Beach and mountain roads and paths. Perfect. Rob fetched us from the end.
We set off from our front door in the pre-dawn twilight. As we reached the coast north of Cabo Cope, the sun was rising. With the exception of the first and last mile, this whole walk was off the dreaded tarmac. We walked on mountain roads and paths with fine views. For the first time ever, we followed a track downloaded from WikiLoc. This is a new website where you can view and post GPS tracks. Search for Aguilas and look for "Bolnuevo Torre de Cope" by "Antonio M Cano". Antonio must be young and fit because he took a more difficult route over the rocks at the cliff bottom followed by a steep climb back to our easier path. We have uploaded out track too. Most average walkers would probably like to follow out easier route. Rob collected us from our destination at Cloque.
Today we had a relative lie-in. We set off at dawn (8.45) and carried on along our own main road until we came to a left turn (located using Google Earth) cutting off a corner and avoiding the asphalt. If you miss this turning you will just get to the sea on the road itself. Now we follow the coast along an unmade track. This skirts a sequence of rocky coves until you get to some abandoned trogdolite houses. All of this stretch is pleasant, straightforward and not strenuous.
After the caves, the more arduous part of the walk begins. Having been prepared to be afraid, very afraid by Rob to the point of having even considered an alternative route along the road through the mountains, I was waiting for the scary bit. When we saw that the guide book said you could cycle along all but 500 metres of the route, we decided we could attempt it. Surely we could negotiate the tricky bits not carrying a bicycle which cyclists had to cross with a bike on their shoulders. In the event, there was one rocky stretch where the path surface was jagged but here there were stable equally jagged bits of rock to hold on to. Later, there was a steep ascent up some sandy scree where you tended to slide back almost as far as you had climbed but apart from that the route was straightforward and couldn't have been lovelier.
Thinking back to our philosophical discussion of the day before (when did you last have a perfect day?) walks are a metaphor for life - often quite nice but rarely perfect, eg nice scenery but a road to walk along. Nice scenery and a country track but traffic noise. This was perfect, no noise no traffic not even any other walkers. Just one vehicle towards the end which had risked scaling the steep slopes with two cheerful lads who waved heartily as they passed us on their way up and again on their way down. We liked this stretch.
The last bit of the walk is very lovely because you keep climbing up and then coming back down each time to a beautiful little beach (The calas de Lorca) is this the Lorca that Garcia came from? The grading in the book is somewhat misleading. On yesterday's walk, there were two stretches where I was almost scared - overall it was much less strenuous but there were two places where you had to use hands and feet to get by and foot and hand holds were tricky. There were also stretches where vertigo was a possibility. Today's walk was vertigo free and non-problematic. I think the grading in the book is misleading because it describes yesterday's walk as low in difficulty and today's as medium, I think the classification should be guided by the most difficult stretch because that it what will stop you proceeding plus details of how strenuous it is.
In the evening we had salman and couscous and Christmas cake and then we opened our presents. Neil did a really good one. Last year he gave us a penguin and a santa and a snowman to put on the tree and this year only the snowman was in evidence. I had already taunted Mini saying "why hadn't she brought the penguin Neil had given her?" and "no wonder the tree was miserable this year". Well she said it must be with her Christmas things and then I said maybe Neil had forgotten all about it. Well he says he hadn't. and he sounded all sad because she had failed to bring it. Then when we opened out first parcels. Minis was the santa and mine was the penguin. Neil had secreted them away after last year (not the snowman because I had looked after it carefully) and wrapped them up again and regiven them to us. I have got the idea now. I have carefully kept the penguin Neil gave me and next year I will give it to him.
Rob and Donna had given us six beautiful angels. This was just what we needed bewcause I was the only one who had managed to locate chocolate decorations for the tree and it was looking a bit bereft. They are flat and fairly robust so, with the bubble wrap they came in, they can be added to our Christmas things for holidays. Where did they get them from and how did they get them so quickly?
The book of walks is called "Coasts of Aguilas and Lorca" by Angel Ortiz Martinez, Paco Lopez de Haro and Lazaro Gimenez Martinez 2004 published by Consejeria de Turismo, Comercio y Consumo. Here are some charming and possibly accurate quotations from the book. "El Bar-tienda ~Mercedes~ that cooks meals by request, especially rice and fish. Every time that we visit Puntas, Mrs Mercedes has treated us like family. When we were relaxed she would tell us how formerly the ships were launched to the sea on some wooden ramps and they were hoisted full of fish, the fishermen handled in manually with knotted ropes. In these last tasks had to go to help so much young as older men on the stony beach of Puntas de Calnegre. Interesting fauna old crock a bird, stout boar, heron ox and ox heron..
While we were waiting for Rob to collect us we sat in the sun using an obelisk as a back rest. We watched the world go by. Soon we saw a white car coming and we leaped up ready but the car was too big. It was a posh mercedes. We sat back down and half dozed for a while. Then another white car appeared in the distance. Again we leaped up in readiness but this car was too small. It was a little two seater car with a moped engine. Again we sat back down and watched the world go by. Finally we saw a white car approaching and joy-oh-joy this one was just right. Not too big and not too small. Rob had arrived and we got our lift home over the mountain pass.