GREAT start to the day… my Spanish credit card ran out a couple of months ago due to them giving shorter timeouts than UK cards (and being in the UK I was not using it). So last week we went off to the bank to get things organised – meanwhile another bank in BAZA ate Maureen’s card, no doubt due to our bank not understanding our simple request for another card for me… anyway… it was all meant to be sorted out by Tuesday…
Yesterday the plan was to go to Granada after popping into the bank for 2 replacement cards… WELL, our trip out was slightly put back by the local bank NOT having our credit cards as promised – and just to round it off, as we returned from the bank in Galera to our parked car, a young truck driver smashed our parked car!!! Nice! Notice the utterly ruined mirror! I took millions of photos leading to the inexorable conclusion that our car was innocently parked, minding it’s own business when the truck driver smashed into it… all reported etc… lets see how that works with the insurance company – last time we ended up paying out for months before getting our money back (at that time a truck jack-knifed and ended up with us briefly doing 60mph backwards on the motorway, writing off the car).
If at first you don’t succeed.. it’s a good job I’m mechanically minded, the utterly SMASHED electric mirror was within half an hour road-legal and pretty from a distance if somewhat inclined to pointing into thin air.. but it worked.
So that was our starter for the day… 1.25 hours later we were in Granada to pick up my required NETWORKING cable (see earlier blog on “broadband woes”). According to the weather forecast it was going to pour with rain for the day and so we didn’t take any swimming gear or stand-by overnight bag etc.
We arrived in Granada and headed off straight to junction 123 to my favourite commercial area and the MediaMarkt store to get the networking cable. By the time we got done there it was mid-day, sunny and 33 degrees C – so much for the weather forecast – we decided we really must make something of the day other than shopping and Maureen reminded me that we’d decided to go take a look at a nearby town in the hills that she’d seen on the web.
And so off we went. Within 20 minutes of suffering the very weirdly setup-up Android Sat-Nav and ending up back in the middle of Granada in a series of ever-diminishing circles, we switched to my iPhone Tomtom and off we went. The nearby village turned out to be 1.5 hours south of Granada but never mind as we had the most FANTASTIC day ending up in a marvellous area and loving every minute of it.
First stop was a little town called Lanjaron, around 50km from Granada and positioned in the western Las Alpujarras. Apparently (we didn’t know this) it is generally considered the gateway to the region. We stopped for lunch at the “Meson El Salado” and 27 Euros later came away quite satisfied if slightly startled at the cost.
Ignore for now the fact that the back of Maureen’s head is missing – such is the nature of sequential-image swept panoramas – but I’m using them more and more because sometimes they really are the only way to convey the atmosphere that normal photos just don’t capture.
As we wandered back to the car, Maureen spotted the building below which needs some work… but imagine this fully restored… up in the mountains…
We continued our journey and on the way spotted what looked like larger than normal windmills way up in the mountains…
I have to say that photos UTTERLY fail to put this across… from the road these just look like BIG windmills – but there’s a loose-stone road going to every one of them and so we drove down to the first one we came to as you can see – the guy in the blue shirt is me. The first thing you notice is the sound of POWER.. the massive turbine blades which almost defy belief, constantly, slowly turning and with the most eyrie whooshing noise… standing next to the units is awe-inspiring and makes you wonder how on EARTH people install these monsters at sea. I can see why people so powerfully defend them as they’re really a thing of beauty (sadly not a great deal of use when it’s not windy) and a testament to 21st century human engineering achievement. If you feel I’m talking bollocks I can only suggest finding one of the larger units and seeing for yourself as close as I was – utterly amazing. What’s also really nice is the utter absence of wires – which are all underground.
We continued our journey, ending up in the village of Capileira, recorded as 1436 metres from sea level and the most northerly of the three villages in the gorge of the Poqueira river in the Las Alpujaras district of the province of Granada. You can look this up in Wikipedia but to be honest their description ia very clinical and just fails to get across the sheer magic of the area.
Suffice it to say, we’re going back as soon as possible – we’ll include an overnight stay and the camera will be at the ready to try and capture what for me competes well with anything I’ve seen in the VAR region of France and absolutely beats Britain’s lake district hands down.
On the way home later in the evening, the heavens opened up North of Granada we saw some of the most beautiful rainbows in living memory – the photo below kind of gets the idea across but doesn’t really capture the colours – note that in this panorama you can see there’s a complete arc – what you may JUST see is the secondary ring further out – which was quite clear to onlookers. This rainbow lasted a good part of the 2.5 hour journey back home until finally the sun set in the hills and the rainbow was no more!