Two At Large in Spain 2006-7

December 30th

A walk up a quiet valley

Each morning, Ralph opened the shutter of the bedroom window to exclaim, "Oh no! Sunny again!" The weather certainly improved the whole time we were in Spain, with clear blue skies and, after the first few days, not even a cloud capping to the nearby mountains. It was shorts weather, though it got pretty chilly at night, when we lit the propane gas heater in the living room.

Today was market day in Cómpeta. The marked consisted of a couple of greengrocery stalls and half a dozen clothing and sweet stalls. We bought vegetables, and some grapes for tomorrow evening.

Then we walked to Canillas de Albaida to begin another walk cribbed from Holiday Walks from the Costa del Sol by Matt Butler (Walk 2). From Cómpeta this is an afternoon walk of some 12km.

The first half, along the gorge of the Rio Cajula, north of Canillas, is great, as is the final plunge down to and up from the Rio de la Llanada. There's a few km of less interesting gravel track just after half way, but all in all it's a walk to be recommended.

The author tells us that the final path is "ancient". I wondered how he knows that? Is it just that every path that isn't modern in Spain must be ancient?

One's re-entry to Canillas is one of those memorable Mediterranean moments as you pass above the village dump, a sad scree of glittering plastic bags littering the valley side (complete with hovering village simpleton), and the rear of the adjacent above-ground cemetery. I wondered what happens to all the boxed-in body fluids (no-one seemed to be seeping from the drainage pipes).

Back to Cómpeta past the sad ostriches and the stares of the old Spanish folk in the side streets, to finish my third book this holiday — Iain Banks' Complicity. A light read, with some interesting ideas and questions, especially about justice and revenge (i.e. is it bad to eliminate evil people?) and some entertaining sex. The alcohol/cigarette/drug-ravaged reporter is a bit of a cliché surely? And how is it that such seemingly unattractive men attract such gorgeous, sex-hungry women just desperate to get their scarlet lips around the hero's engorged manhood or so eager to indulge in all manner of gloriously filthy grapplings? I have a feeling that much of this is (a) designed to sell books to sex-starved males and (b) is based on the nocturnal yearnings of the authors. Ho hum!

The walk up the Rio Cajula