Spain - Granada, driving back to UK

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December 1st 2017
Published: December 2nd 2017
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Driving back to UK via Granada and Alsace

I was sad to go – sad to leave the hot sunny weather and start the drive northwards. Spent the Friday packing, cleaning and washing, ready to leave Saturday morning. Eventually away about 10.30am, after fond farewells to the neighbour who waved vigorously as we drove away.

We were meeting another couple from the walking club, and we all arrived at the same time, them at a hotel in Monachil, and us at the Reina Isabel Campsite in La Zubia about 2.00pm. It turned out that we had both missed the turnoff for Granada, and it was all quite stressful driving around the City ! Decided that we would all visit a show with a tapas meal and walking tour from the campsite (55 euros) and that the guy at Reception would organise a taxi for our from or Campsite to Monachil when we got back from the tour at about 11.30pm.

Hilary & Clive decided to walk over to La Zubia – its about 6 kms so we stretched our legs and offered to meet them ½ way. Best laid plans and all that – we missed them! Eventually we all caught up together at about 4.30pm in the bar for some vino tinto!

We also seemed to have attracted cats (yet again!) It started off with the mother cat, then about four young cats about 12 months old, and then four little kittens turned up as well! I think in the end we were up to about 9 cats/kittens! They are mostly feral and just want food, but the mother cat and one of her kittens enjoy being stroked!!

Anyway, the bus duly turned up at 18.40, we picked up at another couple of hotels before driving into the Albaicin and Sacramonte areas of Granada. Our evening was at the Venta El Gallo that had good reviews on trip advisor and we had about 6 delicious tapas as starters, a main tapas meal ( it wasn’t huge!!) of pork in a sauce, potato and green peppers, followed by two cubes of pudding and two glasses of wine. We were then moved to the front row of the stage, where we were treated to an hour or so of flamenco music and dance. Excellent, very moving and just incredible energy from the dancers – one of the dancers was just 13 years old! After the show we were shown the Alhambra lit up (it was only about 50 metres up a hill, so I am not sure it constituted a ‘walking tour’!!!) before being driven back to the campsite, where Luis duly turned up at 11.40pm to take our friends back to Monachil! (Camping Reina Isabel ACSI 111 miles)

On the Sunday we had planned to walk the La Cahorros gorge that started near Monachil! Very tiny streets (not ideal in the Campervan) so we parked in the huge car park, where Hilary and Clive walked down to us. There were a lot of Spanish walkers (being a Sunday?!) so we followed them instead of driving up to the restaurant! The walk started, bearing right, at the signposts and followed the river. The trees were absolutely beautiful, golden orange and yellow, with the sun shining through, and the golden leafed carpeted path wended its way up and down (minding your head on fallen branches), across muddy paths, rocks and hanging bridges. ( I wasn’t very keen on those!!) Waterfalls tumbled down from great heights and we came to a third hanging bridge, considerably longer than the other two, that I was definitely glad when I had crossed it!! The gorge then follows the river on a concrete walkway, where you have to use the metal hand rings to swing out over the river (only about a 10’ drop!) to avoid the rocks, and also crawl on your hands and knees – sometimes it was easier to drop down into the river but then there was the problem of getting back up again!! Through a tunnel and eventually emerge at the end of the gorge where there is a choice of paths. We decided to avoid the small hanging bridge (whew!!) and walked, with the river on our left, the narrow goat path ( with drops down!!) up and over and down again to the Puente……..Saw what we think was a female ibex but nor sure……

Chris and Clive went to look at a couple of signposts ( no help!!) so after crossing the Puente…… followed the narrow path up and over to a lovely grassy bank that looked down on the gorge, so we sat in the sun and had our lunch! Carried on through the wire gateway and followed the path, which joined a wide track that led upwards, past some bee hives and an olive grove before following the track back down to the restaurant where we had a much needed drink and tapas!

Only took 10 minutes or so to walk back down into Monachil, say our goodbyes to Clive and Hilary and then drive back to the campsite by about 4.30pm.

Decided we would get the bus into Granada so, after just missing one bus. Waited the ½ hour for the next bus (No 175) and were dropped off at the terminus at the Palacio de Congresso. Wandered about, found a nice park, some really nice boulevards, El Corte Ingles before getting a taxi to the Albaicin area. Watched as the lights came on before wandering back down, past the lit up Alhambra, and having a lovely moussaka in the Plaza Nuevo! Walked back down the shopping street to Burger King, turned left and just managed to get a bus (No 177) straightaway, back to the campsite. (Camping Reina Isabel - 11 miles)

Monday 27th November

Lazy start to the day and we didn’t leave until about 10.30am after saying goodbye to the many cats and kittens! It was a murky sort of day, sun came out a few times but most of the time was very hazy. After leaving the snowy Sierra Nevada and driving along the A92 (N) and past a few derelict cave houses, the scenery became pretty boring, with miles of fields of fruit or nut trees of some sorts. Very desolate – Velez Rubio, one of the small towns on the way, had a big church that looked quite impressive as you went down the hill, but that was it! Got to the Campsite about 4.00ish (Camping Totana – 162miles)

Tuesday 28th November

It started off as another murky, hazy, smoggy day, a shower over the mountains and hazy sun by 4.00pm. We left Totana and back onto the A7 to just past Elche where we branched north towards Albacete, turning onto the A7, through Alcoy and then back onto the A7, before ending up on the N340. Quite a few lorries on some of the roads but no tolls at all so far!! The scenery was pretty non descript and not that interesting apart from a few castles upon the tops of hills – Sax looked quite good! Past Valencia on the A7 and then carried onto Peniscola that’s definitely worth a look tomorrow morning! (Camping Vizmar ACSI 295 miles)

Wed 29th November

Weird and wonderful weather! Awoke to interesting skies but no sun until later. A quick march into Peniscola, and the first visitors to the Castle when it opened at 10.30am. Very impressive graphics and history. In the year 1234 Peniscola was passed over to the Order of the Temple who built their last fortress here. The Knights Templars were warrior monks and were typically in their early twenties, battle hardened, devout and supremely disciplined and disappeared from the historical map to become nothing but a legend in 1307. Papa Luna (Pope Benedict XIII) made the castle his political seat in 1411 when he fought for his legitimacy and lived an isolated life in the castle finally perishing inside the walls in 1423.

Had a good look round the castle with its wonderful views of the harbour and old town, old churches and staircases hewn out of the rocks, the old library where the Pope had his collection of old manuscripts and books, stormy weather at sea and the Popes Garden.

Had a fairly short drive up to Cambrils, past the Delta D’Ebre and then decided to walk into Cambrils from the campsite. Wonderful little place with a harbour, where we were lucky enough to see the fishing boats come back with their catch and then auctioned off. Not sure if they were sold to dealers,restaurants or individuals but they were selling them by the box load!! Wonderful sunset with high pink cumulus clouds. Camping La Llora ACSI 76 miles)

Thursday 30th November

Oh its soooo cold! It says its 5c but I think with the wind it must be a lot colder. Left Cambrils about 10.00am and straight onto the Peage past Tarragona and Barcelona. There was a free bit of Motorway between Martorell and Montmello – other than that we paid to get past the big cities!! (Toll was 22.50 euros)

Came off the Motorway at Junction 4 and a quick drive through Figueres as there didn’t seem a proper centre before crossing the border into France. There were quite a few prostitutes on the road leading up to the border and La Jonquera seemed quite a hive for the sex trade! Not sure what that was all about. Maybe they don’t have prostitution in France or maybe its just cheaper in Spain!! However, as it was about 2.00pm we decided to go to Ceret to see if we could find a 14thC bridge – Vieux Pont de Diable! We did, took the photos and also found a Carrefour for supplies before we headed to the campsite (Camping Les Oliviers, Le Boulou 196 miles)

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