After finishing filming the 2nd part of our journey with Buzz our Laika Kreos home from home by Luke from Juke Media we had every intention to make our way back to Portugal via a short visit to Extremadura, the province of Spain that borders Portugal in the central region. To that end we aimed for Guadix heading through Tabernas Europe’s only recognised desert. Tabernas is well known for being the location of many films including the iconic Spaghetti westerns staring a young Clint Eastwood and the home to 2 western based theme parks Fort Bravo and Mini Hollywood. Guadix is famous for its troglodyte dwellings with over 2,000 cave homes in the city.
So we set out for Guadix and all was well until we got to Tabernas where Buzz did wanted to stop so his picture could be taken by the Mini Hollywood sign, now that he is a 2 time film star! At this point it started raining, negating a long stop and ensuring we moved on quickly. From here journey got more interesting as we passed over the Sierra Nevada and Sierra de los Filabres. Needing services which had been lacking in the Mojacar area we stopped at Alba just off the A92.
Jumping out of Buzz in the same clothes I had been wearing at Mojacar just over an hour earlier, shorts and t shirt + a waterproof jacket as it was drizzling I set about the 10 minute task of emptying and topping up as needed at the end of which I was absolutely freezing. It was only as I got back in to Buzz to drive off that I glanced around to see exactly why I was freezing. Just off behind this small town the mountains rose up and just a couple of hundred feet above us was the snow line, white, icy and cold though beautiful at the same time. Carrying on as we got to Hueneja heading for Dolar we ran into a flurry of activity, it was snowing with the snow ploughs out in force. We were lucky to get up behind our own lead snow plough over the top before dropping down towards the relative calm of Guadix.
Arriving in Guadix we went straight to the free aire just over the river from the historic centre parking in front of a huge car park. Although it was cold and windy the rain had stopped giving us some time for a quick walk and orientation before it got dark. The bit we saw of the historic area looked interesting with plenty of old buildings to take in, however rain was in the air so it was back to Buzz for dinner and a warm up.
Morning came early with a noisy bustle going on behind us, a quick investigation revealing a big market setting up in the car park behind us. A quick breakfast, shower and plenty of warm layers saw us head to the now very busy market. As with all Spanish markets there was a bit of everything, fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, cheeses, sweets, nuts and plenty of olives as well as cheap clothes, house wares, electronics, bags and more. Suffice to say it was the food that interested us, that’s not to say there weren’t some bargains to be had, the clothes were so cheap they made Primark look like Harrods.
The Fruit and Veg however were something else, the biggest cabbages, courgettes and red peppers we have seen, they had what looked like satsumas only they were as big as grapefruits with 2 complete heads of fruit in them and mutant giant lemons!! The other unusual thing was that virtually everything seemed to be 1euro/kilo and if you didn’t have a kilo you still paid 1euro. We stocked up with a few bits and pieces but just don’t need vast quantities of fresh produce to go off, in fact we are still eating the bananas a week later.
A quick drop off of our purchases a hot drink and we were ready to tour the city. Being so unique, Guadix has been used in a few films over the years and they make a feature of this with a cine tour route you can follow. There are also some interesting buildings worth visiting, the cathedral in particular is unusual. We wandered around the old part of town enjoying the architecture, before walking up to the Barro de las Cuevas where the troglodyte houses are mostly situated.
These range in style from simple frontages straight onto the sandstone cliffs to properties with big frontages and gardens backing into the man made caves behind. We visited (as most people do) Cueva de Jose a cave house with mirador above, this is free but you can buy some expensive honey, wine or souvenirs alternatively just leave a couple of euros tip. It is worth looking around to see how the homes are dry and can be made very cosy. The mirador gives you a view over the surrounding area. However by this point in our journey we were both wet as it had been raining for some time and getting harder, so we made for Buzz and some dry warmth. By the time we got back we were both utterly drenched for only the 2nd time in 8 months, so we couldn’t really complain although it would have been nice to have more time to explore.
With wet clothes hanging from every spare space, hook and cupboard door and with the weather for the next couple of days across the whole area being miserable we decided to drive on to our target of Extremadura and Merida. Knowing there was plenty more here to see and we could easily return we set off for a nice steady drive west.