Lozoya’s a very pleasant place to while away a few days, or even longer. We whiled away there, in the mountains to the north of Madrid, for the last few days and I wouldn’t complain if we’d more time to be whiling a little while longer.
It’s a small place, beside a great reservoir which quenches Madrid’s thirst – no small feat seeing as it hasn’t rained here for months – and surrounded by peaks, valleys, ravines, streams, rocks, trees, parched grass and dust.
Yes, it’s dry. Water is plentiful though, with people coming to fill their bottles from continuously flowing taps with the most delicious drinking water, but it comes only from the higher peaks where snow melts in the summer to fill the streams and rivers, and the poor trees away from the bubbling brooks are left high, dry and thirsty. It did rain once, but probably a freak occurrence, and everything was as dry again the next day.
Apparently they shot films here because the terrain is like Bolivia’s. Or because it’s closer than Bolivia and its terrain is exactly like Bolivia’s in films.
We stayed with Paulino, a kindly fat man with a very loud voice. Poor Nip didn’t know what to make of him. There’s no point saying nice things in a language the other doesn’t yet understand if you ROAR at them. It took a while for Paulino to coax a smile but he managed in the end. The rest of the staff loved the little fella too and seemed sorry to see him leave.
Menú del día was had every day, washed down with wine, after hikes in the unforgiving midday sun to local landmarks and beauty spots. Jaysus, our tongues were hanging out by the time dinnertime came. My parents were already looking forward to the next day’s menú del día a couple of hours after the last one.
We crossed Puente del Perdones on the first day, a bridge which was “the men’s last chance to be avoid being hanged”. It was too hot to ask which men, what the poor buggers were accused of, and who was doing the hanging. But sure, it doesn’t matter.
The main thing is that we crossed it and proceeded to the pools, where swimmers were frolicking and splashing about in the ice-cold water, still several degrees warmer than the Baltic. Nip jumped in, in the nip, and enjoyed it to the point of silliness. Splashing, slapping sticks in the water, throwing stones, it doesn’t get any better.
We made friends with a donkey, un pobre burrito, who we cheered up with fistfuls of dried grass and a paraguayo peach. I’d say he never had a peach before; he lashed it into him. So we gave him another, much to the nip’s annoyance when he got a taste for peaches only to be told: “The donkey et ‘em.”
We had to go then once we realised he was hungry. Still, he was happy to feed the donkey dried grass and with the rest of the animals he saw: horses, chickens, roosters, ants, young bulls, cats on the Plaza Mayor, fish in the lake. There were also butterflies and dragonflies a-plenty, with eagley-type birds soaring high overhead.
Only two bars were open last night, literally beside themselves, and it seemed the whole town was there too. Every table was taken with people greeting each other as they ambled past, while kids ran riot around one of the fountains beside them.
The little fella tried stealing some other kid’s bike, was mightily put out when he was told to let the frantic owner keep it. There was a daredevil little girl there too among others. The mother of one or all of them gave us a big goodbye when we were leaving. It seems once kids make friends (or enemies) their parents assume friendship too. Weird.
But that’s Lozoya. It’s a while away but a good while and it sure is closer than Bolivia.