Beaches and Barragems

LWD and I have been exploring. The weather is starting to warm up a bit with the dreaded north wind abating which was all the encouragement I needed to get out and about a bit more.

We’ve gone from sea-level –

 

Unattended beach parties

 

to a few hundred metres up via some twisty windies in between!

 

Dam(n) fine fun

🙂 🙂 🙂

Castillo de Lorca

Rosemary is improving slowly and steadily and eagerly awaiting her next hospital appointment in two weeks.

So yesterday, after the morning’s ministrations, I popped into Lorca to wander the medieval castle remains. The fortress high up on its hill dominates the whole of the town, floodlit at night it looks spectacular against the dark sky. The ruins are all the better for not having been over “restored”. The Espolón (western) tower (13th Century) required significant repairs for a ground to top 4in crack which occurred during the 2011 earthquake.

Originally a Muslim stronghold the castle was overrun by the future Alphonso X in 1244 and became a key defensive position for the northern Christians against the southern Muslims for over 200 years. After the final defeat of the Muslims in Granada the Fortaleza del Sol lapsed into disuse. With the advent of tourism the remains have been opened to the public with a large open arena for the staging of live music and other events and a hotel has been built within the castle wall’s eastern boundary. The 360 views are stunning.

🙂 🙂 🙂

A (small) change of opinion

Moving day again and Orange (the French town, not the fruit, nor the mobile phone company) and the Roman remains were calling. But Mt. Ventoux was calling too, so I came the slightly long way round to Orange.

I do know how to pick ‘em tho’; wrong days, that is. Not only was there a cycle event going on on the route de Ventoux, there was also some kind of hiking event. In the UK the route would’ve been shut to traffic – but this is France and we all muddled along regardless. Safety elves? – stuff ‘em! Cyclists overtaking hikers (some of whom were running …), motorists overtaking cyclists, hikers/runners with motorbikes weaving about in between; then there was the huge truck with an equally huge trailer hauling a double load of trees complete with police escort! I love this country – it’s totally mad, bonkers, off piste!

The summit of Ventoux, at 6,263 ft, was a tad cold and windy and necessitated additional clothing somewhat rapidly. I’ve never been that high before and found the experience exhilarating, amazing and, with that wind, literally breath taking. I can understand why people climb mountains, the feeling at the top is indescribable – and I only drove it (it was a bit hairy at times). And those views …

I have to admit to the greatest of admiration for those hardy souls who walked, ran and/or cycled, not all of them athletic spring chickens either. I apologise to some cyclists for the rant in my previous blog, but only to those whose attitudes were very, to coin a phrase, “cycle and let drive”; indicating when it was safe for me to overtake and getting in single file to let motorists pass.

So far in Orange we’ve seen the ancient Roman triumphal arch (almost as old as you BB). Tomorrow is a visit to the theatre, amphitheatre that is. And excitement later as I shall be joined by Meriam, Paul and Daihatsu Curore, previously known as Cookie, as that was what could’ve been bought for the same price as her two cruciate ligament ops!!

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🙂 🙂 🙂

P.S. I’ve since found out it was a charity event in aid of Motor Neurone Disease. Well done to all!

Huts and houses

The Village des Bories (village of huts) just outside Gordes is an example of dry-stone building. In the 17th and 18th centuries farmers were encouraged to clear more land and convert it to arable use because of a lack of grain and other food shortages. Land around villages was already in use and so farmers had to move further afield (pun intended). They used the stone collected in land clearance to build storage facilities, animal shelters and seasonal dwellings. The village outside Gordes grew vines, olive trees and cereals and reared livestock and silkworms. It was abandoned in the mid-19th century, rediscovered and restored 100 years later. It’s a tranquil place, in a beautiful setting.

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The town of Gordes, with houses spectacularly placed on the edge of a bluff, has fantastic views …

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🙂 🙂 🙂

Girl power

An auspicious start to this years family (well half the family) holiday. Prior to our long journey I enlisted K’s help to deal with a R0X1 issue. Previous time out R0X1 came into contact with some metal railings, green metal railings, and the nearside rear indicator no longer worked. Repairs are severely delayed owing to Adria’s second shutdown of the year. The usual 6 week wait for parts will be extended by at least a further 2 weeks. Blow the legality (or not) of the situation I couldn’t bear hours of the extra fast clacking of the “indicator on” indication emanating from the dashboard indicating that the indicator wasn’t … I determined that Something Must Be Done. I won’t bore you with the full technical details but we two novice mechanics rectified the indicator situation and gaffer taped over the green scrape marks — and hole, oops!

The drive to the North Yorkshire dales was easy, it being mid-week, and the CS is more than adequate. The location is very rural, quiet, with spectacular views and the owners are extremely friendly. K and the Smart One hoofed it over to Cumbria on the second day so that she could visit friends and he could climb a big hill (Cat Bells). That night found me in a similar position to the same time last year in the Brecons, kneeling on my bed with my upper body outside the roof light watching the Percy’s shooting across the conveniently cloudless sky.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Playing Leapfrog

East coast Spain had been receiving red Saharan sand for several days; the air thick with it, views and horizons hidden by it, cheese butties crunchy with it and Daisy and R0X1 vaguely pink with it. It was time to move on.

Heading slowly north for home, my route is now the same as on arriving but I’m leapfrogging places visited during the journey south and visiting new. Barcelona will be the exception even though currently I have a rather large bone to pick with the football team, well two actually and heaven knows how many more after their home leg … still it will leave The Arsenal more time to concentrate on the premiership.

Dear Reader, I have to say that the blue skies featured below do indeed indicate warm temperatures,  20℃ today. Unfortunately where I am headed those temps will not prevail.

The latest campsite and surrounds

🙂 🙂 🙂

A social life

We’ve moved. We were in the way on pitch 302 at Camping Tourismo, Espiche – someone had booked it from Jan 21st so we had to go. We moved somewhat reluctantly, Espiche being one of the best sites we’ve ever been on – location 10/10, cleanliness 10/10, efficiency of staff 10/10, friendliness of staff 10/10, amenities 10/10, bar and restaurant 10/10, wi-fi  (   s    l    o    w    ) alone let it down … The dreaded morning of 21/07/2016 arrived, I asked reception to arrange our unhook-up, locked cupboards, put away all moveables and, tears in our eyes, we left.

After a 60 second drive we arrived at pitch 615. Hmm – less trees, great for claustrophobics and sun worshippers, and as for the neighbours … within 30 minutes we had been invited out for a beer at 5.30 pm. What could I do? It would’ve been churlish to refuse. Since then it’s been non-stop socialising – fish and chip night + booze , dog-walking on the beach + beer in the bar, raclette meal at T&D’s + booze, and an invitation to a wedding (hopefully + booze). We have a three course meal planned for later in the week – first course at Ann and Bob’s, main course at mine and desert at Tina and Dave’s (+ booze of course!) and Ann, Tina and I have a Girlie Day Shopping planned. Sorry Bezzies I might not quite make it to Tarifa … well all right I will, but I’ll probably be back here next January – just to see if these over wintering folk are as nice as I think they are (+ booze of course).

Without the hire car Daize and I are doing much walking – along the coast path (8k) to Bergau (very reminiscent of the South West Coast Path in Cornwall and Devon) and into Espiche village, both typical Portuguese villages, and out into the countryside locally. Daize is doing very well off lead and (mostly) recalling well, she does excel when I call her back because of the (occasional) traffic. She has really bonded with Linda and Trevor’s English springer Ruby, they’re wonderful together.

Views from our walks

Linda and Trevor are getting married in September and I’m honoured to have been invited – oh dear, how sad, I’ll have to get a new outfit …

🙂 🙂 🙂