Pronounced nār-ha, Nerja is a small city on the south coast of Spain. If you were looking for us around Easter time, you would have found us there.
Most of the time, this town felt like it was asleep or under a spell. Most stores are closed 18 hours a day! One day while we were there, almost all the stores were closed and we couldn’t get any food for dinner! Luckily, there were a few small bakeries open.
While in Nerja, we saw the Nerja Caves. The caves are about fifteen minutes from town. Supposedly, people used to live there long ago. When we got there, we paid the small entrance fee and went inside. In the first few rooms there wasn’t much to see. I thought that it wasn’t going to be very exciting. Then all of a sudden, the small path gave way to a huge cave. In this cave there was a huge stalagmite column. It was 13 metres wide and over 30 metres tall. Scientists say that the column was the biggest of it’s kind.
As soon as I saw it, I started thinking of all the animals that may be hidden in the rocks. Right away I saw tons. I even found one that looked like Old Saint Nick. My favourite one was a leopard. He looked so real. At first I thought it was a statue.
After we finished going through the huge room, we went to a couple more not-so-impressive caves. Following the path, we soon found ourselves at the exit/entrance again. On the other days in Nerja, we just relaxed. It was nice staying in one place for a while, especially because I got my own room. We went to the beach, walked around the town and sometimes just stayed at home. On one day we went to see a Flamenco dancing show. You can’t go to Spain and not see Flamenco dancing. We got all dressed up in our nice clothes (we don’t have too many of those anymore) and headed out. They started the show at 9:30. It was not an issue but I found it a little late to start a show. It was past my bed time (although we were not keeping sticking to our bedtime in Spain). They eat very late in Spain so the time of the show was probably about the time the Spanish people eat.
Once the dancing started, I watched with amazement as the dancers feet moved across the floor. At some points their feet moved so fast that I could hardly make them out. At the same time there where two people in the background: one on a guitar and the other clapping and singing. When one or both of the dancers went to the back, they started clapping different rhythms. It was amazing that one person didn’t start clapping another person’s beat. They were all clapping and dancing different rhythms, but it all worked together.
After the first performance, we were served our main meals. While we were eating, the same dancers came out again. This time they were wearing different outfits and the lady dancing had castanets. Castanets are instruments you put on your hands and snap together to make a sound. You move your thumb away from the other fingers and then back again to make noise. When I was in piano class we used them to tap out the beat. I never knew they were used in Flamenco Dancing. There was one guy dancing (he was very skinny) and an older lady who was playing the castanets. During the performance the lady danced, tapped her feet and played the castanets. While doing the castanets she was tapping them on her head, the floor and up and down her body. I thought it was a bit strange to do that. I thought it was a bit weird at the time but now I realize it is not weird at all for Flamenco dancing.
The last show was about to start when I was contently eating my dessert. When the performance started I totally forgot about my dessert. The show was so entertaining. I also think the music was very loud. The performance was so fun and lively. It was the only thing I was thinking of. This time both the dancers had castanets. It was so cool to watch. The guy dancing was wearing heals. On time to the music, he hopped onto this heals and tapped his heals on the ground. His toes did not touch the ground. I was utterly amazed that he could do it.
At the end of the show they called me up to dance. I was soooo scared! I thought my Dad had jinxed me. The whole time a previous girl was being taught to Flamenco dance, he was saying, ‘They’re going to pick you next!”. At first I thought he planned it. I tried to do it but failed miserably. At the end of the show, I was both relieved and sad. Relieved because I didn’t want to dance anymore. Sad, because aside from my dancing I really enjoyed watching the show. Nerja was an amazing experience. We got to do everything we wanted and a little more! If you ever find yourself in Spain, make sure you see Flameco dancing. I would also recommend going to Nerja. Just remember, it is a city to relax in.