Still Alive: Beneficio

The internet at this place costs 3 euros an hour, so this one is going to be brief.

It has been a while! I’ve been in a bunch of places where there’s no internet. First I walked the Way of St James, from the Portugal-Spain border at Valença do Minho, up to Santiago de Compostela, where they have the tomb of the Apostle James. It was an incredible experience that I’ll describe more fully at a later date, as you’ve by now come to expect, I’m sure. Then I hitched very very slowly to Granada: hitching is terrible in Spain, because the crisis has made everyone so poor that they can’t afford to go on long trips, meaning that about 90 or 95 percent of the people in any gas station are just going around the corner. But I got here, and subsequently got to Órgiva, and from there to Beneficio, a little hippie commune nestled in a steep valley in the desert canyons and mountains of the Alpujarra. It’s a strange place, but it’s been growing on me, and tonight I believe I’m going to grill prickly-pear for everyone.

I took a few moments the other day to figure out a vague schedule for the rest of my trip. I think I’m going to try to find a farm in the south of France where I can work for a week or so (might mean stable internet and stories finally getting written), and then I’ll go to Italy more briefly than Italy deserves, and then back into France so I can stop off at Paris for a few days on my way to England. I’m aiming to get into England on about December 4th or 5th, but my plans are all subject to infinite change. You know how it is.

So that’s the last two weeks, or whatever! I’ll try to write again soon. Right now I’m in town, but I hear there’s a solar-powered internet cafe in the commune that might actually be cheaper than here.

File under: Year of Adventure, communal living · Places: Portugal, Spain


Anonymous

History

I just tried to comment and it deleted…so here goes again. I'm sooooooo glad to hear from you. I was worrying like a mom. Bout to go to work at the most stressful job I've ever had (sigh). Enjoy the commune. Sounds like fun!
Mom

Reply

Anonymous

History

I am very interested to hear more. I am jealous of your pilgrimage . And as an uncle, I wasn't worried at all. You're living life to the fullest, make no apologies. I know you are looking forward to coming home, but you're missing nothing of consequence. Cincituky soldiers on at an ever changeless pace. We all have 'BSFS' , battleground state fatigue syndrome. The cold civil war continues. When you get back it will be more or the same, or more of the same with a different wrapper.

Dave

Reply

Anonymous

History

O.K. Dave has one man's opinion. I am however, the eternal optimist. Life will flourish wherever one nurtures it and believes in it. Life goes on as they say. No I do not know who "they are but I now that I am one of them. Glad to here from you and I agree with Dave, you are living life to the fullest and making an old grandpa wish he was 50 years younger and could do the same thing. It is cold today in Oxford and although a couple of days ago we had about 5 minutes of sleet there is no snow on the ground. We are now planning our traditional turkey feast for thanksgiving, with all of the goodies like scalloped oysters, turkey dressing, fresh rolls Grandma Blaser salad, brussel sprouts, and of course Turkey. Pre-feast goodies will include shrimp, pickled herring, anchovies and a yet unnamed new goodie. It's a secret, in fact so secret, even I do not know what it is as of this writing. If you get to Florence, be sure to go see THE David. It is an emotional experience or at least it was for me. Oh Yeah it would make your mother very happy, who worries much more than she should, if you could blog more often. Yeah, I know sometimes it is impossible. Grandpa

Reply

Anonymous

History

I'm already looking forward to hearing about your adventures on your pilgrimage. I can't quite imagine it, but I've always wanted to know more about it. Hope you studied the architecture of the church. It's really old, and from the pictures I've seen, it looks really interesting from that point of view.

Election is tomorrow, and we'll all be glad it's at least over, no matter who wins. The world will still revolve either way.
I agree with Grandpa–the more posts you can put up, the less your mother and grandmother will worry. Remember, we can't stop it. That's just the way we are.

We met Micah's girlfriend last night, and she's a charmer. Hope he keeps her around! Grandma

Reply

Chuck

History

Sitting around the fire in the Big Tipi, I've been thinking a lot about mundane old Cincinnati, and the not-very-adventurous basement in Grandma and Grandpa's house, and all those boring old things that I miss so much. I'll make it, but hopefully it won't be through six weeks of thinking about Christmas dinner every night while I go to sleep. Wish I could be there for Thanksgiving - and that goes for Nana & Papaw, too, if you're reading. I kind of even wish I could vote, but it's not looking too likely that I'll find an American embassy with a ballot box in this little town in the Alpujarra. Tomorrow night I believe I'm sleeping in a cave in Granada with a guy named Benito… catch you there, or if the cave has no internet, whenever!

Reply Reply

Anonymous

History

What a life. National Spelling Bee contestant, High School graduate, college graduate, world traveler, and now living in a cave. Sounds like a lot of fun. Ha! Ha! Grandpa So what is it on the food tray, you miss most and would like to have when you get back to Ohio?

Reply

Anonymous

History

We will do everything we can to give you the homecoming you deserve. I'll get going on the ginger snaps, for sure. How about a roast pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli, bread, salad and homemade apple pie? That's what your brother and mom had here on Sunday. Also his new girlfriend, and Dan and Cammy and Cory. We are showing them pictures of you but I fear they won't recognize you when you get home. Won't take long for them to warm up to you though. Anyway, enjoy the rest of your time in Europe. There's more adventure to be had. Grandma

Reply Reply

Chuck

History

Oooooh. That sounds pretty much perfect. At some point, a ribs dinner might also be called for.

I can't wait to see Cammy and Cory! It'll be weird to see them about twice their former size.

Benito's cave is a pretty darn nice place. The story is that in the 1900s, gypsies started digging these caves into the steep rock wall near the city, and using them as free housing. Nowadays they're still around, but populated more by rebels than by gypsies. Most of them are still rent-free, too. Benito's is. He turned out to be an actor, so last night I was treated to a performance in a bar, about which none of the patrons had previous notification, of "Lope and Calderón", in which Benito played both Lope and Calderón, two men in a bar who talk about life. Lope is a sailor who thinks money is what you need, and Calderón is a sort of poet with different ideas, though I didn't understand it all, since my Spanish still has a ways to come before I can catch everything.

By the way, Granada is probably now winning the prize for "favorite European city", and is the only place so far that I've pictured myself moving to. I could have a cave of my own, and come down and mingle with the college crowd, and go for tapas at the bars at night…

Reply

Anonymous

History

Will you have a spare niche, in your cave, for grandparents. Oops I think I need more creature comforts. I will lease a penthouse and come to visit. Ha. Ha. Ribs will be on the menu, some night of your choice. Grandpa

Reply

Anonymous

History

Barbara Kingsolver has a book that just came out that you might be interested called Flight Behavior. Global warming in an Appalachian culture. Mom

Reply

Chuck

History

I believe a penthouse in Granada could also be arranged, though it might not be as penty as some penthouses, since there aren't skyscrapers here.

Flight Behavior might be an interesting read. I've never read any Kingsolver, but she's certainly popular. As it happens, though, I have a long list of other books I want to read when I have the chance. I'll probably spend like a month just reading book after book, when I get home. I'm looking at the list now and the count is up to nineteen, plus a few maybes. I just bought one to knock off the list, but it's hard finding the titles I'm after in countries where the English books are a tiny portion of the bookstore. Well, I'm planning on being in England in a few weeks, and Sean works in a bookstore, so I imagine I'll get some satisfaction there, anyhow.

Reply

Chuck

History

By the way, I've discovered a source of unlimited free internet at the university library in Granada, so there just might be a full-size blog coming up tomorrow. I have much yet to see, but Granada is too great a place to leave after just two days. (Or 1½, really, figuring in the time it took me to hitch here.)

Reply

Anonymous

History

I have discovered a large cache of ribs. They are at a place called Kroger's. How many do you think you can eat? Supposed to be in the 60 s here for the next 3 days. On the porch in November is good. G. Pa.

Reply

Chuck

History

It'll all depend on how well fed I've been over the few days prior. However, knowing my ability to pack away food, I'd imagine a fair few. I can see it now, sitting on the porch. Well, maybe not in December, but I can see you doing it now, anyhow.

Reply

Hit Enter twice for a new paragraph. You can use asterisks to make *italics* and **bold**, and you can make links like so: [link says this](and goes to this address). Other fancy formatting possible via Markdown. (More)