Granada to Andorra, Spain Week 100  March 7th - 10th 2013
The foothills of the Sierra Nevada had a bit of chalky limestone.
La Peza

This was a bonus as the road we wanted was closed.

The alternative wasn't signposted.

Back through the village and ask a few times.

Quite a difference having a simple "no strings" relaxed conversation with old people after Morocco.

A quick drive over the bridge and through the tunnel.

Much more room than we at first thought.

Slowly we left the hills.

The rain slowed.

Up and over again.

The Sierra de Baza.

Looks like this sort of weather will be with us for the next couple of weeks.

And a stop to camp at a Mirador (view point) in the Sierra de Segura. 
A bit clearer the next morning.

But its going to rain again later.

Hornos de Segura.

Room with a view!

A bit windy.

Which turned the olive leaves over.

Hard to capture the colours.

Down to the plain again.

We think almonds in blossom.

As we drove further we realised the blossom wasn't just white or pink. There was also red, and all shades in between.

Different shapes to the trees.

More than almonds.

Still windy.

Mostly behind us but occasionally from the left side.

Which made passing trucks a potential hazard.

The last couple of days have really been the only times we've driven for longish distances when its dark, rainy, or windy.

Vineyards, olive groves, and orchards.

A neat and ordered landscape.

All nicely lined up in all directions.

Pruned to perfection.

In some areas pruning is still happening.

Some areas are irrigated with lots of plastic pipes.

We are basically headed north.

We passed through Jarafuel.

Its hard to stop in the middle of these villages. They were designed before the era of cars and the need for car parks.

Different to the villages we passed a few months ago in the north west. Though always a prominent church.

We passed the nearby nuclear power station "central nuclear de cofrentes".

No smokestack!

Then through Requena.

We took a short cut avoiding a loop in the main road.

No campsite but it meant we had to negotiate the town to find the main road again.

We had Igo set to "shortest".

Our campsite was in the woods north of Requena.

We didn't see many likely camp sites all day. Of course next morning we saw quite a few within the next couple of km.

This was a track off an old section of road.

We are headed north east towards Andorra.

We told Igo (gps) to show us the shortest route. Cheated a bit and forced it inland through mountains rather than part way along the coast.

Just watching the landscape unfold.

We've been passing through an expanse of sedimentary stuff.

With the occasional small town.
All old looking centres.

But strangely we haven't passed a bank or a panaderia (bread shop).

Interesting (to us) formations.

Ever changing.

And its a Saturday.
The land is dry. Though very obvious erosion from wetter times.
A disused railway station at Villalba.

Easy to recognise railway architecture the world over.


And the bridges are distinctive.

The line is disused but we had a chuckle at the "cardboard cutout" train.

Of course we should have stopped. But we didn't.
We did stop for fuel and had a chat with a local farmer.

Barley and oats.

Very different to the olives, grapes, fruit and nuts further south.

We are above 1000m. Our farmer told us the area was snowed in a few days ago.

He believes the road through Andorra is open.

Somewhere a bit south of Montalban.
Then through Montalban.

Still no obvious shops. We are missing something.

Then to Alcorisa.
And Alcaniz - in a loop of the dry river.
The next range of hills is granite.

In a very short few hundred km we have past through most rock types and a great variety of landscapes.

So we stopped for lunch next to a hydro lake. 

We seem to like fishing spots.

And stayed the night.

We are within a couple of hundred km of Andorra. We'll plan so we enter early morning and leave before lunch - two border crossings in one day!

We've reverted to early mornings, drive, and find a camp early afternoon.

We climbed up out of the valley with the lake.

And then down to it again.

This hill was about 3km of 6% down.
To the lake again.

Judging by the arches the bridge was built before there was a lake, or the lake is high.

Some countries are NS and some are EW. Spain seems to be every which way.

Apart from this lake which pushed us east before we could cross it.

But that's in the general north east direction of Andorra anyway.

We skirted around Lleida in the distance.
Then our first glimpse of the foothills of the Pyrenees.
Not enough snow to close the roads.

We hope.

The Spanish roads have been good. And the road to Andorra is no exception.

We'd managed to avoid a queue of traffic behind us by keeping to the side giving people as much visibility as we could. Unusual for cars a fair smattering of drivers showed their thanks.

The German truck was not going to let us past so we pulled over to let the queue behind us past.

We were wondering why the car hadn't passed us earlier but guessed he was just having a look.

A nice exhaust sound and a wave (thumbs up) as it passed.

We caught up with the queue a few minutes later. All but the Aston stuck behind the German.

Yup. Its blurred! 

We stopped a few km short of La Seu.

A convenient bridge and a fishing spot.

We timed our crossing of the Pyrennees through Andorra to avoid the weekend ski traffic. 

Even some fish.
And a sunny morning.

With the exception of Alhambra our journey through Spain has really been a "drive by".

We have a sense of skating over the top in most countries. Spain more so.

I guess we have our attention on the coming journey home. 

Andorra Week 101 11th March 2013

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