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  • Day44

    Sierra Grazalema Natural Park

    May 7 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    At the end of the first week of May it’s time for us to leave the south coast and slowly start to move back up north, in direction of The Netherlands. We find ourselves a small, green campsite in Sierra Grazalema Natural Park to explore the environment for a few days. It’s Saturday and the campsite is quite packed with Spanish folks who enjoy the weekend away from home. There’s a big group of cyclists, a few families and some groups of friends camping together. Looking at the empty spots that are without electricity, flat and not too close to any of the larger groups we find ourselves a spot next to the only other Dutch camper facing away from the field, with a couple enjoying the sun while reading a book. As they seem to be purposefully isolated we decide to park in such a way that our own opening is facing the other way towards the field so we are back to back to limit any “noise”. However, while we are still in the midst of our parking exercise we are greeted by our Dutch neighbours in the most curious manner. Both have gotten up from their seats and are now looking at us with unhappy faces, while the man says in a critical tone: “well, that’s parking it pretty close next to us isn’t it?”. A little baffled by his attitude we explain that we found this to be the no-electricity spot available and deliberately parked our opening the other way (and hence the back a bit closer to their camper as our seating area is on the other side), to which he responds something like: “is it really? I find it parked VERY close to us…”. I repeat what I’ve just said and so does he, after which I politely ask him if he’s bothered by us taking this spot. I can tell this question makes him self conscious of the unfriendly tone he’s taken to us as he steps back a little and calms down a bit while mumbling “I sure hope not…”. I tell him we also hope not to be a bother and that if we are disturbing his peace at any time we gladly receive his feedback, annoyed by his behaviour but not tempted in any way to reflect his manners. Obviously his behaviour was ridiculous as you can’t deny someone a spot next to yours - it’s a campsite after all and it wasn’t like there were many other spots available - and it was no way to raise any concerns either. Something he now seems to realise too as while both walk back to their spot he states: “I may have reacted too quickly, it was a startle response”. Tim and I look at each other, shrug our shoulders about what just happened with a smile of mutual understanding and finish our business. For what happens next I do want to give the guy credit as I wasn’t expecting it - he actually comes back to us some time later to apologise for his behaviour. He explains they had already moved spot to get away from the noisy Spanish campsite guests (the large group of cyclists had parked right next to them) and they were worried to loose their oases of quiet again upon our arrival. We accept his apology and have a little chat to smooth out the rocky start of our neighbour-relationship, in the spirit of “better a good neighbour than a distant friend”. We don’t receive any further complaints the rest of our stay (of which we are mostly away from the campsite anyway).

    This part of Andalusia in Spain is absolutely incredibly beautiful. As we don’t plan to stay for very long we promise ourselves to come back one day to stay in this region for much longer and explore more of the nature trails and cute little towns. The town we stay at has a name we love to repeat many times for its pronunciation: Benamahoma (try it a few times; Benamahoma, Benamahoma, Benamahoma! 😄). It has less than 400 residents and only two streets, yet it does have a bullring and a brand new padel court calling for tournament participants. Says a lot about culture, doesn’t it? This and the other small towns we visit (Zahara de la Sierra, Grazalema) have cute white plastered houses with flower decorated facades. We spend our visits getting lost in the little streets (mostly in those towns with more than two streets to get lost in) and enjoy the beautiful views of aquamarine blue lakes, green landscapes, mountains and valleys. We also planned a visit to the municipal swimming pool in Grazalema for its panoramic view but unfortunately for us the Grazalema people find May not hot enough to open the facility. Cold fish they are.

    The highlight of these few days on our trip is both figuratively and literally: a difficult hike of 17 kilometer on a path created by live stock roaming brings us to the top of the Albarracin, one of the surrounding mountains. It’s a beautiful nature trail very worth the challenge of walking it. The challenge is because of the steep slopes we climb and the paths that sometimes are only known to us by spotting the little trail signs pointing to a certain direction rather than seeing where to walk per se. The last bit to the top is especially challenging (I actually doubt this was part of the formal route, it may have been Tim’s creative input): it’s a very steep and rocky way up to a very small top. The way down in particular is no joke: first getting off the rocky surface and second getting down to the “normal path” which takes us along steep, long, loose gravel paths and my fear of heights gets the better of me. Suddenly I wonder how we got up in the first place. But, we manage (BIG thanks to Tim) and continue the joyful part back down to town. On the way home we even come across the creators of the path: a white donkey and a group of goats are feasting on the grasslands. Cute!

    We look forward to explore more of this part of Spain in the future. For now, we shall travel on.
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    Goede reacties van jullie op deze man.knap gedaan! Wat je allemaal wel niet meemaakt...En dat van die geite/ ezelpaadjes is maar goed dat ik dat later pas verneem. Nu goede reis richting les Pays Bas. [Willemien Sloetjes]

    5/18/22Reply
    Trudy Koper

    haha. kanjer ben je! op de top van de wereld!

    5/18/22Reply
    Trudy Koper

    indrukwekkend!

    5/18/22Reply
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