Well it has been another amazing week here in Andalucia. Tuesday was ‘Dia de todos los Santos’, ‘All Saints Day’, so I did not have school. And, MaryCarmen turned in her thesis last Friday so we decided to take advantage of this self determining time. We went around Sevilla on Monday and found a monestery that sells cookies-just like the one we found in Granada. The nuns at this monestery are from Mexico. That being so, they were especially kind to us upon hearing MaryCarmens accent through the lazy Susan in the wall.
There is a magazine that comes out at the beginning of every month announcing all the special festivals, concerts, activities, classes, etc going on all over Andalucia. We read through this magazine a few weeks ago and discovered that a ‘Castaña Feria’ was going on in ‘Pujerra’. ‘Pujerra’ is a very small village located in the mountains in Malaga. It is about a 30 minute drive from ‘Ronda’. I am OBSESSED with Castañas and I have really been looking forward to going to a festival! The only detail that I knew was that all the food at the Féria would be made using Castañas. That’s all I needed to know. AND, this village, according to the magazine, would be moving their Virgin at 7:00 at night. We were thrilled about this as well. MaryCarmen secured us a blah blah car and we meet our driver bright and early on Tuesday morning. Two hours later we arrived in Ronda. And, I was so car sick! Our blah blah car driver had a very small car and driving through and around mountains for 2 hours had put my stomach on a collision course! We had planned to take a bus from Ronda to Pujerra but soon discovered that this was not possible. There were no buses running because of the holiday! Now how were we going to get to the Castañas?
We walked about Ronda for over an hour trying to decide what to do. At one point we were talking about renting a car and at another point I suggested we rent bikes. Thank God my bicycle idea did not fly because we would have collapsed in the mountains somewhere. After carefully weighing all of our options, we decided to take a cab to Pujerra. We were very lucky and found a really nice cab driver and were soon on our way. He spoke slow and clear Espanol in the taxi so that I could understand. This was refreshing because everyone speaks muy rapido. He made a few stops along the way showing us the lay of the land. We even got to get out of the car and pick Castañas off the tree’s. And, we stopped for a visit with some black pigs and had a short photo shoot with them.
The best part of this story is the part when we arrive in Pujerra only to discover from one of the village elders that the castaña feria is over! It was a misprint in the magazine! You can’t imagine our disappointment. Now what are we going to do? We were in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Daniel, our taxi driver, was very kind and offered to drive us to a few of the surrounding villages to do some exploring. And, this is how we arrived in ‘Júzcar’.
‘Júzcar’ is a very small village in the mountains in the province of Malaga. It is considered to be ‘one of the white towns of Adalusia’. The ‘Pueblos Blancos’ are a series of about 25 villages in the northern part of Malaga and Cádiz, here in the South of Spain. I have been to quite a few of these beautiful villages and I thought they were painted white on purpose to reflect the heat. Apparently, the reason they are white is due to a chemical reaction as a result of the limestone that was used.
In 2011, Sony arrived on the scene here in Júzcar and painted everything in the village ‘smurf blue’ in preparation of the ‘Smurfs’ movie. Sony offered to paint the town white again, but the village citizens elected to keep it painted blue. I am guessing that they arrived on this decision because in the first six months of this paint job 80,000 tourist visited Júzcar. Normally the village would see 300 tourist a year! The village now adverages 250 tourist per day!