This post isn´t related to any Acuarex project in particular. However, this is a blog about art & culture in Extremadura so our visit to "the Mills of Alagón" on Saturday 2 February fits into the general theme here. It was a slow weekend since most of our friends were out of town taking advantage of a long holiday weekend. Friday afternoon I pulled a book down from one of our bookshelves entitled "Senderos Del Valle Del Alagón" which has lots of information on short day hikes in the nearby Alagón Valley. I found a very "Lola-friendly" 3 hour hike that was described as having "Dificultad: baja" or "Dificulty: low". Saturday morning we packed some sandwiches & set off for the village of Casillas de Coria where the walk starts & ends.
Upon arrival in Casillas we were surrounded by a small crowd of locals that were quite surprised to see a couple of tourists. Lola asked them if they knew where we could find the old "camino del Potro" or "el camino de Portaje" as the walk was called in our book. We received nothing but blank stares. Then a little old leather-faced woman about 3 and a half feet tall stepped out of her house & declared that she knew what we were talking about. She set us in the right direction & as we headed off towards our destination we occasionally turned around to have a look at a rather comical sight: half the village was following us to make sure we didn´t take any wrong turns as we twisted & turned our way through the heart of the grimy old town center.
Eventually, all the villagers turned back leaving us to our own navigational devices. This was not good because we immediately took a fork in the dirt road (the wrong fork it turns out...) & promptly got lost. We wandered across some private land for about an hour & had a rather unsettling experience with a temperamental cow. But then we backtracked a bit & picked up the proper trail with no trouble at all.
Before long we reached the río Alagón & the first of 3 ruined mills along the banks of the river. There were a few old men fishing & a shepherd high up on the hilltop leading a noisy herd of goats in search of fresh grass. Up on the hill behind the first mill, or the "Aceña del Olivar," is the abandoned miller´s house which somebody decorated with the following poem:
Un Alagón de Septiembre/Marcha sin prisas de río
El paisaje que recorre/Le cansa de ser bonito.
Unas muchachas lavando/En su cauce entre dormido
Sueñan con sueños de novio/allí dentro en el molino
Las piedras van arrancando/Blancuras al buen trigo.
Todo es calma y armonía/Escenario incomparable...
The second mill offered more excitement. The four walls of the mill were still intact but the roof was long gone. And, like many of the local historical sites, there were no warning signs posted or ropes cordoning off the mill from the public despite the fact that the structure looked as if it might possibly collapse at any moment without warning. ¡Viva Extremadura!
We didn´t reach the third mill as the sandwiches, which we had stupidly left in the car back in the village, were calling us. So now we have a good reason to return for another visit. Maybe in spring when the wildflowers are in full bloom...