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      August 2011 > Andalucia to Iceland part 1: The Last Tapa

Andalucia to Iceland part 1: The Last Tapa

LanzaroteOff to Iceland at last! From Andalucía to Iceland by van – similar to the Paris to Dakar rally, but not so many people participating ... I wonder why? Up to the village for a last tapa and then hit the road. I’m Lanzarote’d out – up till 2am finishing off the Lanzarote walk notes – my head is full of car directions and walk descriptions. I’ve been reliving the walks, following paths around volcano rims and wandering down dry gullies to the azure sea. Now it’s time to get back to reality and throw all the bags and boxes that Linda has carefully prepared into the camper van, lock the doors (there’s enough photographic equipment inside it to stock a new branch of Jessops) and head up to Las Vegas (no, not that Las Vegas – it’s the name of our village tapas bar).

Our village, Benaocaz, sits up on the shoulder of the mountains at 800 metres, just short by a few metres of being the highest village in the province of Cádiz. With its own cobbled Roman road, an entire Moorish quarter in ruins and a late Christian church that the French tried to burn down in the Peninsular War, Benaocaz is a complete history book. We pull ourselves up the steep winding streets under the midday sun, with the heat bouncing off the whitewashed walls of the houses, designed to keep the occupants cool but to fry anyone foolish enough to be out in the street.

AndaluciaWe step into the noisy, dark cool of the hostelry. Cattlemen, their faces flushed with sherry and the excitement of chatter and gossip, line the bar.

“You’re off then?” says one.
“Er ... yes – how do you know?” I ask.
“I’ve seen you packing – getting the van ready, aren’t you?”

There’s no shame in blatant nosiness here in the village. I remember, when Linda was first coming over to Andalucía to see me, having shouted conversations with Márquez, a flat-capped oldie from the village who leans over a wall high above our house every day, watching the world, the mountains – and us.

“Got company, have you?” he shouted down at me one morning.
“Hmmm .... yes, how do you know?”
“Ladies’ washing on the line.”

Back in the bar, I ask the cattleman if he’s getting any summer holiday.

“Yep, my cousin’s coming up to mind the cows. We’re off to Torremolinos, me and the missus and the kids. How about you?”
“Iceland – we’re off to Iceland.”
“Where the hell’s that?”
“Just up past Seville,” I say.
“Oh. I never go up that way.”

Linda’s wondering if we’re ever going to sit down and eat. I take a sip of cold beer and look up at the man’s thoughtful, sunburned face, puzzled under his cap.

“No, no, just joking,” I say. “Iceland’s that place in the Arctic Circle where that volcano went off a couple of years ago. You remember? They had to cancel all the flights.”
“What?! You’re not going there, are you?! You must be mad! You’d be far better off in Torremolinos ...”

He’s probably right, I muse as we munch on shrimp fritters, cold pork slices and cracked olives. “Whose idea was it anyway – to motor from here to Denmark?” I wonder aloud.

“Yours,” says Linda.

Camper van
Posted: 04/08/2011 16:55:08 by | with 2 comments
Filed under: Iceland, journey, Spain

Jonathan Clark
I presume you are taking the Smyril boat from Esbjerg? I took this last year to the Faroe Islands and met plenty of folks destined for Iceland. It was an epic voyage. All the best!
05/08/2011 09:15:14

Steve J
Bon voyage / buen viaje, David & Linda... what an adventure!!
04/08/2011 18:00:20

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