Southern Spain March 2008 Part 2

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Southern Spain March 2008 Part 2

Post  Radar on Mon Feb 23 2009, 21:21

Day 4 Science fiction sets and leaky dams!

By 10:00 am on day four the temperature had already reached 20ºC and the snow we had witnessed at Birmingham airport only a few days before seemed like a million miles away, rather than just a 2 hour plane ride. Initially we headed towards Campanillos on the A7054, then the A7058 and A7075 to Almogia. Whilst the roads were not quite to the same extraordinary standard of the Ronda or 366 they still provided plenty of fun as they wend their way up and down the sides of beautiful mountainsides and valleys. I lost count of how many bends I took, and Mandy on the pillion was still the perfect foil and working hard to match my every move. It was near Almogia where we pulled in for a rest and to take a look at the exquisitely handcrafted mosaics that overlook the valley. Here we paused for a while, Mandy spotted a house she wants me to buy (dream on…) and we just generally chilled out in the sun, if you will pardon the contradiction in terms there!

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Terry and Michele

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Intricate mosaics

Back on the bikes once more we dropped down a step single-track road through a lush and stunningly beautiful valley. I found this quite at odds with my pre-conceived ideas of how southern Spain would look; arid and slightly barren. We passed over a small bridge that spanned a river and had only a trickle of water passing under it and then continued along the base of this achingly pretty landscape. So beautiful in fact that it had taken on an almost surreal aspect and the air was laced with strong citrus smells from the orange and lemon groves that surrounded us.

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Beautiful valley

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The whole of this area was to have been flooded as part of a massive project to dam the valley. Indeed a rather impressive dam had been constructed. However the geologists had got it wrong and whilst the dam itself was perfect the rocks formation that formed the valley were porous and when the time came to fill the dam, the water quietly seeped away, it was almost as though mother nature was saying hands off! I would bet that the head geologist for the project now works in McDonalds and is yet to earn his first star…

However a big benefit to come from the dam project was the construction of some superb roads, just right for bikers on a mission! We soon came upon such a section and Terry pulled over just as the road opened out into series of inviting sweeping and turned to Michael and I and shouted

“They made this bit just for bikers!”

and then he promptly sped off with our two Hornets in hot pursuit, I could hear Mandy murmuring ‘here we go again’ to herself as the engine note hardened and I started cranking the bike from side to side as bends started to come at me thick and fast again. This section is only 7 to 8 kms long but it is sensational. Michele calls it Terry’s personal racetrack and I can see why, superb! Four bikes joined as one despatched this section in the blink of an eye and when we got to the end and rolled to a halt I found myself whooping into my helmet and punching in the air like some under paid extra in Top Gun! This is not something that,as a typically reserved Brit, I normally do, but these roads are so good and they get to you like that!

From there we moved to the world renowned Torcal Rocks near Antequera using the A7075. The Torcal Rocks have an eerie, rugged and almost haunting beauty, the contrast to the lush valleys we had ridden through only a couple of hours earlier was quite stark. We were now surrounded by an almost lunar landscape and I have never encountered anything else quite like it. The rocks have formed in stacks and look like they have been deliberately placed on top of one another by a giant unseen hand. They reminded me of high value poker chips piled on top of each other. Some are in formations that look like faces; reminiscent of those imposing statues on Easter Island. You could imagine a science fiction film being made here, a weird but wonderful place. They sit high above the rest of the landscape and temperatures had dropped to 10 degrees or so and the wind had picked up noticeably. You looked down on villages and the view was like that you get from aircraft we were so high. A stunning place and well worth diverting to and as we rolled gently back down to the main road we all stopped at various points to pause and try and take it all in.

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Rocks at Torcal

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A somewhat windswept group...

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Face like formations of rocks at this surreal place

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The valley floor far below us

A fascinating and highly enjoyable mornings riding had built up an appetite and lunch was beckoning. Yet again Terry and Michele came up trumps and picked out a superb venue; El Molino (The Mill) is a large family restaurant set in the shadow of the rocks and majestic, sweeping vistas. Inside the walls are lined with traditional farming implements and the centre piece is a huge circular fireplace with a massive copper finish flue. Even the sudden arrival of several coach loads of tourists failed to spoil another delicious meal.

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Murder weapons as far as the eye can see!

Refreshed we got back on the bikes quickly arrived at another famous local landmark, a formation of rocks known locally as ‘The Face’. Take a look at he picture, I think you can see why….

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The Face ~ Pretty spooky!

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Michael on 'his' Hornet with the face looking on

Overall the tour couldn’t be going any better as Terry and Michele make you feel as though you are riding with friends rather than some officious guide and Michael had become like an old mate. It is great when a group gels in this way and I find it so much easier to relax and enjoy myself. In biking terms it is vital to trust those riding with you and as a group we were hanging together really well.

We rounded off day four heading past Alora then Pizarra enjoying another spell of twisting A road and it felt good to be pushing the Hornet again for a few clicks. Once back at the Corjita overlooking the valley below Mandy and I could reflect on another fantastic, memorable days riding that mixed great roads with intriguing landscapes.

Next time:

A brush with law, confusion in the loos and the road to heaven!
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Re: Southern Spain March 2008 Part 2

Post  robertcains on Thu Feb 26 2009, 22:55

Great write up as usual Radar, keep 'em coming clink
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