Boots and Paprika

One pair of hiking boots (unworn).
One tin of La Dalia Pimentón de la Vera (hot).

La Dalia Pimentón de la Vera, paprika, hiking boots, walking, Sierra de Grazalema, Spain

These are not the ingredients for a recipe (entitled Paprika Hiking Boots Stew). These items are travel bound. My tin of paprika is taking a trip back to Spain at the end of this week, but not to its home in Extremadura. Pastures new…

Or rather…mountains new. La Dalia Pimentón de la Vera is heading hiking with the newly purchased (and untried) boots, me and three friends in the beautiful Sierra de Grazalema. Just for the weekend (a long one).



An unambitious adventure. But late last night, after we had watched the news together, my No. 1 son quietly asked whether it would be safe for me to travel to Spain. I told him Yes. Not good enough: How do you know?

 I don’t.

I told my son that no-one ever knows for sure. To choose to journey anywhere involves taking a calculated risk.

My son’s considered concerns regarding the safety of travel are a natural consequence of the recent horrific attacks affecting Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, Egypt etc. The atrocities in Paris especially have made people in the West focus more sharply on the nature of the menace posed by terrorists, and brought home that these threats are inescapable, complex and (nigh on) unpredictable.

Life must go on – that is clear. Not to travel means to give in. But in the hushed stillness of night, with endless space for the mind to think, wander and imagine, my son feels vulnerable. I understand that, and neither am I immune.

So we talked. We agreed on the many things that travel gives a person: perspective, an open mind, the ability to celebrate diversity, and recognise what binds people together. Travel might not be 100% safe, but better to travel than become scared and isolated by not travelling.

I also explained to my son that airport security would be at an all-time high. That I would try to be careful, but that he should be more worried about me falling down a steep descent, and/or suffering from painful blisters due to wearing untested boots (pity my poor companions). Or that I could be quizzed closely and at length by airport security about my insistence on carrying a 70g tin of pimentón in my hand luggage.

Have I reassured my son? A little. So a last effort: a couple of diversions (recently posted on Have Paprika’s Facebook page) to show that one wonder of travel is that it opens up whole worlds whilst trying to understand the curiosities of other languages.

Shared by my lovely Belgian friend, this clip (and others) amusingly demonstrates how comically creative the Dutch language can be. Watch and discover why the Flemish put a frisco in the frigo. You might become a fan too.

This brightened up my evening as its author promised. My favourite of the 15 words is friedhofsblond which means (literally) cemetery blond – someone with grey hair. A good German friend agreed with my choice (I expect he is still properly blond though). He vowed to include the word in his everyday parlance. I promised to use it in my blog….mission accomplished 😉

Well, I’ve reassured myself, if not my son entirely. It’s not an easy time to trust in travel, but I’m feeling ready to see how stunning the Sierra de Grazalema really is.

And I’d best prepare a brief explanation for the pimentón in my cabin bag whilst I’m at it.

¡Hasta la vista! 


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