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Cowbells and cortijos: a poem about Andalucía

Spain andalucia sheep cortijo zuheros walk copyright chris bladon pura aventura

I must confess, I haven't written a poem since I was pressed into doing so for my GCSE English. It's not a medium I have ever been friends with. I'm far more comfortable with a camera in hand or the freedom to write unconstrained. But then I went to Andalucía and something happened. I came over all poetic. So here goes - my amateur attempt to convey what I experienced on a circular walk from Zuheros. I hope you enjoy it, or at the very least that it doesn't bring the medium into disrepute.

Cowbells and cortijos

Cowbells clang and vultures soar As I follow drover's paths established centuries before Orange caves perch above a waterless stream I glimpse the clean white village through the walls of the ravine

The path meanders on until two valleys collide I bid adios to the sky and it's into the darkness I stride In an enchanted wood of Mediterranean holm oak An ethereal grey mist creates an almost permanent cloak

Moss and lichen thrive on the silvery branches Painting on a thick coat of green as time ever advances In the cool of the trees the mood is palpably stern But at a sudden grass clearing the sun makes its return

Some sheep graze merrily at a ruined cortijo A crumbling stone farmhouse, abandoned a long time ago Once a traditional home until a change was imposed Now the roof has gone missing and wooden beams are exposed

A good spot for lunch is one with a view A small valley, a lush forest and the odd goat or two I unwrap a sandwich of jamón and cheese Food always tastes better with a blue sky and soft breeze

I'm invited to linger as the sun warms my face What a rare pleasure indeed to live life at this pace There's that clang again, a now familiar bell It's January the third, but you really couldn't tell

Onwards I roam through a sweeping wide valley The sight of limestone cliffs more than enough reason to dally High on the hill a shepherd leads on his flock I wonder to myself how does he stop them running amok?

Up at the hilltop plains roll out before me Miniature olive groves as far as the eyes see A genial smell drifts into my nose Traced back to a spot where some lavender still grows

I rejoin the road where the path meets its end On the smooth black tarmac I begin to descend A view over Zuheros half-covered in shade The castle catches the sun as the light starts to fade

Back in the white village, 8 miles covered on foot There's a once brilliant white chimney now blackened with soot The car awaits next to the path were I began My footprints are long faded but the memories will remain

If you'd like to create your own memories in Andalucia, including from this walk, may I direct you towards our Andalucia Explorer self-drive itinerary?

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The Pothole is Pura Aventura's popular monthly email. We share what we love, what interests us and what we find challenging. And we don't Photoshop out the bits everyone else does. We like to think our considered opinions provide food for thought, and will sometimes put a smile on your face. They've even been known to make people cry. You can click here to subscribe and, naturally, unsubscribe at any time.

The Pothole is Pura Aventura's popular monthly email. We share what we love, what interests us and what we find challenging. And we don't Photoshop out the bits everyone else does. We like to think our considered opinions provide food for thought, and will sometimes put a smile on your face. They've even been known to make people cry. You can click here to subscribe and, naturally, unsubscribe at any time.

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