Latest from Lanjaron: Thurs, Sept 04, 2003

Well, I’m back in sunny Spain where, funnily enough, for the first time since mid-May, it’s raining! Hence the time to spend catching up with emails.

Got back from France last Sunday after mega 17 hour drive from Chamonix. Had a good season out there but Mont Blanc was too dangerous during August. The hot weather had destroyed the underlying permafrost and much rockfall was the result. Made the summit with a group late July but that was our only successful effort. The French authorities tried very hard to dissuade any summit attempts by even posting gendarmes at the foot of the mountain! Instead we all trooped off to climb the highest peak in Italy, the Gran Paradiso. A good substitute, but a substitute nevertheless.

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve got a motor bike! I’ve had a dream for a few months now of roaring down the highway like Tom Cruise in “Top Gun”. Tight white T-shirt, wind rushing by, 200 throbbing horses between my legs! Anyway the dream has now been achieved, well almost. I’ve bought a Honda X8RS 50cc bike/scooter. Unfortunately, far from looking like Tom Cruise, I’m more like Bart Simpson driving a lawnmower! OK, I can hear you laughing. Not such a bad idea though, as 50cc bikes have no regulations attached to them here and I will get about 90 mpg …………… just wish it sounded a little bit more earthy, rather than like an underpowered sewing machine. Plans to buy a horse have been “put on ice” until I see how the damn thing goes (or doesn’t). Need a helmet to go with it. Will probably look like “Dodo the Space Kid” then eh?

Snow arrived on the high peaks yesterday. Just a dusting but enough to remind me of the joys awaiting me soon. Bookings have started to come in for the winter season here and there are lots of enquiries around. “Very buoyant market conditions” the current business speak goes, I think? I’m looking forward to skiing this year and shall buy a season pass. Can just see me on my bike, driving (chugging) up the access road towards the ski centre, skis tied to my back, holding all the traffic up as I hit 17.5 mph. Reminds one of Jim Carey in the film “Dumb and Dumber”, doesn’t it?

Work has been started on a well in the grounds of the cortijos. I say started, because that’s all they did 4 weeks ago ……. drilled a hole, made a mess, and left! Perhaps they’ll return and finish the job one day, who knows? The well, if completed, will provide a year-round supply of water for the grounds and will ensure water even in the driest summer. Good idea ……… or so I thought?

Did a long walk in the hills yesterday. Left the car at north end of Sierras at the ski centre and walked all the way back south to Lanjarón. Must have been 18 miles over some of the roughest terrain in Spain. At top of the final peak, Cerro Caballo, with water gone, 7 hours walking done, legs hurting, I saw Lanjarón still some 14 km distant. That 14 km took me another 5 hours to descend and by the time I reached town my feet were severely sore with crushed toes. I limped into town like a younger John Wayne and went straight to my favourite bar, “Los Faroles”. Antonio, the landlord/owner saw me stagger in and immediately supplied my with a complimentary PINT of Jack Daniels and Coke! How’s that for service? Can’t see that happening in the UK somehow, can you?

The dogs are well. My daughter, Emma is over here now and has dog sitting duty as one of her “tasks”. Her other main reason for being here is to see if she can deplete the Spanish “Malibu” mountain. I’m sure she’s only over here because she gets 5 measures of Malibu in every drink. She thinks it’s because the barman, Marcos, fancies her. I think it’s really because that’s what’s done for everyone.

Written by:
Richard Hartley

Richard is an avid blogger and the founder of Spanish Highs Sierra Nevada. He is author of the Cicerone Guidebook Walking and Trekking in the Sierra Nevada