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Hello Villanueva & Malaga!

Maybe it was Bernardo?

sunny 86 °F

What an interesting first week! No complaints here! It was a learning experience of many calibers. And remember I'm taking you on this journey as well- so I don't want to leave out details :-)
So the first full weekend came & I decided to hike from the house to village nearby to see how it was & how long it would take. Also gotta get in as much intense cardio as possible--how else can I eat those delicious spanish chocolate croissants (napolitanas). The view is breathtaking every time I see it! I hike it down the mountain road taking in all its splendor, like the valleys, trees & mountains. Everyday I still can't believe how beautiful it is up here. I end up running into the older goat shepherd & his herd of goats. I guess they felt comfortable enough to walk past me & at one point I was a part of the herd! It was surreal to be in the middle of all these animals; listening to the bells on their collars in a melodic way- so cool! I tell the shepherd, "Hasta luego" or see ya later. Now remember h is silent, 'lue' is one syllable & 'go' is the other. I commonly here this word being pronounced 'lu' 'e go' which is incorrect--but now ya know :-) So one of the people I have met on my hike down is the same older gentleman we had run into before (that fed the dogs scraps of bread). He works with the seed or grain factory nearby it seems. He is always friendly in his conversation & always helps with the dog situation. The group of dogs camp out & keep guard of the goat pen & the business. Unfortunately, they are not on leashes & are a bit intimidating. They come a little too close for my comfort & can easily bite at your legs. I hope that being friends with the man will help the dogs relax a bit with us. So on down the mountain to the village, Villanueva de la Concepcion. Yes, we've driven around but I take in more walking around. So the village is like a neighborhood perched on a hill. It's very quiet, not a lot of action it seems. I see a little bit of people at the cafes having lunch (its about 3p). There are a few neighborhood bars that are open. The supermarkets or grocery stores are closed due to the time of day. For those that aren't familiar, people close down for a lunch break & siesta-which is to go home, eat & maybe take a nap. Some people take this time to run errands. Its up to the business if it closes or not, depending on a multitude of factors. So I took in looking at the streets, little parks & watching the locals sit outside & chat. What a quaint little place :-) From the sounds of it, many were at a nearby pool cooling down. I spotted a dog sleeping under the shade of a car. The houses are like townhouses or apartments; no space in between them. There was usually a curtain in front of the fron door, to absorb some of the heat. Also if it was cool enough, they'd leave the door open but have the curtain down, to keep the sun out.
Very family oriented people everywhere, just not always the most accepting of foreigners. After taking some interesting pics, I had a late lunch/dinner, which was shrimp with a sweet but spicy rice AND a piece of ice cream cake ;)
Well, I did do a lot of intensive cardio getting here, under the sun I feel so close to, I can touch. And I'm gonna need the energy to get back up the mountain too :)
Alrighty, up the hill we go & on to use the knowledge I learned while going down. Luckily, not a lot of cars pass through this road, but enough to keep me walking on the outer edges of the Carretera de la Montaña or the Road of the Mountain. Also road is an obstacle course, avoiding goat poop pellets while walking & wondering -what just rustled in the bushes?! Okay good-it was a little lizard. So I say hello to whatever locals I see- I mean hola (remember h is silent my students). I passed a couple I've dogs I hadn't seen before but luckily they were on leashes. The scary part is hoping that the Cujo looking dog ( which is now being referred to by us, as "Puppy del Diablo". Sometimes he's taken in the house because of how hot it is & the other times he's just growling/barking lunging back & forth on a collar/leash that I don't trust. Well, I get to the the neck of the road & he's not there. Yay! So then I hope the gang of dogs is near the man & will stay by him as I make my way there. Nope. A couple hear me & come trotting down the road to me barking. I say no to them & start throwing piece of bread from a sandwich leftover, I had with me. Bread wasn't helping me out. So I walk back enough to see if anyone was in the road to call them off. Nope. Alright, my animal behavior knowledge tells me I shouldn't be moving back from the dogs because I'm reinforcing that people will back away if they bark. But I didn't feel comfortable walking through either, especially since I was feeling uncomfortable. Animals then pick up that nervous energy & react negatively to it. So I get distracted by the nearby goat herd & regain my sense of positive energy & try to lose the uneasiness. I try to walk forward enough to not alert the dogs, but also try to see the man. Dogs start barking, man looks down the road & sees me. Yay! He calls them toward him & I thank him & ask if I can feed them to gain their friendship. He said that we would no doubt be friends from now on- I was hopeful, but skeptical. On my merry way I went up the last stretch to the house- phew, I had made it through a tiny but heart pulsing (for many reasons) adventure:) So of course I followed up that adventure with swimming & relaxing :-)
Starting week #2 with a tour of the city Malaga & its landmarks on a double decker bus. Sadly, it was too hot to sit on the top deck :-( This was cool because I hopped off & on between different landmark stops for the whole day! It was a very entertaining bus ride- glad I do it. Also got experience all the different ethnicities of the fellow passengers- a lot of French & German.
•Found a local mall to check out the scene there. Seems like everything is on sale! No, I didn't buy anything... Went into a store where the security officer stapled your bag s closed before you could enter. The food court was a bunch of cafes & Burger King.
The exotic vet (exotic = anything more than cat & dog) came by the farm to check out some of the animals.
We saw the alpacas get de-wormer injections, which they did not appreciate. There was a lot of alpaca sass & spitting. Also saw an exam of a female alpaca. The owners were concerned about her since she inexplicably did not want to mate & was acting unhappy. She had a distended belly & had already gone through a false pregnancy so the vet did an ultrasound, while we watched! Sorry but there were no stirrups. the alpaca stood & the vet placed the probe under her belly. And no they couldn't tell the sex of the 1 baby in her. Alpaca pregnancies are 11 & 1/2 months long!!! It was very cool & interesting! Surprise its a baby alpaca birth announcement! What followed was in true soap opera (I mean novela) fashion... "Well, who's the father? Maybe it was Bernardo ?" "Or was it Angel?"
And last but not least... "Well, I guess we'll have to see if the baby comes out white or brown." I laughed so hard :-)
We saw peacock babies this time with their mom. Note: female is a peahen & babies are pea chicks. Also peacock is pavo real in Spanish, which translates to royal turkey!
Went on a drive up past our place to find Lobo Park (Wolf Park) where we saw quite a few different types of wolves; Canadian Timber, European, Iberian & Alaskan Tundra- up close & personal. It was interesting, entertaining & informational tour. The wolves were lured to the front of the fence we stood in front of with cow stomach. We watched as they jumped up on the air trying to snag a piece. Amongst the animals on the property, we saw & petted a Vietnamese potbellied pig, a very old ram & a duck. There was a cute fox that was touched by one of the guides. Also seen walking around was a beautiful peacock. So cool seeing untamed wolves just a couple feet away!

Posted by enunez7 06:29 Archived in Spain

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Lovin' it, can't get enough, keep the updates and pictures coming!

by Matt

I'm so glad you're having such a wonderful trip. I love keeping up with your adventures!! :-)

by Nancy

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