Sunday, 16 July 2006
Two Weeks in Andalucia, Spain
Just got back from a two week holiday in Andalucia, Spain. The first two week holiday I have had in a long, long time and it was very welcome!
We were staying in a villa called Casa Rosina, which is in a fairly remote part of Andalucia in the South of Spain. The nearest village was a place called Periana (map)
This is the first time I had been to Spain. Unfortunately, I barely speak any Spanish. On the other hand, this made me feel like a real British tourist as I could walk around in ignorance just asking things in English, in that annoying, LOUD and SLOW was we do. However, I did find much use for the phrase 'no entiendo'. I think I will try to make more effort to learn some of the lingo before I go next time.
The holiday party was Me, Wendy, my Mum and Dad, my brother Fraser and his girlfriend Lauren.
The villa was really nice and over 200 years old. Mum and Dad took the large double room upstairs, while Fraser and I wrestled (winner - me! Yeah!) then tossed a coin (winner - Fraser. Boo!) to see who would get the other big double room with en suite, or the small double room. We agreed to swap rooms halfway through the holiday, although, amusingly, somone had a little temper tantrum when we actually got round to the big swap! Staying in the small room was the first time I can remember being in pitch dark for a long time. I woke up in the middle of the night and for a second thught I had gone blind as I had no night vision and could not see a single thing - not even my hand in front of my face!
The villa had a small pool, which when we arrived seemed to be the favourite hang out of the local wasps. Fraser and I soon put an end to that, aided by the pool net and a couple of wooden bats. I think between us we must have killed a fair few dozen of the useless insects. In fact the locals were so impressed that they held a party in the street for us a named me 'águila de la sierra de la cadena', which in Spanish means 'the great warrior who came and saved us from the evil insects using his quite impressive ninja skills'. Fraser, for his part, received the name 'tablero que plancha', which means 'the slightly less impressive warrior who helped the better warrior'. They promised to hold a street festival in our honour each year.
We found a strange insect around the pool. I thought it might be some kind of Rhino beetle, perhaps Dynastidae, but Dad is an expert in insects and assured me that it was a spider.*
In the first week, Wendy and I made a long drive to Cordoba to visit the Mezquita Cordoba Mosque. It's quite impressive - a huge mosque, with a Christian cathedral built within it. How's that for harmony?! ;)
We visited Malaga thinking it would be a bit of a dump, but it was actually quite nice. It has a huge Moorish fort which we didn't bother visiting. (I intend making those photos into a panoramic)
Of course you can't visit Andalucia without visiting the Alhambra. It was incredibly hot there though, which made the day a bit of a struggle.
We took some climbing stuff with us (thanks Rina and N*****K!) as we were reasonably near El Chorro gorge (photo by Wendy), which is one of the world's most famous rock climbing spots. Unfortunately most of the climbs were too difficult for us *insert usual excuses here* so we decided to climb down in Valle de Abdalajís. After an age looking aorund, we eventually found some bolted climbs, including Wish you were here, Spocky, which looked like a reasonable climb. Unfortunately it didn't go so well. As usual I was rubbish and got stuck. I eventually went for the move and managed to get the quickdraw in, but then I fell... I was just about to clip in so was about 2m above the previous bolt, so I guess I fell about 4-5m. I haven't actually ever fallen before when leading and I would have been okay, but my left leg went into a crack so my left knee made contact with the wall first. That hurt. It's about a week since thne as I type and it still hurts a fair bit (I had a bit of trouble walking around for the rest of the holiday!). Poor Wendy had a bit of a weight disadvantage and got pulled up a meter or so through a spiky bush! Nevertheless, she held on well and saved me! So if you're ever looking for a belayer when you are about to lead climb, don't overlook Wendy just because she is 'not experienced' enough. A) She's got to learn somehow and B) she has just proved that she is more than capable of holding a falling climber.
Anyway, I hurt too much so I had to lower off the quickdraw and leave the other one in too, meaning I left two quickdraws for some lucky climbers (who are not as useless as me). Can you spot them?
No trip to Spain is complete without some motorbiking, so Fraser and I got a hold of a couple of bikes and took some action shots.
Here is the full public picture gallery of my holiday pics. (N.B. That's not all the photos. Most of the pics with people in them are not on the website, because one of our number is a little shy - I will put them up in a password spot later)
*For the sake of Dad's sanity, I must point out that I am only joking. Dad knew what type of beetle it was. He really likes his beetles does our Dad. In fact, as soon as that picture was taken, he picked it up, bit its head off and sucked out the insides! We didn't show Dad any more beetles that holiday.