Our village is nestled 3 kilometers up the side of a mountain. A hundred years ago, a German mining company built the village. The mountains in the area are rich in zinc and at its prime, there were more than 2,000 people working the mines.
After the mining company abandoned the operation, the workers left and some locals moved into the village. Slowly over the years, a number of the houses were bought and updated by people looking for summer homes.
The village is a perfect summer retreat, if you don’t mind sharing your mountain with donkeys, goats, sheep, roosters and snakes. The elevation allows for breezy weather even in the hottest months of the year and the sunset is breathtaking. Most of the houses (ours included) have almost as much outdoor living space as they do interior. Most days, it’s just much too nice to stay indoors.
If you’re walking along the trails and paths, you need to be careful of the old mining holes. My parents used to terrorize us with stories of black bottomless pits. I’m sure it was just a scare tactic to keep us away from them, but it worked. To this day, I give the mining entrances a wide berth.
The most common sounds you’ll hear in the village are roosters crowing, donkeys braying, church bells ringing and (my favorite sound of all) the cow bells of the herds of goats and sheep as they scale the mountain side. (Are they still called cow bells if they’re on sheep and goats?) The bells sound almost like rain pounding on a tin roof, particularly if the herd is far away. These sounds are so familiar to me that for weeks after I leave the island, I’ll swear that I almost heard them just as I’m waking up. Talk about disorienting.