)

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Venta Micena – Day 18/30

As you saw yesterday, the bar in Venta Micena is dry.

So I had to walk ten kilometers to Orce to get something to drink. (Just because some of you had asked me to test the local swill.)

Well, I can say that Anis del Mono is no legitimate substitute for Ouzo.

Anis del Mono.JPG

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