I’ve been fighting some kind of illness (probably just the inevitable body adjusting to all the different germs after being isolated in the woods with the same people for a year) for a lot of this journey, which has made me extra sleepy (and I’m already pretty sleepy!). The mornings and evenings in particular, I haven’t been feeling that well.
So, Ondra woke me up, or tried to, at about 8:30.
“It’s sunny! It’s beautiful out here!”
I needed some persuading in my groggy morning state and it was quite a bit longer until I took the blanket off my face, but eventually my bladder forced me to get up. O was right – it was beautiful. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was already warm at 9:30am.
Weirdly, it felt like our most peaceful, private camping spot so far – yet we were actually pretty close to the motorway! The trees were placed perfectly to hide us, and the sun smiled down on our little camp. We lazed around in the sunshine for an hour or two, ate breakfast, played some ukulele (me) and took some photos (O).
Eventually, we mustered the energy to pack up and head down to the service station restaurant where we’d sat last night. We were in a great mood, both in shorts for the first time on the trip. We got a beer and some crisps to celebrate and took up our spot by the microwave to charge phones. We planned to stay here for a bit and write/edit photos whilst our things charged (we had our signs casually on display just in case). But I returned from the loo to see O grinning widely at me.
“We’ve got a lift to the coast with a group of musicians!”
I couldn’t believe it! I’d only been gone a couple of minutes and I thought it was going to require some effort to get a lift from here today after our difficulty getting out of Madrid the day before. But no – we’d been lucky again!
The group came and grabbed us two minutes later – three members of a celtic rock band called Celtas Cortos. There were four other members of the band travelling separately.
These guys were so friendly and such a fun loving bunch, we had a really enjoyable journey with them. They were so modest that is was surprising to see when they showed us some pictures of recent gigs that they were obviously very popular! We chatted mainly with the pipes player as the three of us sat in the backseat of the van. He told us about their recent festival appearance on the Isle of Man where they played with musicians from all the Celtic nations – including Cornwall (where I’m from). Funnily enough, he had met another half-Jamaican Cornish woman there and showed me a picture to see if I knew her!
We kept up a steady conversation for most of the journey, talking about everything and anything including travel, recording and performing music, food, language, instruments, Brexit…
They were really interested to hear how the Czech language sounded and made a video of O speaking so they could ask their friends to guess the language!
We stopped for some food somewhere outside of Granada, the pipes player was particularly happy with the choice because it had the symbol outside showing that they sold beer from Galicia – his home. We had a beer and some obligatory free bread and olives (I love Spain!), followed by a traditional Salmorejo Cordobes – recommended by our new friends. It’s a cold tomato and garlic soup with bits of cheese and egg on top and it was delicious.
Although we gave motorway services as our destination, the band insisted on driving us all the way into the seaside town we were heading towards – Calahonda. As we came towards the coast, they pointed out what they called ‘the plastic sea’ – every spare inch of space covered with polytunnels for growing tomatoes that would be shipped around the world.
The guys from Celtas Cortos were really lovely people, I hope we’ll be in touch with them again and get to see them perform one day – I’m sure it would be a lot of fun!
Our plan was to get supplies that would last at least 36 hours and head to find a secluded spot of beach along the coast for a couple of days. We found a shop and stocked up on bread, fruit, salad stuff (now that we had a tupperware!), a litre of olive oil (setting ourselves the challenge of getting through it over the next 8 days!), some big containers of water and a bottle of wine.
Heading towards the sea, it soon became clear that it wasn’t quite how we’d imagined it when we’d picked our destination from looking at Google satellite maps! The sea was very wild, huge waves crashing dramatically into jagged, rocky cliffs. Also, once we got away from the beach in town, there wasn’t really any beaches at all, just jagged cliffs going straight into the sea.
It was getting late and we were tired and carrying a lot of extra weight now we had stocked up on food and water. It would have been easy to feel a little hopeless at this point, to give up and find a hotel. We were certainly not as chatty as usual as we laboured uphill looking for a good place to camp, but our stubborn optimism paid off in the end.
After an hour or so of uphill walking alongside the main road, we explored a little more around the cliff tops. We saw some potential spots from a distance and O went to investigate whilst I took a break and stayed with the bags. After ten minutes, I heard a whistle.
“I’ve found it!”
O had found us a little sheltered crevice, hidden underneath the rocky cliff edge and protected by its own rock ceiling high above. It was perfect. We took the bags and set up camp.
The only downside to our new home for the next couple of days was the rocky ground. We spent some time moving the biggest rocks and collected some large leaves from nearby plants for extra cushioning beneath our base blanket. We snacked a little and headed off to sleep.
!!! Sneak peek of our new place in the morning light !!!