Viva Espana! – Andalusia, Southern Spain – October 2016

Monday, October 17th, 2016 – Cordoba – La Rabita

After breakfast in the morning, we started our return to the east. Our route was to take us first back to Granada from where we would head down, out of the mountains, towards Adra in the south. The weather was wonderful and we were able to enjoy what were probably the most beautiful panoramas we had seen so far.

The first part of the journey was back through the olive trees. In the hot sun, the smell of the olives was so intense that, after a while, we felt like we were sitting in a vat of olive oil. Ancient villages dotted the rolling landscape, most with a church and some form of fortification silhouetted against the sky.

As we approached Granada, the snowy Sierra Nevada appeared on the far horizon. It slowly rose in height to present us with the full glory of its white crested peaks. Thus, we finally saw what we had missed in the atrocious weather of the first day.

We were driving through the “real“ countryside, certainly the rural Spain of my imagination.

It was the kind of area where even the dining rooms at the petrol stations had character. They were the sort of places where, when you enter, you would be loudly greeted by all the locals with a “Buenos días“. It was also necessary to respond, to each occupied chair, “Buenos“.

On our way down from the mountains, we drove alongside two mountain reservoirs whose dams were bridged by a very new highway.

It was almost sad to note that, in Spain, they can build magnificent highways with elegant bridges over huge valleys and drill tunnels, one by one through, massive rocks. In the Czech Republic, they seem incapable of completing even the simplest piece of civil engineering without the need to close most of it again, almost at once, to carry out repairs. A lot of the carriageway was also very high up and open to some quite ferocious winds. Despite what was a fine surface with sweeping curves, it was a continuous and tiring battle to keep the Harley straight and upright as the huge fairing made a very effective sail.

Long stretches of this part of the highway were also so new that they were not even in the Harley’s navigation at all, which confused it still further. However, I must have been finally getting the hang of how to enter Spanish addresses, because it guided us to right outside of our chosen hotel.

Lucie had, as usual, chosen well. We were in a small hotel, right on the seafront. Under our balcony there was only the road, the promenade and beautiful beach between us and the azure sea. It was a sheltered bay, but windy, with creamy waves crashing onto the sand.

As soon as we stopped, I realised that I was actually very tired. The effort of steering the Harley in the wind had obviously been more taxing than I had thought. So I had a quick sleep !

On the coast it was both sunny and, even in the wind, which was still quite strong, really warm. For the first time, Lucie pulled out her skirt and handed me my shorts with a meaningful look. It was such a nice change, I put them on !

We were in a tiny resort, it was actually little more than a cove bounded by cliffs at the back and rocky promontories each side. Somewhere on the rocky hill behind us was the old coast road that been replaced by the new highway on which we had arrived.

There were “greenhouses“ for tomato production literally everywhere on the rocks above the bay.

Underneath all this was a small oasis of calm where time appeared to have stopped. We were quite surprised when about four shops opened in the evening.

There seemed to be only one restaurant in the town. So, we ate part of their menu in the afternoon and returned in the evening to eat the rest.

It was very non-touristy and they only spoke Spanish, so, even with Lucie’s linguistic skills it took a while for us to understand what the waitress was trying to tell us. Finally, it became clear that the starters were small portions of big mussels and the main courses were large portions of small mussels. Believe me, in that area small meant really small. For the second course the waitress eventually fell back on the translation program in her mobile telephone. We knew what it was (it was delicious fresh cod) and we wanted it. The difficulty she was trying to explain was that to cook it would take twenty minutes. Eventually all was solved and, well, we were hungry. It was well worth the wait !