This morning the light was incredibly sharp and the colours strong, which is unusual for August when most days dawn muggy. I decided to go for a cycle around the lanes from our house while it was still cool enough.
Nothing much grows on the estepa during summer. The barren landscape is broken by the occasional olive and fig tree and the ruins of many farmhouses.
Surprisingly, they used to grow corn here and the farming families, who also would have kept goats and chickens, had a hard life. it is little wonder they eventually gave up and chose a more comfortable way of life in the towns and villages.
The number of old wells is evidence that there was plenty of underground water and we have had no problem with the supply from the borehole to our house. I would imagine the water table was higher before the onset of intensive plastic agriculture further inland.
The arches, the strongest part of the buildings, are usually the last to remain.
I went on to the village of Fernán Pérez where, at last ,you see some greenery and cultivation.
Maize was growing around this pretty, traditional farmhouse.
Later this morning, on the way to San Jose, I passed the ruins of the miners’ houses in Rodalquilar. These looked striking in the strong sunlight.
The village is now fenced off waiting for some investor to buy it from the Junta and turn it into a tourist village.
I think the wait will be long.
In the meantime, the houses crumble in their overgrown streets and graffiti adorns their walls.