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Spain, Murcia

Car tour - Sunday 30th December 2007

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Diary - Top

We took the hire car on a circular route over the mountain pass and back to Águilas behind the peaks. On the outward journey we passed the Torre de Cope and stopped for lunch at some man made, recently inhabited, caves a short way north up the coast.


I also now have a cold. We made a car trip to the Fuente de Cabo Cope and attempt to approach the trogdolite houses and a drive through the Mazarrón Aguilas valley. I have my Fosomax. I forget last Saturday and had it on Sunday instead. This week instead of reverting to Saturday I decide to stick with Sunday as it is a bugger when on a forced march to have half an hour upright but not having breakfast etc.

Today is a rest day so I have it and then have a plunge and wash my clothes which will now see me out and wash my hair and make Neil's breakfast by which time 30 minutes have passed and I can have my breakfast. I had half a croissant and some bread and a caramel bell. Then I go upstairs and have it and finish my sudoku. Number 50 was a real killer. I’m going to rub it out and do it again to se if I missed something obvious early on because it was a real stinker harder than a deadly and it's supposed to be only an extreme.

I have done hardly any embroidery. That’s because we have not had an enforced rest day. When it rained we set off any way so my Baba Yetu is still only on line two. At least now I have caught up with these worms. I just have to go through the parper and listen to the differo to see what needs adding. I am doing these worms on my very own Juliet balcony. It is only two feet wide but I am on the floor with a pillow for a back rest and it is very pleasant.

We have been out in the car. Our first stop was Cabo Cope. We looked for the Fuente at the Cabo but only saw the chattock. I am still suffering from a groin injury picked up on a steep section a day or two ago. This leads to some humour trying to render the problem into Spanish ready for a putative visit to doctor or chemist. "Me duele aqui." resulting in leaflets and recommendations to visit the STD clinic etc. The next days i get thyroid and collapsing leg as the injury spreads away.

Before coming away I had toothache or earache I wasn't sure which and went to the dentist who excavated a filling and redid it saying that it had been inflamed. A week later when I went again to have a tooth repaired where the filling had fallen out it had still not settled down but was much improved on previously. We decided to leave it a bit longer to see how it went. Well it's OK if I steer well clear of it. On the Cabo Palo walk it really gave me gyp because the air temperature was low and in the afternoon it was always on the shady side. For the first time since it had been refilled I was reduced to taking paracetamol. During the night it settled down once again so I am going to try and keep it warm from now on. Will he decide to take it out? He is a last resort extraction dentist but there is no point in keeping it if it is like this. After I had had the tooth refilled I read about a phenomenon called osteonecrosis of the jaw a possible side effect of taking bisphosphonates which I have been on for 12 years. and I'm glad I had the toothache prior to reading about it or I would have been sure the symptoms were brought on by the article. Much as the narrator in Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome discovers on reading a book of medical conditions that he is, in fact, suffering from all of those listed in the book with the possible exception of housemaid's knee.

After visiting Cabo Cope we drive along the beach retracing our steps slightly inland of the Calabardina Calnegre walk until the road heads inland and rejoins the back way from the main road to Calabardina. We have never been to El Cantor and wonder what is there so when we get to the roundabout we turn right and eventually get back to the sea right where you can see the "rare well with a treadmill" and the troglodyte houses which Mini wanted to see but which we had thought were too far off the beaten track. This was a lovely spot for lunch. We had it there sitting on the stones overlooking the troglodyte houses.

I have always found the mustang (rucsac) with one strap reasonably satisfactory although you can't carry so large a load effortlessly as with the conventional type. The exception is when standing up from the ground with it on and when climbing steep slopes. On these occasions it has a tendency to swing round. When standing up this is not important and indeed with a bit of forward planning means you can put it on after you have stood up. But on steep slopes it is a nuisance. It can alter your balance at a critical moment and probably when you can least do with it. I had often considered adding what on Neil's rucksack we call an Obelix belt - a wide strap securing the mustang round the waist to keep it still but had never got round to it. A dose of flu prior to departure - the usual kept me grounded and this time, at last, I got round to attaching a belt. I used one of the belts supplied by Rohan with a pair of trousers but which I don't need as I am fat enough to hold them up without. By sewing this on with tough yarn for shoe mending at a measured height I hoped to achieve the same result. This has proved to be the case. The strap has worked well both when standing up and on steep inclines. It will probably need minor repairs to keep it secure at each end where there is a lot of stress but that can easily be done between trips.

Today we saw rows of purple plastic bags which been laid out across a newly ploughed field. We decided they must be to hold down sheets of plastic over newly planted crops. This proved to be the case because today as we passed the same field we saw that the plastic had been laid down and the purple bags laid on top.

The sun is getting low so I have come inside. Interesting bits from the local guide book. Page 4 Route 8 which we did is level 2 -3 so we should be able to do the Cabo Cope ascent described as level 2. We may do it tomorrow.

Our Murcia guide book has some interesting translations for the plants and animals. Likely plants animals and birds include orchids, holm oak, venus navel, oleander, prickly pear, vulture, wild boar, stout boar, bee eater, whistler, feral cat, old crock and the spineless ones (invertibrates?). Plants adapted to survive without water include tree mallow, kermes oak, black thorn, asparagus ferns, cat's fingernail, lotus tree, sorrel, turpentine tree, savine, everlasting flower, blackberry bush. Fauna: Moorish turtle, real owl, partridge eagle, pilgrim hawk, royal eagle, ox heron and old crock. Mostly we knew what they meant. Our worries about naming accurately are obviously misplaced. These are direct translations from Spanish and very colourful if not always helpful. Here is a copy of the flora list including Latin names for cross reference.

Blackberry bush lycium intricatum
everlasting flower limonium insigne
Marine daisy Astriscus maritimus
Savine Juniperus Phoenicea
Venus navel umbellicus rupestris
bird of paradise apus apus
Eagle partridge hieraetus fasciatus
ox heron bubulcus ibis (surely not an ibis)
unfortunately old crock is not listed

Information from the routes

Route 1 Aguilas castle of San Juan de las Aguilas. In its present form it dates from 1754 but there was a tower in the same place from 1579.There are also references to an Arab fortress on the same site and archaeological remains from Roman and other culture have also been found. The function of the fortress was to protect inhabitants from incursions by Berber pirates.

Route 7 Cabezo de Cope a calcareous mass very like a small Gibraltar known by local writers as the dragon the giant saurian. The Torre de Cope is a defensive tower built in 1539 and rebuilt on several occasions It was to protect tuna fishermen and cattlemen from incursions of Berber pirates. A metal stairway now enables visitors to climb to the top.100m south of the tower is the hermitage of Cristo de Cope a place of worship in 18th century. A little, beyond are the fuente and a bay called Ensenada de la Fuente. From here the path roams through savines that stand out like green spots also false juniper wild olive Spanish broom. At the C6 there is a cave with interesting karst formations where archaeological finds from the late neolithic have been found (neolithic final sic) In 300m you go from 83m to 210m. There is an alternative route to the summit. Once up there are pistacho trees in the sun but different plants in the shade inc orchids, pilgrim hawk, partridge eagle, real owl.and wild olives. Look out for the European tortoise and wild boar.

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