Posted by: Team McSlade | June 9, 2010

Proximas Paradas – Guadix y Almísera

After scoring one of the only parks in the old city quarter I made the bold decision to not move the car – and it seemed a few others had the same idea. So, at the end of our time in Granada we strolled through cobbled streets to pack the car and head back to Almísera.

Driving on narrow cobbled streets is not a regular occurrence in Adelaide, thus I took the opportunity to do so to collect Jo and the kids from the apartment (and for Jo to get photographic evidence of this adventure).
The opening stanza should have made me acutely aware of what was to transpire – with Jo having to come to the car and get the memory card for the camera to take photos really wasn’t a great sign.
As the street narrowed I was slightly worried, yet I had previously walked the course and no stairs were in the way, and as other cars were parked in the vicinity I was feeling good.

The last turn near the apartment was the onion in the ointment; as I took the 90° turn somewhat shallow and nearly traded paint with the wall. Jo hollered out for me to stop and have another crack at it. At the same time a few local ladies added their two pesos worth, getting me to reverse and take a wider arc.
Brilliant, a gaggle of street-side drivers (who were also correct in their information) and me trying to do a 35 point turn.
With a lack of knowledge of the dimensions of the car and a dash of Australian ‘she’ll be ‘right’, I thought I was through. Incorrect, I was not and I gave a metal donation to wall, in return it gave the car a decent gouge on the passenger side door (and Jo has just informed me also the wheel arch came away scathed). Two strikes, yet I was finally out and we were on the way to home.

Under normal circumstances I’d be worried about banging up a hire car, but under Spanish circumstances I am breathing easy. When I collected the car, a novice ahead of me took his keys and then came back fretting about a scratch on the car. The rental agent said ‘Don’t worry about it, a car in Spain without a scratch is a rarity’.
He continued that rental companies have given up on scratches and said that when he bought his own new car someone climbed on it and sat on the roof, denting it on day one.

Abandoned railroad

About 100k’s into the drive home the town of Guadix was sighted and a detour was taken. On the way down we saw homes and caves dug into the hills, and with that we thought we’d invest the extra time in another cultural experience.
A few back streets, dodgy signage and a couple of fortuitous turns had us in front of a hill with houses dug into the walls. It’s bizarre to see the facade of a house basically stuck on the side of a hill. TV antennae on the crest and electricity poles confirmed that people are still using these places.
We drove around here for a while and spied a cave high on a hill looking relatively abandoned. Not wanting to miss the fun, I donned my thongs and charged up the hill to check out whether we could safely have a look through. Two thumbs up, with a clean tunnel, single room and an absence of the smell of animals or worse.
The kids ventured up, Jo felt better of it half way up (especially after I mentioned crawling was required) and we scooted in. As the rock was soft as butter and a crowbar was conveniently left in the cave, I carved into the wall ‘TMS’, not as well as ‘Pico’ had, but the job was done and Team McSlade had left its indelible mark on Guadix.

Dusty and satisfied we continued on home and were comforted by the knowledge we had enjoyed yet another corner of Spain.

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