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  • Day15

    Day 15: Antequera

    March 2, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    Fantastic weather today, and time for a daytrip! Loaded up the car and headed south to the town of Antequera, about 40 minutes away. It's a small town with a beautiful castle, church and a nice Old Town, but we skipped all of those things in favour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site on the edge of town.

    The UNESCO site is actually a group of dolmens, ancient burial mounds that date back to the bronze age approx 4000 BC. Essentially they are large burial chambers dug into man-made dome hills, with gigantic stones marking out the walls and ceilings. One of the ceiling blocks was incredibly large, weighing in at a staggering 180 tonnes! That's four times heavier than the blocks at Stonehenge. One of the dolmens is also notable for facing directly north-east, so that on the summer solstice every year the sun rises directly over a distinctive mountain a few kilometres away, and the sun's rays shine directly along the passage into the main chamber. Incredible engineering, if it can be called that.

    We spent an hour or so exploring the dolmens, then headed to a highway McDonald's for lunch since we didn't want to deal with the likely parking situation in a cramped Old Town. Afterwards we headed south again, up into a craggy mountainous area known as El Torcal. These are giant limestone formations where boulders are balanced at impossible angles and lots of strange shapes jut out of the rocks.

    Parked the car and went for one of the loop walks here - great scenery and perfect weather despite the chilliness from the altitude. Schnitzel seemed to enjoy himself, though he was a bit slow at times, not used to skipping around boulders as he is! After an hour-long walk we had an ice-cream and a drink in the sun, enjoying the location and the scenery (and the large family admiring Schnitzel at the next table). Although I already knew that "perro" was Spanish for dog, I've learned very quickly that he is "perrito", or little dog (I guess it probably actually means puppy, though they refer to actual hot dogs as perritos so who knows).

    Back down the mountain and then back on the hour long drive to Lucena. I've been coping fine with the roads, driving on the other side of both the car and the road. Roundabouts are a little tricky since they work the exact opposite way I'm used to, but honestly the biggest drama has just been small car parks. So I've avoided them as much as possible! The freeways are in great condition here too, the limit is 120km/h which I've mostly stuck to, but when people blatt past you doing 160+ it's tempting to chase them a little bit. Though the biggest difference is that people don't sit blithely in the fast lane like in Australia, people stick to the kerb lane and only move over to make their pass and then move back.

    Back home where we were greeted by a pair of happy dogs, then settled in for the evening. Unfortunately we couldn't get the fireplace going so we shivered a bit! Ended up just using blankets instead. Spanish houses definitely aren't built for winter!
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    Joel Baldwin

    Dolmen entrance

    Joel Baldwin

    Looking out to the sacred mountain

    Joel Baldwin

    Another (smaller) dolmen

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