What a breathtaking view

What a breathtaking view! Continuing south from Barcelona, heading inland through the mountains we are in awe of what appears ahead of us.IMG_3144

Morella’s castle is atop a mountain in the middle of a valley. It can be described as a three layer cake!! The clay and stone store water which enabled inhabitants to live through long sieges. Water filtering through the mountain created caves which have been used since prehistoric times. Dating as far back as 714AD, the castle has been home to kings and been fought over throughout history. All the neighbours of the general district had to pay taxes for the walls of the town & castle which needed constant repair due to wars and natural disasters. Our free camping “Aire” was overlooking the village and castle. That evening as we sipped a wine & enjoyed the sunset, the lights gradually illuminate the walls & castle: magical!! The afternoon was spent exploring up to the top of the castle!! Views panoramic!! See the old bullring in the photo – not in use here any longer.

The village of Morella, built around the hill, at the foot of the castle.
The village of Morella, built around the hill, at the foot of the castle.

 

Bruce and Morella - lovely viewing position!!
Bruce and Morella – lovely viewing position!!
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View from Castle – above the village. Bullring in the middle of the town, high up on the hill – the only flat piece of ground around

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IMG_3252 IMG_3272They still have bull fights in Spain. They get a full house apparently – despite Animal Liberation concerns!!. The bull always comes off second-best. Rather watch one in Portugal – they don’t kill the bull there!!.

We stopped en-route at Sant Mateu (Saint Matthew) – a remote, typical, small village. They were celebrating their patron saint’s day and colourful blue flags hung from the homes. Bev had a photo opp with the King and Queen!!

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Sant Mateu
Sant Mateu Square
Tractors are the preferred mode of delivery here in Sant Mateu ... they deliver almost anything ??!!
Tractors are the preferred mode of delivery here in Sant Mateu … they deliver almost anything ??!!

Bruce negotiating difficult traffic, overtaking donkeys !!IMG_3327

Back on the coast we enjoy a night at Oliva Beach Camping – right on the beach!!IMG_3308

Driving inland once more with the camera clicking non-stop through the most amazing scenery. We drive past the spectacular Sierra Nevada snow-capped mountains and past Granada. The olive groves soon become evident as far as the eye can see. This region is Spain’s olive growing capital.

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Sierra Nevada – through Bruce’s windscreen !!

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Eating tapas, devouring two bowls of delicious local green olives, underneath lemon trees at a local village restaurant was a highlight. No tourists here!! Local farmers come into the village, park their tractors out the front and meet their friends for drinks. It was Friday evening too – so that bought more people out we think. This was the village of Villanueva de Algaidas.

Continuing on, we head back to the coast through mountain tunnels and road projects that make some Australian ones look like boy-scout projects and very overpriced. One road approaching Malaga was four lanes each way through tunnels and over viaducts. Instead of going up to the top of the mountain range then down into the valley – several times – they drew a line about half way up. We went through the mountain then across the top of the valley (200m up) on a viaduct to the next tunnel, etc. The tunnels were from 500m to 1.3km long: as were the viaducts. This particular road was a Toll Road – it cost €3.25, saved at least half an hour and was worth it – just for the engineering spectacle!! The speed limit is 120 in Spain on the AutoPistas and AutoVias – but in the tunnels it goes down to 100 kmh. There is a series of roads that are tolled in Spain. Not always worth it as usually there is another road going in the same direction. Our GPS has three options – Always Avoid, Use Tolls or Avoid if Possible. We use the third option. Costs a bit, but Bruce appreciates just rolling along on well-maintained roads at 100 (the legal motorhome limit in Spain) – rather than up and down the gears, in and out of towns, etc. So we end up doing a bit of both. The toll roads are well signposted and can easily be avoided if that is your preference.

In Spain, everything closes between 1 & 4pm or 2 & 5pm – including the tourist information offices. Visiting at these times can look like a “ghost town”. The only life is in the bars/cafes/restaurants. By about 5, shops open again and at 7pm – people are everywhere!! The Spaniards eat dinner late, well after 9pm because in summer it is too hot before then – so they do it all year round.!! We have been adapting to this new lifestyle. Today, Sunday, no shops are open – not even supermarkets. Cafes, bars and restaurants, convenience stores only – oh, and souvenir shops!!.

IMG_3588Saturday 3rd May, we collect Pummy (Sabrina’s mum), Neil (Sab’s brother) and Asher (Pummy’s friend) from Malaga Airport (Aeropuerto). Celebrations begin with strawberries and cherries in Bruce at the airport, before driving down to Calahonda for a week in Pummy’s beautiful Leila Playa Club resort/apartment.

 

Our view at Leila Playa Club
Our view at Leila Playa Club

Having a “holiday” from our “holiday”?? – How lucky we are!!

 

Our beach at Leila Playa Club
Our beach at Leila Playa Club

Day bus excursions to small mountain-top, white-washed towns, treks along the beach, workouts at the gym & sparkling pool, dancing at night. Yes, it was hard to take. Casares, Estepona & Mijas are the typical Spanish villages that we visited. Let’s get the contract for selling white paint in Spain!! These white washed Andalucian villages were so fresh in appearance with spectacular views of the coast. Historic bull-fighting rings, donkey taxis, flamenco dancing, beautiful small churches, trumpet trees in flower & brightly coloured gerberas adorning the walls of the laneways all made for an interesting and enjoyable experience. Did I forget shopping?? …. Oh well! We did manage to squeeze a bit of retail therapy in too!! Vibrant coloured ceramics are a hallmark of the area – but Mark pointed out that Bruce is already full!! … Ugh!!

Beautiful Estepona !!
Beautiful Estepona !!

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That is The Rock of Gibraltar – not far from us.
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This is one mural – painted onto six buildings – to create one image of a fisherman. Several similar images in Estepona – a lovely village on Cost del Sol.








 

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IMG_3802Fun evenings spent meeting new friends at the bar/restaurant of the resort. The occasional drink/party in our apartment too. Bruce has some people to visit in London, Salisbury and Scotland now too!!

 

 

The resort ran Spanish Lessons for beginners. They were very handy. We have been practising when we go out. The Spanish still smile when we ask for something, but they get the message – and we often get our answer in English!! The weather every day has been perfect. Not too hot yet – and no rain.

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Our favourite meals have consisted mainly of TAPAS. They are very small servings of interesting “entrée” style food. Each venue will have its own list of Tapas – you might get two or three each for a light meal – accompanied by a bottle of house red wine (Vino tinto de la casa, por favor!). At one bar, this cost as little as €12.50 for Bev and Mark in the country – whilst in the tourist areas on the coast it would be at least €23 for two.

The night before our visitors departed back to rainy London, we ventured into Fuengirola discovering a typical Spanish restaurant tucked away in a bougainvillea covered courtyard. We celebrated our wonderful week together over a delicious meal & of course…. vino tinto de la casa!!!

As Bev writes this, Bruce, Bev and Mark are sitting under green leafy trees in the shade at our camping park in Fuengirola IMG_3989(or funky gorilla as the English call it.) Right over the road is Mark’s favorite bar!!!

 

 

We have added another page to the site. It shows a map with layers of the places we have stayed. Click here to see it – or from the menu above.

6 thoughts on “What a breathtaking view

  1. We are just so enthralled by your wonderful trip experiences, just out of this world.!!!!Great to hear Bruce is taking you to so many beautiful places . Keep enjoying. Luv Bette, Jimxx

  2. Great series of photos, the map is a handy addition to the blog as well. How is the Hymer going on the mountain roads ?

    1. Howdy,
      Bruce is loving it. We just cruise at 100Kmh most of the time. When on the steep bits of main road, we sometimes drop back to 80 as I drop from 5th to 4th gear.

      On the way up to Morella we were in second, doing less than 40kmh in the tight/steep bits – but this was the norm.

      We rarely get a queue of cars behind us – so it must be OK.

      Have a great day,
      Mark & Bev

  3. Thats just WOW! Loving the Pics!

    I sent you an email but not sure if its stuck in cyber-space but wanted to tell you that Karina is engaged! Really happy – love Josh and they are great together!

    keep up the pics John and I are loving them! bron

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