The big country . . .

beni-1IT’S dark in Andalucia at 5am when we set out from our home in Orgiva. The sky is just turning light nearly three hours later – as our van purrs eastwards along an endless chain of motorways . . .

Cloud banks descend from mountain ridges as the yellow of dawn turns white then pewter. Distant horizons emphasise an unappreciated reality: that Spain is huge, and that our 470-kilometre journey will make little impression on its vastness.

beni-2 beni-3beni-4 beni-5 beni-6Signposts to strange places slip past in blurs of blue: Guadix, Baza, Lorca, Murcia, Cartagena, Alicante. Ancient churches and Moorish castles; green fields and olive groves; dull bands of desert and harsh barren hills; provincial towns and upland wilderness – all are interlocked in an unrolling ribbon of changing landscape.

beni-7 beni-8 beni-9Inconsequential thoughts drift through your mind on a journey like this. Who owns that white cortijo on the hill? Do families really live in those caves above Guadix? Are wild boar peering from that forest at my rattly old van? What dramas unfolded in that ruined hacienda? Who works in that roadside workshop and what do they make? Who built that hilltop fortress? Why are all cities besieged by the same dreary and dispiriting industrial estates?

At 1pm we behold a new and unexpected sight: a panorama of skyscrapers. This is our destination – a place of glass and concrete called Benidorm.

beni-10 beni-11Why would a man who seeks peace and high mountains spend nearly seven hours driving a beat-up Volkswagen T4 campervan to Benidorm? . . . Only to meet someone he hasn’t seen since leaving England nearly sixteen months ago . . .

beni-12. . . His little baby boy.

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19 thoughts on “The big country . . .

  1. Hi Alen. I can understand why you drive so many kilometres when you become that happy at your reunion with your son. Now he don’t have to experience this:
    “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.”
    -Ellen de Generes

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      1. The area around Gandia is very nice. Lots of fairly small mountains and they’re just up the road from Calpe, a kind of miniature Gib and, I believe, Europe’s smallest nature reserve. More orange groves than you shake a stick at too which fascinated me. Oranges come from the supermarket. not trees! :-/

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    1. Hi Carol. That hadn’t occurred to me. They get busy at times, around cities and towns, but usually they are pretty empty, especially in the afternoons during the siesta period. I must be getting used to it.
      Cheers, Alen

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  2. Just had catch up on your blog. Great to see you have settled in down there. I used to head to a place just outside of Benidorm to go climbing (Finestrat). Wonderful walking area as well and only a few miles from the skyscrapers. Nice that you were able to see your son despite the long drive. On another tack my wife and I once won a TV while wandering through Benidorm for taking part in a survey (2 questions are you on holiday, have you got a timeshare)? by a nice young lady, all we had to do was jump in their taxi and collect it… The lady was not too impressed with our “yea right, we are not that thick” and turned from nice and pleasant, to a horrible snotty woman. That is my main memory of Benidorm sadly.

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    1. Hi David. Good to hear from you. We had a timeshare experience like that – we responded to a leaflet for a free holiday and were directed to a hotel somewhere near Milnthorpe. We were offered the free holiday but the flight was on Christmas Day, so we knocked it on the head. Hope you collected your TV.
      I was very impressed by the mountains immediately behind Benidorm. Very rocky and spectacular. That’s another area I’ve scribbled on the endless list. One day, perhaps.
      Cheers, Alen

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    1. Hi Beata. Thanks for the link to your blog. I haven’t been to Alicante yet – it looks like an interesting place, and warmer than Poland.
      I spent an Easter holiday in Warsaw a few years back, and it was of the coldest experiences of my life. But I enjoyed it immensely.
      All the best, Alen

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      1. Hi Alen. Yes – Spain has a lot of interesting places (I am going to publish more post about them). I am living there since few months and I still have a lot of to visit. Poland is the best in summer 🙂 I am happy that you enjoyed stay in my country. Bad luck that the days were cold, when you arrived there. I wish you a lot of amazing trips !
        Beata

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