So MaryCarmen and I were village hopping through Malaga and Cadiz on Tuesday and this is how we accidentally found ‘Sentenil de las Bodegas’.
‘Sentenil de Las Bodegas’ is a small village set along a narrow river gorge. It is a town that has been carved out of rock by river erosion with houses built under the eroded cliffs. Amazing. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place! This is an entire village that actually lives under a rock.
This village gets it name from the Roman Latin idiomatic expression ‘Septem Nihil’, which translates to ‘7 times nothing’. This name came about during the final years of the Christian Reconquest. At this time the Catholic rulers tried to take back this territory from the Moors seven times prior to succeeding. In 1484, the Christian forces besieged the moorish occupants using gunpowder artillery and captured their castle. There is an old wives tale that says that Isabella of Castile had an abortion during the siege and than erected the shrine of San Sebastián as a tribute to the dead child, who was named Sebastian.
The full name of ‘Sentinil de las Bodegas’ presumedly dates back to the 15th century because of the flourishing wineries and Bodegas. However, there is refuting speculation that states the village name came about from people storing products in the caves using it as a warehouse or ‘bodegas’. I am giving up on trying to get to the bottom of this particular chronicle of history.
It was lunch time when we arrived in Sentenil and every single restaurant was packed! There are quite a few restaurants built under and into the rock and we finally managed to grab a couple of seats at the bar of one of them. The owner of the restaurant had a grill set up in the street outside of his place and was diligently preparing beautiful chorizo and other cuts of cerdo (pork). It should go without saying that this, of course, is what we ordered. It was simple, natural, high quality, unaltered food. And, this is just the way I like it. But, here again, this is indicative of España. I eat very well here. In addition to the beautiful ‘cerdo filetes’ and chorizo, we ordered an ‘ensalada mixta’. My life is just so good.