day 8 of our escape to andalucia, december 2002

A walk from Frigiliana

Sunny again, though clouds are scudding in from the north east. Today we do our second walk, again following Elma Thompson, this time her walk FR/09 from Exploring the Axarquia, a circular walk from Frigiliana that takes in Cuatro Caminos, Mallarin, Venta de Frigiliana and the Penones Ridge.

It was a worthy walk, but most of the route has become developed, the paths and tracks cemented over, the cottages converted, and a thick splatter of ugly new "villas" constructed. There is rubbish everywhere, and it generally feels as though you are walking through the fringes of urban life. True, people are picking olives and cultivating smallholdings, but the landscape is dominated by whitewashed inanities and the blue splashes of swimming pools. We looked across hungrily at the Natural Park to the north east and determined to walk in some wilderness next.

It is true that the English countryside is blighted with plastic, that roadsides are disfigured with a dandruff of garbage, and that fly-tipping is rife. But here there seems to be a blindness to...well...mess, that begins immediately outside one's front door. Perhaps we from the chilly north (not sure about Lenore) are overly anally-retentive about such things. Perhaps it's just me (Ralph is writing this), but I get an urge to pick up and tidy away all the flapping sheets of plastic, the half-bricks, the broken tiles, the empty bottles that lie just beside people's spanking-new, sparkling white villas... And that's not to mention the piles of dog shit that mar Torrox's narrow lanes. Ho hum.

Our 14 km ramble takes just over three hours. We drive back to Torrox, where the sun is out, eat and rest, before catching up with groceries and spending the evening reading. Lenore tries to get Ralph interested in backgammon, without much success...