We left the next day and drove south west towards Granada. Our route took us through Gaudix, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, an area known for its troglodytes (cave dwellers). We were told that the earliest caves dated back to the 8th century, created by people burrowing into the soft sandstone. The main labyrinth of homes was created in the 16th century. The homes we saw from the motorway were just holes in the hillside (occasionally with washing hanging outside) said to be inhabited by gypsies. Nowadays most of the homes in the main labyrinth had all modern conveniences and often they had an extension built on the front to provide a terrace. It was estimated that over 10,000 people lived in these caves. Inside the homes the temperature remained at a steady 20° all the year round (warmer than your house in winter, Kate). Outside it reached 40° in summer and frequently they had snow in the winter.
The temperature was 30° when we stopped for lunch. The meal cost €10 each for soup, grilled chicken the size of a cat – it wasn’t, I’m sure – wine, bread, water, dessert and coffee followed by an hour’s siesta in the camper. Our route continued upward and, as we rounded one bend we were surprised to see the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada about fifty miles ahead.
The snow covered slopes gradually grew nearer as we reached our campsite in the early evening and found a pitch overlooking a huge reservoir. We were at almost four thousand feet and were surrounded by beautiful green hills, some distant ones topped with snow. We sat outside and enjoyed the stunning scenery. It was still 28° at 7pm but pleasant in the shade with a slight breeze blowing. Later we ate tapas in the restaurant with a glass of red wine, overlooking a wonderful panorama of mountains and water.
We enjoyed two nights in the mountains where the silence was disturbed only by distant barking dogs and crowing cockerels. We had a late lunch in the restaurant and found it surprisingly busy, until we realised it was 1st May so some diners would have driven up into the hills for lunch.