March 5, 2010

A Note from Landscape Architect, David Michael

I met David in Morocco a few years ago. We have collaborated on a few projects, one being bringing people to his traditional vernacular gardens at his adobe home outside of Marrakech. He recently wrote me about his experience in the Alpujarra in southern Spain, when he noticed I would be doing a program there in October. It was so poetic, I asked him if I could post it.

Hello Peggy.

I hope you are well.

The post regarding your new Andalusian adventure was an interesting surprise for me. As it happens I was once spending a lot of time in the Alpujarra- mapping, measuring, and generally documenting the ancient vernacular irrigation system that flows down from the snow fed pools up in the Sierra Nevadas to the pueblo Trevelez then through Busquistar, Portugos, Ferreriola, Pitres, Orgiva, Velez de Benaudalla, Lobres, to Solembra where it empties into the Mediterranean. From the Chestnut groves down to the sugarcane fields. At one point, thanks to grant funding, I was based in Granada (lived up in the Albaicin) and spent a year wandering those paths along the channels in those mountains- and started making more forays down into Morocco.

As you know, Ferreriola is a tiny, beautiful little rambling pueblo, with many reward walks on the paths out from it. As I recall, up the path towards the iron spring (which will make your teeth hurt), there is a little building where farmers shell the almonds they harvest. Farther up, on the main road as it passes through Portugos, there is the/a communal wine press, etc. where locals take their personal harvests to do batches for home use- it is a nice design with the juice running down a channel in the floor and spilling into a reservoir in the room below. And be careful that the old ladies don't spit chestnut bits all over you when they speak! Their apron pockets will be stocked full of nuts. Such things might be happening in October while you're there.

And in Granada YOU MUST go up and enjoy some flamenco in the Sacromonte Caves (also a larger decent public stage up there with scheduled shows). It doesn't need to be expensive and there is a surprising amount of variety.


p.s. If you get over near Jerez, hit the market in the morning- it is one of the best- great seafood and produce under the same roof. And you can load up on Fina and sherry while you're in town.


It's people like David that have added richness to my programs over the years. As I have always said, it's about relationship.
Thank you David.

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