The Misty Mountain Hop – part the first
I know we only seem to stay in one place for a nanosecond before flitting off again, but believe it or not last year we felt we hadn’t really used the Boomobile enough, so we’ve made a point of remedying that in 2010. Our latest jaunt was up into the Sierra Nevada, mainly for Miki to sketch, but also for me to get a little distance from the album, and read some books. Two of them were music related, of course, a wonderful biography of the legendary Who drummer Keith Moon, by Tony Fletcher, highly recommended, and Jools Holland’s Barefaced lies and Boogie Woogie boasts, a witty and informative autobiography by a great musician and presenter. I also managed to cram in the actor Robert Lindsay’s autobiography, Letting Go, which he kindly signed to Miki and I following Miki’s superb portrait of him, and perhaps the fact we’re both Derbyshire lads who support The Rams and have sang about them!
Anyway, as we journeyed away from the coast and up onto the winding mountain roads, our route appeared to quickly become ever more vertiginous. Miki was staring to get nervous (which is when I , perversely, start to enjoy myself) Added excitement was provided by: 1) The rock falls onto our carriageway, and 2) the disappearance down the mountainside of huge chunks of the opposite carriageway. We were encountering these at such frequent intervals, I can only marvel that we didn’t ever encounter both at the same time, thereby rendering passage impossible. This happy circumstance notwithstanding, I was glad to have brought copious amounts of underwear…..
From the signs we saw everywhere, it appeared that many millions of European funds were being allocated to fixing these death traps roads. It seems to me that the money would have been better spent on teaching the Spanish how to build them properly in the first place.
Following an unfortunate right hand turn that almost resulted in me inadvertently making off with an entire village’s supply of fiesta bunting, not to mention a couple of old ladies wrapped round the wing mirrors, we finally entered the village of Tevelez in a more appropriate manner. The sign at the entrance proclaimed that the village ‘touched the sky’ and as we looked up from the valley road at the white buildings disappearing into the mountain mists, I felt inclined to believe them. By sheer good fortune, we ended up beautifully parked within the village, adjacent to a waterfall and mountain stream.
We spent a lovely couple of days there exploring the steep village streets and houses, and embarking on one of the mountain walks that circumnavigated the area. Miki of course, began sketching the sights around her. You can read about her thoughts and see some sketches from our trip HERE.
Perhaps the most staggering sight for me was that of the great swathes of pristine white snow still stubbornly clinging to the higher peaks, even in mid-July! Hiking around shirtless in the summer heat and gazing up at the snow was distinctly surreal.
One interesting event was when we heard some strange crackling sounds, and looked out of the window to find that a mist had descended all around the Motorhome – Except we soon discovered it was smoke, and where there’s smoke, there is inevitably fire. Jumping out of the Boomobile we could just about make out two figures trying to control a blaze of their own making. Health and Safety. Two words completely anonymous with each other in Spain.
The village also seemed to be famous for its Jamon, though we saw hide nor hair of a single pig on our whole trip. I could only conclude from this that the entire population had been slaughtered and now hung unceremoniously in the shops.
Having enjoyed a wonderful few days in Tevelez, we filled our bottles from the fresh mountain water and headed off to find some more of these fairy tale villages, tucked away beneath the Spanish peaks.