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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

On the Road to La Matanza
12 November 2020 @ 18:40

It was one of those adventures that sometimes spring up over a beer. It seemed that old Antonio el Perejil (Tony the Parsley) had recently gone to his reward and had left his house to his son, who wanted to sell it.
The house was, apparently, quite close to Níjar, recently brought into the pack of Almería's Most Beautiful Towns (actually, there should be about fifty on the list), and up a track.
Into the Nowheres.
We drove into Níjar only to find that the road which, as Google said, led to a walkers' path, was closed. Reversing down a narrow street and around the other way, we waved down an old fellow and asked him which was the best way to get to La Matanza.
A great name, no?  It's called La Matanza because this was the final stand of the Moors in the Níjar of the Reconquista, around 1490. 'Oh', says the old man, 'you mean Antonio el Perejil's place? He's dead you know'. 
Yes, we knew that.
'Well, you go out of town, along that road, then up this other one, round there (he waved vaguely) and it's just a hop and a skip. I was there only a few years back, lemme see, well in around 1980 now that I think of it'...
I helped the old boy back onto the pavement and we pulled a u-turn and, as they say here, we abandoned Níjar.

The new road we found turned into a street and from there into a track, and then a river bed and then a track again. We were about ten kilometres along this route, by now with alarming drops on one side and cliffs on the other. Google had fizzled out completely and we were wondering whether to go on or turn back when a van abruptly arrived in a gentle cloud of dust (you are never completely alone in Spain). Now my Spanish is pretty good and Alicia is from Almería, but we had trouble with the man who climbed out of the Renault to have a look at us. 'Gor and blast', he said 'La Matanza? It's just down vere'.

The house is the higher one, on the right. It comes with forty hectares of land.

We peered uneasily over the drop. 'Of course she'll make it', said the man, looking appreciatively at our car, 'mine does it, no worries'.
We arrived at the house, which had some olive trees behind it and a courtyard to the right. One of the neighbouring houses (they were all empty) had solar panels and a full reservoir. 
In the Bad Old Days, during and after the Civil War, a place like La Matanza, an isolated clutch of a dozen houses, was probably a good place to be. It was safe, ignored and produced its own food and water. There wasn't much to do after night fell, especially if you had run out of candles, but one rises early in places like this.
Now, there's no one left - apart from the man with the van - although he would be living back in Níjar, where there's electricity, TV and a number of decent pubs.
A tired sign pointed back towards the town, at just 4.5kms. That was probably the Google walkers route.
It was a cold and blustery day, so the pictures aren't as bright as they would normally be, up in La Matanza, which looked, we decided, like a modest version of Machu Picchu, but without the tour buses.

Sea views? Of course there are sea views!

It's for sale, if you're interested I'll mention you to Antonio's son. It's probably ideal for someone who wants to get away from it all and can't afford Algeria. 

 



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