Day 8: Slowing Down in a Sleepy Town

Today we awoke in a great mood, knowing that we had a well-deserved and much needed day of rest ahead. With the exception of some brave souls who woke up early to go on a mountainside run (complete with rocky inclines, mountain goats, and a donkey) we slept in as late as we could and still be able to get breakfast.

After breakfast, we relaxed and caught up on work in the lovely courtyard of our rustic hotel. The beautiful flowers and view of distant mountains provided a study space that none at NU’s campus can measure up to, not even the Curry roof deck.

Myself and a few other students went to a local restaurant for ‘Menu Del Diá’, the best way in Spain to enjoy a 2-course lunch with dessert and drinks for a great bargain, 9 €. We dined on refreshing gazpacho, tender carne asada, and sumptuous chocolate tart. In a slight food coma, we returned to the hotel to continue our day of rest in this beautiful ‘pueblo blanco’, white-washed town.

In class, we learned about the role of the bar in rural Andalusia, and the rituals that males engage in to assert their masculinity. Especially among the agricultural working class, it is common for females to supplement the household income, leaving the men feeling emasculated. To combat this, the men spend ample time engaging in certain bar practices (some common to us, others not) to showcase the three dimensions of Andalusian male honor: wittiness, self-control, and virility. After drawing a comparison between the rituals in bars that reinforce male identity and the rituals used in the 5 pillars of Islam, we headed back out to Grazalema.

A delicious pastry at the café across the cobblestone street and a tapa from a local bar was the perfect end to our Sunday. Despite the somewhat cramped living conditions (4 beds in a room sized for 2) and the funky showers (requiring some serious strategy in order not to flood the bathroom), Grazalema’s charms have us under its spell. It is easy to get lost in the romantic idea of running away from the pressures of our fast-paced American lives in exchange for the promise of the relaxed, serene village where people seem to have no need to ever rush.

Tomorrow we set out for to hike ‘El Pinsapar’, the famous hike through Grazalema National Park.

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day!! Hi Mom 🙂

Alexandria Wenner – Psychology