My arrival into Spain could not have been more perfect. There I was on Christmas day, feeling the beautiful, hot, Spanish sun on my face as I took in the view of the awe inspiring Pyrenees while driving across the border heading towards Barcelona. Before the beautiful pink Spanish sky changed from dusk into the dark night, my mission was to cover as many miles as humanly possible ,because it was still a long way to my next destination – El Pardal (Las Sierras del Cazorla).
While in Marseilles, I’d received a message from Amiro, the founder of El Pardal, an off grid living project in the hills of Las Sierras del Carzola. Despite the fact that we had never actually met before, as Amiro was due to head off to Morocco for a family break, he decided to take me up on my offer to volunteer my services in exchange for food and accommodation, as he needed someone to look after the place while he was away. Of course I hurriedly got on my way. Unfortunately, after a solid 12 hours of driving, just as I was about to pull out of a service station at La Ribera (outside Valencia) around midnight, the ‘Tango mobile’ conked out on me. After a couple of hours of waiting, the breakdown recovery man finally arrived and explained I needed a new alternator, so I was put up in a hotel in a beautiful old town of Castellon, and I got to chill out at a beautiful empty beach and recover from the ordeal.
Alas, the recuperation period took slightly longer than anticipated ; due to a combination of timing with festive season and the fact that the garage, which was closed at week ends, didn’t open till 10.00 a.m.and closed between 3-5 everyday, it took nearly 5 whole days to fix a problem which should apparently only have taken 1/2 an hour to sort out, and that was with me chasing them 3 times a day, at least. Not that I’m complaining as they did finally get the ‘Tango mobile’ back on the road, but apart from the length of time it took, financially it cost me a whole lot more than I’d anticipated. What could I do ? I had no choice but to pay up . When I finally got the car back and pulled out on to the street, I discovered that the windows had suddenly stopped working ?? When I pointed this out to the mechanics, they said that they had fixed the original problem with the alternator and any subsequent problems weren’t their responsibility. Of course I argued that given the fact that the windows were working perfectly fine, even when the rest of the car wasn’t, and as they were the only ones to access the car over the last 5 days, suggested something had changed while the car was with them. They insisted that it was to do with a car alarm and didn’t seem to want to accept the fact that I had no car alarm set on my antiquated little rust bucket.
Following a heated repetitive discussion (1/2 English and 1/2 Spanish) I resorted to contacting my breakdown company only to discover that during my phone call, the mechanics had closed the garage and sneaked off for their afternoon siestas and so no one from the company could actually speak to them. By this stage I’d had enough and didn’t have any confidence in the garage. So I opted to get on my way rather than spend another 5 days and more money investigating a non existent car alarm problem. Luckily for me, after a few miles, the window problem got fixed all by itself. I have decided that I am now going to call this car ‘Herbie’ 😉
Next Stop: El Pardal – Finally !