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(>Pictures at the bottom!)

…trapped in the province
We arrived in time in the eastern province of Andalusia before the gates closed and further restricted the freedom of movement. Soon we no longer felt like reading the latest Corona news every day; more and more restrictions are being imposed for the welfare of the people. Crazy!

We couldn’t leave the province at the moment and sitting around on a camping site somewhere was not exactly our cup of tea either. In the province itself no additional restrictions had been imposed and people were allowed to move around freely. So we studied our map and soon found something for the heart and soul: wonderful trails in the hinterland of the province of Almería, where probably neither Corona nor the police would be on the way.

We followed the coast towards Cabo de Gata and were not only surprised by the wonderful and wild landscape. Half of Central Europe must have interpreted the same news accordingly and could be found almost everywhere; be it on the road or in the cozy pitches for the night. Later we climbed up the steep paths to the Sierra de los Filabres and crossed Calar Alto with its 2168 metres above sea level, where Spanish and German astronomers explore the starry sky through thick telescopes. Once again, the paths posed certain challenges to the performance of the jeep and to Chantal’s nerves: the paths were often only two metres wide and the abyss was correspondingly deep. In addition, closed paths, which were blocked with thick chains, repeatedly led to long detours and time-consuming replanning of the route. Not all landowners want their land to be driven on, or the path was once closed a long time ago and nobody knows about it anymore. So one beautiful afternoon, in the middle of the wilderness, we picked a castle and continued our journey like two little rascals. Whether it was really illegal or not in the end – we don’t know – but the following stretch was wonderful and a pleasure to drive.

Due to the weather we had to postpone our further mountain tour; thick clouds hung low and in the distance we made out the first snow fields on free mountain flanks. So we headed back to the Mediterranean Sea, where hopefully no snowflakes would fall yet. Through olive and orange plantations we looked for a way down to Adra and to the sea. Already in the valley after Adra the always numerous greenhouses pointed out very intensive vegetable growing. Between the wide area from the mountainside to the sea we soon found thousands and thousands of such greenhouses covered with plastic foil, where busy workers produce vegetables and other healthy things for us Northern Europeans. And to our surprise: Everywhere “Bio” was written on the warehouses, but next door there were tractors with their spray trailers and in the market for vegetable farmers stored other things than just for organic farming.

We had enough of the many “packed” vegetable gardens and headed back up to the mountains of the coastal mountain range. We drove through countless small villages, where today probably the heads of the vegetable gardens live in their villas and have an overview from above, before we went down again to the provincial capital Almería. The centre of the provincial capital was really dressed up and very worth seeing. The surrounding area with its run-down neighbourhoods was the exact opposite of the centre before the plastic-wrapped greenhouses were once again omnipresent.

We were again drawn to the wide landscape and the Cabo de Gata of the national park of the same name. Although the remains of the tattered greenhouses from the last winter storm were still hanging everywhere on the reeds, it became quieter on the road and we were back in the wild coastal landscape. The surf brought us back to the spirit of discovery and the desire for further adventures on backroads.

The photos of Cabo de Gata were soon in the box (…camera) and we were faced with a big driving ban; the road along the coast is reserved for cyclists and for us it was a “but turn around”. Chantal tried to return to the coast as soon as possible and so we finally bumped through a creek bed towards the blue sea.

In the former mining town of Rodalquilar we also felt like gold diggers and we drove up the steep factory roads into the mountains, where until recently whole mountains were cut down for the precious metal. Although we did not find any gold, we found a wonderful place to stay overnight right next to the entrance of a gallery.

Behind the abandoned mine we crossed a wide prairie, where the former Franciscan monastery “Cortijo del Fraile” was located and where several westerns have already been shot. The sublime feeling of a ride through the wild west was burning in us and with a lot of dust stirred up we continued our ride.

After this short trip over many heights, the gold rush and smoke from the Colt, we took a break on a quiet camping site; laundry was on the agenda. With so much relaxation we had conversations with other campers and we were surprised that many of them wanted to spend the winter here and others had already lived here for a longer time. We also stayed a few days and did various things. Beside the almost obligatory bank transactions, finally our credit card must be solvent at any time, we enjoyed the sun and the sea at the nearby beach.

But one morning the shock came! Chantal only meant that I should sit down and then read a communication from the regional authority of Andalusia. After the surrounding regions and provinces, a two-week quarantine was imposed here too, which could possibly be extended. The measure is to start from midnight of the same day, and driving around is only allowed for important concerns or work. Tourist movements were included in this measure and we were sentenced to “hang around”.
Shock! What should we do? Sit out or flee?

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