Today on May 2cnd the 49th day of our Lock Down we were finally allowed outside for 1 hr to take a walk or exercise! To celebrate the sun was shining once again for the second day, having just come home the exhilaration felt for this new found freedom after 6 weeks is still with me. I am breathing deeper and my body is tingling after fresh air, movement and sunshine. Those with a garden wont understand this feeling, infact I hadn’t expected my physical body to feel this different either, it does pose the question of how unhealthy it has been for us non dog owners living in flats and whether the older generation will manage to get back to the fitness level they had before it started. So to celebrate I will take you on a photo journey, the photo header is a reminder of all that we have missed, the Jacaranda trees now have seed pods and the truly amazing lilac bloom has gone, this is one of my highlights of urban nature, to walk down a street lined with this truly beautiful flora. However these Jacaranda trees do bloom at slightly different times, so I still may get to see their beauty lining some streets further in the town, I think I could walk to where I know the later bloomers are sometime in the coming weeks.
So off I went at 9am, the last 1 hr morning slot for my age group, I wanted to catch some warmth of the sun that was still rising. So my first choice was a park within a natural area of Pine trees, less than 5 minutes away, it does also have some very old pomegranate trees too. Walking past some natural overgrown areas spreading out onto the pavements now, I came to the entrance and found that it was closed off, my natural park and first choice was still off limits! but actually no disappointment presented itself, I was outside and was experiencing freedom.
I quickly back tracked aware that I only had 25 minuted to walk before turning back home before I was eligible for a fine minimum of 600 Euros for being outside in the wrong allotted time, over 70’s were next. I swapped smiles with few dog walkers and joggers but was surprised how few people were out, I guess many will take their stroll this evening after 8 pm, as this is a normal custom in Spain where under normal circumstances you will find whole families meeting up to stroll along together. I was thinking too that many like my son will take the evening slot after work. I was even happier to be out right now, peace, beauty and quietness was in the air, birds were everywhere singing their song, butterflies recently emerged fluttered around and the sun had risen enough to feel its warmth, yes this was the perfect time for me. I did pass a few very elderly people out though, they must have got the times mixed up, I can see why though as a good friend had them mixed up yesterday after reading a post on social media quoting them wrongly, unfortunately many ex pats rely only on news from these sources. Only a few were wearing face masks, many had them around the neck ready to put on if needed though, my sparkly one had a few strange looks but followed by a smile, with so much space and distance between us it was nice to see peoples faces and smiles. I wore my smile for most of the hour, obviously with masks on this communication and contact with people would be missing and its nearly as therapeutic as a hug. Finally after passing more wild thistles and flora along the path I reached the park, this man made park is completely open all round. We normally have our weekly market along the closed off roads around it, parts were still cordoned off like the children’s play areas, which won’t be opened until a much later date for fear of spreading through contact of the equipment.
The first thing I noticed with gardeners only attending to essential work recently was the lack of flowers, there were a few perennials though and I could still touch the rosemary and thyme bushes to release their smells. I wandered past the area where new buildings are being constructed and found a set of steps leading up the side of them. These steps were wide so I wondered how they would look when finished, we do have a set similar in another area of the town beautifully painted in rainbow colurs. We also have, I don’t know exactly how many but at least 30 murals on buildings some of which are amazing and beautiful. Each year a competition to see which new additions will be added takes place, we even have a mural tour! A new mural stands in front of me looking abandoned and sad, waiting for its artist to come back to finish it.
As I started to walk deeper into the park I could see ahead the beautiful bottle brush trees in bloom, I always love to see these bright red trees, a friends urbanisation has them grown into hedges not as trees to separate their gardens. After a few joggers whizzed by me sharing a smile and most with headphones on, I wondered how they could not be stopping to take in this beauty and tranquillity with the many bird songs echoing around. Then there I was in the midst of these beautiful trees taking the phone out to capture some pictures when I saw the time, it felt like a distant past that I had to think about the clock! So not lingering as is the law right now I moved onwards making my way towards the other end.
Being aware of the time, made me want to slow down more and take it all in, a kind of rebellious feeling to being pushed and pressured by time once again and that feeling of restriction we have endured wanted to break free. I wanted to sit down on the grass, just lay there or sit at the trunk of a tree, but the few people that were out weren’t doing this so I told myself just keep moving and maybe in a few day’s, after all we are supposed to be out for exercise! I slowly ambled amongst the plants and made my way down hill with the sea on the horizon to the exit from the park looking out over the town.
This brought me out to an area that gained national fame, not for good reasons though but for creating one of the silliest ideas, they built a slide here the largest one in Europe I think. It was built to save 20 minutes walking from the area where I live down into the town, they said children and workers can use it to get to school and work easier and it would save traffic pollution. Well, after a much awaited and publicised opening, within the first few hours there were people in the health centre for cuts, burns and bumps! It had passed all safety measures and the design was deemed to be safe by experts, but of course this depended on people using it correctly. Videos on You Tube show people bouncing around as they went too fast after laying down rather than sitting upright on it. So after a few hours it was closed for re assessing, it never re opened and has since been taken away. The photo shows the entrance to the “once was” slide but doesn’t give perspective of how high it is to the streets below. Even if it had stayed I don’t think that anybody had taken into considerations the burns that would occur from the hot metal in the summer months. I continued on as I left the flowers to the path home where wild chamomile plants flourished and headed back with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Walking uphill thinking of the twinges in my upper spine, I deciding it was a silly idea to bring out my handbag after 6 weeks not carrying one I could now feel it so tomorrow I will travel lighter. I love to walk but I sometimes forget that wherever I go I need to get back up hill to home, I was thankful that these last weeks when taking out rubbish I had climbed the 80 steps and not taken the lift. As I took myself and my shadow home, I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of poppies still around amongst the chamomile as they are usually seen around February/March time. Eventually I did make it back home on time albeit feeling like Cinderella. Thankyou for sharing today’s journey with me, wherever you are please stay safe and take precautions to protect yourself and loved ones including taking care of your mental health 💜