The first time alone
Because I have a very poor sense of orientation and always get lost, I thought it would be a good idea to buy a navigation system for my first solo trip to Andalusia. Getting lost can be fun and surprising, but in search of new Taha acquisitions it seemed important to me to arrive at the agreed time. Of course it would have been useful to ‘practice’ with my new little ‘helper’ first. The combination of that slight handicap and my newly unpacked toy meant that on my first evening I suddenly ended up in the center of Málaga, while I really had to be somewhere in the campo near Villanueva de la Concepción. Unthinkable for many, for me again proof that I really always and everywhere, with or without aid, get lost. Don’t ask me how, but I finally arrived, although it was an hour later.
Andalusia with navigation system
After some instructive experiences with my new toy, I got to know her better and better. I trusted her so much that I followed her directions blindly; even if she let me go on a dirt road that looked more like a donkey trail than a road suitable for cars. Sometimes it’s better to use a map or common sense in Andalusia, but I didn’t know that at the time. Fortunately, my guardian angel was active and sent me a true savior in my need. The savior appeared in the form of an old Andalusian on an even older-looking mule. When I told him where I wanted to go, he said he would drive ‘in front’. It wasn’t far, he said, and he was right. 5 Kilometers is not far but if you drive behind a mule there seems to be no end to it. I was also very grateful that I was not seen by anyone because it was a bit embarrassing.
Andalusia without navigation system
Together with a friend I was on my way to Sayalonga where I had rented a house for a week to experience first-hand whether it would be a suitable Taha house. The photos I had looked at were beautiful and the owner was eager to work with us. In the village we were met by the contact person (without donkey but with car) who would drive ahead of us to the house. We followed her and I pointed out to my friend, who usually doesn’t suffer from the handicap I suffer from, to keep an eye on the route. The road was partly unpaved, in some places very steep and especially very narrow. After fifteen minutes we arrived, a bit shivery. When I asked if there was a route description in the house, I was laughed at because it wasn’t that difficult, was it? Anyway, after a short siesta we still had to go out to get groceries so that we could drive back before dark. Unfortunately, in the maze of side roads and after driving up and down the mountain 5 times, we still couldn’t find the right path. With a car full of groceries but without a phone and without our navigation, there was no other option than to drive to the nearest hotel in Competa. By now it was midnight, all the bars were already closed and there was only 1 room left. After a good breakfast among a large group of elderly hikers, all equipped with a pill box, we somehow found the right path the next morning.
All’s well that ends well. Don’t worry, the house is not included in our offer.
After all those experiences I have become a little wiser. Armed with navigation system, Google Earth coordinates and my iPhone with route planner, things are going a lot better. Which is of course a shame because getting lost certainly has its charm. Fortunately, Andalusia always provides surprises, even without getting lost. We’ll keep taking extra travel time into account, because you never know when you’ll encounter a herd of sheep or goats, a road diversion because of a rock that has come down, a river that has become just a little too wild, a farmer who traded his mule in for a car; Andalusia will never seize to amaze.