Sorry – due to the weather, Puff’s camera died so we’ve used a photograph with permission from Spain Buddy instead. If any of the hashers in attendance have piccies they’d like to share – please contact Slot Machine direct.
The anniversary hash
November 27 2016 marks nine years to the day from the Indalo Hash House Harriers first hash here in Almería – happy hashiversary!
On Sunday morning, Vélez-Blanco awoke in a blanket of fog and drizzle with temperatures hovering around the 7 degrees mark.
Slot Machine half expected only two or three to make it… but despite the cold and damp, a dozen or so intrepid hashers still arrived at Hotel Velad, grimacing in anticipation of what she had planned for their bimble around the town. Puff, Bogtrotter, WAG, Over de Fence, Slippery Fingers, Flowery Knickers, Slot Machine, Norman Bates, Paramedic, “Whatever Cosmo’s name is this week”, and our three visitors. Oh and Harvey the Dog!
After mapping the route the previous day and worrying about the scramble uphill through mud and new streams from all the rain, Slot Machine made the decision to take the Hashers around the town – sticking to tarmac instead… a bit of a tour. There were two routes available. One for the runners which took them up to the castle and back, with SM’s usual quiz route around the town… while the walkers had a route pretty much at ground level (except for a flight of stairs towards the end) taking the hashers on a tour of the town’s key landmarks underneath the castle. However, with only one runner this time (Puff), everyone opted for the walkers’ route.
Dietmar Roth, Vélez-Blanco’s Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Culture, Tourism and a host of other responsibilities was along for his first hash. He took Slot Machine to one side and offered his services as tour guide for the numerous points of interest along the route. Thank you Dietmar!
Leaving Hotel Velad with brollies and wet weather gear, the hashers set off for a damp stroll.
First stop was at the fuente on the corner as you enter the town centre. Legend has it that if you drink from that particular fuente, you will marry a Vélez-Blanco resident within a year. Slot Machine dashed down the steps and grabbed a gobful.
Heading through the town now, the hashers avoided the newly running streams in the street and headed to the town hall where they had a brief meeting and Dietmar explained a little about the town and its history. The town hall was initially a prison, with the prisoners at ground level and the councillors meeting on the first floor, as they still do to this day. From there, they continued up the high street, turning right at the tobacco shop. They stopped briefly to ooh and ahh at Casa de los Arcos, an 18th century building that has become one of Vélez-Blanco’s most photographed sites. The hashers then carried on towards the small bridge and learned of the meeting point where local farmers have been meeting for centuries to allocate the irrigation schedule. You can see the current schedule on the notice board while passing.
On to the next fuente now, beautifully decorated with story tiles and almost overflowing with all the extra rain. Carrying on to the right, a famous figure stands on a roof on the left, Sir Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin.
From there, it was a stroll past the Convent and great timing to be able to access the monastery, where Dietmar was able to teach us about how the Spanish Civil War had resulted in the monastery being stripped of much of its assets. The monastery is in dire need of repair, as can been seen by the water damage inside. Unfortunately, although money was allocated by the Junta a few years ago, the credit crisis has pushed it to the back of the queue for now.
Note: The weekend of December 3/4 2016 there is a fayre in the grounds of the monastery. If you’re coming – let me know and I’ll meet you for a cheeky vino. Slot Machine
While in the monastery, Hash Cash (WAG) purchased a ticket for El Gordo on behalf of the group. There is a sweet irony about buying a lottery ticket in a “house of God”… but here’s hoping we win!
Out of the monastery now, and down past El Palacil and the duck pond. The ducks are being attacked at night by foxes and larger feral cats keen for a hearty meal – surprisingly brave of the hunting animals as these ducks are hee-owge! Through the park and up the steps we went, back up to the Correos before heading back to the town hall. Dietmar thanked everyone for coming and gave all hashers a gift of a glossy book with information about the area and a shopping bag. Indalo H3 thanked him for his tour and headed back out into the rain to the cars.
It didn’t take long to decide not to do the closing circle in the rain, so it was agreed that we would go straight to Bar la Sociedad, where hot tapas and plenty of alcohol was available.
Two virgins were welcomed from Belgium (I think taht’s where they were from) and down-downs were doled out included one for Slot Machine for wearing camouflage gear, and a snigger for Over de Fence for “how many hashers does it take to unlock the town hall”.
Slot Machine was very grateful to those that braved the weather and the distance to come to Vélez-Blanco and has committed to doing the next one in May 2017, when the Cambridge Hashers are over. This will be a large group and the weather will be great for hashing. Runners – be prepared – you will have quite the trek! Most of it will be downhill and level… but two sections will be pretty steep and will definitely push you to your limits! Walkers – your ramble will be shorter, but still with a bit of a climb included. We will also be including a visit to the Cuevas de los Letreros (UNESCO World Heritage Site) to see the paintings from thousands of years ago.
Another thank you to Dietmar for transforming a soggy ramble around the streets of Vélez-Blanco into a history lesson.
And another massive thank you to those of you that braved the weather to attend yesterday
Although a hash has now been arranged for January 8 2017, there are no more slots filled after that. Please check your calendars and contact Norman Bates with when YOU can run a hash! Remember that hashes are on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month.
Thanks to Paramedic who has sent a few photos.