Spain

So we have a full day to go and we are almost packed – so much so that Jim is painting again and I am writing this. What’s left is a day tomorrow when we might have time to walk one of our favourite walks once more. The mood changed about 3 days ago. For some reason, we start the countdown to leaving long before we need to. Unable to settle to anything; ready to go but it’s not yet time to leave. The physical packing will take us a day: sorting, filling bags and boxes, washing, cleaning, putting the things...

We were out walking again the other day, returning to the Cabo de Gata Parque Natural to hike a new trail. Come lunchtime, we needed somewhere to shelter out of the strong, cool wind, to hunker down and tuck into our cheese and tomato sandwiches. We found a perfect grassy spot beside the old well in a hamlet of about 6 or 7 houses facing each other across a rough track that served as their access. It’s a tranquil neighbourhood below the twin peaks of Los Frailes, the pair of volcanic hills that dominate the landscape here. Most of the...

Yesterday we met Raoul and he told us about how the land is dying. It seems counter to all that we’ve seen here while we’ve been out walking, the flowers that have captivated us with their abundance, colour and fragrance. But Raoul knows differently and he showed us how to look so we see more clearly. Raoul is an old friend of Amaya and Miguel. Amaya has been my Spanish teacher here these last 3 years and, although we had not arranged classes this time, we have kept in touch. We met up in the Cabo de Gata Parque Natural, to have...

If you take the coast road south from Bedar, you pass the tourist playas of Mojacar and then along a road that sweeps like a silver ribbon around the coastal Sierra Cabrera. The A5106 is a feat of engineering – fantastic views out to sea as you round another dramatic hairpin bend supported on stilts wedged into sheer slope. Not for the faint-hearted. After about 20km you reach Carboneras, another of the pure white settlements that hug the hillsides and dip their toes into the Mediterranean. Carboneras would be beautiful but for two things. Firstly, it’s outgrown itself; needy developments...