Spain > Andalucia > The White Village of Cartajima


View Andalucia in a larger map

~~~
CARTAJIMA, 18-19 May 2009

We have just landed Malaga from Brussels (thanks to RyanAir) – it’s a hot day, the roads are unfamiliar, the language is somewhat incomprehensible, and they drive on the wrong side of the road, but what the heck, we soon find ourselves roaming the mountains west of Malaga, in western Andalusia of southern Spain. We are joined by our son, who flew in from Toronto with his friend.
Image

A beautiful fine day and spring is evident everywhere.
Image

We have decided to spend the night in the village of Cartajima, one of the famed ‘pueblas blancos’ of the mountains of Andalucia … somewhere on the horizon.
Image

Along a narrow road, we spot the village, nestled between hills of chestnut trees.
Image

A short drive later, we are in the only village square, a cramped patch of space next to the church.
Image

This is a typical Andalucian white village, a legacy of the Arab Moors who ruled Iberia between the 8th and 16th centuries.
Image

A short walk from the car, and there it is, our home for the night.
Image

The owner-manager, ‘Botz’, a genial Englishman from Plymouth, is full of tips and stories – he has been here for 5 years.
Image

But first he invites us in for coffee …
Image

… followed by an invitation to climb the ‘ladder’ to his terrace, atop the house. Spectacular views all around, and fresh breezy air too.
Image

And there’s another white village a few kms away.
Image

I said ‘ladder’ because that’s what we use to move from floor to floor. Definitely not for kids or old folks.
Image

And our comfy bedroom, tucked in this 250-year-old building. Well at least 250, Botz says, but there’s a Roman marble at the front door which could easily be 2000 years old!
Image

Apart from phones (both cell and wired), this is the main link to the rest of the world.
Image

I check emails while a group of friends keep me company.
Image

Host Botz used to be a chef and in no time he puts together a great-looking salmon dinner (except for Sabar, who’s no fan of salmons). Well, we emailed him in advance our dietary preference.

Image

I’ve never had such a tasty salmon steak, washed down with great Iberian coffee, … or maybe I am just plain famished? But it’s a wonderful meal, compliments to Chef Botz, who also sits down with us to have his fish.
Image

Dinner done, we hurriedly go out to see the setting sun.
Image

In failing light, we do a quick village walkabout.
Image

Nice setting, but some dwellings have been abandoned. A global problem this, kids moved to the cities to work, leaving the old folks behind. Soon nobody’s left any more. Cartajima now has less than 250 inhabitants, mainly senior citizens.
Image

Rusty intricate balcony railing of a deserted house.
Image

Green logo of ‘Junta de Andalucia’ – the local Andalucia Autonomous Community council’s office. The villagers’ only contact with the government.
Image

Exploring the undulating, twisting cobblestone lanes is very interesting.
Image

We finish off our quick tour of Cartajima at the church, built early 16th century, but still looking great.
Image

~~~
A new day and I climb up the ladder to the rooftop terrace to survey the domain.
Image

It’s cool, and serenely peaceful. I think every creature is still in bed, except the birds.
Image

Even Botz is still asleep as we gingerly let ourselves out of his house, whose only reminder the night before was to shut the door behind us, and not to worry about it being unlocked.
Image

And yes, we just have to test the only phone booth in town … and it’s working perfectly.
Image

Back to our car a hundred metres away, and fitting our bags into our trusty Ford Fiesta 1.4 Diesel is always a challenge. This puppy gives me 20km for every litre of diesel, which is fantastic!
Image

The craggy mountains beckon.
Image

In the distance, somebody builds his mansion in the middle of nowhere.
Image

As we drive along the narrow twisting road back to civilisation, we spot another white village.
Image

And beneath us in a valley, maggot-like sheep forage for food.
Image

The road ahead, and our next stop is the white town of Ronda, the birthplace of bull-fighting.
Image

> THE END

10 Comments

  1. Manoj 30 May 2009
  2. naimAuthor 30 May 2009
  3. Azreen 9 June 2009
  4. naimAuthor 9 June 2009
  5. Borhan 10 June 2009
  6. naimAuthor 10 June 2009
  7. jesse 10 June 2009
  8. ginger 11 June 2009
  9. Jan 14 June 2009
  10. MrsNordin 17 June 2009

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.