A Week of Un-Connectedness

Extremadura landscape

Phew! I’m re-acclimatising to normal life and working hours. I spent a week in the back of beyond in the Spanish village of Esparragosa de Lares in Extremadura. The village lags time in a wholly lackadaisical way. There is no public wifi, no traffic lights, and no cash machine. There is nothing to buy because there are no shops. Siesta hours are kept, which means that by the time you get up and sort yourself out, you can’t pop out for milk anyway because the store is shut. Plus, it’s long-life UHT milk.

I didn’t think places like these still exist in Western Europe. My friend D invited me. Her father is from the village and she spent childhood summers running wild with her brother and cousins in the arid, yellow surrounds.

We were there on the weekend of the spring fair, when everyone spills out onto the streets. There was a mini bull run, which consisted of a scared young bull running around the plaza, teased beyond an inch of its life by young men.

At the town hall, men and women in traditional garb made tortilla and ajo blanco – which is like a super-garlicky gazpacho without the tomato.

There was sheep shearing, something I’ve witnessed before, but this time I had the privilege of a full frontal of the sheep’s private bits and all. I was treated to some wonderful horsemanship in the horse show. And I partook of the Ruta Tapa, which involved a pub crawl of the three bars and their best tapas. My favourite was the mini hamburger with goats cheese.

In between events, there was a bouncy castle and music blaring from the public speakers till 5am. Still, I slept fantastically – with ear-plugs – in a room darkened by opaque blinds.

Truly, it was a wonderful week. I didn’t miss the shops or social networking, and I came home re-charged.

Next time I’ll tell you more about the people, who are warm and kind and all-embracing. D’s family took me completely into their fold, and fed me. Because after all, food is love.

~ Spotted Cow

Children's bull Bull in the plaza Esparragosa de LaresHorsemanshipSheep shearing