Diary 1 (and a detour through
Portugal, I now hit the southern Spain.
Then I continues to Ciudad Rodrigo, a former real rich, walled city. Outside, I see a abandon bullfighting ring, and apparently, this area is one of those who banned this bloody game. Inside, the town is made up by magnificent buildings. I do some loops in the rather narrow streets and across the big squares. The city wall offers a great view over the surounding fertile land. Frogs can be heard from the river or wetlands, and storks have nests on the higher places in town.
head on by a minor road, crossing through some real fertile land. Here are
many cows, sheep, some goats and a lot of black pigs on the grassy fields.
I do loop after loop in the maze, and keep finding great looking houses, I can't make photos of. The light and narrow allies don't work for the camera, but surely for La Alberca. I might have spend a bit too long time here, and have to find a camp nearby. I saw one right outside town, and I only have to share it with one couple. Well, and a lot of birds. Some are sinning, some like the wood-runner and fly catcher eating. I am still amassed about how much the temperature drops at the evenings. Ciudad Rodrigo, La Alberca
21/4. It is a cold and rather murky morning, and before I get far, I have a gendarme car tailing me. They follow me for quite some time before signalling me to stop. It turns out they mainly wanted to find out, where I originates from. And while they have me: Inform me that I'm are not aloud to drive in flip-flaps in Spain.
The landscape is made up by rocky hills, covered in small, dormant trees. Her are next to no traffic, but it is Sunday morning. A single farmer is herding a grout of cows along the road, another have her sheep grassing the side of the road. I pass El Hoya in 1250 metres height, and get a misty view to a green valley.
One town have a rather intact fortress, but I'm not that eager. I reach some higher ground, and the granite mountains are mainly covered in broom. I see a single cow in the roadside with a nice, classic bell around its neck. Then I reach Puerto del Pico, which is a pass at 1352 metres height. The top of the mountains are covered in clouds, and I can't talk my self into leaving the comfort of the car. I am supposed to bring snow-chains in November to April, but I'll take a chance.
Here are scattered pines, and not much else, until I turn into the last 25 kilometres to Sierra de Gredos. Here are some sort of cross-country bicycle race going on, and the officers rather have me to turn back. I don't. But I am held back for long periods, while a single bike or two finally crosses the road. In other stretches, they use the road.
I finally make it to Sierra de Gredos, and then it turns out the little gravel road I wanted to walk, is closed to the bicycles. But if I just wait 5-6 hours... I stock some food at the local stores, and fight my way back through the oncoming meteor shower of bicycles. I stop a single time to make photos of some nice little flowers.
Not even 100 kilometres to the next sight; Ávila. More flat granite mountains, and a few farms in the valleys. I see some of what I would describe as typical Spanish cattle: Black and long horned. Their calf, though, and light brownish. I pass Puerto de Menga in 1564 metres height, but it remains a murky day. Her are some stacks of boulders, like giants have been playing with Lego.
Ávila surely have an impressing city wall, and it look like it has been build yesterday. Finding a place to park is a problem, but finally I head into one of the city gates. To judge from the wall, I had expected some more impressing houses. The square is nice, but not a match for the walls. Here are plenty of warm dresses local tourists, and I can imagine how crowded it will be on a nice summer day.
I try to get into one of the many churches, but the way is through the souvenir shop within the church, and probably a ticket office afterwards. Clearly a church of Mammon. I do several loops - mainly because I can't find the shop I saw a great Don Quixote souvenir in - and didn't buy at first. It is closed, when I finally get there.
in the car at three, I realise I have 400 kilometres to the next camp. I
don't want to stay here, wasting three hours of daylight, but it will be
late. The landscape is not interesting really. Semi barren giant hills,
Madrid (which I drive under, in a tunnel), huge farms on real bad and dry
soil and nothing else. When I spot a camp sign at six, 100 kilometres from
the other one, I turn in. It is surprisingly popular, compared to the others
I have been at.
22/4. It is only a hundred kilometres to the first sight, and it is through beautiful limestone mountains. Unfortunately, the sun is late, and have send led-grey skies as a replacement. That limit the amount of photos considerable. Never the less, I do enjoy the drive, and I even manages to get a blurry picture of a vulture.
I pass Puerto de El Cubillo at 1617 meters height, and there are still a bit of snow in the ditches. I reach a plateau, and the flat conifers, anemones and views lours me out, into the drizzle. I head a bit down, just to climb Puerto de Las Banderas in 1584 meters height. Then the road slowly works it way down to a real narrow gorge.
On the other side, the little mountain village of Cadaqués is found. I park below it, and find a way around, just to climb the steep hillside up to the fortress. Here are a lot of interesting plants, and great views down to the valley and the other side of the valley, fitted with its own fortification.
When I reach the fortress, I have a bit of a challenge, getting in to it. When I finally do, I realises; the walls might be well preserved, but they are almost empty. The sun finally appears through the mist, when a descents leads to the village. It is not one cluster like the others have been, but several groups of buildings, scattered around on the hillsides.
I find the central square and do most of the alleys, connecting the clay houses. When I recon I got photos enough, and have seen most, I head on. Right outside town, I stop to make a cup of tea, and by accidence discover an old levarda (canal in the mountains), which have been rebuild as a trail - for dwarfs. Overhanging cliffs and tunnels are mend for water, and have not been changed. The area have some interesting plants as well.
Then it is 625 kilometres to the next sight. I choose the coastal road, but first I have to get there. It is first through more limestone with only a few villages. Then I get to a huge plateau in 1000 to 1200 metres height, which is farmed all over. Huge fields, few farms.
One field is covered in huge airplanes. Either a farmer collects, like other collect ball-pens, beer bottles or lighters, or it is a parking place for spare or retired machines. Then I make it closer to the coast, and it is a real dry area with hardly any farming for a long time.
I reach the sea, and are able to spot it from time to time. However, I am not really interested to get into all the big houses to meet it. Her start to be a few cars on the road, and I reach Barcelona. I avoid the city pretty well, and meet a way more fertile land on the other side. It is almost like Denmark - if we grew oranges. Here are also a few olives, then the vines start.
It seem like the Spaniels can't see a little hilltop without building a castle. And a church. And then a village. Here are quite some cities along the coast, and industries to go with them. It seems a bit strange to have a petrochemical industry, surrounded by orange trees - can they be organic?
I make a shortcut over some low mountains, and reach a fertile valley with barley and oak with mature seeds. Then the cork oaks take over on the hillsides, and I reach the coast once again. Here are the white and beautiful town of Cadaqués. I drive right through it, first by the waterfront, then up through the narrow and real steep alleys. Not my idea, I just do what I'm told to by the GPS. Eventually, I find the campsite, and start with dinner, then work. Limestone mountains; Albarracin village with fort, Southern Spain
23/4. I start the day with a short walk downtown to the coastal town of Cadaqués. Most of the town are still asleep, it seems, but I find the right glue - I think - for the GT-sign to the back of the car. I see the fishermen preparing their zodiacs, and some of the back alleys. It is not an old town, but is does have its charm.
At the beach front, a bronze statue of the famous painter; Salvador Dali is watching the town. The water is crystal clear, and the beach made up by slate, smoothen by the sea. This is Catalonia, and the bridge is decorated with the yellow ribbons. On the square, young people are selling red roses with yellow paper around: The Catalonian flag is red- and yellow striped.
I feel I have seen what Cadaqués offers, and head into the mountains, just to emerge at another beach town. This one look the same, but lack the charm. Into the mountains again, and I am amassed about the amount of flowering herbs and alike along the winding road. I have to stop several times, as I see plants I'm not familiar with.
I reach a bigger road, where workers are over-painting the "Freedom for Catalonia" on a bridge. Apparently, not every one agree.... Then I reach the French border, and my Spanish adventure end for this time. Cadaqués and a bit of the Pyrenees
have spend a week here in total, and I know there are many interesting
things which I haven't seen yet. In that week, divided over two periods, I have
driven 2478 kilometres, taken 2075 photos and spend a total of €333. The
diesel have far been the most expensive with €125, while parking + toll
roads, camps and food each is around €65.