Saturday 4 May 2002


We head off for a well-earned break in Andalucia in Spain. Thanks to Lynne & Paul for putting us up prior to our early start from Glasgow Airport.

After a couple of days in Malaga which Sharon and I enjoyed more than we expected, staying at the basic but comfortable Hotel de Sur in the centre of town, we picked up a Marie, Michael and a Ford Focus estate from the airport for the drive east then north to Orgiva. We met the family whose house we were renting in town. Only their nine-year-old girl spoke a little English but we understood we had to follow them so off we drove in the gloaming, heading east out of Orgiva and then south on to a narrow lane. By the time we took the next fork it was night and we were starting to think we were about to be ambushed, especially once the leading car stopped amongst the overhanging branches and the father advanced on our car. I half-expected to be handed a machete and be told that from here on it was on foot! Turned out we were just at the entry gate to the property.

When we woke the next morning the views south, to La Contraviesa range and north to the Sierra Nevada mountains were just spectacular in the clean spring air, with the sussurations of the silvery-green olive trees surrounding the little pool lending to the atmosphere of supreme calm. The house was fairly basic but the grounds more than made up for that, with trees teeming with the last of the oranges and lemons and wild poppies bobbing above the grass. Freshly picked and squeezed orange juice is a great way to start the day!

We enjoyed trips to the local mountain villages, although Sharon felt her heart racing at the high altitude as we stopped at about 6000ft above Capileira. Bubion and Pampaneira were picture perfect whitewashed moutain villages on the winding road up to Capileira, with their curious Moorish chimneys-cum-minarets providing a skyline to remember as we looked back down across the valleys.

In the middle of the holiday we drove up to Granada and queued to get tickets for an afternoon visit to the Alhambra. It is a splendid site with its mixture of walled courtyards and formal gardens and the views across the city of Granada from the battlements.

All in all we had a very relaxing week in Orgiva, which itself is a scruffy little market town. As with the surrounding towns and villages there is a little tourist presence but the week we had was pleasantly removed from the international cuisine and sunburnt Brits of the Costa del Sol. Lying under the olive trees listening to the water running down the irrigation channels and looking to the hazy mountains to the south, we could see why the real Andalusia is such a draw.

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