Review: Hotel Rural Laroles

*Unpaid, unsponsored independent review*

Last week we had the pleasure of first night of the season at Teatro Entre Todos and their summer ’16 project of Me Vuelves Lorca. This project (similar to the famous Minack) situated in the Alpujarras is a resounding hit with locals and far flung admirers of greaspaint, footlights and theatre.

Last year we attended the opening night, and also Lorca’s Blood Wedding, and were swayed once again, choosing to see another Lorca piece, La Casa de Bernada Alba, a sad play performed with dignity, outstanding talent and a few wry laughs by the amazing Tribueñe Teatro from Madrid.

The great value ticket price included a bottle of wine, so, not needing to be asked twice, we decided to ditch the thought of a drive home, and booked a night at Hotel Rural in Laroles. Checking the reviews – as you do – on Trip Advisor, we were happy to see so many rave reviews, particularly mentioning Ramón, the host. So off we set, the promise of some tapas, dinner, and a night watching Lorca unfold under the stars.

The host with the most

Ramón greeted us warmly, and as we were the first to check in, showed us ALL of the available rooms, and asked us to choose. He can talk! Hotel Rural may be 2* but it was a 5* 10/10 for a friendly welcome. He deserves all those great reviews, for sure.

The Hotel

The hotel is clean, in fact it is amazingly spotless. The rooms are spacious enough, the usual furniture + a desk, chair, 2 large single beds zipped together, with really comfortable mattresses. WIFI available. Double glazing with 2 sets of doors, a mozzie screen on the balcony (mountains breed midges!) and air conditioning. The bathroom was spacious, modern, well appointed and came with sachets of gel and shampoo (but no soap!) I did spot locally made soap for sale in the lobby.

There’s a terrace, a cosy sitting room and a dining room.

Dinner time

We ordered a pre-theatre dinner, and it was a case of “what would you like?”, rather than “this is what I have.” We agreed on some slow cooked chicken in Champagne, a salad and drinks, and set off to explore  – read beers and tapas. 🙂

After a rest in the quiet, airy room, we partook of the delicious dinner, which was impeccable. Served with that crisp and fresh salad, and potatoes cooked in a tasty stock, we also had 2 beers and a glass of wine. Total bill €20 – amazingly good value, there was so much we simply couldn’t finish it.

We left the next morning after a great sleep, waving away offers of breakfast as were in a rush – we’re always in a rush – but with hugs and promises to return. For the next theatre production, of course…..Just ONE night Ramón 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beer Run and a Bomb Shelter

With the beer shelf of the fridge looking sadly empty we interrupted our morning to take a quick trip to Adra and our current favourite shop for essentials –  Lidl.

We timed it right as there was 50% off the second bottle of most of the ‘nice’ beer labels, so we threw Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Germany into the trolley with some of their Italian range of food and headed back.

“Fancy a look at the museum while we’re here?” asked Museum Man Stan. (I wish he felt the same about the beach)

I did, so… we did.

Entering the museum, the nice chap at reception turned on the lights and gave us a few pointers for looking around – then asked where we were from. “Ireland  – piped up Museum Man Stan – he almost always refuses to admit to his Queen and country – Er, Alpujarras, we live in the Alpujarras.”

Nice chap: “Which part?”

Stan: “Murtas”.

Nice Man: “Ah Murtaaaa  – a big smile – (it’s always the same reaction). My family were from there in the 1800’s….There’s also another foreigner there, an Englishman, a photographer, do you know him?”

Soy yo, (That would be me)” admitted the Honorary Irishman.

Apparently, they had met years ago, when Nice Chap visited the village and he purchased one of Stan’s photographs that was displayed in the bar – giving him his contact details and asking for more, explaining that Nice Chap was in fact the tecnico cultural for Adra, and he wanted to do an exhibition of the Honorary Irishman’s work. Yay.

Except the Honorary Eeejit lost the details and never followed it up.

So, fast forward to this morning.  Nice Chap turned out to be Javier Sanchez Real, author of Farua, that annual cultural book on Adra, in addition to his tourism/cultural role, and a mine of info on Adra.

We promised to come back armed with camera and notebook – because the museum is seriously good,  and I’ll cover more on it in another post, but do go – and he gave Hon Eejit all the details again, as unbelievably he is still interested. He’s also love me to write some info in English 🙂

refugios1

Photo from http://www.adraturismo.com/en/quehacer/visitas-guiadas.html

Javier then directed us down the street to the ancient town walls, and instructed us to claim a key from a bar, saying he sent us 🙂 which would enable us to have a private look inside the Civil War bomb shelter, which we duly did. It was fascinating, and was also used to shelter those who walked the route from Málaga to Almería as detailed in the book The Crime on the Road by Norman Bethune. Paul Read  – Forgotten Stories From Spain: The Ambulance Man And The Spanish Civil War is another great read on the same subject.

So that was our rather interesting morning…yours?

Witchery Pokery in Spain

I am aware Hallowe’en has passed, yes.

I can hardly believe its December already though, the curse of growing older and watching time speed past me. If anyone speaks fluent Fly please let them know to buzz off for winter – we appear to have an entire grist upon us, despite living at altitude here in the Alpujarra.

Back to the witchery pokery of the title…Have you heard of the Sabia, or white witch, often found in these little white, rural villages? We have, she lives right next door in fact.

Jean_François_Millet;_a_collection_of_fifteen_pictures_and_a_portrait_of_the_painter,_with_introduction_and_interpretation_(1900)_(14784165573).jpg

The Sabia

Traditions and superstitions abound in the pueblos of Andalucia . The story of the Sabia or white witch is one that still endures.

Known to have powers that could cure where the village doctor failed, known to be good with nature, and often with a history of spectacular healing where traditional medicine has failed, she is regarded with esteem and never extorts money. (Although I think her palm is often crossed with silver 🙂 )

Busier than any local bar, her door is opened with regularity, especially at the weekend or during the holidays as folk from far and near – often travelling great distance – come and see her. Asking around, I’m told she once brought a child – a little girl –  from death’s door back to the here and now – the doctor’s couldn’t help her, there rests her ‘proof’, and her good reputation.

Have you heard of the Sabia before? Do you have one in your pueblo?

Stuff the Lettuce

Living in Spain…you’ll oft hear of expats waxing lyrical about the good life: Sunshine and siestas, the tapas and the relaxed temperament, the generosity of neighbours – all good and true, naturally. We love it here, on our Andalucian mountain, even the hard times are good times, a life filled with a lack of serious cash borne bravely, compensated by the good things, which have turned out to be much better for us than the finer things…

Winter is here, it arrived unexpectedly a little while ago, suddenly my flip-flops looked silly, the wood burner more attractive, and the fly screens redundant.Image

The sky is still a deep blue – and HIGH – but there’s a nip in that mountain air that would send a chill through even this hardy Irish Rubia.

As the dogs edged closer to the fire this week we thought to order in some almond to feed it with, that or start regarding the furniture with a beady eye, it’s quite big and pretty hungry, so we ordered a trailer full which was more than reasonable, working out at 11 cents per kilo (although who is going to weigh it I have no idea). Well, it’s all stacked neatly thanks to the friendly delivery chicos and Josh, and it’s partnering the other item down in the stable that’s going to help keep us all warm. 

A mule? A stack of blankets?.Image

Our generous vecinos – who keep our Summers padded out with bags of beans and lettuce – have pumped in 500 L of the finest Red – a soft and naturally sweet, organic Tempranillo/Cabernet mix…

Suddenly Winter nights look a tad cosier…

Slainte!

Break a leg in Laroles

Laroles? Where’s that then?

Not too far from me actually, here in the Alpujarras. A stage backdrop of winding roads, leading to dramatic drops and stunning views.

Sleepy and tranquil, most visit here for a taste of tranquility, a chance to wind down.

Last weekend, however, there was a bit of a buzz…..

It was caused by Anna Kemp, and her mighty troupe. As they sing out in Les Miserables, (she) Dreamed a Dream.

And it seems if you persevere, dreams really can come true!

The Project

The Project

The Cast

The troupe? A cast made entirely from villagers of this little pueblo, merry men – and mujeres  – a willing Mayor, and many hands.

Anna, who lives in Madrid and holidays as much as possible in Larolesfirst came to the Alpujarras because she was working on the film Al Sur de Granada, based on the life of writer Gerald Brenan.  

Anna on opening night

Anna on opening night

The First Act

Spending Summers in Laroles with the local kids and creating little theatre groups, led to her bright idea of something bigger, something for the whole community, and somewhere inspired by the legendary Rowena Cade and the amazing Minack open air theatre in Cornwall. (*Tip.If you haven’t been there – then go!)

So, inspired by the natural Eras (old threshing circles) splayed around the outskirts of the village, Anna and her crew set to work, rebuilding and refurbishing the old stonework  – hard work too. But with the backing of the local Mayor, and the strong backs of the villagers, they have finished the stage area, and it is truly a stage with a view.

An Era in action in times gone by

An Era in action in times gone by

Interval

Last weekend we went to see the culmination of community effort – so far….

Anna, her family, the entire village and friends were there to welcome everyone and reveal the result. We had a lovely evening, under the coloured lights as the balmy evening crept into night. We chatted with both Anna and Manuel Escobosa, the helpful, friendly, and facilitating Mayor, as well as do-ers, shakers and movers from Madrid, and the locals.

Whilst the adults tucked into Migas, Sardinas and Tinto de Verano, I noticed the kids on the stage area, dancing, singing, and performing their own little production, stars in the making!

Everyone is now keen to get the theatre off the ground, and we plan to return on the 16th of this month to see the local kids tread the boards.

Picking the corn from the era into a measuring trough in days gone by

Picking the corn from the era into a measuring trough in days gone by

The Final Act?

They will of course succeed, it’s a brilliant and inspired idea, just perfect for a little pueblo in the Alpujarras, bringing in tourism and breathing life into the area. This community project still requires more awareness of the project, so feel free to shout and share!

There are still major expenses, lighting and sound engineering is not cheap, if you feel you can help out in any way then have a look through these links and contact Anna. or just go and see the project as it happens, get involved in a great plot and be part of the limelight!images

Anna and Co., take a bow!

www.unteatroentretodos.com

www.theopenairtheatreproject.com

www.fb.com/teatro.laroles