There were barely any people on the bus; a couple of young guys, one or two women and an extremely large chap who chatted non-stop to the driver, a balding grumpy Spaniard who cursed me as I got off the bus after the last stop in Lanjaron, an easy mistake to make for a tired Englishman.
I waited by the small petrol station, one of the last buildings in the village, surprised at how much it was here than in Granada, with my breath being clearly visible against the spectacular backdrop of the Alpujarras...the foothills of the vast Sierra Nevada.
|The mountain from Lanjaron castle|
Then came that ascent up the mountain track, a route I had done countless times in the back of the old Nissan Sunny, or hanging out the window; a ten year old face being woken up by the cold mountain mist on the way to a small rural Spanish school where everything was new and strange.
How peculiar to be driving past old neighbours, the same purple Seat Marbella parked on Juaqui's goat farm, the same dust settling on the dashboard and those wonderful smells of the wild mountain plants mixed together in a subtle nasal cocktail. We shook and shuddered up to around 1350m where the same black gate leading down to La Chaparra stood.
It looked similar yet very different, my memories mixing with the altered gardens and house. To my great surprise, it was Bonita, the old dog, that greeted me, the same she had probably done so 12 years ago, albeit with more flesh on her then. I was quickly introduced to Bastian and Bruno who were busy building the bunker/root cellar and then shown to a small caravan, which would become my quarters for the duration of my stay, however long that should be.