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The Road Trip – Discovering Spain

The Road Trip – Discovering Spain

The Road Trip – Discovering Spain

It has often been said that Benidorm has everything.  Having travelled to many parts of Europe including Italy, Sardinia, Greece, The Balearic Islands, and also the Canary Islands and places further afield such as India, Eilat, Kenya, Gambia etc, we in admin would share that opinion.  However as part of our holiday we decided this year to explore other parts of Spain via a road trip.  Will we discover anything that cannot be found within half an hour of Benidorm?….lets find out!!!

Day 1 – Benidorm to Ossa de Montiel, Albacete 335km

The Journey

After leaving a hot Benidorm with weather reports of it being the hottest day since records began in in-land Spain, this is just where we were heading, so was it really that hot, yes it was,with temperatures steadily rising as we headed further inland and hitting a staggering 44ºc…… IN THE SHADE.

We had a wonderful journey travelling through groves of almonds, oranges, lemons, olives and even some peach trees, the further inland you go the more vine yards there are, the scenery was stunning through a lot of mountain ranges until we got closer to our destination where the scenery suddenly changed to slighter flatter terrain with acres and acres of corn fields etc which would look similar to some of the British countryside.  The one thing you do notice in the Murcia region is the number of wind farms which are virtually every where you look.

The other thing you cant help but notice is just how quiet all the towns and villages were, driving through these was like driving through ghost towns, not a single person in sight, just the odd stray cat or dog wandering aimlessly around, we came to the conclusion that everyone is indoors hiding from the extreme heat.

Our Accommodation – Hotel Spa Galatea 2 Star hotel, cost 210€ for 3 nights, free parking

This hotel was about 11km (15 mind drive) outside the Lagunas de Ruidera Nature Reserve, in the quiet countryside of Castilla La Mancha. The spa includes a steam bath, sauna and hot tub and cost 15€ each.

Rooms were a classic-style décor, with free WiFi and a flat-screen TV, bathroom with a hairdryer..

Very pleased with our chosen hotel the Spa Galatea.  The hotel itself although it was only a two star and only fairly recently constructed, had all the charm, elegance and looks of something much older and suited us perfectly, with everything we needed in the room apart from tea and coffee making facilities, but then again we were in a very Spanish area and tea first thing in the morning is not a Spaniards first priority.  For a 2 star hotel this was an amazing place.

Would we return? yes but not during August and not over a weekend (Spanish come from miles to enjoy the lakes and it gets very very busy over the weekends), but perfect for a quiet few days of relaxation.

Derek’s Input:  It seems this holiday Tracy has taken on the persona of Dora the Explorer, meantime I have been appointed the official role of “Guardian of the Handbag”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 2 and 3 – Lagunas de Ruidera.

After a good nights sleep on our memory foam mattress and a typically -Spanish breakfast of tostada con tomate, freshly squeezed orange juice, off we headed to explore the lakes of the Lagunas de Ruidera……

The Lagunas de Ruidera is a natural park situated in the La Mancha plain containing 16 interconnecting lakes of various sizes, these lakes cover an area of more than 9,300 acres (38 km2). The lakes are connected by falls, small rivers as well as subterranean flows and are the source of the Guadiana River.  This is also Don Quixote country.

The whole area of the lakes is stunning, with several spots for swimming and various water sports available, we had an enjoyable day driving round just getting a feel for the area, after a quick return to the hotel for our afternoon siesta (part of our daily life lol) we were off out and about again to find a nice restaurant to enjoy a relaxing evening….. Unfortunately this was not to be as everywhere we went had stopped serving food during the time we were hungry ie 7.30, most of the restaurants would not be re-opening again until 20.30, 21.00ish so after calling into every restaurant we came across and being told the same thing, we eventually gave up and headed back to our hotel for a meal and a bottle of vino, Hands up! we should really have been aware of this as we provide the information about Spanish Meal times HERE.

One of the things that Benidorm spoils you with is the ability to get what every you want 24/7 and being used to this it can be frustrating when you leave the area.  There are very few shops, only 1 petrol station and only 1 tabac in the whole area (well that we found).  The restaurants all seem to serve paninis with very little other choices on the menu other than fairly standard Menu del Dias which were only available at very limited times although advertised all day/night. I had to resort to the safety of a pizza.  We have heard NO English Language or seen anything written in English since our arrival, although we ourselves love this, it may be daunting to some.

Can areas such as this be found near Benidorm, of course the answer is YES we have our very own Algar Falls, although not as big, they are equally as attractive.  In truth though 2 nights would have covered it here,  two weeks here?…no chance.

Derek’s Input:  First official day of sunbathing.  Have to admit I was a little upset when I undressed and applied the sun cream only to find a queue had formed for the Hog Roast.  Diet will have to start after the holiday

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 4 – Ossa de Monteil to Cordoba approx 297km

Quite sad to be leaving our wonderful hotel of the last 3 nights, but looking forward to some new adventures in Cordoba.  The roads here are excellent even though we don´t take the toll roads, but the slightly quieter roads, sometimes driving for miles without seeing another vehicle, other than the odd tractor, the journey time is slightly longer, but you get to see more of the surrounding countryside.

Accommodation – Hosteria Lineros 38  2 star, 40€ per night,  parking 12€ per day

Our bed for the night was in a Hosteria called Lineros 38, this was situated right in the heart of the old town so the perfect location as all the main tourist sites were within walking distance.

This was quite a cheap overnight stay at 40€ for the night (12€ extra to park the car in a private garage) the house itself was what can only be described as quirky, with the décor based on Andalusia’s Arabic past, Unfortunately the room itself left a lot to be desired  it was quite basic even though we pushed the boat out and booked a deluxe double room to make sure we had a balcony, not sure we actually received this as there was definitely no balcony in the room in fact there was not even a window I called the room quirky, Derek called it a dungeon and hated it…. the bed had slates missing on the base  but was still fairly comfortable being positive the best things about the room was the size and power of the shower and due to the fact we had no windows and were situated in the heart of a house the room was cool and even in this heat we didn´t really need to use the air conditioner, which was just as well as it would have woken up the whole house.  All in all we were glad we had only booked just the one night here and would not return to this particular Hosteria, but don´t rule these out for a cheep nights accommodation.

Cordoba was known in the past for being one of Europe’s biggest cultural and intellectual centres, it is situated on the north bank of the Guadalquivir River and served as both the Roman and Moorish capital of Spain many years ago.

The old town has some lovely old buildings and a surprise round every corner, plenty of tapas bars and some wonderful looking restaurants.  There are some lovely renaissance churches and plenty of cobblestone streets in the Jewish Quarter and of course the famous Roman Bridge.  Flamenco dancing is very popular with quite a lot of restaurants offering dinner and a free show, unfortunately these don´t start until late and we needed an early night after sight seeing in the heat of the day, as once again its been one of the hottest days of the year at 44ºc in the shade.

Apparently the best time to visit here is between mid April and Mid June when most of the major fiestas are held and NOT in mid August, due to the heat as mentioned above, as with other places we have visited Cordoba seems like a ghost town during the day and comes to life after 22.00 with families trying to enjoy the slightly cooler nights, not that it actually got much cooler, the temperature dropped to a chilly (I wish) 38ºc

There are plenty of ways to see all the sights with open top buses, free walking tours and the horse and carts, as we were so central to everything we stuck to good old fashioned shanks’s pony (walking).

Derek s input:  I have now been promoted to Camera Caddie and given full permission to attend all photo shoots. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 5 – Cordoba to Seville 145km

After leaving Cordoba fairly early with good intentions of getting to Seville before lunch… but as with this sort of journey nothing quite goes to plan and not driving on the toll roads you never know what you will find.  After driving through once again some stunning scenery of miles and miles of orange and olive groves and field after field of sunflowers which unfortunately this time of year are waiting for harvesting so not in bloom if they were this drive would have been amazing, (so another good reason to do this journey slightly earlier in the year).

We decided to stop in the town of Almodóvar del Río so still in the province of Cordoba for yet another Tostada for breakfast (getting to the stage now where we are craving a good old English Breakfast) we stumbled across one of the most fantastic castles we have ever seen and found out it was open to the public so too good an opportunity to miss, we paid 9€ each entry and it was well worth it, this castle is truly spectacular and it wasn’t until we had paid to go in that it is advertised as being one of the main locations for Game of Thrones and is actually HighGarden of House Tyrell  so a must do for any Game of Throne fans in the area, we spent nearly 2 hours wandering round this beautifully well kept castle and it was time well spent.

Derek s input:  Now that I have been given my place with the cameras with no further opportunity of promotion in this field, I have been allocated a new task.  “Checker of whats up there”.  With so many steps everywhere, Tracy decided that she was getting tired of going up steps only to find she was looking at the same view from a different angle.  New job for Derek.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our accommodation in Seville, Hotel Maestranza, 1-star hotel – Price 45€ for the night and 22€ car parking.

Situated right in the heart of Seville old town so a great location for many of the main tourist attractions, just 250 m from the Cathedral, Barrio Santa Cruz is 800 m and the Plaza de España Square is 1.5 km. This was a fantastic hotel set in a restored Sevillian style mansion dating  from the late nineteenth century.

This hotel deserves a higher star rating, from walking in the door you are made to feel welcome all the reception staff were polite, friendly, very helpful and for the first time in 5 days we spoke to people that could speak English.  The room was spotlessly clean and tidy with everything you need for a one nights stay and considering its location very quiet, lovely comfy beds, good bathroom, including a shower and bath.  Car parking is just a few seconds walk away.  We would definitely stay here again even for a longer visit.

A special thanks to Antonio who checked us in and out, and after reading this article felt so sorry for us having to eat tostada every single morning presented us with a special gift upon checking out.

Seville

What a wonderful City!  So vibrant and busy and yet full of smiling faces.  Seville has been referred to as the “frying pan of Europe” and yes I can believe that.  The temperature was still 40° at midnight.  There is no way we could ever fully experience this city in just one day, and although not tied by time, we both felt a cooler time of year would be the time to do it, hence our short stay.  The small narrow streets, full of restaurants, shops, street musicians and Flamenco Shows on offer throughout gives this city a heartbeat that needs to be felt.   This one is a “must do” for returning.  For anyone with a love of architecture and photography, this is heaven. The quality of food here is excellent good value and plenty of choice, you certainly will never go hungry here a mixed grill for 2 cost 22.90 so wont break the bank either.  When considering could we find similar anywhere near Benidorm, you would have to make the trip to Valencia to come close.  You will still not find better than Seville though.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Derek s input:  At last I have figured out the plan.  She is trying to kill me using a slow cooker.  Water is my new tipple and possibly my only means of survival.  

Day 6 – Seville to Ronda 129km

Accommodation – Mountain Paradise Ronda 38.50€

Mountain Paradise Ronda provided free WiFi, 1 km from Plaza de España and a 16-minute walk from Iglesia de Santa María la Mayor, these is a nice little tapas bar 2 minutes walk from the property.

This property offered rooms with a walk-in wardrobe, fully equipped private bathroom with shower and free toiletries and use of a shared kitchen and a nice roof terrace where we enjoyed a bottle of wine with the owners.

The Mountain Paradise Ronda was within walking distance of Tajo’s Tree-lined Avenue, Ronda Bullring and Ronda’s New Bridge. The nearest airport is Malaga Airport, 105 km from the property, but due to the extreme heat we became lazy and took the car into the town centre, plenty of parking was available.

Unfortunately we thought we were booking a hotel so spent 10 minutes driving round looking for one to discover this was actually a guest house, but after some initial doubts and thinking oh well its only for one night we really enjoyed our stay here and left feeling we had made new friends in Janitta and Juha. They made us feel very welcome, and the quality of the room and facilities was superior to most of the Hotels we stayed in during our trip. The only negative comment is the name and the description lead us to believe we were booking a Hotel and not a guest house. However this turned out to be a fortunate mistake – Would we stay here again yes if in the area.

Ronda 

Ronda sits in the heart of the Serrania de Ronda, with a population of approximately 35,000 inhabitants.

Surrounded by lush river valleys and sitting above a deep ravine.  It is said to be one of the most beautiful and visited cities in Spain (the third most visited city in Andalucia), but to be honest although it was lovely and worth the visit, we felt that Guadalest and the Jalon Valley is just as beautiful.

Ronda’s most famous landmark is the  El Tajo gorge and  the Puente Nuevo, (new bridge) which is a strange name as it was actually completed in 1793 and took forty two years to build. The bridge joins the old Moorish town and the newer, El Mercadillo parts of the city.

The other famous land mark is the Plaza de Toros – The Bullring, which was built in 1785 by the architect Jose Martin Aldehuela – the same architect who built the Puente Nuevo. This bull ring can hold up to 5000 spectators.

There are also the Arabic baths which are some of  the best preserved in Spain. They were built at the end of the 13th century, unfortunately we did not get the time to visit these.

The town itself is lovely and quite busy with tourists from all over the world, one thing that did surprise us was that bars and restaurants started to close at around 23.00 which was quite a shock after coming from Seville where things are only just getting started then and don´t even think about eating between 16.00 and 20.30 as everything apart from McDonalds is closed, but there were plenty of bars and some lovely restaurants to try for anyone spending a bit more time here and of course plenty of the normal souvenir type shops.

Would we return to this area? probably not unless we were passing though to go else where, yes its lovely but you only need to see it once and we have places closer to home as mentioned above which are just as picturesque.

Derek’s Input:  It´s the holiday of steps!  “Lets see what’s down there”, “Lets see what’s up there”.  Then Janitta and Juha give me exercises to do.  My God, Tracy has them in on the plan to get rid of me!!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 7 – Ronda to Gibraltar, 186km

No over night stay here, we did this just because we could and to bring back happy memories of our wedding day, Gibraltar will always hold a place dear in our hearts and also after living on tostada and tapas for the last 6 days we fancied a good old English Breakfast and what better place to go for this and a spot of tax free shopping, we were warned of possible queues of up to 2 hours to get through passport checks but were only held up for around 40 minutes, so not too bad.

In our hast to get our English breakfast we were well and truly ripped off, we found The Star Bar (Gibraltar’s oldest legal drinking establishment) which dates back several hundred years, there is a local story that Christopher Columbus diverted into Gibraltar to enjoy a fillet steak meal at The Star Tavern on his way to discover the Americas! We spotted an all day English Breakfast advertised on the boards at 6.90 pounds, including a tea or coffee so thought that was just the ticket so sat down to enjoy our meal and got the shock of our life on asking for the bill (in very very small print somewhere that price was only up to midday) the total cost for 2 breakfasts, 1 decaf coffee and one normal came to a staggering 21.30 pounds – top tip never pay for anything in Euros on Gibraltar as the bill in Euros came to 27€ something.

A nice trip down memory lane and no doubt we be returning in the future, we would have stayed for one night but the prices this time of year were expensive and not much choice for last minute booking, so book in advance.

Derek s input:  With Cigs at two quid a packet, it didn´t take long to recover from the breakfast “sting”.   Thats the 2nd time in my life, I left Gibraltar with a lot more than I arrived with.

Day 7, part 2 – Gibraltar to Benalmadena, Malaga – 120km

Avoiding any toll roads and motorways its a pleasant drive along the coast road, some quite heavy traffic in places, well heavy by Spanish standards ie a 4-5 mins delay.

Accommodation – Boutique Hotel Pueblo 2 star hotel, 95€ for one night.

This was our most expensive accommodation on the entire trip, as there was not a lot available at short notice, we had to book the premium double room with sea view (distant sea view) but were not disappointed as this was at the top of the premises so nice and quiet and was actually more like a apartment with its own fully equipped kitchen etc. I was all excited at the thought of getting up and actually having a cup of tea with my morning cigarette unfortunately it was a bit of a let down as the milk provided had gone off, other than that we enjoyed our stay the hotel was clean and tidy and the owners helpful.

This was situated just a couple of streets away from the old town of Benalmadena, and close to local bars and cafes.

Free parking was available but quite a distance from the hotel so not really convenient if you were to have a lot of luggage and parking on the road side was virtually impossible even for a quick drop off.

Would we return, yes if in the area and the price was right.

Benalmadena

Benalmadena is situated in the province of Malaga and consists of three main areas: Benalmadena Pueblo, Benalmadena Costa and Arroyo de la Miel.

Benalmadena’s beaches are mainly centred around Puerto Marina. They vary from wide, sandy beaches perfect for families to more rocky beaches that are best suited for serious swimmers, but these are situated miles away from the old town area, so if your looking for a beach area you would need to actually book on the coast itself.

The old town is quite picturesque with narrow streets and typical white buildings, although there did not seem to be a lot going on to be honest, if you’re after entertainment this is not the place for you.

We had a night out at Tivilli World, I thought we would feel out of place not having children with us, but there were plenty of other couples just enjoying the shows etc, great value at 7.95€ entry per adult, and wrist bands to enjoy all the rides at around 15€, food and drinks were reasonable here as well which is unusual when they have a captive audience.  What will surprise the British is that this park opens at 17.30 and doesn’t shut until 01.30 and yes there are still plenty of families with young children out at that time of night, enjoying the slightly cooler temperatures.

The other place worth a visit and just up the road is the Butterfly park, Mariposario de Benalmadena here you can walk amongst more than 1,500 exotic butterflies from around the world, flying freely in a tropical paradise between waterfalls and flowers, normal cost would have been 10€ pp but if you book on line its cheaper we used the discount tickets which were available in the hotel and got a 1€ reduction each.

oh and breakfast was once again tostada con tomate lol

An enjoyable night here, but not enough going on to warrant a longer stay.  Benidorm has TerraMitica which would be similar to Tivilli world and both Benidorm old town the village of Altea are nicer than Benalmadena (which only looked this pretty with all the flags etc as they were preparing for a fiesta) with the beaches being closer to the town (walking distance), with more restaurants and bars etc, maybe we just stayed in the wrong area but will not be returning, much nicer places right on our doorstep here in Benidorm.

Derek s input:  Marbella, Benalmadena, Fuengirola and Torremolinos all have their tourist areas that are attempts to create another Benidorm.  They all fail miserably.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 8 & 9 – Benalmadena to GRANADA – 142km

We only initially planned to stay in Granada for 1 night but ended up extending it to 2, not because we liked it but we were tired and the hotel was nice.

Accommodation – Hotel Molinos 1* 84€ (for 2 nights) car parking 16.50 per day.

We could not resist booking this hotel as its in the Guinness Book of Records for being the narrowest hotel in the world. It had a rooftop terrace with views over Granada and was supposedly only 10 mins from the Alhambra (more like 45 in this heat), situated in the old town area of Granada, with bars and restaurants near by, we were especially delighted to find a Mexican restaurant less than 2 minutes away, where we had probably the best meal of the entire holiday.

The hotel was lovely and again hard to believe it was only classed as a 1*, I presume this was because the lack of a lift.  All the staff were polite, friendly and helpful, lovely little cafe area for breakfast which was… yes you guessed it Tostada´s and cost 5€ extra.  The one big bonus to this hotel was the amazing hydrotherapy shower.  Nice comfortable beds and a good sized room which was bright and airy and was a bit of a surprise for the narrowest hotel, I expected to be able to touch the walls and squeeze round beds.

Private parking (16.50 per day) was less than 2 minutes away but the hotel had a drop off/pick up point right outside, which was convenient.

Would we return – Yes definitely if we were to ever visit Granada again.

Granada

This is somewhere I had visited many years ago on the way to the airport and always wanted to see it properly, Granada lies at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Andalusia region.  It’s known for its medieval architecture which dates back to the Moorish occupation, one of the main attractions is the Alhambra. This  is a sprawling hilltop fortress complex encompasses royal palaces, serene patios, and reflecting pools from the Nasrid dynasty, as well as the fountains and orchards of the Generalife gardens, Unfortunately after walking up 100´s of steps and steep roads to get to the Alhambra we found out it was a very expensive 45€ each to walk round the palace and gardens, far to expensive we felt, so made do with seeing the free areas.

The city of Granada itself I felt looked a bit tired and dirty and had the feel of more of a working city rather than a tourist destination, it was very busy compared to other places we had been on our journey and I have to say I did not feel entirely happy walking round the town centre at night time.  It is the only place we encountered obvious pick pockets at work.  There were plenty of touristy* type shops in the narrow streets of the La Alcaiceria which is part of the old Arab district.

The Cathedral –  construction was started in 1501 by order of the Catholic royal couple.  The cathedral was built on the former site of a mosque and the burial chapel for the kings was completed first. For a time, the old mosque served as a cathedral, The cathedral was built in Renaissance style and finally put to use in 1561. Afterwards, the necessary changes and additions have occurred, such as the Baroque dome church Iglesia del Sagrario in the place of the planned second tower. For nearly 200 years, various architects worked on the building of this cathedral, making the cathedral of Granada a mix of Renaissance and Gothic styles. To be quite honest we were not that impressed with the cathedral and had seen much better on our travels, not to mention you had to pay an entrance fee to see inside.

I think overall we were both a bit disappointed with Granada, it all seemed a bit tired and run down, maybe we just did not see the right areas or our expectations were too high, as everyone else seems to rave about it, but to us Seville beats it hands down as does Valencia which is only an hour and a half away from Benidorm and has much more to offer.

We will be returning – No I doubt it.

Derek s input:  *yes, we know there is no such word as “touristy”, but you know what it means. … Yet again hills and steps threatened my existence on this planet….and yet again Benidorm wins hands down.  The pickpockets here are much smarter, you can spot the Granada ones a mile off!!!!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 10 – Granada to Sierra Nevada – 40km

As we are so close and having been to the Sierra Nevada before in winter as its mostly known as a ski resort we thought we would take a quick detour to see what it was like in the summer, the scenery is equally as spectacular in summer as it is in winter and believe it or not even in August with temperatures in the mid 30´s down in Granada there were still some patches of snow visible on the higher mountains.

The resort itself was a bit like a seaside resort in winter but the opposite way round what is a bustling resort in the winter months is quite a drab and depressing place in summer, there were still a couple of hotels open and a few bars, but the businesses obviously take this opportunity to do their renovations so there was quite a lot of building work going on.  The cable cars were still working but at 14€ each just to go up and down we thought that was a bit “steep”. but parking that is normally quite expensive during their peek season is free during the summer months, and as we did in winter we managed to forget where we had parked the car.

As you drive back down the mountains you have a great view of the Guejar Sierra reservoir.

 
 
Snow in August..... Really
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And winter time
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Winter time (Feb)
 
 
Winter time (Feb)
 
 
 
 

We had planned to spend our last two nights on a beach somewhere, but this was not to be as we could not get a booking anywhere near the coast for just one or two nights unless we paid an extortionate amount some were coming up in the region of 600€ for a two nights stay.  In fact it was actually difficult to find anywhere available to book with Spain being 98% completely booked up, so we took what we could get….. and headed inland again towards the mountains and hopefully some cooler temperatures.

Derek s input:  A ski resort in August…really?  The things I do to keep the peace.  Perfect husband here.

Day 10 and 11 – Sierra Nevada to Huescar 139km

The journey to Huescar was amazing we drove through so many different landscapes, and the one real pleasure was finding out we were driving right beside the Guejar Sierra reservoir which we had seen driving down from the Sierra Nevada, this was just stunning, we also drove through areas where cave houses were the main residential properties, unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to take any photos of these.

Accommodation – Hostería El Molino de Portillo – 100€ for 2 nights stay including continental breakfast, free parking.

Our one stipulation was that the property had a swimming pool as we could not get a booking on the coast so we only had a choice of around 3 properties, so this seemed perfect for what we were looking for and the prospect of a continental breakfast swayed the decision.

This was the property description –

Offering free WiFi, a sun terrace with a swimming pool and barbecue facilities, Hostería El Molino de Portillo is set in Huéscar. With a garden, the property also features a shared lounge. The property offers a 24-hour front desk.

At Hostería El Molino de Portillo, every room comes with a desk. Rooms are complete with a private bathroom, while certain units at Hostería El Molino de Portillo also have a patio. The rooms have a seating area.

Well for a start the room we had did not have a desk which was important to us as we wanted to keep working on Benidorm Seriously also the seating area was one chair.  The bathroom was situated up stairs which was quite unusual, and at certain times of the day the water was only a dribble, so no chance of a proper shower, only 2 power points in the entire room so had to unplug lights to power up the computers.

The swimming pool was adequate and we had it to ourselves which was a bonus.  The owner spoke very little English but we managed.

This was basic but comfortable accommodation BUT and this was a big disappointment the continental breakfast we were so looking forward to turned out to be 4 slices of toast and coffee, in fact the funny thing was the owner supplied 4 slices of toast for us and when they had gone whisked the plate away, when the only other people that were staying there turned up for breakfast he introduced them to the “breakfast buffet” which we found hilarious and the look on their faces was priceless, he then again produced a plate with 4 pieces of bread that you had to toast yourself, no fruit juice, cereal, croissants, fresh fruit, just 4 slices of bread………

The property could have been stunning with a bit of care and attention and some money spent on it, but sadly felt a bit neglected with the garden areas quite dirty and untidy, and no one in their right mind would have wanted to use the BBQ area.  There were no facilities to even buy a bottle of water here and the nearest town of Huescar was a good 2.5km away which was a bit of a pain,  but we did get the peace and quiet we were looking for.

Would we return – NO.

Huescar

The small town of Huescar is known as “Cuidad de la Paz” (City of Peace). It sits at an altitude of 953 metres and has a population of less than 8,500. Its quite a traditional/authentic Andalusian village. The natural surroundings are picturesque, with the stunning backdrop of mountain peaks and greenery, Like all the villages/towns this place was as dead as a door nail during the day, but come around 22.00 every single bar/restaurant was heaving with people enjoying the cooler evening air there were even queues of people waiting for tables to eat their evening meals, groups of people seemed to congregate in the square for a chat which is lovely to see and everyone seemed to have dressed up for the occasion, not a lot of English was spoken here and every single bar/restaurant seemed to have exactly the same menu on offer – tapas, we eventually managed to find one on our second night that had Lasagna on the menu.

Both nights we were here we had quite heavy thunderstorms and got caught in one on our 2nd night, luckily we had just finished our meal when the heavens opened so decided to drive back to our accommodation before it got much worse, unfortunately we timed it just wrong and on the short drive back the car was struck by hailstones the size of golf balls, we were lucky to get back without at the very least a cracked windscreen, quite a scary experience.  The temperature here in the mountains was quite a bit cooler than we had experienced over the last few days and was a pleasant change.

There is quite a lot to do in this area, walking, swimming, fishing etc but our time here was to wind down, not really to go exploring which we managed to do.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Derek s input:  The breakfast as Tracy says was hilarious.  He called it a small buffet….lol, 4 rounds of toast and he was making sure you didn´t get greedy and go for more.  The plate was removed and not returned until someone else arrived.  Food must be short here.  In the entire town, you eat when they decided you eat, not when you are hungry.

Next stop – HOME – Benidorm 379km

Summary

This was probably one of the best holidays we have had, every time you move on its like starting a whole new holiday, nothing was really planned apart from the 1st three nights and I thought I may find that stressful not knowing where we would be staying as I normally have everything meticulously planned, but towards the end of the holiday it was myself saying “don´t worry we will book somewhere in the morning, it may be cheaper” so a leopard can change its spots.

By not taking any toll roads and setting the Sat-Nav to an eco route, we saw some amazing things on our journey that we would otherwise have missed.

Distance driven – 1,912km

Average price of a room for the night – 55.50€

Parking – 67€

Price of petrol – 253€

Overall best accommodation – Hotel Spa Galatea 2 Star hotel, Ossa de Montiel

Favourite place visited – This has to be Seville and we will be returning for a longer stay.

Most disappointing  – Granada

Best surprise along the way – Almodóvar Castle

Food – Although we generally like to embrace Spanish culture, the choice of food on menus in most places was very limited and repetitive, the one thing that surprised me was the lack of chicken on any of the menus.

Living in Benidorm tends to spoil you for anywhere else and you tend to take things for granted, ie the ability to do what you want, when you want to do it ie EAT, even at 4am, this is just not the case in other places, if your hungry between the hours of 4 – 8pm forget it even in the large cities such as Seville, things still shut…..English breakfasts and Sunday lunches again, don´t even bother looking, although food prices were not that much more expensive than in Benidorm you won´t find a pint at 1.50€….. and you will not find any where else in Europe like Benidorm for entertainment.

We also have some stunning areas of our own ie Altea, Alicante itself, Jalon Valley, Guadalest, Algar Falls the list goes on, so if you are here on holiday try and explore some of our own surrounding areas.

Would we do this again – A big fat YES and already looking forward to next years Road Trip.

Unfortunately like most working people we are tied to when we can take this sort of time off and August is probably not the best time of year to do this sort of thing as even with air con in the car that tends to struggle when the temperatures hits the mid 30´s, but we struggled on.

If you have enjoyed this page then please comment below, if not also feel free to comment (constructive criticism is welcome) and if you have any suggestions for our next trip again comment below.

Adios  x

Derek s input:  I fancy America next time, but not sure when can get the time off as that would need more than 10 days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carol Carnegie
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Carol Carnegie

Oh wow! What stunning photography.xx

Linda Metcalfe
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Linda Metcalfe

Nice photos, hope your enjoying it. Love Ronda isn’t it fab, I’ve done all that road trip in the motorhome except Cordoba, it looks lush.

Hazel Edgar
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Hazel Edgar

We had a day tripto Ronda when we were staying Costa del sol…hired a car for a day..I remember my niece being car sick on the way up..it’s a very steep road up to Ronda dennis ears popped X

Fidelma Kearney
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Fidelma Kearney

Tracy I enjoyed your road trip. Brilliant photography and descriptions. The breakfast in Huescar was hilarious. Thank you. I suggest you go to Madrid if you hadn’t been already. We would love to go to San Sebastian.