Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rivers and Bridges Again

You can get a bit obsessed with water down here, as regular readers may have noticed. Usually we don't have enough of it. Just now we have a bit too much, but it may have to last us years, so we won't complain too much. There are several places along the river not far from the city which are attractive enough to be worth walking out to, and now that it really is a river rather than a ditch I'm trying to have a look at them all before the whole place dries up again.

Yesterday I went out to an old bridge on a very minor road from Carrión to Malagón (yes, quite), within view of another mediaeval castle once home to the knights of Calatrava, before they went off to somewhere sufficiently distant from the swamp to avoid being wiped out by typhus or cholera every few years. The new bridge is a flimsy looking thing, strung together with leftover bits of metal and tarmac, but it gets you over to the other side, which the old bridge no longer does. The old one is made of stone, and rather than go directly from bank to bank in the fashion of more traditional bridges, it winds across. This is explained by the remnants of old mills still lying on the riverbed. There used to be a lot of them along the river, but social change (electricity) and the everfalling level of the water put an end to them decades ago.

The last time I went there, back in October was with Mrs Hickory, and an old man on a bike who claimed to be eighty told us of how he remembered the water reaching near the top of the banks when he used to go past as a child, and how it was all much greener then. He was probably telling the truth. Yesterday it was not very green, as many of the trees in the bed are dead, but there were almonds in flower, and a smell of fresh, running water about the place.

Before and after photos, for comparison.

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