Zagan the motorhome is facing south towards Malaga. He’s sailed; after six weeks in port, safely parked up behind locked gates at our house sit villa at Valle de Abdalajis, we’ve again taken to the road. Only a short hop mind, we’ve nipped around the corner to the El Torcal Natural Park. After driving to the top car park for the walk around the park (see below), we’ve dropped to the lower one for the night (N36.96214, W4.51486), as there was a sign on the door to the visitor’s centre asking us not to stay the night. The view from down here remains pretty fantastic folks, a hazy scene of green, with the Mediterranean just hidden by the rolling rock.
Our final days in the villa were pretty quiet. Work-wise, Ju’s reformatted our Motorhome Morocco Guide for print after we sussed using black and white photos brought the cost of it down, and ordered a copy to be delivered to the villa to check the quality. Only the villa has no letterbox, so we had it sent to a postbox in the town, which the courier company had no key to. No problem, everyone seems to know everyone around here and the villa owner’s daughter’s boyfriend knew the courier bloke, so got him to drop it off at the garage he works at and kaboom, we now have our grubby hands on it! It looks cool, the black and white photos have come out pretty well, so we’ll make some final tweaks and then release it. It’s all done with the magic of print on demand – so when someone orders a copy, Amazon send off a request for a copy to be printed, which is then sent out to the customer. Yep, they take a fair chunk of royalties, but we hold no stock, and don’t have to fulfil any orders, pretty cool eh?
That aside, we had another tapas and beer night in the town, weeded the villa’s gardens, photographed some of the deep-green plants the owners have brought to maturity, cleaned, washed clothes, walked the pooches, splashed about in the pool and read. I’ve had my nose in ‘Master the Money Game’ by Tony Robbins – a beast of a book about personal finance. The more of these books I read, the more I understand, and the more Ju and I choose to ignore large swathes of their advice, when it doesn’t feel like the right thing for us to do.
This morning we completed the final tidy up of the villa, loaded up Zagan, stroked the pooches one last time and had a goodbye chat with the owner’s daughter (who brought us delicious cakes baked by her boyfriend’s family in the town). A few comments came in when we started the sit, along the lines of “you two, stay in one place, for six weeks? never!” But we were tired. Morocco is intense, and after three months of it, we needed to stay still, somewhere safe, and relax. If it hadn’t been a house sit, it would have been a campsite. Whether we’d have stayed still for 6 weeks on a campsite, I doubt, as we (well, I), would have been ready to get going a couple of weeks ago.
Both of us felt nervous about getting going again. It’s like that, every time is a bit of a hump to get over, to get us out of the door and back out there. Ships, they say, are safe in port, but that’s not what ships are for! So here we are, and it feels good! As we set off, humming ‘on the road again’, we both smiled at each other. After a twisting ride through the hills (there is no other type of road around here), we pulled into the car park at El Torcal, parked up and joined the coach loads of nippers on the circular walk around the limestone formations and trees. Charlie wasn’t allowed, so stayed in the van, but he wouldn’t have enjoyed it much anyway – too many rocks to scrabble over. Taking the longer walk the signs suggested we allow 3 hours but even at a slow amble we were done in 90 minutes. At the end we looked out from a cracking viewpoint, Malaga just in sight on the coast below us.
The plan now? Fluid, as ever. There’s a spring fair in Cordoba, which we’d like to see, and our friends Richard and Jenny who we hit Nordkapp with last year are down this way, so we might be lucky enough to meet ’em there. Alternatively, the coast calls for a bit of snorkelling, which might be a challenge on the Costa del Sol, but we like a challenge. Overall we’re thinking we’ll have a look around Andalucia before it gets too scorchio, then head north.