I relive last year’s fantastic holiday by bringing posts over from the trip blog. This doesn’t aim to be identical to the trip blog, but an improvement, with text edits and more / better photos. Find all these posts under the tag: Spain2015.
24 September 2015: We were outside the appointed meeting place, Cafe de France, ahead of time this morning, just before 8 am. Ibrahim met us and we climbed into the 6 seater 4-wheel drive. Then we spent an hour picking up one other Australian couple, Netty and Rick, and trying to find another couple who never showed up.
Finally though we set off and then spent the best part of the next 9 hours or so in the car, mainly travelling and occasionally stopping for a toilet break, a drink, photos or a meal.
My impressions of the landscape we passed are overwhelmingly of dry and brown or red. Dry, hostile terrain that comes as rocks and dirt and hills and mountains and valleys. Dust, and a few small plants that hold fast to the ground.
Occasionally there are patches of green, but not often, with palm trees and shrubs, and olives and other plants. In the Valley of the Roses the plants include, of course, roses, from which locals make rose oil, and rose soap and other rose products.
The buildings blend into the environment because they’re made of the same stuff. They may be cement or clay. Most give the appearance of being empty or in disrepair, but probably everyone is just shut inside avoiding the heat.
It’s a barren, hostile environment. I can’t conceive how people would come to this land, stay here, eke out an existence from this hard, hard place.
How different life is here from ours in comfortable New Zealand. This is so utterly different I feel I could be on another planet.
The landscape is brown, or red, or shades of brown or red, with sometimes grey. The occasional patches of green provide very welcome relief from the desolation. There are whole huge areas where there is nothing but bare land and rocks.
I slept sometimes in the car, dozing, napping, waking again.
What a long day.
We’re spending the night at a hotel in the Dades Gorge.
Afterthought in November 2016: as I look at my photos of the interior of the Hotel Restaurant La Gazelle Du Dades I notice all the soft furnishings: rugs, table cloths, wall hangings, cushions and so on. I’ve realised today what a contrast that softness is to the hardness of the outside world, with its rocks, towering cliffs, dust and dirt.