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DAY 199

You walk, meander among little Spanish streets. White buildings, white towns. Pueblos Blancos. Spanish floats from second-story windows, vendors attempt to thrust cheap goods in your hands.  A clank of forks sounds, the clatter of cooking escapes from the open doorways, enticing smells encase the air.

Starving, you search for a place to eat, a place to settle into a chair, listen to the sound of the sea, pull out your novel (which, incidentally enough, happens to be in French), sip your sangria, enjoy your food, fall in love with life itself. 

But, suddenly—you stumble upon this—La Casa de las Conchas.  It is unexpected. You didn’t know much about this town, aside from the castle. You came here for the castle. You came here because you had to go somewhere. You came here because someones else told you to. Word of mouth—the best way to travel, the best way to find the local flavour. 

But now that you’re here, you’re ready to discover—and you do! See what you’ve found? Here is house, a tall narrow house, a house that is completely covered with beautiful seashells.

How? Why? Who?

Even utilizing the internet, it is difficult to know, difficult to find the answer.  Who covered this building with shells? And why would one go through that much work?

This house, it is a work of art. Sadly, the only thing that is inside is more tourist traps.

I didn’t go in.

I took a photo, and moved on.

Later, if I translated the webpage correctly, I got the full story.  In the 1950’s, a family of five needed work.  The woman, Justa, intrigued by history and full of love for her city, became a the first local tour guide. She found enough tourists to eventually buy this little house by the sea, a house for her and her family to reside in.  The father loved the sea so much that he began designs of sailors and ships to decorate the walls. He added a shell, then another.  With the support of the townspeople, he kept going, Another, another. All shells found in the area, all shells collected from the local sea, until the entire façade was covered. Thus, La Casa de las Conchas was born. By 1961, it had become a local landmark.

So the family went from giving tours of the local monuments to creating them. A full about-face.

I find that fascinating.   

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