Friday, 28 June 2013

On that grand scale of things

Luckily we had that car in El Chorro - otherwise we just might have missed Bobastro. Though that's what we almost did and stumbled upon it by sheer accident.

Bobastro is an archeological site located near El Chorro. It was the headquarters of a rebel leader Umar ibn Hafsun who fled here with his supporters at the end of the 9th century. This being the time before Facebook, LinkedIn and Wikipedia, the guy's background is a bit blurry. Apparently though, in spite of his name, he was a Christian and a bit of an anarchist, too.

He rebelled against The Umayyad Dynasty that at the time ruled Andalusia and was particularly pissed off at their treatment of the Christian population and the heavy taxes that were imposed on them (France, are you listening?) He also fortified the nearby town of Ardales and acquired land and castles all over the county. The remains of a church he built in Bobastro, apparently inspired by the local hermit Christian community, are still there today.

The signs along the path that lead to the ruins paint a very exciting picture of this era in Andalusian history, but there really isn't too much to see here. Unless you're a hardcore history buff. Though the entry is only a couple of euros...

But the rugged scenery around Bobastro and El Chorro tells of history too. And of a lot more ancient kind. All the lessons I happily ignored at school about the continental plates and glaciers and millions and millions of years it took for our part of the world to reach its shape are so evident here. The mountains still scarred from those events; the landscape formed by the roughest of artists - the nature itself. It is humbling (even for a drama queen like me) and does put things into proportion.

In the history of this Universe of ours we humans have been out and about for such a little while. Somehow the world survived without us. In the timeline of our planet, spanning over tens of millions of years (unless you're a Republican from the Bible Belt, of course, in which case it's only a couple of thousands of years, right?) man is but a petulant little child, still in his diapers. Though, the destruction and decline man has maanaged to inflict in that short time is nothing short of remarkable.

I am a child of the digital era and the quality of my every day life is largely built on the achievements of the modern technology (helloooo, Blogger!) Yet... they are very recent arrivals and somehow people managed to go about their lives before them.


Being the romantic fool and an arts and farts graduate that I am, my  humanist within seems hell-bent on believing that essentially we, people, are still the same - that something fundamental about us has survived through the colourful history, changes, progress, rebellions, various social systems and technological advancements.

I remember back in Uni working on a translation of a note a worker on the site that was to become the Valley of the Kings, the final resting place for the rulers of the ancient Egypt, had scribbled on a wall somewhere venting his angst (again - this was before Twitter). He was wailing how he was so ill there wasn't a remedy in sight; so ill that no doctor could help him. And all this because he hadn't see his loved one in five whole days... But the moment he'd lay his eyes on her again, he'd be fine again.

Love, people. Love.

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