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The Festival

So I left on Friday the 8th of July to Spain, together with Yasmin and her son Leonardo. Unfortunately the night train to Hendaye had a delay, which caused us to miss the scenic train route to Espinosa de los Monteros and even worse we couldn't find another way to get there with the public transport. Luckily we were able to take a taxi. And so we arrived at the festival. A tent with a bar and tables for eating and theatre. Near a river (with a natural swimming pool!), between the trees, a place for camping.

No courses yet during the day on Sunday, but there were other activities: a hike in the mountains and theatre in the village. I went for the hike and Yasmin for the theatre. For me the hike was the first trial for speaking Spanish all day, which went alright. Talked to an English lady who had been living in Spain for 10 years. We spoke Spanish but I could ask her for words if I didn't know them. And I even spoke with another data scientist.
In the beginning of the evening was the kick off for the courses. For Yasmin this was the course Diseño Permacultural, for me Agricultura Regenerativa.
The course took place in a nice building in the village.
In the kick off we had to talk to a fellow student and afterwards introduce this student to the rest of the group. This went well. That night the first (vegan) dinner that started at Spanish dinner time, 21.00 and afterwards a lot of introductions and sketches from the organisation of the festival. Here I needed help from Yasmin to understand everything.
The courses took place Monday to Friday 10 - 14. On Monday we started on a small farmland next to the festival area, where we learned about analysing the soil, based on a piece of soil 20x20x20xcm. I understood everything quit well, together with checking some words in Google Translate every now and then. On this land we also took several samples for a chromatography research. We were also supposed to go to the forest for some samples. But, as I think how things work in Spain, there was too much talking and we didn't have enough time. In the afternoon there was a presentation about alternative agricultural practices, which I didn't attend because I was at my max of absorbing Spanish. Yasmin went, it was about animal farming, so less interesting for us. In the beginning of the evening there was a beautiful concert in de village, where we also talked to people about our plans.
On Tuesday we started at 9.00 am because we needed at least 5 hours to prepare our samples for the chromatography’s.
That is what we did that day. I have to admit that I made some mistakes there, because I didn't get all the detailes. (Was it the Spanish, or the story of my life)
On Tuesday we could choose a workshop in the afternoon, I choose efficient water management. The professor, Jonas, was the same as Yasmin’s permaculture course. I did not understand him quite well. Fortunately there was a guy in the group who spoke English and helped me when I didn't understand. I learned about ponds (charca's) and how to construct them so that the water circulates. And I learned about linea claves, key lines, which are very useful in hilly areas to collect water.
I also learned from other festival goers about other workshops, for example that there are two sorts of oaks in Spain, Roble (not eatable) and Encina. The nuts from the Encina are good to make flour from. And also there is a tree, Arobe, with fruits that kind of taste like chocolate.
On Wednesday, during the course, we went to the forest to collect fertile material to make a bio-fertilizer. I think soil with a lot of mycelium is what we were looking for. And it was mostly found near older trees. After the visit we made a fertilizer from the soil we found and we could take a bottle to use at home.
In the afternoon there were also workshops, this time a chose for Bal folk, a dancing workshop, because I was at my max for understanding Spanish that day. Although I must say that every day I thought at 14.00, I can't think anymore, after a swim in the river, my brains started to work again. In the evening there was a musical show, and I thought 'that will be nice' because then understanding is less important, but it turned out to be cabaret. Which was actually fun, because hearing people laugh, makes me laugh.
Thursday, the course was mostly theoretical, and the afternoon I spent with Yasmin, preparing for the mayor's visit.
Friday we discussed the results of the chromatography’s and questions that we had been collecting during the week. 

And at the end everybody had to tell about what they were going to do next, while it was already 14.00 and Yasmin and I were supposed to be at Ruben's place to go to the mayor with Marjolein. Ruben would take us after lunch. My patience is not very high, but this time I thought I was going crazy. But of course we all made it in time. About the visit you can read in the next blog.


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