Archive | November 2011

Chillar River, Río Chillar

Right now that it’s raining and raining and raining, seems a nice moment to remember bright, sunny days and hot excursions to the countryside and the mountains. Not that I have anything against the rain but quite the contrary, I LOVE rain. Which is why I could never live in a desert.

Waterfall Chillar River

However, the rain does make fun excursions and hiking hard. So now is the moment to curl up under the quilt and nostalgically relive old photos of fun times from the past – that is, this summer.

One of the places we visited this summer is the CHILLAR RIVER near Nerja, in the south of Spain.

Bridge Over Chillar River

Lots of people go there, it’s quite a popular spot with both locals and foreign tourists. Well foreign tourists who don’t mind a little bit of roughing it out in the country, that is. No relaxing and romantic joyrides in horse-drawn carriages here!

Entrance to Bridge Over Rio ChillarIf you have a car, you are really in luck! You can drive right out to the beginning of the trail and save your energy for enjoying the beauty of the area.

And if you don’t have a car, then cry!

Okay, then after you’ve had a good cry, you can still be glad that this is one route you don’t have to miss just because, unlike about 90% of the population, you are not fortunate enough to own a vehicle of your very own. You can still go there by foot.

Which is what we did.

Banks of the River Chillar

Either way, the way to arrive, is:

From the town of Nerja, walk towards the river. The river is at the entrance to Nerja if you are arriving from Malaga. It is very close to the bus stop, so even if you must use your little legs, they won’t get very tired.

If you are lucky enough to count on the services of your very own car, please do give me a call, and give us a lift the next time we go out there to the Chillar River!

Although the very most fortunate among us could probably hitch a ride with one of these horses!

Horse 1 River ChillarOkay, on a more serious note, if you arrive by car you can also go down to the dirt road that follows along the river, on the Nerja side.

Either way, all you have to do is go up this dirt road. It’s very clear and straightforward, no danger of getting lost. The road winds along the river all the way to the top. By car it’s maybe 15 minutes. But if you’ve got to patter patter it all the way, it takes about an hour.

You will know that you have arrived when you reach a very large clearing where, chances are, a ton of cars are already parked. Here you must get out of your comfy vehicle and start fording the river. Fording the river is lots of fun and the only way to walk along it, so I thoroughly recommend that you come with water shoes. Plastic open sandals, that still wrap around the foot and therefore don’t fall off, are ideal.

Road Along the River Chillar

Now all you have to do is go up the river and enjoy the scenery.

An Archway by the River Chillar

Along the way you might encounter a variety of mysterious tunnels and archways.

Tunnel by the Chillar River

This, on the other hand, is actually a garden on someone’s property, though it might be hard to believe or discern.

Garden Rio Chillar

The “parking lot” is actually nestled within the confines of what was once a lofty and powdery white marble quarry, although I believe it is no longer in use as such. At any rate, you can see the very high mountains of powdered alabaster soaring overhead and engulfing the entire clearing with its bright shadows.

Marble Quarry Chillar River

These quaint steps carved into the stone lead to a tiny shed, I have no idea what this shed is used for or what it is.

Carved Steps by the River Chillar

And now, at very long last (or at least you can say at very long last if you arrived by foot, of course if you drove your vehicle up to this point, it would have been nothing but a short breeze for you) we reach the entrance to the actual river itself, the entrance to the Chillar River.

Entrance to the Chillar River

Clearing Rio Chillar

Following the Chillar River

This, I believe, is or once was some sort of rustic hydroelectric power plant, although it’s very small. Perhaps a water mill would be a more appropriate name. At any rate, we didn’t climb up to have a good look.

Electric Plant Chillar River

Archway Over the River

Yet another mysterious tunnel. My son actually went in there, he’s a little mite!

Secret Tunnel in the Chillar River

Clear Waters in the Chillar River

Here you can see that the water is so crystalline clear (but I wouldn’t drink from it!) that it looks like a spotless white immaculate path. But actually, all that is water underfoot.

More Chillar River

When you reach this gorge it’s a magical moment: because it’s the moment when…… your son’s sandals break! Which was very opportune, however, as it was getting late.

Gorge Rio Chillar

Time to return home, as you can tell by the inexorably lengthening shadows in these last photos.

The Sunlight Through the Trees by the Chillar River

Flowers for the Dead on The Day of the Dead

The day after Halloween is the Day of the Dead.

Red Flowers in a Field

In the US people don’t usually think too much about that. For Americans, Halloween means trick or treatin’, jack o’ lanterns and maybe some good, homemade pumpkin pie with cider. And that’s about it. A fun time for kids. A good excuse to get together with the neighbours.

But in other parts of the world, November 1 is the Day of the Dead. It’s when you remember your dead, your loved ones on the other side.

People take flowers to cemeteries. They meet up with relatives to remember and reminisce.

Well, everyone has their own theory as to what happens when people die. I have friends who suffer, because they believe that the soul does not exist or that if it does, it is not immortal. They believe that their loved ones were just simply extinguished out of being, like a candle flame, upon their death.

Now, I am not a psychic medium. But I think it must be a most joyous gift, to be able to share such a faculty with the world, to be able to help relieve the pain of the bereaved with messages from loved ones who have passed on.

Not who have died. Just simply, who have passed on. To a new life. To “the West” as Tolkien liked to refer to it in his symbolic and unique manner.

I realize that probably a lot of people will not agree with me, or WANT to agree with me. They probably have their own theories as to what happens when we die.

Maybe they fear plunging helplessly like puppets into purgatory. Or worse, perhaps, like my friends, they expect to just become snuffed out and cease to exist, forever.

Flowers for the Dead

Well, for those who don’t like what I have to say or object to it, I can only remind them of what Shakespeare said:

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Carlos Castaneda’s mythic Don Juan put it pretty nicely too, when he exclaimed: “The world around us is a great mystery.”

No, no one can claim to know it all.

But we’re all free to espouse our own beliefs. And I suppose it must have become quite clear, from this post so far, that I DO believe in an “afterlife”. I do believe in souls and that these souls live on, and just simply move into a different dimension, another world.

I believe that, as you can read about here in this article about unhappy earthbound spirits, ghosts and the happily fulfilled people who DO make it painlessly and effortlessly into the “afterlife”, souls reside temporarily in a spirit world between incarnation and incarnation – until, of course, they finally reach that happy, blissful moment where reincarnation is no longer a requirement in their spiritual evolution.

Life on earth, with its unpredictable and anguish-filled ups and downs, its passion and great joys, is a school. A place to learn what you need to know to become a better being, a greater soul.

And where do students go when school is out?

They go home, of course!

And that is what the spirit world is.

But you keep coming back to earth because, well, quite simply, you haven’t graduated yet.

But don’t worry. One day you will.

And so will your loved ones.

And then, at that point, you and your loved ones may remain together forever in the grand and mysterious spirit world, carrying out your work, enjoying “spirit” life, taking more classes up in those lighter realms. You can do this in the company of your loved ones, or not.

Or you may have different interests from your loved ones, and in that case, you can simply meet up together after “work”, or when “school” is out, up there in the etheric dimension. Pretty much the same way as you do with your friends here on earth.

But until that day arrives, you can still meet up with them and spend your time together, up there in the spirit world, between lifetime after lifetime.

And when you are temporarily separated, because they are dead and YOU are not, you can remember them on All Saints’ Day. On the Day of the Dead.

Red Roses