Viva España – The Road to Cazorla, Southern Spain (4)

12th – 17th April 2019

Day 5 or so…

‘Are you sure this is a wise idea?’ I asked hesitantly…  

Fed up with the long-winded one-way system built to negotiate the twisting, spaghetti-thin streets of Cazorla, Simon grinned confidently.   ‘We’ll be OK, you’ll see… There must be a way down in this direction..,’ he insisted.  Since I was not in the driver’s seat, who was I to stop him from resolutely ignoring the ‘dead-end’ sign at the bottom of our road…

Key in ignition, down we rolled.  By then I had almost overcome the spasms of vertigo that accompanied all our trips in and out of town.  Driving around Cazorla felt like being in the clutches of a perpetual, unending roller-coaster: swept along bend after tempestuous bend, drum-roll climbs followed by plunging depths.  Hold on to your stomachs…

Perched against the western slope of the Sierras de Cazorla at an elevation of 836m, the town had not exactly been constructed with the motorist in mind.  Simon’s cousin had kindly offered us the use of her house on the edge of the old part of town, where parking spaces were at a premium at best, and non-existent most of the time.  ‘You may find it easier to park at the bottom of town and walk up the rest,’ we had been advised.  But the trek up was pretty strenuous, arduous almost, and not without its perils.  On occasions we only just saved life and limb by tightly squeezing into shallow doorways to let raging cars charge past.  The temptation to claim that one vacant parking spot near the house often proved hard to resist…

If parking was a challenge, so was finding our way through the maze of lookalike streets… Not everyone is as sold on Google Maps as I am, ….hence ‘the’ plan of taking a short-cut into the unknown. Needless to say, that ‘dead end’ road indeed meant dead end road, no way out… Make a u-turn… Easier said than done with a large Range Rover wedged in the middle of a two-pronged fork, each end tapering into a sliver of nothingness.. Of course we could have coaxed the car into reverse and edged our way back up the precipitous, narrow street, but with just a few centimeters to spare either side of the car, this was madness, a last resort. So Simon set about the three-point turn whilst I, nerves a-jangle, stood guard on the side to prevent damage to the car and the surrounding masonry…

It didn’t take long for our futile attempts to attract the curiosity of the locals. Dolores – for name’s sake let’s call her Dolores, as we never made it to first-name terms – waddled from her front door surveying the racket, the smell of burnt tyre, brake fluid and diesel perfuming the air… Frustrated with our ineptitude and lack of progress, she decided to lend us a helping hand.

‘Gire, gire!!!’ Dolores commanded, followed hotly on the heel of ‘Pare, pare…!!!’ or ‘Izquierda!!!’ ‘Derecho!!’. Wildly gesticulating with Spanish gusto, she bombarded Simon with Spanish instructions, whilst I took a seat on the sidelines leaving it to the experts… In the end, it took the appearance of Pedro – whose name could easily have been Manuel – to get us on the right track. Whereas the verbal language was mostly lost on us, the body language made up for it. Simon turned the wheel left or right as directed and stopped when Pedro’s hand indicated a close encounter with a wall. The speed and efficiency with which Dolores and Pedro orchestrated our getaway led us to conclude we were not the first ones to find ourselves in this predicament… They were pros, they had done it all before…

All credit to Simon though. If I’d been the driver – apart from the minor fact I would have avoided going down a ‘dead-end road’ – I would have had to hand my keys to Pedro or one of his compatriots. It’s not my fault really, poor spatial awareness courses like an untamed river through the female line of my family…

5 thoughts on “Viva España – The Road to Cazorla, Southern Spain (4)

  1. Alison and Don

    Oh what fun! I too would have wished Simon would have heeded the sign, but at the same time understand the urge to hopefully explore when getting around (ie up and down) is so strenuous. I love these little towns, but yes, not built for cars. Better to get a donkey.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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