The Road to Grazalema

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.

– John Muir

On of the things we did one Sunday morning this summer, after spending a few hours paddle surfing, was that we went to church. We went to a mass in a small fisherman style church in Sancti Petri. Surprisingly, it was fun.

The local priest, who was supposed to be on holiday but held the mass anyway, was very good humoured. It seemed that he along with a lot of the locals had done the Road to Santiago pilgrimage together that year. He picked one person from each age group to tell us about their experience doing the pilgrimage. An about 8 year old boy, a teenage girl, a guy in his twenties, a lady about my age, and so on. Nobody was shy about taking the microphone and talking about their journey. The younger people said it was like an adventure, whilst the more higher up in age group, the more philosophical they would get.

The lady that was about my age reflected on how just how consumeristic we tend to get in our daily lives without realising it. Doing a pilgrimage with just the contents of a backpack makes you realise just how many useless things you tend to accumulate at home. And just how too many things you have. And just how tied up in consumerism we all tend to get without even realising it.

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I totally felt identified with her words. For a born in the Borneo jungle girl like me, I love summer, I love living in nothing but my fraying shorts, top and flip-flops. Plus my camera too. Every summer when we go on holiday and leave the city, we feel that we have been over-civilized, we need nature and wildness. We have a need to let go of the so much materialism we were living on, let go of mass consumer noise, of propaganda, of urgent emails. We wonder why in the city we worry over absurd things. We simply enjoy nature with what little we carry with us.

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One afternoon this summer, we went on one of those magical trips through nature. We were going to another White Village called Grazalema, and we decided to take an even longer route than the long road to get there, just so that we could enjoy the sights. Everything that day was beautiful. I took about a zillion photos. Some of these photos were taken when we’d stop for a short trek. Other photos were directly taken from the moving car.

Grazalema is a White Village located in the northeastern part of the province of Cadiz in Andalusia. While most of Andalusia is quite dry, bordering on perhaps desertic, Grazalema is the mountain range of Sierra de Grazalema which sort of has it’s own microclimate, making it rocky and quite green at the same time. Ok, maybe it’s not as green as Scotland or as lush as the Borneo tropical rainforest, but still, the nature of the place is breathtaking. Being here gives me exactly those moments I needed. I needed to let go of the city, of my too many things, and of useless menial worries.

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One of our stops was on top of a mountain looking down at the valleys below. Apparently it was a spot for vultures, eagles and halcons. We managed to see a flock of birds. They were too far away for us to see what kind of birds they were, though I would guess they were eagles.

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We went to a reservoir called Embalse de Zahara-El Gastor. The views were so awesome, I literally couldn’t stop snapping away.

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Lastly, these goats are called Payoyo. Cute name I know. Their milk is used to make the traditional cheese from this area, Queso de Payoyo. The goats are actually really cute but for some unknown reason I didn’t make any close-ups of them.

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Sierra de Grazalema, I can’t wait to see you again.

Thank you for reading!

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  1. brushandbullet 2015-09-29 at 01:10

    I feel this so much! Just hit publish on a post about my packing list for Greece, and my efforts in reducing what I pack. It’s funny how inconsequential everything is when you’re surrounded by nature. Fab photos here!

    1. Sofia 2015-09-30 at 11:44

      I used to tend to overpack too, just in case. But lately I’ve been doing the opposite, oops. Yes, life takes on a different perspective when you’re surrounded by nature. xx

  2. Guillermina Bósquez Stover 2015-09-30 at 02:14

    Oh, thank you, Sofia! For your beautiful photography, for your trek through the mountainous Sierra, and for your reflections…what joy. And yes, the less we need the happier we actually are. But do we recognize it? We have to be REMINDED. Read the book “Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond. I just started it. My husband has read it. It explains so much. Kisses!

    1. Sofia 2015-09-30 at 11:46

      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos Guillermina! 🙂 I have that book in my ereader. I haven’t read it yet because (I’m one of those people that MUST read the intros, prologues, etc. ) and I just couldnt get past the awfully long boring introduction. Maybe I should skip it?

  3. Dorcas 2015-09-30 at 21:06

    Your photos make me want to hop on a plane and travel there! You captured the beauty and spirit of Grazalema so well. I appreciate your thoughts about paring down to the essentials. Here in Washington we are lucky to live closely with nature. But sometimes it has the opposite effect of making me want city life — museums, concerts, humanity, noise! Thanks for a thoughtful post!

    1. Sofia 2015-09-30 at 21:42

      You’re right, I can imagine that living continuously in nature would also make you wish for some hustle and bustle of the city life! xx

    1. Sofia 2015-10-01 at 19:25

      I’m glad!!

  4. Widiastuti Setyaningsih Dwidjoreumekso 2015-10-02 at 22:52

    I was particularly excited when my aunt told me that we would have picnic in Grazalema tomorrow. Moreover, after reading this so interesting post ^^ Thank you mbak Sofia <3

    1. Sofia 2015-10-02 at 23:10

      You’re going there tomorrow? Have fun! <3


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