Tag Archives: Mount Jabalcon

Summer Visit 2018 (avoiding Cat-Talk)

A somewhat random post that covers our recent trip and some thoughts that have been with me since I got home.

We booked flights for late July for another 10 days in the place I sincerely want to call home someday. I had arranged to meet up a few people who I had met on social media (not girls, already done that and got the t-shirt ūüôā ).

I love Granada Airport particularly because there is nowhere to get lost and everything is close to hand. On arrival I collected my bag and went to sort out our hire car, I was ready to collect the girls as they arrived out of the Arrivals gate probably no more than 10-15 minutes later. The rest of the journey consists of crossing the road to where the car was parked, jumping in and driving for about an hour to Mercadona at Baza. I must add here that I love the drive, you skirt the edge of Granada City and head up and between the Sierra de Hu√©tor mountains then as leave the mountains you are greeted by The Hoya de Guadix (which is a natural plain). The scenery changes from snow, greenery and craggy light coloured rock to orange and yellow sandstone plateaus and troughs with pale green poplars in the lowlands and this is where the cave houses start appear in almost every spot imaginable spot and plenty of unimaginable ones too. The A-92 skirts Guadix and as you are leaving you may spot the Railway Station on the right which was used as a location for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or The Old Sugar Factory which was used as a location for Sergio Leone’s “Duck You Sucker/Fistful of Dynamite” (actually there are few locations in and near Guadix used in this particular film)….. digressing again…
The last bit of the trip is up and out of Guadix and on towards the lower edge of the Sierra de Baza, the scenery now changes into dry valleys and flat plateaus with pretty little dilapidated farms and small holdings scattered among olive and almond groves followed by the imposing greenery and craggy peaks of the Sierra de Baza on the right. Another 10 minutes and a little bit of normal road driving and we are at the Mercadona (or maybe Lidl because we like to mix it up a bit).

We went to a music night in the Cortes at Jairo’s Bar which was very well attended by immigrants/expats or whatever you want to call them and plenty of locals. There isn’t a massive ¬†British community here, which is one of the reasons I like the place so much but it was however interesting to see so many of them all in one place at the same time…… still disappointed that I am missing the Fiesta though !

We had also arranged to hook up with Danny and Josie who run the One Foot in the Cave¬†blog for a bit of exploring. This was a great afternoon shuffling around Baza and being shown things that I had either heard of but not seen, not heard of and not seen. I will say here that the Arab Baths are well worth a visit partially because what looks like a public toilet block from the outside is actually very nice on the inside and it’s free to visit which is always a bonus. The Alcazaba is worth a look to even though there is next to nothing left of it… the views of the Sierra de Baza are fantastic. Danny takes a lot of interest in his surroundings and local history so was a great guide and host. I did my usual thing of expecting to go exploring when the temperature is in the 40’s and immediately found myself in the position of wanting to sit down and sup cold lagers, fortunately this is Spain and it’s accepted here.

We did a little more cave viewing at various friends houses and both got the standard issue “Cave Envy” that seems to rear it’s head when you see other peoples places. They are all so different. It’s nothing like viewing “actual houses” the different curves, arches, niches, quirks and odd little things that make caves so special really don’t happen the same in “actual houses”. To a passer by cave houses are anything from a Hole in the Hill to the front of a Villa slapped
on the side of a cliff but all you’ve seen is the outside. I guess the years of hard working families tinkering about to make them suit their needs, digging out a new room, an animal feeder, an almond store or a shelf is what makes them all so unique.

Just go and stay in one, in fact go and stay in lots…… some are going to be like glamping and some are going to be like palaces with everything in between.

 

We Have Water (again)

Early September 2014 everyone I know let me know that the water had been reconnected :-). This was great news as Clive was able to get on with the nasty task of renovating the collapsed lounge (which I know he really wasn’t keen on doing but it made me happy). ¬†I started getting excited about planning the next venture out in the Easter of 2015 this time with my partner and her teenage Daughter which meant more tales of glamping without the glamour. I was really excited about this trip as it was going to be the first time anything major had been done to the cave that wasn’t chosen by my ex-wife and I (not that there is anything wrong with her taste but it was nice to make a mark as it were).

Around February of 2016 my lovely neighbour got in touch to say there was a couple of envelopes at the Post Office that needed to be signed for and she thought that they were from the Ayuntamiento (town hall). Time for me to stress again, I thought everything was on track. It turned out that I had a three¬†of years non resident tax that needed paying, fortunately this was quite straight forward¬†and wasn’t very expensive (about ‚ā¨130 I think). ¬†We were booked to fly out to Malaga from Liverpool John Lennon at 5:30am but the flight time kept being changed with the final leaving time set at 8.40pm, I felt it was better to accept this than lose a day of holiday and I reasoned that at least we would wake up in Spain relaxing rather than in the UK with the thought of another early start and one less day away. We arrived at Malaga at around 11:30pm and had to find the shuttle to the taxi office, typically we saw the shuttle bus leaving and had to wait another 10 minutes for the next one and we did the “first on, last off” routine to find the taxi company hadn’t finished processing the people from the first bus and we were at the back of the cue. Although I’m always up for saving money I do always pay for the full insurance as it includes priority collection and you don’t have to wait to get the vehicle checked over at the end of your stay.

It was now that I remembered¬†that we had Priority Collection and the cue for this consisted of nobody at all (Result) we were in and out before the standard cue had even moved. Feeling happy that for once spending extra cash seemed to¬†have paid off we set out on our 2.5 hour journey to the cave. It was a lovely starry evening but as I had never travelled this route before maybe a little slower than it could have been. We arrived at the cave at around 2:00am greeted by the Jacuzzi that actually had water in it and a powered up fridge that was stocked with lager¬†and wine….. Happy Days ! ¬†We set up the beds and then sat outside for 1/2 an hour with a drink to recuperate, the sky was fantastic that night the Milky Way was in full swing and I had never seen a night sky looking so spectacular (I’m not massively interested in space stuff). I promised myself I would get a timelapse video of the sky one evening, I didn’t of course because it was either hazy or¬†cloudy every night for the rest of the week.

Back to car hire……. On Wednesday we decided to have a drive up Mt Jabalcon, the oddly shaped mountain that greets you just after you pass Chirivel on the A-92 when arriving from the East. There are spectacular views to be had here and although I highly recommend the trip, it is a rough drive and most of it is single track with very few passing places…… anyway off we went¬†¬†and about 1/2 a mile from the summit we got a puncture so I had to do a tyre change (for one of those silly space savers) considering we were on a steep single track road¬†that was covered in loose stone everything¬†went ok but on the way back I thought I’d look out for a tyre place to get the puncture repaired….. and here comes¬†another straightforward event that escalated into stupidity because I was involved !¬†First off we headed to Baza and tracked down a tyre dealer who hadn’t got any staff working except for a receptionist. Next we headed for another one that the SatNav suggested which turned out to be a house about 1/2 a mile down a footpath. I decided to head back to the cave and then spotted a tyre place¬†on the Baza to Benamaurel road so I pulled in and spoke (loose description of my Spanish communication skills) to one of the guys who tried to repair it and then showed me the 2″ rip in the sidewall after a bit more confusion he disappeared and then came back a few minutes later with an English Girl who was working in the bar around the¬†corner who explained/translated that he didn’t have a tyre available but could order one and it would be there on Friday – Perfect I can drive at more than 40kmh on the way home on Sunday…. Yes Please. She took my number and said she would ring when it was ready. We spent Thursday relaxing at the cave. Friday arrived and I surfaced at a reasonable time with the intention of picking up a new tyre, by around 12:00 I was getting concerned about siesta as I hadn’t heard from the garage and I sloped up to the village to ask Mario if he could ring them for me……¬†Mario rang the garage who said they weren’t able to get a tyre the correct size…. he then chatted for a bit while I shrank away with a pale face and then finally looked up and said “would a second hand tyre be ok?” “Oh My God yes, anything that means I can collect the wheel and drive the car again”, he said “can you get there before 1:00 as they are closing?” Off I went back to the garage and just made it in time at 12:55. ‚ā¨52 later I was heading back to Cortes with a tyre that held air…… And Relax.

On the Saturday we went down to Mini Hollywood which helped relieve the boredom of a teenager forced to spend a wee bit too much time in rural Spain with not enough Wi-Fi ūüôā

 

I should probably show you the great job Clive did of resurrecting the collapsed lounge now.