And that’s exactly what we have been doing this week, without much aim but with a general direction, which sees us ending this week with friends Darren and Johnny in Cabopino (Marbella) before hitting the road north on Monday and the last week of our overseas trip.
We left Ronda on the Tuesday,and we have to say that we both absolutely took to Ronda. I was very hesitant about going there, having been twice in pre-motorhome life and hadn’t really taken to it. Probably something to do with that long drop of the Puente Nuevo, which really does give me the heebie jeebies, be it from the top or the bottom.
Having said that, the love did wear a bit thin on the Monday, when we decided to do one of the many walks around the region. We knew it was going to be a fairly long walk (part of the Great Malaga Path GR141) and the section we had chosen did indicate some degree of rise and fall, so off we set after second breakfast in our now normal café cum bar just outside the walls of Ronda. That was at 11am, we arrived back at the same bar, limping, bright red and wringing with sweat at 7pm. Thankfully despite our appearance the waiter did serve us much needed refreshment, with a slight smirk. Some of our walks in the past have been fairly decent and I had said to David the other day that I wouldn’t mind attempting a 30k one at some point soon, 26k being our furthest thus far. The 30k I had in mind was on the flat, perhaps with a slight incline! All I’ll say is the hike over the mountain pass wasn’t too scary, nor was the extra 5k on the main dual carriageway to Ronda before thankfully getting back on the actual path, and the lunch in the Spanish hill village of Benaojan was more than decent, but it’ll be a while before we do another 30k walk!
Tuesday, the weather took a predicted turn for the worse. We knew it would, because we are the rain lords and every time we have been to Marbella, we have brought the rain with us and this time was to be no exception. It was very unfortunate though, as before Marbella we were heading not far to a lovely little mountain village, with a free Aire that also has the most fabulous views over the Serrania de Ronda. Before leaving Ronda that Tuesday morning in the sun, I applied suntan lotion to my reddened nose and when we parked up in the Benarraba Aire, in complete contrast I had to put on long trousers, a long-sleeved top before donning my raincoat. The grey and the rain at that stage did not dim or quieten the views or the wows from us. The Aire and the village are just perched in a spectacular spot and again there are many walks around this area. Given the view, we did not need to be told by any walking app about the degree of difficulty as it was completely obvious, as were the clouds rolling over the mountain tops. So, it was not just our blistered and aching feet that stopped us from attempting another walk. The town is not one of Spain’s Bonita Pueblos but it did have its own charm, the villagers keeping their house’s smart and at the moment decked out with spring flowers. It of course also had a couple of lovely bars, and it was in one of these that another marathon was started. It ended much later that night with a deluge of gin, wine, vermouth and an exceptional drunkenly prepared cheese board, that was just a bit too late in the evening to soak up any of the alcohol. Who can we blame this on, good question? Name and shamed here our Cathy and Steve, fellow travellers who we had managed to meet up with twice already on this trip in our beloved area around Tarifa and Barbate. It was a lovely day and evening and it was with heavy hearts and heads that David and I said our goodbyes to them on the Wednesday morning, knowing it would be the last time we saw them for some time.
The weather was greyer and wetter as we made the drive down the mountain roads, our idea was to head to a parking spot in Estepona, where we thought we would ride out the weather moseying around the old town. The parking spot was at the town’s conference centre, where of course currently no conferences were being held and so motorhomes had been able to park there. Oh dear, not the case when we arrived near 4pm, the car park was rammed, people queuing to get in the centre and a full squadron of police cars, along with their tow trucks! Needless to say, we beat the retreat out of there quickly, but where to go?. We did not want to waste money on a campsite, as there would be no benefit that late in the day, and so we made a 30-minute drive to another free Aire that we had stayed on in 2016. Slightly inland from St Roque and the town, Castellar de la Frontera is a Bonita Pueblo. We had a wander as normal after parking up, and remembered the town well, but now as back then we still can’t understand why it has the accolade of a ‘beautiful village’ We must be missing something. We did however on our return to Buster meet a lovely couple, Bev and Steve, now residing in the village, who were interested in buying their first motorhome. We were able to give them some advice, words of wisdom??, plus a tour of Buster, who they both loved and were in awe of the space, layout and design of this Encore 250. So even if we don’t have two new Elddis supporters, we hopefully have two more motorhomers to the fold.
We are now in Cabopino, arriving here in the rain on Friday, having visited the English butcher in Port Duquesa. Our purchase’s there, along with proper aged and size lamb chops, were two proper pies- steak and kidney for me, David opting for ale with his steak one. Proper pies were in fact Pukka pies, but they still tasted very good with mash, onion gravy and asparagus, reminding us of home as the rain continued to pelt down on the van’s windows. Whilst we do realise that the UK is currently having good weather, do remember we will be home in one week and so that good weather will soon be ending, or at least after we have done our ten days quarantine.
Now, as the sun sets on a quiet campsite (the Spanish have gone home) we reflect over the last few days. All have been wonderful and we have enjoyed the weekend no end, swapping stories, exchanging gossip, reliving memories of friends no longer with us. They, Darren and Johnny of course, along with the Triple A charity had been the catalyst in getting our boy home to the UK and for that we can’t thank them enough. But at the end of the day, they are our friends and we miss and love them, and so of course for me there were tears, and for me there will be tears all the way north as we say goodbye to our much-loved Spain and the end of our very emotional Covid journey.
But the journey isn’t yet over, so do say in touch and follow us as we end our story of an illegal alien in Spain. What will ever happen to this poor, old aged Greygapper, a misfortunate of the system. Life in prison, under arrest is no stranger to me, but how long might the Spanish hold me for………. Stay tuned folks!