Calatanazor to San Pablo de los Montes – Central Spain
By 3.30pm this afternoon and driving past a ‘Camping’ sign. A hasty screech to a halt and back up to the entrance. But it looks abandoned. Not just from last summer, but for several years. What the hell, we are in the middle of nowhere and it’s already time when we should be finding a place to stay for the night. Jen has spent most of the day looking for suitable accommodation online while we have been driving. The sat-nav does not seem to be responding to addresses we are entering, so we are cutting our losses and setting up camp for the night in this deserted decaying site. We daren’t rough camp as it seems there is a potential €6000 fine if prosecuted. At least we are debatably at a camp site..:)
Back to yesterday. After departing our accommodation we set a course for Toledo, just to the south west of Madrid. Fortunately our guide took us around Madrid. Like many other main centers, unless you have an environmentally acceptable vehicle, you risk fines. Madrid could be seen by the brown haze over it, as we passed by. Clearly there’s a long way to go for carbon neutrality!
The motorways became heavily populated the closer we got to Madrid. Trucks everywhere and not the casual speeds of France. Most are doing 100kph.
Toledo is a historic with huge Roman, Jewish and Christian influence and quite lovely city, at least the Toledo we walked around for an hour or so. A historic fortified city with narrow lanes separating buildings. We could have spent the best part of a day wandering around but we needed to travel to our accommodation, a budget hotel 50k’s outside the city. Prices of accommodation are crazy, so we look further out. Safe parking is also an issue in cities.
For €50 we were shown to a cheerless but clean room in a with a separate postage sized bathroom. Our experience so far, is the Spanish don’t seem to be the most friendly people. I’m sure that’s not so. Maybe they are just wary of strangers?
An average night sleep on an uncomfortable mattress, drifting off to the accompaniment of dogs, and woken by crowing roosters at 5am.
On the road, into the small town at least, by about 10.30am to seek out supplies. It’s a blue-sky day but the air is cold. Having left the motorways we are now on minor roads and heading for Cordoba.
It’s lovely countryside. Olive groves line the road and reach up into the nearby hills. There is green green grass in fields that appear to have been sewn recently. Heavy rain in the last few days has ponded in places and obviously promoted growth. Some fields have a network of evenly spaced water sprinklers at the top of pipes protruding from the earth and stand about a metre high.
It’s 5.30pm the Caranex is up and while I write this Jen is reading an interesting book about the Redcoat Air Freight company, started by a recent acquaintance, Lynn and partners . We mentioned in an earlier blog meeting the author Lynn and his wife Pat at Jen’s niece, Claire’s birthday party. The book is called ‘Hail The Bus stop Britannia’. While Lynn has retired, the company still operates in The Gambia in Africa. I was hoping to have a new 2nd hand camera to be purchased in Japan and sent to The Gambia where we could pick it up from Redcoat. Sadly, the Japanese company selling the camera, would not send it to The Gambia! It’s unfortunate as the Nikon camera Jen has lent me, is not a patch on the Casio that now won’t work properly. It was too late to have the replacement sent to the UK.
Tonight is our fist night camping and using the new Caranex. I’m excited. It’s peaceful and our bed in Poki is so comfortable.
Dinner is out of the way now its 8pm and I’m lying on the bed writing and listening to a wide variety of music on my iPod playing through a Bose speaker. It’s a starry night and freezing outside now. Joy.