Sunday, July 17, 2011

Friday 2nd April - No room at the inn (Aire)

He says...

Using the services at Venta Del Peral meant that we were full of water, empty of waste and full of diesel so we were ready for anything the day had to chuck at us!

TomTom directed us mostly along the A92 which is nearly all smooth Autovia with only a few slow downs to negotiate the coned off areas wher either the road had been washed away or the surrounding ground had landslipped onto it, all courtesy of the recent excessive rains.

Our target was a small hilltop fortress town called Alcaudete where there is motorhome parking allowed right at the top outside the church and fortifications. Except this was Good Friday and the world and his wife, or should I say mujer?, was visiting for the Easter festivities. Having carefully scaled the narrow streets with incredibly steep gradients getting to the place we had to gingerly do a multi point turn and roll ourselves back down.

Again we resorted to plan B which was to head to our next destination about an hour further on at Cabra. We really should be used to the chaos of these fextivities by now but we just headed into town to find the Aire only to be met by barriers as the town centre was closed for the duration. A fairly long detour later we approached Cabra from a different direction and found our spot before the barriers. What a great place! Real Spain and not set up for tourists other than passing travellers - just how we like it.

Once settled in we headed the 10-15 minute walk into town to catch the Good Friday Solemn Procession. We've seen many of these by now but they are still fascinating to watch the very serious participants depicting the crucifiction. A little reverence may be lost by the youthful spectators who seem to treat the occasion as an opportunity to wear their very best finery and strut their stuff infront of each other - but everyone has a nice time! As always pictures tell much of a story so these are a few from the event:

She says...

Well of course we managed to spend a little in the cafe bar - a couple of beers. It was a bit like being on a date sitting across a table with lovely background scenery. Well we have only been married four years so we can still pretend. It's strange that you can still really chew things over when you have no outside - TV, PC Laptop, camera for instance - influences! Anyway a late Spanish time dinner for us comprising pork, potatoes and veg. We did feel relaxed having chatted awhile to the owner of the Venta and exchanging motorbike talk, we felt indeed very comfortable and secure.

33 euros left!

A very late start! We had shut the skylight blind and it being so dark and actually quite cold there was no temptation to get out of bed too early - well it is a bank holiday (puente). Following breakfast we emptied and topped up, once again being totally sucked in by the very sweet, verbal and very pregnant local puss. I am sure that opening a new pack of ham for her shows that I am becoming very soft and to think all that cats do for me is stop me breathing while rubbing my eyes out! However we now head west and before long the huge expanse of Sierrea Nevada comes into view. What a pretty route, still the blossom, the unbelievebale cave houses and the fantastic and distant mountains. As we turn off of the main road towards our intended stop the landscape turns to one of rolling hills covered as far as the eye can see with olive groves.

Having awoken to the clicking of the fridge ignition we knew that we should replace one of the cylinders as we are uncomfortable relying one just the one with an unknown content. A very helpful Cepsa petrol station owner wants to send us back 15 minutes in the wrong direction to obtain a cylinder. Confidently we press on in the right direction and you have no idea how many petrol stations along that route are not only the wrong sort but do not have a cage of cylinder's at all. Just at the right time, that is, before I get upset because it was me that exclaimed confidently 'We're bound to find one!' We do indeed find one!

We make our way up to Alcaudete and in the distance spot motorhomes making their way around the fortified hilltop. It is only at the top we realise that they were simply doing what we had to - find a way down as cars had 'taken' any possible motorhome parking including the service point. Well it is their big day, they can do exactly as they please! Our next possibility is Cabra.

All is well until we attempt to drive into Cabra with all roads blocked due to the Semana Santa celebrations. Tom Tom cannot do it all and so reference to a map and the signs direct us around the south and east (although we came that way anyway???) we are happy to find that Cabra has a lovely Aire located in a smart part of town and has all the required facilities. Conversing in our 'most excellent' Spanish we establish the way to the centre (about 2 km's) and that a procession will indeed be held, it being Good Friday. Part of the desire of travelling south was to witness Semana Santa here as it is apparently celebrated, if that is the correct term, in a really big way. we reached town just in time to enjoy the procession.

The 'float' (I am sure that is the incorrect word) depicts the crucifiction although it did not appear to be as sombre as that we had previously witnessed in our local 'big' town of Gandia or indeed the very small village that we live in.Nevertheless we enjoy the procession and as we are keen to return 'home to get dinner, as we skipped lunch, we find we have not used any money - still 33 euros left!

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