Day 7: Cordoba and the road to Grenada;

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Fri 12 Nov 2010 05:13
Day 7: 11 November 2010.  Alcaudete, 80 km NW of Grenada.  Apartmentos T Rurales via Verde del Aciete. N37 36.691  W004 07.197
Last night was bitterly cold and we were very glad we hadn't camped.  The 1 star hotel was a bit of a barren barn, the room had a small electric heater which tripped the circuit breaker when switched on to 2 bars, and the restaurant didn't open until 2100!  This morning when we came to check out we found that breakfast only started at 0900, so we drove down to a more friendly bar (Meson Rural,) which was warm and had lovely coffee, before setting off for Cordoba.
Once the sun came over the hills it warmed up fast and became quite hot with the cloudless skies.  We probably turned off the N 432 into Cordoba too early and soon became lost in narrow streets in completely the wrong part of the city. A friendly motorcyclist, shaking his head, soon put us right and we eventually managed to find a vacant parking space in the branches of an olive tree - that's why no one else had taken it!
Old Cordoba, and particularly the Mesquita, was absolutely wonderful and we walked around for a couple of hours marvelling at the designs and the craftsmanship and especially the contrast inside the Mesquita of the 12 th century cathedral blended into the 7th century mosque.  Quite amazing.
We then continued SE towards Grenada with firstly thousands of acres of arable farmland stretching as far as the eye can see with a tree in sight, then wall-to-wall olive trees, just millions of them.  One guide stated that there were 150 million olive trees in this small province alone!  Jenny picked a few black ones but soon found that they were fare from ready to eat!
We were fascinated by the sight of the village of Alcaudete with it's walled castle perched on top of a very prominent hill and turned of to have a look.  After circling the place on the main road we ventured off into side streets trying to get near the top but the streets weren't built for heavily loaded Land Rovers and we were fortunate to get out without getting irretrievably stuck.  As it was, I am sure we disturbed a few siestas with our turbo diesel growling between the houses.
We had been debating the various types of Spanish accommodation and all the time looking, unsuccessfully, for a Casa Rural or B&B style farmhouse.  On the circuitous way out of Alcaudete we happened across a modern house on top of a small hill, surrounded by olive trees, advertising itself as Apartmentos T Rurales.  On investigating, we found a charming "mine host" serving a delicious looking lunch to a few guests, surrounded by a display of home produced olive oils at 2 Euros a bottle and a range of other delicacies. The apartments are beautiful appointed and, above all, warm!  There is also Wi-Fi!
 Photos have been deleted to reduce transmission time by Sat Phone