Archive for June, 2010
We waved at Africa today from Tarifa, wonderful to see the homeland if only from afar. Tarifa is windy! And subsequently very popular with kite surfers, looks like a funky, relaxed beachside town. Unspoilt coastline worth exploring if you have time.
We went to Gibraltar for our friends’ wedding. The view from the top of the rock is excellent. There are wild monkeys roaming the streets, and one of them bit a member of the wedding party. That will teach him not to snog random monkeys.
There is a theatre inside caves in the rock, with big stalactites and stalagmites from floor to ceiling. The entrance fee is quite high for what you get to see though.
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Almost wedding time, lots of frenzied driving to get there. We ended up in Marbella and the sat nav is out of date so drove around in circles. We eventually got wedged in between all the cars triple parked and a 4×4 who was too impatient to wait for us to pass. What a nightmare! This was followed by the most bumpy mountainous road ever to Gaucin.
The mosque at Cordova is a bizarre mix of Christian and Islamic influence, having been taken over by Christians and Muslims several times throughout its history. Endless arches of beige and red stretch into the distance and you can see statues depicting the icons of both religions in the cathedral.
Park on the other side of the river and walk across to the Mosque if you can.
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Anyone ever hear of a bird that makes a sound like a barking dog. After suffering 2 days of constant barking (it sounded exactly like Odie) we went to investigate only to be told by a fellow camper that it was actually a bird!?!
Tennis can’t be all that big in Spain. We were keen to watch the French Open Final and as Rafa was playing we thought it would be showing at a local bar. We arrived to see the end of the MotoGP and requested the tennis. After some animated discussion, much consultation of the newspapers eventually the channel was found. They may not have known a Spaniard was playing but the rest of the bar got very involved and we were questioned on who we were supporting! Passed that with flying colours and settled in for the match.
A few minutes later one of the Dutch campers arrived to announce that Odie had decided the van was no fun by himself, he had scratched his way through one of the fly screens and was now camped out on our clothes airer 5 foot off the ground. A rescue mission ensued and he has now let himself in for a life tied up outside bars with any future sporting events.
After a night in a dust bowl of a campsite with soaring temperatures and a broken swimming pool we cycled into Salamanca to explore this medieval city by foot. It has the oldest university in Europe and if you are into architecture this is a swirling hot pot of different influences. We moved on to Caceres a dot in the Ocean of the Extramedura, one of Spain’s largest provinces but the least populated.
Going out on a Saturday evening gave us some real insight into Spanish life. The kids are still out playing on the swings at 11pm, everyone goes for a stroll and not one drunk person in sight. Our cycle back to the campsite was hindered somewhat by our lack of working lights. We thought we had doctored some to work so we were at least covered with one for the person in front and one at the back of the follower. The darkness was extreme and not helped by getting lost from time to time. It was only after we got into the gate that we realised we were one light down, no wonder we received lots of tooting from everyone.
Our last day in the Picos we stayed in the most incredible campsite. Just outside Potes, a wonderful but touristy mountain town. The campsite is surrounded by snowy covered peaks, the grass terraced site with a sparkling blue pool is the most stunning setting you can imagine. It was hot somehow reaching 31 degrees but was perfectly juxtaposed by the snow capped mountains.
I thought we should explore the Picos De Europa on foot. David didn’t realise I meant a 7 hour hike along mountain paths. Huge granite monoliths with their tops covered in cloud drop down to a deep gorge with a sparkling blue river, it is inspiring.
On the way to Cain we dawdled taking photographs and watching Odie totter along the edge of the path sans any barriers like they would have in England. Along the way we met some curious mountain goats who posed nicely for some photos. After a quick lunch in Cain and discovering that the only way back was under our own steam we set off and very kindly the sun decided to come out. David fearing for the worst resorted to using Odie’s travel dog bowl as a hat to prevent sunstroke.
We eventually made it back to the van (all in one piece) and compared our battle scars. David will be checking up on me next time I suggest we go for a little wander. La Rueta De Cares is the most walked path in Spain, they say in August it gets so busy it is comparable to walking along Oxford Street. We recommend dealing with the crowds for some delicious views.
Spain is road worker mad. We have passed men fixing the road, men cutting the grass on the road, men kicking grass off the road and men zooming around on their small diggers between the traffic.
My best road worker has to be the mannequin on the side of the road, he should have a red flag in his hand warning you about the oncoming road works but he has somehow lost it. The Spanish drivers all think they are Fernando Alonso, one of them must have amputated it.
After our encounter with a doll I do a double take after that with each road worker to see if they are alive or not. One easy way to tell is if they are scratching themselves, it seems to be a favourite pastime with the Spanish road-working male!