"You have arrived at your destination. Your destination is on the left", said Jennifer, our in-car navigation aid, come back seat driver, come second wife. Julie and I gazed out of the windows. To our right was a steep, rocky hill, ahead and behind was the rough dirt track we had followed, at Jennifer's insistence, for the last 1.9 kilometres. To the left was a vertiginous drop, a not uncommon scenario during our travels. I opened my door and leaned out with Julie hanging on to my right arm. Not so much to stop me falling out as for self-preservation; she would not be able to perform a three-point turn if I did take a dive.
As ever, Jennifer was correct. Far below, and I mean far, was our destination. A boutique hotel somewhere between Sedella and Viñuela. We had another couple of hundred metres of track to negotiate plus a horrendous, steeply inclined, hairpin before we thankfully pulled up behind the hotel.
We were greeted by four dogs, two cats and a lovely lady who, between them, could not have made us more welcome. The whole pack led us down another unmade path to our accommodation. “I cannot put you in the main guest room”, we were told,” there’s a problem with the loo”. Instead, we were in a guest cabin.
The dogs beat us to the door, eager to show us our home for the weekend. Arthur, “if you stroke him, he will adopt you”, made it on to the bed. “Just pick as many oranges as you like,” said our hostess as she departed up the path. “What about Arthur,” I shouted. “Oh, he likes oranges as well” she replied.
This all came about last month when Julie and I decided to venture inland to an area we had not often been too, the Axarquia region. Axarquia extends from Rincón de la Victoria to Nerja on the coast and is roughly triangular, the apex being just north of Alfarnate. The whole area consists of narrow valleys between steep hills. Single track roads link the small villages and dirt tracks criss-cross the landscape. The further inland you venture, the fewer indications there are of any tourists and the less clear the road signs. The locals gaze at you curiously. In our case, I know they are thinking, ‘they will be back’, as I drive down yet another cul de sac. Sure enough, sometime later, I wave as though I had meant to go down there all along.
Speaking of taking another direction. The Visit Andalucia magazine is now totally online. We decided to stop printing the magazine after talking to our businesses, all experts in their own fields. Their view was, collectively, that more and more people are using the Internet via mobile phones and pads. Whilst the magazine was a nice glossy publication full of great content, it was just not reaching the right people whereas our Visit Andalucia website was growing steadily, to such an extent that the business pages, the sponsored pages and guest posts on the website are receiving more attention than could be gained from hard copy. We must move with the times.
Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.
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