Cortijo la Presa

July 21, 2018 - Priego de Córdoba, Spain

I haven't really described properly either the location of our villa, the Cortijo la Presa, or its spectacular surroundings. The villa is on the edge of Las Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park which my research tells me is a limestone plateau and part of the Beticas Mountain Range. It is of worldwide significance because of the abundance of ammonite fossils. It is also prolific in birdlife, including the griffin vulture - I wouldn't recognise one if I saw it, but Sam was quite excited when one flew over not far from the villa. There are a number of towns and villages within the park, including Cabra (where we did our first shopping on the way from Cordoba), Rute, Iznajar, Priego de Cordoba and Las Lagunillas, the last being closest to the villa.

Cortijo La Presa (cortijo - country estate; la presa - the dam. Or so Google translation tells me) is a restored C18 presumably country estate (I've already described that it now consists of 7 separate apartments), and it is set quite high on one of a number of rolling hills covered in olive groves. The whole area is surrounded by rugged mountains, and the park itself contains, apparently, a number of walking tracks. It has yet to be overrun by tourists, and is amazingly tranquil and unspoilt, despite the intensive cultivation of olives. Spain produces about 44 percent of the world's olives, and 80 percent of those come from Andalucia. About an hour's drive north east of Las Lagunillas is Jaen which is the centre of Spain's olive oil production. No wonder that the entire landscape is pretty much olive trees. David and I wondered how long olive trees produce for, and later research tells me it's generally between 300 and 600 years! Near Ulldecona in Catalonia there are said to be about 40 trees which are more than 1,700 years old, one of which, called 'La Farga de l'Arion' and supposedly the oldest, was planted during the reign of the Emperor Constantine. Farga is a variety of olive which is less productive than others and many of the ancient trees were removed to make way for higher yielding varieties. Recently, olive oil has been produced commercially again from these so-called 'millenary' trees. Amazing!

Back to the present.

This morning early David, Matt, Sam, Rachel, Sophie and Hannah set out to climb Mt Tinosa, one of the landmarks of the park at 1,568 metres; it is easily seen from the villa. Rachel told me later that it turned out to be steeper at the end than they had anticipated, and they didn't quite make it all the way to the top, although they were not far off. She said it was so steep that coming down, she had to slide for a while on her bottom! They all really enjoyed the walk, though, and said the scenery was spectacular.

Later in the morning Will and Bex took Charlie for a look around Las Lagunillas and asked me to come, but as I had a cold I didn't want to pass it on to Charlie by breathing on him in the car. Well, I didn't want to give it to Will or Bex either, come to think of it. Shame - I would have loved to join them.

I hate to admit not only to having a cold but also to the fact that it has made me quite unadventurous; in fact Sarah, Lucie and I  stayed home. We were lucky that this was one of the days when the temperamental wi-fi actually worked, so I could catch up a bit on this journal. I also did some washing - there is a separate, well-equipped laundry, and yesterday Rachel kindly bought some laundry tablets for general use. I strung my little elastic line across part of the courtyard; it was quite hot, but pleasant with a bit of a breeze, so the washing was practically dry by the time I had hung it out.

The walkers took longer to get back than they thought they would and David and Sam stopped for a drink at Las Lagunillas on the way home. Later in the afternoon David went back for a drink with Sarah, Caroline, Tom and some of the littlies.

In the evening I walked up the hill behind the villa to take some photos in 'the golden hour'.

Then it was dinner time again - more relaxation under the vines.




1 Comment

August 8, 2018
Thanks for the extra research - that’s all really interesting to know! xxx
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