Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Absent minded

Today we took part in the day of the absent Pinosero. 

Pinoseros are people who were born in Pinoso. The idea of the day is that it celebrates the locals who, for one reason or another, no longer live here. Each year some of them make the journey back to Pinoso to meet with friends and family or just to renew acquaintance with the town. Those who will never come back are remebered too.

The day included an official welcome, a presentation about the local salt workings and then a trip, by coach, to the top of Cabezo to have a look the actual installations on the ground before travelling back to town for a quick church service, a group photo and a meal.

Pinoso mines salt, a lot of salt but there's not a mineshaft, pick or shovel to be seen. One of the local topographic features is a rounded, dome like, hill which stands about 320 metres above the general terrain and whose summit is at something like 890 metres above sea level at Alicante. It's a salt dome. Millions and millions of tons of Triassic salt that have squeezed up through the surrounding rocks. Nowadays a mining company injects water into the ground, dissolves out some of the salt and sends it down a 53km gravity fed pipeline to Torrevieja. There the brine is added to the salt lagoons, filled with already salty water from the Mediterranean. The Pinoso brine ups the concentration of salt in the water so, when the water is evaporated away, they are left with tons of salt ready for road gritting, the chemical industry and other industrial uses.

To be honest I've been to much more exciting salt workings where huge trucks work underground or where salty white miners work with picks and wooden wheelbarrows (well in front of tourists they do) but this was interesting because it was on home turf. Something that we'd not done either before.

The meal wasn't bad. Mass catering and a very normal sort of menu but the rabbit stew, the gazpacho, I had was good and Maggie said her rice, rabbit and snail paella, was good enough too. The company was excellent. We had gone with a couple of recently arrived Britons but otherwise we were, obviously enough, surrounded by Spaniards and they seemed more than happy to chat with us. There were a couple of quite impish chaps sitting opposite who must have been studying irony at the University of the Third Age and were  determined to try out some of the things they had learned.

So, about seven hours after we started we came home. Fatter and more knowledgeable about local geography, geology and industry and, rather surprisingly, grasping one of the group photos.

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