Out visit to Olvera is coming to an end--it went so fast. Today we climbed to the top of the moorish castle next to the great cathedral on the highest point in town (not far from our favorite hang, Valentino's). I had expected the castle to be more in ruin, but all sorts of passageways, parapets, chambers, stairways, and walkways are still intact. It was very much like the kind of castle I would draw as a child--you know, a good place for sword fights and for lofting up deadly waves of arrows. Maybe swinging from a rope by one arm and lopping off ten heads in one swipe with the other. It made me wonder what the exact means of defense actually was.
An impression, or maybe a kind of trance-feeling, that I had the first couple of days, was that we are on an island. At night, the lights of one or two towns in an otherwise dark expanse of rolling mountains, is not so unlike the lights of a boat or two out on the water, or a lighthouse. That feeling was essentially shattered by a trip into Seville yesterday that I wish we had handled a different way. Into a major city for only a few hours, without GPS or maps, straight to the biggest tourist attraction, and a restaurant that charged for bread and listed "paella for two only" as 20 euro, then charging 40...tons of stress finding our way home at night. Yet, when we emerged from the labyrinth of t-shirt shops, we found lovely quiet spots and had a nice walk through the main park.
Seville was lovely, but my head was in a different place, up on the square by the church where we sat briefly under a tree with an elderly woman in a wheelchair whose house was next door...to the cathedral. When a kindly woman says via con dios in that setting, it is very sweet. The whole city is built into and onto the rock--the rock of the church and the rock of the mountain. Another impression, while napping on the sofa: sleeping safely on the shoulders of that great rock. But it's travel, so you can't hold on--go to Seville, get skull-fucked, it's all in a day. Anyhoo, back in town today, we visited the castle, then drove to a lake nearby and took a swim and read our books, befriended by yet another burr-covered dog who sat under our table in a pile of almond shells.
Driving is a trip. Every time we get in the rental car and come to a roundabout, it's a roll of the dice. Verbal directions often don't include the city or town that identifies the road. Numbering seems somewhat casual. The arrow pointing to the road to Seville has about nineteen towns on it, and so when you are told to take the road to Pruna, well, let's just say GPS is something we'll be getting with the next rental car. Just not enough time to get totally familiar with the roads. And I'm not so hot at that anyway.
Another impression: this place isn't that different from a town of 9,000 in central Missouri. Couple of main roads in and out. An agrarian economy. We're in Spain, yes, but we're also in the country. Like the RV man says in Eugene, eggs are cheaper in the country. So we eat well and things are slow and everything is cool. Lorca street and Cervantes street are up the hill, yet it could just as well be Grant Wood country in Iowa, on our way to Solon Beef Days. And I love it.
I'm going out to pub tonight to strum a song or two with a new acquaintence, Steve. Crap, I don't know any Beatles. Mostly I know my oddball songs.