When you first come to live in a village like Cútar it’s easy to sentimentalise the “olden days”. To imagine it to have been fairy tale – like Glocamorragh but there all the time – the pristine white buildings, their walls cascading geraniums, the prettily cobbled roadways, its chocolate box “vernacular” architecture.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Apart from blips of prosperity, these are impoverished villages with a long miserable history behind them. They consisted of mud huts, lining stinking narrow donkey width streets. Cobbled streets yes, sporadic stoney lumps stuck together with mud hard as rough concrete until churned to sludge by the brief belts of pelting rain. The villages of course were white. The Moors, who ruled the region for seven hundred years had strict sanitation laws and the villages were obliged to lime wash their buildings once per year against disease. With the Christian reconquest in the sixteenth century, dirt once more became the order of the day.
There seems to have been a huge grant of concrete during Franco’s last days, in the 1970′s. Many villages including Cútar and Almáchar now have all their roads made of rough concrete At the time must have felt like a technological breakthrough – clean roads, effective “run off” for rainwater and the ability to run a car instead of just a donkey round the villages. Cars would have been a village fat cat asset in those days but “motos” too would have had a less hazardous ride than before.
These days concrete, like Franco, is very passé. The road surface plays hell with your “Campers”, and Moroccan shoes are out. Half a day and the soles are ripped clean off. The economic strategy of the Town Halls – especially in Cútar, tends towards tourism and this requires exactly those geranium strewn cobbles that never were. No, not even under the Moors who we all know were benign, beautiful and altogether perfect.
So here is our main street in Cutar. The mayor has done about twenty metres every time there was a bit of money and now it is finished. I love it, and well done the mayor, who has managed a little change for good each year that makes us all feel better, until, poco a poco (little by little) we have a brand new main street. Like English folk music, it harks back to a halcyon time that never existed. Nevertheless it uses traditional materials, flat bricks and marble cobbles plus village craftsmanship to create something impressive and very worthwhile.
Here’s how it’s done:
written from: http://vivasiesta.com