The hills are alive…

Driving around Andalucia from Sevilla to Grenada to Córdoba the hills are literally covered – like every spare inch of land – with row upon rows upon rows of olive trees.

Imagine this image for 100s of kms…. in all directions…

It is mind boggling just how many trees there are in this region. Apparently over 50% of the world’s olives come from here.

On our drive through olive country on our way to Córdoba we stopped off to visit Alacalá La Real are more specifically Fortaleza de la Mota – the fort on top of the hill.

Pic: Andalucia website

The fortress has amazing 360° views and although it’s not used anymore, it has a very interesting history. Originally a Roman site – they are still excavating sections – and it’s very well preserved. The church as well has been rebuilt in parts after it was destroyed by all the usual things…. earthquakes, fire and the Napolean’s army. However it is not used as a church any longer as they’ve chosen not to rebuild.

The Romans built some ingenious things back in their day…. I mean, we all know about the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, public health and the aqueducts…. but what have the Romans ever done for us? Well, for one, they seem to have invented refrigeration…. It was a deep well, carved out of the limestone (to show you how big it was in that first pic, that little square of light in the middle – underneath the opening in the ceiling – is a platform where we were standing!). Anyway, they would collect the snow from the surrounding mountains and lay it across the floor over those dug out channels they layer it with straw – layer upon layer upon layer. This would compact the snow and keep it frozen, then as it slowly melted it would drain off in the channels and roll down the the final channel to the waiting person with something to fill it up with. Apparently this would last them all summer.

There was also evidence of a market and a pharmacy with bottles and bowls and measuring tools…. I loved the measurement conversion…. I think we should all start to weigh ourselves in quintals!

Then it was back the car to head for Córdoba.

Hey Andalucia! You missed a spot!

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