Into the wild

The first bite to one of the dried apricots I bought at Market Basket teleported me back to the mountain bike trips my cousins and I would do with my father, early on Sunday morning.

Ito, Nacho, and myself—and Dad leading the way—would go through various routes in Torre de Benagalbón, often using Santillán Stream as our starting point. The beginning was always familiar: we'd leave home and reach the river mouth within minutes, biking through "El Chalet" (what used to be the summer house of my uncle's family), passing through a small bridge below road N-340, and leaving the nuns' school behind.

In our childhood, it wasn't long until the landscape turned into a wild route. We'd only spot little farmer settlements and other informal constructions along our way.

Today, a big chunk of land has been built on. The route has become a small stream, often dry, along a set of housing units built over the past twenty years.

Continuing with our journey, we'd bike along Añoreta's golf course (where my dad plays religiously every week1) and pass below the A-7 highway bridge. When biking through this area, we'll be on the look for golf balls. We knew locals would have done their round in the early morning, but balls were constantly being kicked out of the course and we'd always collect a few.

Mountain bike route into the wild.

Our destination changed every weekend and we'd end up in different places, often making a stop and sitting on the floor to eat a sandwich.2 It was my father who'd lead the way and decide which tracks to follow. I've never known how he'd manage to orient himself to reach all of those places. I guess you don't think about it when it's on someone else's plate to decide.

Wherever it is that we went, those dried apricots (which we call orejones back home) were a constant. Both their taste and smell bring back memories of our bike trips across the streams of Torre de Benagalbón.

Dad loves them.

Dried apricots.

  1. Of course, golf has also been disrupted by COVID-19. 

  2. I still keep digital photos of those trips, and that's probably why I better remember those moments. 

April 28, 2020
Nono Martínez Alonso

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Pencil sketch of Nono Martínez Alonso.