Lazy days, amazing mountains & THE ALHAMBRA
Friday, Saturday and Sunday 19th, 20th & 21st January 2018
Well we were making the most of the weather and the location as we knew we had to move on and were not sure what the next place would be like. So like couch potatoes but with no couch, just a sun lounger, private garden and a pool we soaked up the 19 -20 degree sunshine listening to music and reading for three whole days – how lazy – it was ace . Lulu and the girls came over on Friday night after horse riding and we knocked up a fajita dinner and then all sat round the log burner watching a really rubbish movie designed for girls of their age. When the girls had taken themselves off to bed we sat and chatted until the early hours. It was a truly lovely evening. We had Saturday to ourselves once the Lulu, Angel and Arabella had left and then Sunday we took our time decamping from the stunning villa which we loved, finally leaving just after 6pm to drive half an hour down the road to a very shady and tree covered campsite and shoe horned ourselves into our allotted pitch. We don’t think words like quiet, sun, relaxing and privacy will be used much over the next 8 days but it is a change of scenery and as wonderful as the villa is, our Romany Bones we’re starting to ache with the urge to move on. Although our entire motorhome is about half the size of the living room we have just come from, it’s is snug, cozy and comfortable and at the end of the day it is HOME. We had missed it. It’s Strange how we suddenly feel no compunction to stay in one place and the idea of being tied to one dwelling feels me with horror although we did love the garden, log burner, amazing power shower, huge bath, kitchen, living room, orange tree, lemon tree, patio …………… I suppose you can’t have everything and we love what we have got enough to not need or want anything else for the time being, but it was fab to use – THANKS PAUL & LULU it was a real treat.
Monday 22nd January 2018
We aimed to discover some of the bays and beaches but ended up getting no further than Cambopino marina and beach just the other side of the A7 – we could have walked there. The small marina was very picturesque with a few bars around the edge and a few expensive boats tied up. We walked along the beach and Molly as usual went bananas chasing everything. We bumped into a couple I had met at the top of La Concha a few days earlier and after a brief chat made our way back to the small beach bar and had a couple of drinks. We moved onto the other beach and ordered some pasta and by the time it was eaten the day was nearly done – we just had time to get back to the site and go for our first swim together in the heated pool, drying off in the only sunny part of the site next to the pool.
Tuesday 23rd January 2018
CAMINITO DEL REY
Our guide book had mentioned the geological highlight of Andalusia being a massive canyon cut deep into the mountain hundreds of feet deep and only a 20 – 30 feet wide in places and with a catwalk running along the side called Caminito del Rey we had to go and see this and an hours drive took us there. We had been advised to look at Coin so plotted that into the equation but unfortunately when we got there the whole of the centre of the town was being dug up and no matter how much we tried we could not find anywhere to stop let alone park. Getting out of a town with one way streets that had been changed due to the works, diversions all written in Spanish and Margret who refused change her attitude to what roads we should and shouldn’t go down, it was a huge muddle and after three attempts to extricate our selves from the mess we finally found a way out and never got to see the true Coin that we had been told about. On the way to Caminito del Rey however we stumbled on a truly pretty white town perched on a hillside with a yellow stone fort above it called Àlora. We had tapas for lunch from a small roadside bar which were really tasty and headed on to the gorge. The road there was truly stunning with panoramic views around every corner as the small road cut its way through the mountains to reach the reservoir that was at the bottom of the gorge. We parked, excitedly making our way to the information centre only to be told that Molly (and all dogs) was not allowed onto the catwalk and we should leave about three to four hours to complete the round trip. We could not leave Molly in the car on a day like today as it was boiling hot so we had no alternative than to NOT do the walk. I’ll be honest I sulked for a while and also got really grumpy with Molly (bless her it wasn’t her fault). I was so disappointed that I acted like a spoilt schoolboy for about 10 mins. My miserable mood soon disappeared when we drove the the other start point on the other side of the mountain as the scenery was out of this world and the lower reservoir was just one of about four, each feeding the one below and each totally different. We saw the exit of the canyon with the cat walk clinging to the rock and the lucky walkers upon it and the small bridge spanning the chasm below. We drove to the mirador at the highest point and blissfully had to wait for a shepherd to heard his flock, bells attached, over the road. All we could hear was the clank of bells and bleat of sheep. What a road! I have walked on many a ridge walk in the Lake District and Scotland and this road at the top was about as narrow as it could get to take a car with shear drops to both sides. The views were amazing and the waters of the second reservoir were turquoise and full of huge fish (somehow) it was a lovely day made all the better by gorgeous weather and although we could not do the walk all was not lost. Weather permitting we aim to return on Saturday or Sunday leaving Molly at home to allow s to do the walk. Tune in later folks to read Caminito del Rey part two “The Catwalk”
Wednesday 24th January 2018
What can I say about Alhambra that hasn’t already been said. Nothing apart from don’t forget your passport or driving license. It was one of those “must see” destinations and one that was a definite for this year. Our stay in Marbella ended up being a week longer than planned thanks to having the use of the villa so the trip to Alhambra had to be squeezed in somewhere rather than doing it en-route to our next campsite. It meant a 1hr 45 min drive there and then back again but we hoped it was worth it. After finding a car park and jumping into a taxi to take us the last bit (there is actually a car park outside, I must do more research) and then standing in a queue for half an hour to buy tickets we were horrified to see a sign saying that a passport or identification was needed for everyone visiting the palace (I REALLY MUST do more research) I had mine but Angie had nothing on her. Angie said she would sit outside and wait if needed but I had no intention of letting her do that we would just have to visit the other sights and come back another year. We waited with baited breath. The man behind the desk took mine and agreed to allow Angie in on my ID however other people were arguing as they had a group of six and only one ID and were struggling to be let in so be warned! As for the palace – the original fortress was interesting with great views over the city and to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Angie joked that my ‘super-dooper’ 40x optical lens could probably see skiers on the piste and to my surprise I could clearly see one skier zigzagging his or her way down. This lens never fails to amaze me.
The real jaw dropping part of the visit however was the enclosed gardens and ornate stonework that was just beyond belief. I could have taken thousands of photos and it would still not show it as it needs to be seen. Up close and in person. Everyone who has been says what an un-missable place it is and I can only add my voice to theirs. Of all the palaces we have seen this is up there with the best just for the shear amount of detail that has been put into the marble carvings and the design of the buildings and gardens. If you haven’t already – GO SEE! No apology for the number of phots added. I hope you enjoy. If your device allows you too using two fingers zoom in on some of the shots to see the detail.
One last thought. If the Alhambra looks this good in the middle of January, can you imagine how beautiful it must be full of roses, wisteria and with all the gardens brimming with colour in the spring and summer.