There are many stories told about this hamlet, mostly apocryphal, and all involving terrible deeds during the civil war. Some will tell you, the inhabitants were rounded up and shot or that they were involved with feeding the bandits in the surrounding hills and because of this the roofs of their houses were removed to prevent anyone living there.
The lower part of the hamlet El Acebuchal
The fight against the bandits went on for many years and to avoid the residents being able to provide shelter or sustenance they were put under much pressure by the Guardia Civil. They were in fact finally forced out by a decree which only allowed them to be there during the daytime. This meant living in a nearby village such as Frigiliana and walking to and from El Acebuchal every day and as there was no motorised transport back then, totally impracticable. All the inhabitants finally left in 1949 and the cottages quickly became derelict and in many cases roofless. Spanish people in recent years have called the hamlet “Pueblo el Fantasmas” or village of ghosts, due to the 50 or so years that it was deserted and derelict.
A dream holiday shouldn’t turn into a nightmare. We all know the scene, standing in line waiting to check in at the airport and wondering if your cases are overweight. For years the lies of your bathroom scales were acceptable but now you fear those extra kilos could soon turn into pounds sterling. Then you run the gauntlet past a crone with fried hair that looks determined to make you pay for her hangover. As David Jason once remarked: “Did she get her money back from the charm school?”
Just some of the many things you don't need to bring to Cantueso
With low-cost airlines trying every trick in the book to make sure your holiday costs more, they have been reducing baggage allowances, even cutting down on the odd carrier bag and one quietly reduced the hand luggage sizes so that you would have to check it in and pay a penalty. And as if that is not bad enough consider that in July or August with one well known “low-cost” carrier, a case of 23 kilos would cost you £180!
No this is not a sequel to the best selling book by Chris Stewart, Driving over Lemons but our way of drawing attention to the odd times we live in.
Around us at Cantueso this autumn we have the sight of grapes withering on the vine, figs rotting on the floor underneath the trees and yes pomegranates on the side of the road. Food for free but nobody seems bothered. Just look too at the Spanish supermarkets that sell Israeli oranges and imported lemons from the Americas and yet they grow well here. Yes, we know that fruit is not always in season, but with the all year round varieties of lemon grown in Spain, there can be no excuse. It is even more strange to find that buying blueberries in Spain is difficult but if you buy them in the UK, the country of origin on the pack is Spain. Maybe it is our fault as consumers and we really should only buy things in season.
Many of you will be familiar with our website which over the years has grown to such an extent that we cannot practically add much of the content we would like to share. This blog therefore aims to inform you about our area of Spain, about Periana in particular and to keep you up-to-date with what we are doing in Restaurante Cantueso and our rental cottages. There are already many postings to advise and help would-be visitors to this area and we would encourage you to browse as mostly they are still applicable. We would be very pleased to receive your comments and suggestions and maybe the odd photo. Our normal website is of course still active here.
Definitely not, because although in the village the shops and businesses do not normally speak more than a few words of English you will certainly get by. But and it is a big but, you will certainly get lots of fun out of your visit if you try a few words, and out in the campo if you meet a local they will almost certainly not speak English. So why not try a few words and a little sign language, it goes a long way and you will find the local people very friendly and appreciative of your efforts.
If you do decide to try and learn a few words the first thing to remember is that there are different versions of Spanish. The main language of Spain is Castilian and you could say this is the equivalent of the Queen’s English with the local dialect (Andaluce) being compared to a broad Scots accent or Geordie. There are other regional languages in Spain such as Catalan which is spoken around Barcelona and Basque spoken in the extreme north. You need to learn Castilian. Most Spanish courses you will find in the shops will be this version but sometimes in the discount bookshops they will have discounted courses that are often teaching South American Spanish.
If you do decide to have a go there are many cheap beginners courses on Cd’s. Ideal for playing in the car or at home for a few weeks before your holiday. They all give you the basics of pronunciation, phrases and numbers.
Look out for the BBC Quick Start Spanish about £10 or The Michel Thomas Language Builder course, about £15. The latter has a unique way of teaching without lots of grammar or writing things down, and you will be in good company as it seems to have been the choice of celebrities, politicians and major companies.
Maybe you can also splash out on a small dictionary but whatever happens you should pack the Rough Guide Dictionary and Phrase Book (£4.99) it is invaluable.
After you have arrived jump in and try out your phrases it will be fun and your confidence will slowly build. At our restaurante and for guests in Cantueso Cottages we have a rule; that we always try to answer in whatever language the visitor uses. But down on the Coast the opposite is the rule with shops and restaurants all having English speaking staff, which can be very irritating, because when you try out a few words of Spanish the reply usually comes back in English making you wish you had not tried.
When David Beckham went to Real Madrid the Open University had 1700 more people signing up for Spanish that year. Beckham went from strength to strength with the language and is no doubt proud that his first sending off was for telling the ref he was “hijo de puta” the son of a whore!