All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 

Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Our Romantic Trip
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 @ 11:20 PM

My late wife Barbara wrote this one in 2012.

At some moment of time in the late eighties, I was writing a special for our newspaper on romantic get-aways and I contacted the head of tourism for the small resort of Lanjarón in Granada. In those days, newspapers didn't buy agency copy and we had to either write our own stuff or ask the fellow upstairs to pen something.

Lanjarón is a beautiful village, high in the Alpujarras and famous for its natural spring water and hot springs and old Moorish baths. It had to be a great place to visit, I thought.

After speaking with the head of tourism over the phone, he kindly invited me and a guest to stay in his hotel and spend a weekend taking in all of the wonders of Lanjarón. It was late November and Lenox’s birthday so I thought it would be a wonderful surprise that would normally be out of my price range.

We had driven up to the city of Granada from the coast to make our way over the top of the Sierra Nevada on what turned out to be an alarming and stony track, with the snow either beginning to fall or already banked on the side on our route. The car was a rear-engined two-seater and we had no chains for the wheels if the going got any worse. We gingerly passed through little villages and hamlets at the very summit of the Alpurrajas. Arriving at last in the town made famous from its bottled water, we found the hotel to our surprise to be chained, locked and bolted. The neighbors said maybe the manager (and acknowledged expert on tourism) had gone into Granada to go shopping.

Or, who knows, maybe he had just bolted.

We spent the rest of the day wandering around the town - there was just the one street - and finally decided to take a room, at our expense, in the only hotel that was open. It turned out to be a hotel for senior citizens where the Spanish Social Security system brought elderly people by the bus-load in a service called El Imserso.

We checked into our room and were told that dinner was at seven. Our room was large, freezing and filthy. The view from our bedroom window was of snow; not a beautiful snowy landscape but of packed snow up against the window. We went to the dining room around 7.15 only to find that, in a most un-Spanish way, they meant dinner was served at seven and not, as usually understood, that it started vaguely anytime after seven but best show up around nine.

Every course was a type of purée. The soup, vegetable, meat and pudding had all been put through a blender. Who, we wondered, needs teeth with a meal like that? After this rather disappointing dinner we went out to find a bar and something proper to eat but along the main and indeed practically only street, everything was firmly shut; so we returned to the hotel bar. The only beverage on the shelf behind the bar was an elderly bottle of Cointreau, so Lenox ordered one and, to his gratification, was given a huge water glass full of this sticky orange-flavoured liqueur. I asked for a Coke and the bar-tender had to leave the building only to return ten minutes later with a can of Coke held firmly in his gloved hands: he must have got it out of a friend’s refrigerator.

Some of the other guests were gloomily playing dominoes in the lounge while others were watching the TV. We decided to retire to our icy room and go to bed.

We were wearing every piece of clothing we had packed while all of the blankets and towels were spread on the bed and yet we were still freezing. Lenox suggested adding the rug on the floor but it was covered with heavy clumps of what appeared to be human hair.

After an unsatisfying breakfast of puréed toast and with our hitherto benevolent opinion about Lanjarón firmly in retreat, we decided to leave the town, as even the hot springs and baths were closed for the season. We drove down the mountains towards the coast looking for somewhere beautiful and interesting. To our surprise, we came across a place called Orgiva – looking like the Santa Cruz Mountains of California wrenched directly from the 60s, with long-haired hippies wearing outsize velvet caps, a reek of patchouli oil, Tarot-readings in the market, and a few painted VW buses. The whole lot of them: all apparently moved in a woozy bulk to the Alpujarras of Granada.

We broke our trip briefly in another notable village, Yegen, where Gerald Brennan had lived for many years. The entire place appeared to us to have chosen in its origins to be built entirely in the shade. White houses grey. Our conclusion? Don’t visit it in November.

We continued eastwards, still in search of a nice hotel to roost in for a break - after all, I could always write about somewhere else. We coasted into Trevélez and came across a restaurant apparently famous for its trout so we pulled in to the carpark only to find three bus loads of German tourists parked in mathematical precision in front of us. That would be a lot of trouts for one day, we thought, so we gave up.

It was getting dark, but the only rooms we could find in Trevélez – tourism in the eighties evidently still not being a strong point from Lanjarón onwards – was above a gas station, so we decided to give up and go home. When we regained the coast we changed our plans, deciding not to let our romantic weekend be completely ruined so we went to a giant hotel located on the beach in Aguadulce, Almería. A least the bar would have something crunchy. The hotel was full of English and German tourists all looking to be entertained around the clock and, by chance, it was “Dress in Drag Night”. So nice to see the two nations coinciding for once – if only in complete idiocy.

I had never been so happy the following morning as to return to the beauty and comfort of Mojácar, and until now, all these years afterwards, I have never written that article I had promised Lenox and his readers about Lanjarón.

Like 2


Only registered users can comment on this blog post. Please Sign In or Register now.


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x