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The Countryside of Extremadura
Living in an agricultural province
The beauty of Extremadura lies in its unofficial stance as the agricultural province of Spain (although several provinces do have agricultural cultivations as well). The countryside in Spain is known as el campo, and Extremadura is filled with campos. The first time I went to a campo was a few months ago when I met Roberto’s parents for the first time. We visited the campo of one of his relatives in Zafra where I collected chicken eggs, harvested my own lettuce, and fed some pigs!
The famous jamón ibérico is generously produced in my province, with ample acres of fields dedicated as spots for solely pigs to graze. The leg of the pig, known as the pata negra, has also translated itself in the Spanish language as a syonym for the “best” or something of “high quality”, given how much pride Spaniards take in the quality of the ham produced.
I really enjoy the agricultural aspect of my province. Much of the sights in Spain offer some historical vantage or proof. I certainly enjoy castle-skipping from one town to the next, but there is something raw in being able to see the practical methods of farming and agriculture used by the people. There is a large campo next to the our house in Badajoz, and many of the water irrigation systems have Roman influences when it comes to their structure. I remember walking through our campo several weeks ago and seeing a sign for a sack of potatoes being sold for €5.
The Sierra del Castellar runs through Zafra — a beautiful, rocky mountain range. My second weekend in Zafra, I hiked these mountains with Roberto’s mother and the girls. We made it all the way to the top after what ended up being a four hour hike. There are almost always animals roaming freely through the countryside, and they are quite friendly as well. We’ve came across horses, donkeys, pigs, cattle, and sheep!
Atop the Alcazaba of Badajoz, one can see acres of fields with strict rows of crops planted stretching all throughout the city. Even on our drives to other cities, we encounter many campos and countryside environments as we drive through Extremadura. This is really what adds a homely feel to this part of Spain, defined by its farm life. I will really miss having farms close to me to wander through on a random Sunday or making my own salad with fresh lettuce I harvested from the field. The beauty of Extremadura lies in this rawness — something so different from the churches, castles, and fortresses, although we have these too :)