“The Hour”: 1 hour that changes your life

Now here’s candy for your tongue, lungs, fitness, wallet, habits and knowledge of Spanish!

We all find our region lovely, and do not often realise that this loveliness, as all things, is based on pillars. And there are only a few pillars that carry all the rest.

The “venta” roadside restaurant is one of these pillars, and the “tienda” the other. 

Hurray for the tienda!

Take the “tienda” – or village store – away, and it’s like pulling out the thread that makes the tapestry unravel. 

For example: when less elderly walk to the tiendas or sit on benches, less children are allowed to play in the streets – for the “social safety control” is gone. Without these 2 generational eyes on the streets, the first burglary can happen. And before you know it, you can even think in a charming alley to have to invest in alarms, or bring children to school by car. And so on.  We all love our villages so much, because they are not the standard, anonymous commuter towns, because they are so safe and friendly and based on everyone helping everyone.

But it’s much more far-reaching than that.

At Grapevine we never see it as “supporting the local tienda”. We see it as supporting our own lives. For shopping at a local tienda comes with such a plethora of advantages, that it’s literally a life changing hour. 

People often wizz away to supermarkets, for the illusion of “easy and cheap”. It is neither. 

Once you start calculating all the time and petrol, the emissions, the time that you were sitting instead of walking, the costs of all the products you didn’t plan on buying, the reduced life expectancy or doctors’ costs later on, the extra hour of exercise you will need, the extra hour of taking a Spanish course, etc – you can understand why the average elderly Andalusian seems to be both so fit, and have so much time. You do all that and save all that in one hour.

An hour of shopping locally: what’s in it for you? 

– In many a small village, this replaces your GYM hour (and the costs of such). Why plough through a supermarket if you can walk in the freshest air of mainland Europe?
– In many a small village, this replaces your Spanish course (and the costs of such, and the driving time).
– In many a small tienda, there are fruits and vegetables coming straight from the campo of the owner. It’s the spot where the transport time was the very shortest. Thus food that can’t be more fresh, seasonal, more healthy, and less damaging to the environment. You can find fruits so healthy, that you would pay an arm and a leg in a designer Bio Store in a northern city.
– It’s an excercise in discovering Spanish products, thus also products that come with less travel time. It’s a great part of traveling , and a reason why it enriches: learning to spot and slowly appreciate other tastes or traditions. Turón springs to mind, Málaga sweet wine, olive oil biscuits from Seville. And so far, no gift is ever as much appreciated and useful, as the 3€ bottle with fresh olive oil from the local mill.

Oh yes, this can mean that you have to stroll from tienda to tienda. Here they have eggs from their own chickens, there avocados from their own tree, and next door tomatoes that, especially when you always only bought in supermarkets, can feel like a taste bomb. We for one love that hour of treasure hunting. And then the food tastes all the better. Great for the taste buds, fairness buds, friendship buds, ecology buds, global warming buds and social buds alike.

Mediterranean diet – not flown in from who knows where, not filled with conservation products… but from the Mediterranean. Long life expectancy much?

And aside all things ecology and health and learning Spanish, there’s…

the DNA of Social Fabric:

Where else do you think that agreements are made for processions? Where people debate about improving the village, or the costumes for carnival? 

There’s this thing in small villages, that pops up most during the Romería: that all the people, as different as they all are, of all social and financial levels; all contributed to the safety and harmony and success of the “castle” – the village. Nobody built that safety and harmony and health, they all did. And that’s why farmer and lawyer, celebrity and sheep shepherd, commuter and local personal trainer, that’s why they do not stick in cliques but mingle and raise the glass with everyone, dance with everyone. 

“The Hour” is that one hour a week, that eliminates the need for many other hours, right now or spread over the course of your life.

Your body, mind, sense of belonging, language skills… will all be very grateful to you. And these are the pillars of building self esteem or happiness.

And you achieved that cheaply and easily.

Ben, Laura, Susana

Ideas for Spanish products:

And thus also coming with far less transport time.

The 1 Month Challenge?

Why not try the experience of shopping in local tiendas only – for a month?

And, while being at it, the challenge of improving your Spanish in that same month? Learning the names of one product at a time?

And, while being at it, use every time for the Zen course of sitting on a bench and see the world pass by… or the Training session of alternating jogging and walking?

Win-win for you, and win-win-win for our environment and villages.

As always, a great big Thank You to rural Andalucia, for being so lovely, so open, so welcoming. We will always try to give back, what we received from you!

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