After Tostados and Cafe Solo we head off for more mountain driving, our aim the walk at Laujar de Andarax. We (I) decide that since the walk is approximately 6 hours that we should drive the shortest route. It takes several maps to work out highways, major roads and minor roads as the walk is in the next province. So the green highway (which is the next level up from the white highway) is our aim. F@#%ing Hell. The road is unbelievable and I don’t have any pictures to show because I was gripping the arm rest so tight, palms sweating, in fact everything sweating and unable to move. Pete kept saying you should get a picture of this and I would respond “bullshit”. I can only surmise that the white road was probably in a greater state of disrepair and had been upgraded (well it was a full lane wide), and the green road, officially labelled as highway A348 hadn’t been attended to for several decades.
Driving along footpaths, driveways and tree roots not to mention old women staring in disbelief as we navigate through their 3 house towns we finally negotiate this section of the A348. Coming down the mountain the road actually achieves a full car width, but there are more towns, no roadsigns and the landscape is quiet desolate.
Around Ugijar, about halfway to our walking destination the highway turns into a brand new super-duper dual lane road and we sigh thinking there may still be enough time in the day for our walk, but alas it only lasts for a few kilometers and reverts to a broken down lane but at least there is not a shear cliff on one side and there is room for another car to pass.
We arrive at Laujar de Andarax around midday, and take the scenic route a little way up the mountain side in search of the walk. On route Pete restores National Park signs that local farmers have replaced with their “Private Property – Keep Out” signs. No luck with finding the track start so we head for the tourist office which turns out to be closed for the low season … funny because the brochure we picked up in Trevelez suggests it as an excellent activity for October! So onward. It has been an amazing drive this morning – completely terrifying but there’s nothing like a bit of adrenaline to keep things interesting. And then there was the beautiful vistas when I could relax enough to see them. We decide for the coast.
At the tourist information office Salobrena was suggested as a beautiful destination in the province of Granada. We decide to hit the coast east of Salobrena in the hope of finding a quieter section of the coast as in Conil versus Cadiz. As we drive on from Ugijar green houses start to appear on the landscape – great fields covered in plastic. And, as we get closer to the coast the density of plastic tents increases to cover everything the eye can see as far as the waters edge. The area is hilly if not mountainous and everything has been blasted into levels that can be converted to agriculture. It’s really weird because the landscape and soil look completely inhospitable but it appears to be the centre of the most intensive agriculture and one wonders why it isn’t on the plains where there is soil and the ground is level. Oh well, there’s lots we’ve wondered about in Spain (especially where logic is concerned) and this just adds to the list. Onward.
We settle at Almunecar and find a pension close to the beach (Playa del Cristobalal) at a reasonable price. The gardens nearby house some amazing sculptures from artists who reside in Syria. As we’re walking around Pete hears power tools being used and wonders whether some sculptures aren’t being created now. We follow the sound and find 3 sculptors working away at enormous blocks of marble. They are commissioned every year for 2 weeks to create a couple of works each and they are amazing. So inspiring.
We settle for dinner at a beachside restaurant which has a delightful outlook over the Mediterranean with heaps of fresh fish and fruit appearing on dinner plates. We ask if they recommend anything … and they do … sole … ouch. Tastes great but at $125 aussie dollars for the fish dish alone (it was for two) we are looking at the budget and wondering whether we might come home a week earlier.
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