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Mogs Travels: May 2010

Mogs Travels

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Broadhaven Again

We've come down to the caravan again for the important purpose of re-engining the boat. The outbard was stolen earlier this year so today I took the boat over to the dealer in Pembroke Dock to have a new one fitted. It was all done by mid afternoon and as the forecast is looking good we plan to launch the boat for a test drive tomorrow or at the weekend.

This evening we made the most of the evening sunshine with an icecream on the sea front & then walk across the beach to Little Haven.

The beach was deserted, it was beautiful.


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Monday, May 10, 2010


Tonight's hotel, the Dona Blanca in Albarracin is a little gem. It might look a concrete monstrosity from the outside and , to be honest they're still building the top floor (peace has now descended at 7.00pm as the builders have just finished for the day!) but it's perfect for us. Albarracin is a mediaeval hilltop town with impressive walls, narrow streets that climb up 1 in 4 hills, or steps and no other hotel with parking. The dona Blanca is on the flat below the town but in easy walking distance, with secure flat parking & cctv, we have free wifi in our room, safe, mini-bar, hair dryer and balcony with the view below of the town walls for €60. Not bad!

We've enjoyed a walk around the town although it's pretty much shut up at this time of year. We're having a little rest before going out to eat.

We've had quite an interesting day. There was a good road out of Ruidera, so good LB got caught speeding by a radar trap and had to pay an on the spot €70 fine. Amazingly, considering we were riding together & I was setting the pace, I got off scot free! We briefly met heavy rain near Cuenca but the mountain road from there to Albarracin cleverly managed to weave between the dark clouds on either side of us and head towards the small patch of blue sky ahead. We were thankful the rain held off as we were on a very twisty mountain road that had virtually no tarmac for one ten mile stretch! It's a great road though and I'd love to do it agaain on a fine day. We're heading north again tomorrow for a bit of luxury in the Parador at santo Domingo Del Calzada.
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Goodbye Ruidera

Well, it wasn't raining when we woke yesterday so we set off on another walk to El Castillo Rochefrio. It wasn't as long as the previous day and would have been shorter if we hadn't made an unplanned scenic detour. As before we were surrounded by wild flowers and birdsong. We eventually saw the stone walls of the castle on a small hill . The way passed a frog filled wetland and then instead of the steps or ramp to the castle entrance we were met with aa jumble of rocks and a narrow path. Following this to the opposite side of the mound we came to the sign pointing to the entrance. This involved a scramble over rocks and boulders to a gap in the wall. It seems unlikely that the original inhabitants used this way to enter and provision themselves but there was no other obvious entrance. All that was left of the castle was a low stone wall encircling quite a large area on the hilltop, with good views of the entrance to the valley. A noticeboard informed us the castle was the site of an important battle in 1212, during the christian King Alfonso VIII's push south against the Moors. How different it must have been in those days. As it was we continued to enjoy the present day's peace and quite during the walk back to the hotel. We got thoroughly soaked during the last quarter hour as the promised rain arrived!

We've really enjoyed this little known corner of Spain. It's been a delight to explore. It's not just the walking that has kept us fit either, these are the stairs up to our room. thanks to them I now have tight calves and memories of a wonderful view!

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Long Walk

We awoke to a blue sky and sunshine coming through the windows of our cave. As we have no one overlooking us we slept with the curtains open. After a late breakfast ( served from 9.30 - 11.30! ) we set off to walk around the lake. Including a stop in a bar for lunch it took us nearly five hours but was well worth the effort.

We started heading east where we are close to the end of the lake, initially going up the road. There was no traffic and the only sounds were the multitude of bird songs. Most of them were In Spanish and unrecognisable but we certainly heard reed warblers and cuckoo and saw various common tits and finches. At the end of the lake were extensive reed beds with a hill on the far side. There were two large birds of prey patrolling this area. They were possibly harriers of some sort & appeared to be male and female. We crossed the small torrent over a wooden bridge then followed a good dirt path down the opposite side of the lake. Again lots of birds were obvious and also masses of wild flowers. There were poppies, snapdragons, broom and wild thyme and rosemary amongst others brightening the ground beneath the olive groves.

At the far end of the lake is a small village with several bars and the beginning of the next lake in the chain. We had lunch in a bar at about 3.00 pm then wandered back to the hotel for a siesta.

Rain is forecast for tomorrow so we may light our wood fire and spend the day in bed!

Photo is of the hotel from the far side of the lake

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Friday, May 7, 2010


Have now reached the middle of nowhere! We're in a small national park which runs along a series of lakes. The hotel is quite amazing. It's built on several levels up a steep hillside which means lots of steps and going outside to get up to our room. We have an outside terrace with table chairs and lounger though sadly the weather has deteriorated so I don't think we'll use it much. The room and bathroom are both very big and with the bare rockface as one wall. We've a large woodburning stove in the corner as well as electric heaters. Outside, the road is little more than a track, with no through traffic so all we can hear is the birdsong. It is delightful and so peaceful! We'll start exploring tomorrow. Photo is the view from our terrace

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Exploring Antequera

What a full day today! We had a quick breakfast in a bar around the corner from the hotel then set off on the bikes, south, into the mountains, to the El Torcal Natural Park. This is a heavily eroded limestone area with weird shaped rocks and a flourishing fauna and flora. apart from the rocks, the wildflowers were most obvious with large numbers of different flowers alongside the paths. Of the animals , we heard lots of birds and saw lots of little ones fluttering in the bushes though they were difficult to identify. we think we saw and eagle and also an ibex though it could have been a goat. there was a nice circular path that took us about an hour and then we headed off to the Laguna Salida of Fuente de Piedra.

The lakes here hold the second largest colony of flamingoes in europe. The information centre was closed when we arrived early afternoon ( siesta time!) so we walked around the nearest part of the lake where there were flamingoes, avocet, ringed plovers, coots and another wader we didn't recognised. I was disappointed we didn't see any nests or young. I suspect we were at the wrong part of the lake but it was too big to walk all the way around to explore more. It was fantastic to see wild flamingoes flying and swimming as well as wading and feeding.

Leaving the lake we set off back to Antequera. On the outskirts of the town are two megalithic tombs, dating from about 3,000 BC. They are simple tunnels ending in a small chamber but built with massive blocks of stone lining the walls and ceiling. They still retain their overlying tumuli unlike many of the British cromlechs where only a few stones remain.

After a very late meal by British standards we got back to our room at 11.00 to listen to election news prior to sleep. Tomorrow we head north again

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010


We left Jerez at about 10.00 this mornig, having picked a scenic route for the 100 odd miles to Antequera. Once off the motorway it was up small twisty roads through the mountains of the Grazelama National Park to Ronda. Despite the zumo's best efforts we managed to avoid driving through the town centre although we were plagued by roadworks on the bypass. The scenery around Ronda is lovely, very open with gentle hills dotted with regualr plantations of olives. At this time of year it is very green with masses of wildflowers though I doubt it stays like this through the summer.

We then entered the mountains again and rather than go on the main road had chosen the only alternative route along minor roads. When planning it we hadn't quite realised how minor they were! We turned off the bigger when instructed by the zumo then stopped as it seemed to be someone's drive. Oh no, off to the left was the road which went through what looked like a big pipe under the main road and then turned to patches of gravel. We followed it up as it twisted up through a village, mostly patched tarmac, some gravel and a long stretch of concrete. Out of the village we were back on tarmac winding through the mountains with magnificent views into the valley. Although there was no traffic it was too narrow to stop for photos unfortunately. After a few miles we came to a sign saying the "camino montana" was "mal estadio", well we'd realised by then it was in a bad state! The left handside of the road was littered with rocks off the mountain, on the right there were places where the tarmac was slipping over the edge and every now and then we just had a strip of gravel to ride over! I loved every minute of it! The GS's are just superb bikes for this sort of thing. Once down the other side normal conditions resumed when we reached a small town. That just left us 40km of non stop twisties, still on a pretty narrow road, through agricultural land until we reached the turning into & down through the narrow streets of Antequerra to our lovely spanish hotel, (with fast free wifi!) the Coso Viejo. We're staying here two nights and are spoilt for choice as to what to do tomorrow. If we can cram it all in we'll be visiting flamingoes, dolmens and El Torcal Natural Park!

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Monday, May 3, 2010

MotoGP & the Feria

No photos today as my phone was stolen at the feria. This is a real pain as I was using it to post to this blog & Facebook, for general internet access, for photos, crosswords and books to read. The feria was otherwise great with lots of people in their finery, music bars and food. We had lunch there earlier, came back to the hotel for a siesta then returned to the feria for the evening.

Yesterday we had a great day at the circuit. the traffic in and out was much better than expected, all three races were close and exciting with Spanish winners in every category and our seats gave us great views of post race celebrations as well as the races themselves. Lorenzo excelled himself by jumping in the pond on what literally turned out to be his cool down lap!

We ended the day with the fireworks and switching on of the lights at the Feria. great fun!

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

MotoGP Practice

Had alovely day at the circuit today, watching the practice sessions. Te new road and excellent policing have improved access and ,more importantly egress, tremendously. Our deats in the stand give us a really good view of the stadium section of the circuit as well as having a big screen in front of us.

There were some interesting characters there. If this lot dress up like this for the practice who knows what sights we'll see tomorrow!

The suzuki "girls" were great fun.. They're sitting just behind us and will pout and pose as soon as anyone points a camera at them. They all have wigs, huge boobs, white tights which don't hide their hairy legs and bike boots!

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