'Twas a cold and frosty morning...

‘Twas a cold and frosty morning…

We’re back from our winter break having spent the festive season in the Natural Park of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and las Villas.  It was cold overnight – the car needed de-icing every morning (not something we are used to, any more) – but with sunshine and blue skies during the day, on most days it warmed up enough to go out for walks.

a walk on the wild side

a walk on the wild side beside the Guadalquivir river

It was nice to be in accommodation with central heating.  We stayed in the same apartment as last year in Arroyo Frío and the weather was a little kinder to us with neither the torrential downpours nor the frequent tripping of the power-supply.  We took our own dvd player and a good supply of movies, plus we had cards, other games and a jigsaw to amuse us when we were back at base.  By using our own halogen oven and slow cooker plus the built-in two-ring stove-top we were able to cater for all our inner needs including dinner on the 25th.

Apartamentos Martin.  Ours is on the ground floor halfway along

Apartamentos Martin. Ours is on the ground floor halfway along

Our gift to ourselves, as last year, was to take a guided trip in a 4×4 through some of the restricted areas and this year we went to the source of the Guadalquivir River which runs entirely within Andalucía, all 657 km of it on its way to the Atlantic Ocean!  It gets used for drinking-water purposes, producing electricity, fishing, transport and at one time for much more, such as driving mills at Córdoba in Roman and Moorish times and as a “log-run” from the Sierra de Cazorla to the railhead at Jódar as recently as 1948 (more on this later).

The source of the Guadalquivir

The source of the Guadalquivir

Our route took us via a few patches of snow

SAM_1466 SAM_1476

and an observation point for seeing Griffon Vultures both flying and on their nest in a hole in a rock face.

The close up view of the bird on the nest is through a telescope

The close up view of the bird on the nest is through a telescope

In flight

In flight

A picture in the visitor centre showing the bird better.  Typically it is 1 metre long and has a 2.75 metre wingspan.

A picture in the visitor centre showing the bird better. Typically it is 1 metre long and has a 2.75 metre wingspan and is not to be meddled with.

Foxes
As on our previous 4×4 trip into the restricted areas, the foxes (they aren’t called crafty for nothing) are aware of what times, the park rangers are likely to be passing and they hang around hoping for titbits.

SAM_1486

bacon and ham offcuts are on the menu

bacon and ham offcuts are on the menu

party trick

party trick

Street numbering
Many who have lived in or been to towns and cities where the streets are on a grid system will be familiar with the roads being numbered, sometimes with a distinction being made between roads running North/South being called Carreras, e.g. Cra. 3, 5, 8, etc and those running East/West being called Calles, e.g. C/ 1, 4, 8, etc  (or some other names to divide the roads of differing orientations).  We came across an oddity in Arroyo Frío, where we stayed, of a short dead-end street (not much more than an alleyway): Calle ½

Calle ½

Calle ½

More next time

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