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Week 3: Into the mountains

October 17, 2021

I could totally get used to this climate. Day after day of sunshine, as consistent as the last. And if it’s a bit overcast today, don’t worry – mañana, it will be hot and sunny again. It’s the knowledge that it will be lovely again tomorrow that chills us out, I think. In the UK, the summer generally consists of three scorching days, generally mid-week, followed by rain and leaden skies for a fortnight, followed by another unexpected bout of sun. It’s why we flock to the coast like gulls and swelter in traffic jams, cos we never know when we’ll get the next opportunity. Here, if you can’t get to the beach this weekend – no worries, try the next. It’s almost guaranteed to be lovely. Perhaps this is the origin of mañana – if not today then tomorrow.

This week, upon leaving the hectic rush that was Barcelona, we headed inland into the mountains and parked up in the tiny back garden of a lovely old guy called Manuel, who had about as much English as we did Spanish (cero). When I tried to pay he just smiled kindly, muttered mañana and shuffled off to tend to his tomatoes. I was delighted.

Heading higher into the hills we expected the temperature to drop but it just kept climbing, even when we reached 3,500 feet. We stopped for the night at an old mining complex, the tracks for the coal wagons now utilised by the local old ladies to walk their evening circuits. And to re-enact a famous scene from Penelope Pitstop.

The next day was a public holiday so we headed into Teruel and spent a lovely lunchtime overlooking the medieval city whilst enjoying some tapas. As the sun set we descended from the mountains into a gorgeous valley where we managed to park up opposite a most picturesque castle perched on the edge of a craggy cliff overlooking the river Cabriel. It was so beautiful I could almost forgive the local council workers who started strimming at 8am.

The next three days were spent in the company of Ben’s aunt and uncle who live in a tiny village in Murcia. We caught up on gossip, put the world to rights and left with clean laundry and very well fed, a real treat.

A quick pitstop at the local IKEA later (which provides free facilities and 72hrs of parking for motorhomes!) we were back on the road, heading inland towards Seville. We’ve only been out here three weeks and have already covered around 1900 miles, so we’re going to take the drive slowly. When might we arrive? Who knows – mañana.

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