January 7 - 10
No dallying, no sightseeing, no country roads - that was the program for the ride home. However, the first night we did plan a stop in a historical town with a castle and old walls since it was on our route and, well, we like these places. We were in Alarcón in the late afternoon and still had daylight to go out and take some pictures. Its location on a plateau was spectacular.
The next morning we woke up again to blue skies - but the temperature had dropped to below zero as Alarcón is at an altitude of 980 meters. As we lost altitude it warmed up and we had one more sunny day.
On the second day we crossed the border into France and slept in Perpignan.
A country a day - on day three we slept in Lausanne, Switzerland. No pictures at all.
We knew it had been snowing heavily in Bavaria and parts of Switzerland. Our day started out fine, dry roads, no snow, but then came snow flurries, and more snow and more snow. Salt had been strewn and snow plows were out but I wasn't enjoying the ride much any more. Around Zurich I was beginning to feel anxious. I am admittedly somewhat phobic about highway driving and speed anyway and the snow was stoking my fears. When we reached Lindau, just over the German border, Janos let me out at the train station. I felt bad leaving Janos drive the remaining distance alone, but he wasn't worried and as it turned out the roads were fine. And I felt fine sitting in the train, relaxed and happy to watch the wonderful snowy landscape roll past the window.
And that was it. Janos and I got home almost the same time in the evening. When I got there, Janos had just dragged our luggage up the three flights of stairs. We soon fell into bed, happy to be home again.
Again we visited El Puerto, this time with our friends from Kassel. We strolled through the streets, visited the church with the storks, took pictures of the storks, had lunch, walked around the bull ring and hoped it would be open so we could have a look inside but it wasn't, stopped for a sherry, took some more pictures and drove home. Again a beautiful sunny day, not too warm and not too cool.
Here are the pictures.
A windy day today so instead of going to the beach we chose for our outing a walk through the Parque Natural de la Breña y Marismas del Barbate to the Torre del Tajo, a 16th-century tower on the cliffs high above the Atlantic between Barbate and Los Caños de Meca.
It is for good reason that this part of the coast is called Costa de la Luz. We drove a few kilometers from Conil, past the lighthouse to a little cove that can be reached by climbing down the cliff on a wooden staircase. There were just a few people there still, enjoying the last rays of sun. With our tripods in tow, we too wanted to catch the last light of the day - with our cameras.
Conil, where we are staying, is also a pueblo blanco, but on the coast. Vejer, which is located on a plateau and is nine kilometers inland, isn't far, just 15 minutes by car. It makes a nice afternoon destination for us with our cameras. Here is a short description of Vejer from the Internet and then some photos from our walk.
This classic white village on the hilltop is perched high above the steep gorge of the River Barbate. The more interesting arrival is from the outpost at the bottom of the ravine called La Barca de Vejer. From here a steep road takes you up the escarpment and straight into the beautiful Plaza de Espana. This stunning castellated town is a magical place to explore, its quiet cobbled streets meandering through a charming jumble of secret corners, hidden patios and delightful houses. One is relieved to find barely a hint of plastic or a trace of the 20th Century. Even the rubbish bins appear to have been carefully designed to please the eye!The village has been officially declared an Historical Artistic Monument of National importance.