So in the time it takes to think of what to write, more seems to happen.
We went to Cuenca – a UNESCO World Heritage site (check out the picture in the Header Image Gallery for it’s beauty), with Casa Colgados which are hanging houses, that even the Spanish don’t know who made them. Legends say the Hanging Houses may have been Muslim in influence, but that story hasn’t been verified, and then they said that the buildings may have been constructed in the 15th century.
More snow/hail fell on our heads, Jess and Zach had a halo of white fuzz at this time, Jo was cold (no surprise there) and Ben and I enjoyed a beer for less than the cost of the kids’ zumo de naranja (orange juice). The church looked amazing, the side streets had small over hangs that were made of wood from centuries ago and yet again being the off-season tourist paid dividends for us as we had free reign over this beautiful town.
Bringing this story back to the first line (and as we went to Cuenca two days ago) we have had more of an adventure since then. When we drove back from Cuenca, we had ideas that it would take about 2½ hours to reach our place. Yet 4 hours and a failed attempt to reach Gandia courtesy of major road works to Ontinyent (if you were us, read ‘Ointment’) where-by the road was completely blocked off and we had to do a u-turn, we finally arrived home.
Part II: We went to Moixent (again read ‘Moxy’) today to check out an historic castle we had seen on the return from Cuenca. We pulled up in a tiny street near a brook and wandered up the hill to Torre Mora, a tower which must have been a sentry for yesteryear Spaniards. On our return to the car, I checked out the roads ahead with one leading to some guy’s garage and no more; the other up a hill. Now the one up the hill was thin in stature and when I told Ben of this issue and how we should reverse to the main road, Ben mentioned that he was worried about the fact that someone could ‘box him in’ when reversing, and that it appeared others drove up through this lane, so forward we should go.
Now as we headed up this lane, Jo called for the camera to come out as it was a crazily small street, and to get evidence that we went along such a lane. When we got to the crest, I needed to move the handle of a scooter to straighten the front wheel of it so we could get passed it without trading paint with the bike or the building on the street. This was the least of our worries.
Ten yards down the street we drove off a step.
Now the step was only 4 inches high, but our Peugeot was not blessed with a world of grunt. So with Jo, Zach, myself and some local (who heard the commotion thus came out to help) trying to push the car and Ben in reverse at the wheel we attempted to get back up the step. No luck. So the next thing to do was head down the stairs.
Ben driving and the local and I giving directions on the best way down (in two different languages with conflicting messages), Ben and the Peugeot headed with gravity down the stairs. With houses either side and stairs in front, Ben guided the car with his best effort down. The driver’s side mirror (even though it was turned into the side of the car) decided to become part of a house wall, and as the wheels were pointed in the opposite direction, Ben was temporarily stuck. Straightened up and now short of some plastic on the mirror, Ben continued down with good results. Then a drain pipe got in the way and required a turn back towards the driver’s side’ the rear door took a scrape and the handle unfortunately stuck out further than desired for a clean pass. A trade of paint, plastic and building plaster was arranged, after this Ben was through.
The next issue was the right angle corner to get down to the town square. A wide arc and then (bless the power steering) a sharp left turn and Ben was around into a thin lane with the rear passenger tyre a foot on the air with the driver’s side rear not falling off a half metre drop for drainage and the car was down the hill. Top Gear, Peugeot and the Adelaide Show have all been on the line for a testimonial and footage. I mentioned to the locals ‘alquilaba’ (which is ‘rented’ in Spanish) and I think they said in Spanish “…treat it like you stole it.”
So from there, getting home safe and alive was a great thing.