4 weeks and 1518 miles on the road

Number of very muddy sites 2

The rain hammered down during our last night in the Valdevaqueros campsite near Tarifa and we ended up with puddles in the tent as the dips below us filled up, despite Tim’s efforts at fortifications.  Very squidgey.  And a nice wet strike the following morning.

1 wet strike La Tarifa

We decided to try a campsite up in the Parque Natural de los Alcornocales as it sounded really beautiful. The scenery through the mountains should have been outstanding if we could have actually seen it properly through the mists and drizzle. 

2 up into the mountains

We wondered if this was an advert for the national motorbike display team

3 bike display team

Nah, but I have enjoyed some of the motorway warning signs.

We drove up into the mountain village of Alcalá de los Gazules and finally worked out which way went to the campsite.  It was obvious that it had been raining hard, as you could see where the earth had been washed away

4 after the rain

It was in the middle of nowhere, in between a range of farms and small holdings.  We passed some beautiful cattle and even a wandering peacock.

The campsite looked lovely, if a bit quiet, but the chap showing us around looked somewhat doubtful, saying it was rather muddy. 

5 empty site

It did look a bit wet, but we thought the slight slope would be OK.  It turned into quite a slippery session of tent raising and the mud stuck very prettily to our shoes.  There was, however, a great bar and restaurant on site so it wasn’t so bad an evening.  The starter in the set meal was one of the nicest things I have ever eaten.

There was not a lot to do and we didn’t even feel like going walking as the drizzle set in.  The one exciting point of the stay occurred in the afternoon, when I heard a huge kerfuffle, screeches and yaps and a woman running around screaming ‘Cato! Cato!’  Her tiny little happy dog had got off its lead and was trying to murder one of the chickens from the farm next door.  She finally managed to separate them and I hope that wasn’t the bird in the next day’s pie…..

That night the rain REALLY hammered down making the nicely clay soil into a total quagmire and creating new puddles in the tent.  It was so loud that I bare slept a wink.  The rain kindly gave us a one hour break at 9 o’clock so we slipped and skidded about and bundled everything into the car before it started again. 

On Friday we moved on to Granada.  The route took us firstly back to the coast and past the huge resorts of Marbella, Torremolenos and Malaga. (Don’t worry, not in that order, if you know the area!)  Parts of the route were breathtakingly beautiful (much to my surprise) but near those towns it looked as over developed as I had expected.

Any idea what this is?

Any idea what this is?

7 Route from La Tarifa

8 near Marbella

9 failed development

We then headed inland over the mountains and it was, yet again, truly lovely

10 route to Granada

11 route to Granada 2

12 Sierra Nevada

We stayed at a campsite just south of Granada in a town called La Zubia.  The pitches are on grit, so that, despite another night of heavy rain, it was much nicer under foot.  The nights are really starting to close in, with sunset at just after 6, so we cheated again and ate in yet another really good restaurant.  The good news is that we are back into free tapas country.  Yummy!

On Saturday we spent the day washing and drying and cleaning mud off in the blessedly sunny weather. 

13 Getting clean and dry

We strolled into the local town which, although not very exciting to look at, felt welcoming and prosperous. 

14 La Zubia

15 La Zubia 2

On Sunday we caught the bus into Granada.  I was intrigued to see this clever use of Astroturf to disguise the tram rails.

16 Astro turf Grenada

We had a lovely wander around the old town. 

17 Granada 2

18 Granada 3

19 Granada 4

20 Grenada 6

It has a lovely atmosphere, a real buzz. 

We happened on a funny little fair, with an eco-friendly carousel and the local dogs home trying to find homes for their charges.

22 green carousel

23 Give a dog a home

This mock fight in slow motion was rather spoilt by the giggles of the two young people taking part

21 Mock fight

Grenada is in the most wonderful setting, framed by the Sierra Nevada mountains

24 View from the bus

We like it so much here that we shall be staying a least two more nights.  It’s getting a bit nippy though (I am typing this wrapped up in my blanket….)