Prologue
A typical back road happenstance  
Coming lunchtime and just what I am looking for:- water running from a plastic pipe but with a drinking cup left beside the  fuente de beber close to a crude table and bench.  No need for signs attesting to the water quality, the locals - gente local, obviously use this spring.  I unpack my bread, Mahou, sausage and cheese  (pan, cerveza, chorizo y manchego)  and catch a large draft of clear, cold spring water.  
What a feast.  A warbler sings a few phrases in the brush, but gives up.  It is siesta time...  I stretch out on the table and close my eyes.  
A symphony is playing.  The silky, satin rustle of the hojas de chopo - poplar leaves that crowd over the little river across the road, their subtle playing fades and rises as a small breeze conducts.  The water falling from the pipe is a tympani and the string section is headed up by the cicadas that rasp and fiddle in the afternoon heat.  The breeze-conductor sometimes holds up his baton and they all stop instantly for a few breaths, and perhaps the hardy little leaves of the oak trees get a chance to perform or from the river bottom comes a burst of liquid bird song. 
This is the true wealth of back road travel.  Hot maybe dusty miles have been travelled, maybe
not all easy ones.  But when you stop in an oasis like this and shed the movement, place yourself entirely HERE, all the rest comes into focus, the whole tapestry gains dimension.  These moments are the true jewels in the ‘going’, a nowhere place, unknown to the internet, on no map but those of the local villagers who pass and use it.  And for a brief time, ALL MINE!  

DUNCAN GOUGH

Travelling the real Spain

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