Hot Tamale

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 29, 2009

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Andalusia,
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spain has suprised us the most so far, each time we crossed over the border we seem to expect the worse, I guess in Europe Spain has a undeserved reputation of being crime ridden, full of racists and animal cruelty and areas full of 'Brits on tour' in the package holiday destinations. I'm sure some of these stereotypes are more apt in some areas but get off the package holiday route and you find warm and friendly people, regions with amazing local pride and identity and pretty much a relaxed and accommodating atmosphere.

Our fear was probably more to do with sadness at leaving Portugal, while we saw allot of the country and got a real taste of the regions at a pretty relaxed pace we felt we could have stayed there much longer. But we have to press on I guess as time will soon pass these next few months and we want to see as much as we can, at our chilled pace of course!

The main direction we had been aiming for after Portugal was Seville, after reading the guide warning of horrendous traffic and crime of all descriptions on every corner we considered just turning round and heading back north through Portugal! But we decided to press on after our friends reassurance we would love it.

They were of course right, Seville is a fascinating place so relaxed and cosmopolitan, with a local flavor of arabic and european styles mixed effortlessly. We drove right in to the city and found a free spot to park, only five minuets walk from the old city with no trouble at all! We had a great afternoon just walking around soaking in the sun and the culture. While we are still cautious where ever we park and where ever we drive to its given us the confidence to at least drive in to the bigger cities and have a look round before we decided the situation may be to doggy.

So to completely contradict myself we missed out Gibraltar as we heard the parking could be a nightmare! But the main reason I think is that we just didn't have a strong enough desire to return to anything UK related just yet. So we have just headed over to Granada, the main focus for our trip to Spain in the first place, we have heard so much about the area, the mountains in the sierra nevada, the architecture in the area and the Alhambra and the hippies that live out in the mountains, we hoped we could just find a corner of the world to lay low and relax for a week or two.

Granada didn't disappoint the drive there was stunning and the city while a little crazy was fascinating. We spent the first day in the Alhambra, unfortunately they sold us a ticket at 2pm but didn't tell us until we walked in that due to keeping the number of people inside the palace to 300 per hour that entry was staggered and our ticket wouldn't allow us in until 7pm. Now we were a bit tired after walking up the hill to the complex in the first place and I was a bit miffed we would have to come back later and climb it again, not a problem they said if we leave the complex we wouldn't be allowed back in with the same ticket anyway! So in short we had to spend five hours pacing around the gardens and the minimal exhibitions there to keep you vaguely amused, not the best way to spend your afternoon but we had got this far we just had to tough it out. You could see the desperation in the eyes of the crowd people sleeping on benches others with there heads in there hands and people on the brink of going postal, if we weren't so tired it would have been quite funny to watch!

They did eventually let us in and it was worth the wait, just about. If you ever visit buy your ticket and come back later, before they swipe you in! After returning to the van at about 9pm we decided to risk it and just sleep on the side of the road where we had parked, we were to tired to look for anywhere else, while the traffic did keep us awake a bit the spot was fine and we had time to actually see a bit of the town the next morning as well.

So this leads us to our trip to the mountain, were currently on a camp site doing our weekly ritual of charging things and cleaning using the facilities. This keeps us going for eight or so days and its surprising how quickly you can get in a routine even on the road.

They even have the internet for free here so we are fully up to date now, which is handy as you may not here from us for a while, we in Orjiva and were going to hunt out these hippies, not for sport or anything just to see if they will let us chill out with them, lets see if the alternative lifestyle is for us!
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