It was gone midnight by the time ‘Herbie’ & I finally made it to Las Sierras del Cazorla. Owing to poor light, a general lack of signs, as well as some rather narrow roads it seemed sensible to get some shut eye, and look for El pardal in daylight instead. So Herbie & I slept under the beautiful star-lit sky and I got to use my sleeping bag for the 1st time since the beginning of this journey.
The following morning we woke up to a breathtaking beautiful view of Las Sierras del Cazorla, which felt surreal. Being a city lad, this is not exactly the kind of terrain or height I’m used to. As we crawled up the long windy hills on the narrow rocky dirt tracks, I thought I was in a scene in movie like ‘Rio Grande’ . Unfortunately Herbie got wedged on a heap of sand and rock, which despite my best efforts to get underneath in the rain, wouldn’t shift. As it would be dark in a few hours and it was unlikely that anyone would ever find me on this out of the way track, which was about 2-3 hours from the nearest town, I decided to try my luck on foot. After about an hour’s walk in the rain, which sometimes was more like drizzly mountain dew, out of the mist I spotted this 4×4 in the distance, as it meandered its way around the bends. Of course I frantically hailed it to a stop.
As I opened the passengers’ door, I caught sight of a man in his 30s, with a bald head and distinctive moorish features; he had a a fabulous moustache, beard and a very long interesting looking cigarette in his mouth. By sheer co-incidence, it turned out that Antonio, was also heading out to El Pardal. As my Spanish was as limited as his English, we both spoke French instead. Antonio explained that he was heading to El Pardal to surprise Amiro for New year’s eve. Unfortunately the surprise was on him as Amiro was away in Morocco, however, luckily for me I now had a lift to El Pardal and didn’t have to be sleeping out in the rain. It turned out that Antonio also lives an alternative lifestyle. When he isn’t working in exchange for food/accommodation, he plays guitar, so the two of us spent the night getting to know each other and drinking wine. He played the guitar and sang beautifully while I danced solo Tango. In the morning when I got up , the kind stranger who saved me from the elements had left, however, this was the sight I woke up to. What a wonderful start to the New year !