Tired from a long bus ride, everyone sprawls on the grass to capture a few rays of sunshine while waiting to check in - Sunday, September 19, 2010
I know, it has been a while since I wrote about Valdelavilla, but I promised…and here it is…
We arrived at Vladelavilla after about six hours (two hours for lunch – see on the way to Valdelavilla) by bus. Terrain was mostly highway to the last narrow dirt road approach to the village. That was the first time we said to ourselves, “What did we get ourselves into…?”
The village is very small. There are only about three named streets in the village and about 12 – 15 buildings. This photo of main street…Calle Real…shows the hilly topography and the absolutely historic buildings, now used by Vaughan Systems and as a very secluded hotel for weddings.
We were very curious and excited to see where we would stay for the week.
Our "house" on Camino de la Fuente
Rick and I stayed on the second floor, Alex (Alejandro) Zargoza Salcedo (Spanish) stayed on the third floor and Graham Hills (English) also stayed on our floor. There was a joint living room/kitchen on the main floor. This was typical…several people sharing one dwelling.
We were originally scheduled to stay in a different house, but Elizabeth and David Smith wanted their daughter Ashlee to stay in the same house with them…so we switched. WAY better for us. The other room was on the third floor (picture narrow very tall stairs and luggage to move), but it had a better view.
The room we ended up with was large and had a sitting area AND it was on a short second floor.
Our room with two single beds, living room, fireplace and bathroom
Surprisingly comfortable beds, or maybe I was just really tired
We even had an old fashioned phone, but I think it was only good for the immediate village area. We thought Peter was kidding about cell phone coverage. He told us you had to hike about half way up the hill/mountain to get reception…he WASN’T kidding! We were in a valley with basically no cell reception.
Part of our very small bathroom
There is a reason I included this…the bathrooms were quite amusing…looking back on the experience. The second reason we asked ourselves, “Waht did we get ourselves into?” The shower was about 2 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 foot square with a shower curtain that was too short to tuck into the shower pan. SO…the bathroom flooded each time we showered…and you basically looked like a naked person wrapped in plastic when you finished!
Graham’s shower next door not only flooded his room, but the water snaked out under his door and down the stairs!
Hey, it was an adventure…what can I say.
Apparently, the conditions were similar in most rooms.
One of the young Spanish participants, Susana Ayllon was attacked by spiders. Well, maybe not attacked, but she hates spiders and had to deal with them repeatedly through the week.
This brings back memories for me because of trekking up and down to the laundry. They were supposed to provide laundry detergent, but there wasn’t any…so…somebody used dish detergent. And the filter had maybe never been cleaned…so for some odd reason, the washes didn’t drain right and didn’t dry right. Thankfully, one of the guys figured it out and cleaned out the filter…what a mess!
Path between buildings - I just like the photo
The experience almost felt like a retreat. We were isolated, got to know each other fairly well, and started dividing up by age and interests. The seclusion seemed to draw everyone together so that talking became very easy.
The next blog on Valdelavilla will describe our typical days…
Hang in there. I know I’ve taken a while to cover this, but I promise to finish it…I have lots more interesting photos…!
If you have a chance to visit a place like this, do it.
The one thing I felt over and over was…the people of Spain are very much like us. They complain about taxes, work, the government and face the same challenges we do. It really helps to understand that most of the world is trying to have a normal life…just like us…!
Until next time…