Thursday, 2 May 2013

Monday 29th April 2013 - Thursday 2nd May 2013

Playa Las Dunas contd...

Monday, and we are off to Cordoba.

I have SatNav co-ordinates for a Campervan parking spot in Cordoba (N37 52' 28" W4 47' 12"). The plan is, if the parking place is satisfactory, to stop there, one night, and see the sights.

We are disappointed when we arrive at the parking place. Apart from one very beaten up Ford Transit van, and a French Campervan, the place is deserted.
There are security cameras, and, it is very near the "old" city. There is a barrier to get in/out, and the charge is 30cents/hour, or 20Euro per day.

All in all, we are not relaxed about spending the night there.

So, we put Plan B into operation and drive to Villafranca de Cordoba, La Albolafia (N37 57' 13" W4 33' 15"). This is an ACSI site, with a bus service to Cordoba.

The site is reasonably pleasant, a bit typical of "city visit" sites we have encountered, ie, not quite up to scratch, but, OK for a night or two.

But, I suppose, to be fair, although the photograph shows a brief period of sunshine, for most of the time, it is pissing down (no other word, really describes it, sorry), and nowhere looks at it's best under those circumstances.

Serves me right for gloating about the good weather we were having.

I am not sure if there is any other attraction for people to come here (other than to visit Cordoba), but, unless we have missed something, the town of Villafranca seems to have died, and not told anyone. It is like a Spanish version of South Shields, Hebburn or Jarrow. Signs of regeneration, but, overall a run down and shabby. Just about every shop in the place is empty and/or for sale!

Tuesday, we catch the 9:30 bus to Cordoba (2.60Euro per person, single), for the 24 kilometre (15 miles) ride into Cordoba. 

From the bus station, it is simple enough to find the "old city", just walk across from the bus station to the railway station, keep the railway station on your right, then, turn left down the slight hill, then right into Avenue d'Argentina. After that, just follow the signs. It is about 15 minutes walk.

The old city is quite amazing, although, for reasons which will become clear, we saw only a very limited amount of it.

There is the usual maze of small streets, with beautiful courtyards just off the street.

The Cathedral is very unusual, possibly unique, since it was originally a mosque which was converted to a Cathedral by adding on various "Christian" bits.

In addition to the Cathedral, there are reminders of Cordoba's Moorish past in many of the buildings.

Needless to say, the Romans where here too, this is a surviving Roman Bridge.

We have chosen the Restaurant where we plan to eat, but, it is too early for lunch, just after 11:00.

We come upon a museum dedicated to the Inquisition (which was based in Cordoba), in we go.

It is just about as far as I get in seeing Cordoba.

Whilst in there, I collapsed, ably caught, before I hit the floor, by Kathleen and a couple of men who happened to be nearby, so, fortunately no injuries sustained.

Before I new it, three paramedics where on the scene and I was being given ECG, and various tablets and needles stuck in my arms and fingers to test blood sugar, administer stimulants etc. One of the paramadecs spoke good English and she questioned me as to if I had any pains, what medication I was on, etc. The other was busy with the needles. I realise, she was probably forewarning me before she jabbed me again, but, all I heard was a bit of Spanish, and then felt the needle pricks. Difficult not to appear a wimp, when you jump with surprise with each jab. 

I was whisked into an Ambulance, given heperin injections, and taken to the Hospital!

At the hospital, there is a "Joan Cruikshanks" scene. I am lying on the trolley, wires and drips attached to me, when Kathleen starts telling me to stand up, so she can get at my wallet, which, she needed it because it contained my driving licence, which was required for a form of identification.

We spent the rest of the day at the Hospital, they gave me more blood tests and ECGS, and an Ex-Ray, by which time I had fully recovered, so, they sent us on our way. There was no mention of payment, and, as it happens, we have E111 cards, but, they were back at the van of course.

We even found our way back to the bus station in time to catch the 18:00 bus back to the campsite.

We spend the evening managing to see the amusing side of todays events, although, I suppose it could have all turned out rather difficult, had they decided to keep me in Hospital for a few days.

So, despite the fact I had a quick tour of the Spanish healthcare system and, Cordoba is very nice, I do not think I will tempt fate by visiting there again. 

Wednesday, turns out to be yet another Bank Holiday in Spain!, that is two this week.

We head off for a rather spectacular drive through the mountains.

We bypass Granada and head alongside the Sierra Nevada mountains, still snow capped.

We arrive at a Campervan stop in time for a late lunch.

Venta del Peral (N37 33.258' W2 3.512'), form the Aires Spain book. It is a Hotel just off the Motorway.

It has a very pleasant Restaurant, a snack bar, and a bar (with excellent free Wifi). It has the usual service point, free water, plus very well kept toilet/washbasin facilities, all for free. If you want a shower, that is 2.50Euro.

In the "village", there is a bread shop, another bar and a church, so not exactly a lot to do, but, fine for an overnight stop.

Early in the evening, two buses arrive loaded with Moroccan Construction workers (according to the badges on their jackets), but, they soon depart after eating their sandwiches. Yes, like me, you may wonder why, given the dire unemployment situation in Spain, they need to bus in Moroccans, very strange, a bit like East Europeans in Lincolnshire I suppose.

After a good nights sleep, we are heading East towards our next stop.

Most of the way is easy going, but after Alhama de Murcia, the road becomes a bit hairy. I am normally not fazed by such things, but, this is a bit special.

Eventually, after about four miles of hairpins, big drops(hence, no photographs, Kathleen was using both hands to hold on to her seat!

The satnav, then announces "turn left in 50 yards", as we approach the junction, there is a warning sign "road unsuitable for caravans, diversion". For once, I actually took notice and followed the diversion. It was dreadful. I shudder to think what the road the satnav was trying to take us on was like!

El Berro, Alhama de Murcia, Sierra Espuna (N37 53' 17" W1 29' 35").

We are high up in the Sierra Espuna, the site is small, and very pretty, right alongside an equally pretty village.

This is the view from the back window of the van, not bad eh!

Given that we are really high up in the mountains, you might have expected it would be cool, or even cold, but, it is sunny and quite hot, so Kathleen is soon into sunbathing mode (her

favourite position, lying in the sun).

The plan was to stay here until Sunday, there is a church in the village, but, knowing Kathleen, she will be so anxious about the drive back down the route we came, we will not be staying here very long.

It is too hilly for bike riding, but, there is good walking we are told.

When checking in, we are warned not to leave our shoes outside the van overnight. Apparently, they have a fox, which steals any shoes left outside of the vans (or tents) overnight!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear you had a bit of a doo with your health Ken,but by the sounds of things it has not dampened your holiday.The scenery looks fab. Summer arrived here on monday and left us on wednesday and was very enjoyable while it lasted.Well your holiday is over half way through now, but still plenty of time to enjoy yourselves,have fun but don't overdo it.God Bless u 2 x