On another of my little morning drives out of San Jose, I found myself in a place called Los Albaricoques. Los Albaricoques could be described as a one-horse town. It contains a hotel, a bar and a shop, along with a small sprinkling of houses.
However it’s main claim to fame is as the filming location of the Mexican town of Aguas Calientes in the Westerns of Sergio Leone. Around 20 movies were shot here, including the final shoot-out for Clint Eastwood’s A few dollars more, with locals standing in as extras in the movie.
From Los Albaricoques you can trek (or drive) for around 4 kilometres on a bumpy, unmade road (with no shade, which is something to bear in mind if you opt to trek there) and get to the Cortijo del Frailes (‘the Friary’).
This was the scene of a great crime of passion in the 1920s, where a young girl eloped with her cousin to avoid being forced into a loveless marriage. However the cousin was shot by the jilted man’s brother and the girl herself was badly hurt but survived and spent the rest of her life as a recluse until her death in the 1980s.
This was consequently made into a play (‘Blood wedding’) by Fredrico Garcia Lorca, who had been following the story in the papers. Lorca seems to have glamourised the people to some extent but the story is based on true events that took place here.
The farmhouse, along with its little chapel (where the wedding was to be held) and its courtyards and outbuildings now lie in ruins. The Junta de Andalucia has put up fencing and there is some talk of restoring it to its former glory, although clearly that would involve a lot of money.