184-something miles (or 296 kilometers) to the next campinground at Ossa de Montiel. But first, we’ve gotta a couple of quick stops at what has been described as the most well-preserved Renaissance towns in the whole of Spain–Ubeda and Baeza. This is definitely one of those beautiful places and UNESCO world-heritage sites in Andalucia, if not the whole of Spain, that you would need days to visit and really appreciate all that it has to offer, not an hour like we did. Oh, well! Let’s leave some for later. Here it is anyway, in pictures.
From the desert-like cave houses of Guadix that look like Arizona–where primitive songs of the outcasts, traditionally the gypsies of Spain, might have flourished, we sluggishly move through northeast Spain, passing through fields of foodcrops and groves upon seemingly ceaseless groves of olive trees.
Today, day 11 and on the 6th leg of our fourth family camping road trip across Europe, from Spain to Poland, we finally leave our beloved Andalucia. That’s right! After 11 days on the road, we are still in Andalucia. We’ve gone from the land of sherry, flamenco and dancing horses, to the coast of Tarifa, and through the Alpujarras. This has definitely been one of the best relaxing Andalucia road trip that our slow-go family has ever done.
“Ya hay un español que quiere
vivir y a vivir empieza,
entre una España que muere
y otra España que bosteza.
Españolito que vienes
al mundo, te guarde Dios.
Una de las dos Españas
ha de helarte el corazón.”Antonio Machado’s “Españolito“
“There is already a Spaniard who wants
to live and to live begins,
between a Spain that dies
and another Spain that yawns.
Spaniard who comes
to the world, God save you.
One of the two Spains
your heart must freeze.”Google Translation of “Españolito“
UNFILTERED NOTES on the road to Baeza and Ubeda
There’s a story there somewhere. Inspired by the desert-like rockmountains of Arizona… or maybe even Kyrgyzstan, as we were leaving Guadix, the boys and I came up with a story of Coco/Bobo, Poco and a cool cat named Loco. “Auf viedersien!,” to our German-Spanish one-time cave-house friend named Emilio and his mother Maria.
Onwards and northwards towards Ubeda and Baeza, we passed villages of Torre-Cardela, Darro and Moreda with pretty landscapes and seemingly endless fields of food crops, with what looked like different crops in each plot (olives, wheat, foodstuff), instead of monoculture, make for an eyecatching view, with backdrop of the mountains. . . through the town of Jodar–the gateway or puerta to the Sierra Mágina.
Past the pueblo of Torre-Cardela and Guadahortuna come the vast olive groves on collinas… on the hills of the Sierra Mágina in front of you. Lots and lots of them. On both sides of the road. Up and down and all over to the other side of the sierra, or so it seemed. It’s the Andlaucian province of olives after all–Jaen!
Olive trees seemed to not care much what type of soil they are in… white (blonde), brown, red… it’s all good. They’d grow.
This is “a very pleasant drive,” my wife says. (We were on A-401 La Carolina-Guadix 2-lane both ways motorway between Guadix and Ubeda).
Past Ubeda, on A-32, was not a pretty drive anymore, in terms of the quality of the road… Road expansion work everywhere here. More truck traffic in the near future. Still, it was quite a scenic drive.
The entire length of the drive are olive groves in all directions, certainly between Jodar, past Ubeda, between La Sierra de Segura and Sierra de Andujar and the little sierranitas inbetween… past the hilltop town of Iznatoraf.
I wonder did they raze the old mountain trees and replaced them with these neatly laid out olive groves?
Hmmmmm… must be good camping amidst the olive groves. Camping under or inbetween olive trees could be a viable alternative or additional income for some smallscale olive farmers, esecially if situated near a swimmable body of water.
Then, por fin!, we cross the Andalusian border with the province of Castilla La Mancha–you know, the dusty land of Don Quixote?!?!?. We’ve finally left our adopted motherland, about 70 km or 1 hour to destination.
“I’m sad. I know the people of Andalucia. Now I feel lonely,” Karol says.
“I’m not sad,” says Kaj. “I’ve four tetas and I’m too fat. I can’t even squeeze into this.”
And we all laughed like lunatics on this desolate mountain road.
Then we turned left onto Caretera de Montana (CM 3127) heading into the eastern part of Sierra Andujar. Now the hills have lost the olive trees.
Down the sierra and olive groves are back on both sides of the strangely straight road.
Past the olive groves on colinas (hills) in the sleepy village of Albaladejo. There are more contrasting colourfields here of red, brown, greens and gold.
The crumbling castle on the hill at Montiel greets the weary traveller, along with the 4 people on the street.
ANot much farther to go, past Villahermosa and Ossa de Montiel (on CR-640).
At some point along the tail end of this drive the fields turned into private hunting grounds (coto privado de caza). For what, I don’t rightly know.
Then lots of greens, other trees and more foodcrops as we get closer to Ossa deMontiel. What’s in the name anyway?
Then west towards the unexpected gems of cluster of little lakes–Lagunas de Ruidera, arriving at 18:35 to pitch tent, once again, after about 6 hours on the road.
what to do in Granada Province
Here are some of the must-do/must-see things in Granada, othern than visiting Granada–the city itself–and all its majestic places to visit. That’s a separate post altogether.
Check out this video of FREE things you can do with kids in the Sierra Nevada. . . in the snow!
Hoya de la Mora in the Sierra Nevada–The southernmost part of Europe, where you can ski or sled or do your snowy things down a mountain and swim in the Mediterranean sea within one hour of each other.
With over 300 days of strong Andalusian sunshine here in southern Spain, you would not think that there would be snow. Think again!
The Sierra Nevada, about a one-hour drive from the city of Granada, boasts the southernmost point of Europe where you can ski, sled and snowboard as late as early May.
You can literally hit the snow slopes all morning and swim in the Mediterranean in the afternoon.
You can visit Pampaneira along with the other white villages of Capileira and Bubion in a day. For us, slow-go family travelers (with KIDS!), it would be too much.
In this sunny south side of the Sierra Nevada–the artist-trap mountains of Granada–we’d like to especially take it easy. . . you know, like Sunday mornings.
Next Stop: Jewel Lakeside Camping Los Batanes at Ossa de Montiel
Onwards, upwards. . . . to Andorra! Here’s the first half of our family camping road trip. . . number FOUR! 1,617-something kilometers from Jerez de la Frontera, detour to Bolonia, then Setenil de las Bodegas, the white villages of the Alpujarras, the caves of Guadix, Baeza, Ubeda, Ossa de Montiel, the hanging houses of Cuenca, Lake Caspe and finally the little country of Andorra. . . at least for the first half of this trip!
Last Stops: Cave Living in Granada
What’s it like living in a cave in the mountain desert land of Granada in Andalucia, Spain? Check it out, in pictures!
That’s it! Explore more places to see. Click on the links and let us know about it.
Big Smile! -the free electrons family
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