21st April 2013

Someone broke into my locked trailer last night and stole some tools and the Go-pro. I have spent all day trying to get to the nearest police station (in Ugijar), getting them to open up (it’s closed on a Sunday as in Spain thieves don’t operate on the Sabbath) and getting the report done for the insurance company. The whole process was aided by the kind people at the hotel, the Refugio de Nevada and the very patient man at the Guardia Civil who put up with my poor Spanish.

As I have lost almost  whole day, I am going to make it up by getting a taxi to the pass in the Sierras, 8 miles away, and then just bombing it down the other side to La Calahorra. It”s not ideal but the mountains are still covered in cloud and rain is forecast for tomorrow – I don”t want to be stuck here for 3 days.

It’s now late evening and my plan worked out. I got the taxi up to the pass and made the descent to La Calahorra in 20 mins. There were some spectacular views…here is one of Mulacen: 

And one of La Carahorra:

As you can see, above the town is el Castillo de La Calahorra. This is one of the first Italian Renaissance castles outside Italy and the first in Andalucia displaying these architectural features; it was constructed between 1509 and 1512 on the site of a former Moorish fortification. Here is what a local website says:

The Catholic Monarchs awarded the castle as a tribute to Cardinal Mendoza, their influential advisor who played an important role in the Christian conquest of Granada. Cardinal Mendoza in turn signed it over to his illegitimate son, the first Marquis of Zenete. The Marquis subsequently travelled to Rome and befriended many legendary figures of the Renaissance, including the Pope’s notorious daughter, Lucrezia Borgia, who he courted but failed to marry. He returned to Spain, accompanied by a team of Italian architects, sculptors and artists – and a cargo of Carrara marble to boot – and set about designing and crafting his fortified palace. But the Marquis was a tormented soul and plagued by ill luck due to his illegitimate status. Despite the public recognition by Cardinal Mendoza of his bastard son, the Marquis failed to gain support of members of the court, who refused to let him marry a young noblewoman. After abducting her to his distant retreat on the plain of Guadix, he was forced to leave his castle, Florentine courtyard and all, never to return.   

I would have liked to visit it but it’s only open on Wednesdays!

The other view I got coming over the pass was of a wave of wind farms. I recall seeing 5 from my window in Niguelas, and here are more. The Spanish really are getting on with renewable energy in a way we in Britain are not. Our NIMBIES worry so much about how they look, when actually the environment does not care about beauty. That is a concept that exists only in the mind of humans, and to indulge our sense of the ascetic and ignore the needs of the environment is the height of arrogance. Here is how you do it:

This move north through the Sierra Nevada now marks my departure from the TransAndalus route south of the Sierra. It has been a great comfort to me to use their excellent route notes and .gpx files to guide me on my route so far. Do visit their site – the work that has gone into it is amazing (see my sidebar). Hopefully I can rejoin some of their route further north in Andalucia. Many thanks TransAndalus 🙂

I managed to do a short video diary on the days events:  

Published by jhalstead1

This is my blog of my trip around Spain, off road, on my mountain bike. The story is told in full in my book "Three Wheels on my Bicycle", available on Amazon in Kindle or hardback.

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