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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Canillas de Aceituno

Fresh from the experience of 'Macbeth' in a storm – well, to be honest some years after but the memory was strong – we booked a holiday, our only criteria being somewhere hot and dry, and with a pool. We settled on Canillas de Aceituno in the mountains of Andalusia.

The patio overlooked deep valleys and a turquoise but diminishing lake. Mountains surrounded us; very Wagnerian, the mosquitoes less so, whining Valkyries that fed on the living.

I didn’t anticipate problems. Swallows dived from azure skies, and we had a pool. Even our very own fig tree.

So Canillas de Aceituno was two miles away. We could do that. We thought. What we hadn’t realized was that this two miles involved a vertical trek. The town was perched even higher than we were! 40 degrees centigrade heightened the experience.

I lost weight.

Not in the normal way.

Mosquitoes and a whole host of voracious insects took great chunks from my arms and legs and neck. My face turned volcanic, a deep Martian red. The flies followed soon after, settling on each and every itching wound. "Laying their eggs," my son said gloomily, as though considering what his reaction would be when I writhed with maggots and exploded in flies.

I didn’t expect over-much sympathy. Never do. As things stood, the whole family walked ten paces behind me, reluctant to be seen with the leper. My name became 'Belial, Lord of Flies.'

No one else in the family was touched, just me, the sacrificial goat. It was good to get back to Monmouth. No mosquitoes yet, just the pleasant charm of quiet eccentrics.


Maria Zannini said...

I don't know whether to laugh or send sympathy.

I'm sorry you were the sacrificial goat, but I'm sure your family appreciated the sacrifice.

Did you ever go back?

Mike Keyton said...

Laugh, Maria. I don't do sympathy :)

No, we've never gone back. Once Mosquitos have tasted your blood, they never forget. They pass the memory down, send search parties out.

nikki broadwell said...

beautiful pictures--too bad the insects were starving! These are the things your children will remember later when you're in your dotage...

Mike Keyton said...

You're right, Nikki. I think the holidays you remember are those you physically invest most in ie blood for a thousand insects and in my children's case trudging up steep Spanish hills in torrid heat :)

Claudia Del Balso said...

I absolutely love Spain! I fell in love with this marvelous country from the 1st day so I kept going back. Regarding the mosquitoes, I guess you have sweet blood, like me. That's what my mom used to tell me when I lived in Miami. I was their dessert for sure, nobody in my family was bitten but me :(

Mike Keyton said...

Sweet blood! I like it! Thanks for that particular excuse, Clauda :)