Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Adios Andalusia

Raid Kaliber Andalusia - http://www.endurance.net/international/Spain/2010AlAndalus/

I just spent the day going through results and photos and summarizing each day, creating a few more galleries... closing up. I also put up a little gallery of the people 'behind the scenes' : for every horse and rider there are a dozen people working for and around them. Setting things up, taking them down. Arranging meals, transport, paperwork, trail marking, trail un-marking, trail finding, camp finding. New trail, old trail. New towns, new city councils to smooze. New vehicles, repairing old vehicles. Phones, computers, printers, cameras, etc etc. All so we can have fun and ride!

A totally amazing event... it's going to take a while to come down from this one. So intense and consuming for so long. The people become family, helping each other out. Laughing together, sharing the highs and lows, sharing the trail. Drinking and dancing together. The horses learn to put up with everything and anything and eat when they can, and drink when they can, and rest when they can.

And I feel that I've been touched by the history - the enormity of the passage of time and the changing culture and landscape. The Romans defeated the Carthaginians and conquered Andalusia. The Vandals moved briefly through the region during the 5th century AD before settling in North Africa. The Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula (including Andalusia) in 711–718 marked the collapse of Visigothic rule and the establishment of the Islamic Empire era. Then came the Christian conquest: C√≥rdoba was conquered in 1236 and Seville in 1248. The fall of Granada in 1492 put an end to Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula. ...that's a lot of different people and cultures, each having their own effect on the culture, the architecture, the food, the agriculture. Every city we went through had crumbling or well maintained remnants of a people that lived here a very very long time ago. On our day off in Grenada I had a chance to visit La Alhambra - a palace and fortress complex constructed during the early 14th century by the Moorish rulers of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus. Spectacular!! and so old...

Thanks to Soto and his team - keep it up! (I'm already looking forward to next year)

Steph

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