Alboloduy is another beautiful little Moorish town. With a population of about 600 it is dropping from over 800 just a few years ago, according to Jose.
It has an old Arab fort with its associated legends about buried treasures. Don’t bother coming to find them. Others have been here before and various underground known, and rumoured, tunnels are too unsafe for you to ever get in that way.
It’s a spectacular town with the Andalucían houses you’ve come to expect and in a valley. The river (a ‘rambla’ as it’s usually empty) sits between it and some spectacular vegetable gardens.
When the river runs Jose said they get a warning from Nacimiento, upstream, and water arrives 8 hours later. Initially a fierce torrent it usually disappears in hours.
Someone died the day we arrived. The bells tolled and there were lots of people around the cemetery down below us. As it’s a small town Jose said he was surprised as he didn’t yet know who’d died. Yes! It is a small town.
The casa rural is on a hill overlooking the town.
Further above it is a church, visible for a long way before you reach Alboloduy. In fact I was so surprised to find the town where it is. You blindly walk up the rambla as it twists and turns, a bed of river stones and fine dust. And suddenly it turned left and to my left was a town. To my right were gardens.
The town is largely white, yes. And with a range of houses from the ones clinging to a hill up beside the fort to the casa rural up on the other hill.
This might make it sound large. No, it’s quite compact.
Again and again the importance of water is in front of you almost all the time. Channels distribute it as it’s pumped up from the aquifer and various walls, small and large, are there to guide it to the desired place.
Just once I saw a cereal crop. What? Who knows but it’s flood irrigated.
Two options are available for the citrus trees: flood and drip irrigation. The latter is currently favoured but Jose said changing the behaviours of the old farmers is hard. In fact they sound as though they are trapped: low prices for produce, blocks too small to produce enough (1 hectare) and an inability to change the types of what they grow to even growing totally different crops that would be more lucrative. And, many properties remain for sale for a long time as the old farmers want more than they’ll ever get.
Tonight I’m in Abla. It advertises itself as a roman town. The guy who currently organises the very new albergue (June 2016) is running a tour for us. €1 a head! M and B said it’s part of the local efforts at conserving what they have. Good on them. I’m going to see too many small churches and a roman mausoleum for €1.
There is a German woman on the track somewhere. Just ahead of us or in the hostal here. Dont know exactly where but a woman in an earlier town told me about her, as did José. Javi wasn’t well informed and
And the hat? Jumped ship, briefly. It is looking a little dirtier and sadder every day. Later, let me tell you about my shoes!