Another decent day at Olvera so I drove into the town. Olvera is built on the side of a hill with the church and castle crowning the peak. Being of Arab origin, the streets are narrow and steep. Certainly no place to try and park a car, so I parked on the perimeter and walked up towards the church. What a steep hill! The final 50 yards was not only steep, but was stepped as well. Finally I reached the small plaza where the church is on one side with another steep track leading to the castle on the other. For a small town, the church is remarkably ornate with many richly gilded memorial chapels erected along the aisles.
I looked across at the castle standing on even higher ground and decided I’d had enough climbing for one day, so after resting in the shade, I made my way back to the car and drove out of town to find the Vía Verde de la Sierra.
Back in the 1960’s work started on a new seventy-five mile railway line which was planned to connect Jerez with Almargen. Embankments and cuttings were created, tunnels were bored and lined, stations were built – but for some reason, the tracks were never laid. The project was abandoned and the track-way became overgrown. Only in recent years has a twenty-four mile section of the route been rescued and turned into a track for walking, cycling and horse riding. I unloaded my bike and cycled through the tunnel and along the track for a few miles. It passes through some beautiful scenery.
Tomorrow is moving day
Changes to my itinerary brought about by so many rainy days has meant that I will be arriving at El Pino six days earlier than what I’d planned but friend, Jim (CT’s Wigandiver) assures me that my pitch will be available. So having missed out on Merida and Carmona, there’s only105 miles to do to reach Torrox.
With a ten o'clock departure from Olvera, I reached El Pino around mid-day and was welcomed by Silvia, a long-time receptionist at the site.
Having got the caravan on to the pitch, I set about positioning it as I like it. Not an easy task and maybe even impossible without a mover because of the trees. With water and electricity connected, I broke off for some lunch and a snooze. The afternoon just whizzed by, chatting to friends old and new, but then, I’d already decided to do nothing more until tomorrow.
When I was packing the car before leaving home, I made the mistake of laying the awning bag, the groundsheet and mats with the poles on the floor of the car before piling the travel crates on top. Consequently I had the car to unload before I could reach the awning. I got cracking by 9am. Shortly after, Jim and two of his mates arrived and we had the awning erected in no time. After lunch, I took it easy, installing my kitchen range at one end of the awning. Over the course of the next few days, I’ll get gear sorted and put where I want it.
El Pino is a large, sloping site on seven levels where slopes have been bulldozed into level areas, although not every area is available to tourists. Four levels have been equipped with toilet and shower blocks. Every pitch is within fairly easy reach of a mains power box where a 10amp supply is connected via a continental adapter. Drinking water is available at the toilet blocks, plus at a few extra stand-pipes. Roads within the site are well surfaced although some of them are steep. Main gates are locked from mid-night until 8am with a security watchman posted in reception. A small shop is available close to reception which is open 9-7 throughout the year. Above the shop is an open-air patio for the site’s bar-restaurant, which is normally open throughout the year. (Having said that, at the moment it’s closed – undergoing a change of management)
Part of the site is devoted to permanent chalets which are privately owned. Many of them are British owners who were once caravanners here. In another section are some more basic chalets which are site-owned available for short letting periods, although in the winter months they are rentable by the month. Again, some of the people using them, I first met when they were caravanners here.
There is a free wifi connection which has a strong signal at my pitch. I understand it’s not so reliable further away from reception
Within two hundred yards of the site are three bars, two of which are restaurants as well. There’s also another small shop selling bread and essentials. Larger supermarkets are about a mile away close to the sea-front. The area is well-catered for with an Aldi; a Lidl; a Mercadona; a 10%Dia and a Supersol.
To see this blog with several more pictures go to https://jondogoescaravanning. com/spain-nov-2018-feb-2019/