The past few weeks have been one of these frustrating times in blogging life where I've been so busy doing things that I want to blog about that I have no time to actually write about them. It's a wee while now since, with Ejafyallajokull spewing its ash into the skies over northern Europe, it was doubtful whether or not I would be able to travel to Spain to visit my friend R. in Andalucia. And to be honest, when Vueling, the low-cost airline that I'd never heard of with a website that looked as if it had been translated in its entirety by Google, proudly announced that they were the airline that was to “open Europe”, I was still uncertain as to whether I should get on the plane at all.
But I did, and everything was fine.
R. lives in a small town that lies inland from Malaga on the train line to Seville. She was working when I arrived, so her Spanish friend met me at the train station and we went for a drink at the Irish bar. A few of their other friends were around, so I spent a lot of the afternoon trying to follow conversations in Spanish and for the first time in my life really appreciated people practising their English with me. I can understand the gist of written Spanish because it's a lot like Italian, but spoken Spanish is very fast and it's hard to make out all the syllables in the words quickly enough to understand. Then Rebecca arrived and we went to get some tapas. The region is famous for its olive oil and everything was fried in it and delicious. The town was made up of beautiful white houses arranged in tiny cobbled streets. During the day, it smells of the oil factories but at night the streets are filled with the scent of orange blossom.
The next day, R. and I wandered around town in the morning, then I took a walk out into the countryside nearby in the afternoon while she went to work. The weather wasn't great but because it had been raining a lot, the landscape was surprisingly green. Underneath the lush grass and the flowers, however, you could see the burnt-coloured soil and the only trees were olive trees and orange trees, so it was easy to imagine how it would look after a scorching hot summer.