21.06.2009 17 °C
Part of the rationale behind staying in an apartment was to have a base where we can be unpacked and settled and still have enough money to do extra day trips or overnight stays should the mood take us. On the Saturday after school finished, the mood took us to Guadix, a town of about 20,000 people less than an hour’s bus ride from Granada that is famed for its troglodytic lifestyle. (Around 3000 of the town’s residents live in caves). We too wanted to be cave people and, as thousands of tourists no doubt do every year, booked into Cuevas Pedro Antonio de Alarcón - a sprawling warren of comfy accommodation for our cave experience.
What we didn’t realise is how beautiful the town of Guadix was in its own right. With lighter than believable day packs, we sprang from the bus at the first Guadix bus-stop, without realising that our bus was headed to the bus station and taxis at the other end of town. Our eagerness in jumping off early gave us the opportunity to explore but it also left us with no idea how to get to our accommodation and no map. We sat in this great restaurant with the typical Spanish hanging hams, had a hot chocolate and figured out where we were in the maps at the back of yellow pages.
After a good look through the Saturday morning markets and bustle of town we grabbed a taxi and checked into our cave. Cuevas Pedro Antonio had a great outdoor pool but the weather was oddly cold with an even colder wind so we headed to the complex’s cave restaurant instead for a glass of red and a hot and very tasty free tapa stew thingee. I asked what the dish was called (in Spanish of course) - the waiter looked at me as if I was nuts and said, “meat in tomatoes” - very exotic.
As we only had the one day in Guadix, we decided to head back into town as it didn’t seem too far away on foot. Rural life: we walked along the side of the road, past territorial dogs, old ladies washing their cars, a couple of slightly homeless looking guys asleep in some long grass and a guy herding some goats with an overly exuberant labrador. We arrived at the railway tracks and, peering to the right at the tiny, brightly painted Guadix train station, we decided that we’d grab a train back to Granada in the morning instead of the bus we’d bought tickets for - the kind woman at the caves recommended the trip and it was an easy 10 minute walk from where we were staying unlike the bus station.
We crossed the river and arrived in town, map in hand, heading straight for the ‘cultural walking tour’. The tour took us past a number of suitably historic buildings and relics which I’ll not go into here. Within a couple of hours we were far more in the know about the cultural gems of Guadix and snugly back in our cave playing rummy and having some pre-dinner drinks.
We strode down the road to the station in the sunshine of the next morning, happy with our cave dwelling experience and great (although fairly boozy) dinner at the restaurant the previous evening. We arrived at the station just as a train to Granada pulled in and two minutes later, had our tickets and were rollicking away down the line. The train journey from Guadix was indeed a beautiful one, made all the more special when the conductor, for reasons unknown, gave us our own sight-seeing compartment with full picture windows. We sat, happy as pigs in mud, and headed home to our apartment vaguely contemplating how travel could be improved if we set fire to our big packs and travelled this lightly all the time.