It’s been a technology-rich day.
Using WhatsApp, V dropped a pin for the café she thought we might like for breakfast. Google Maps kindly obliged, bringing us to her Airb’n’b so we could pick her up and then on to the café itself. The waiters in the café had mobile phones on which they recorded our table number and orders, then delivered our ham and cheese croissants with smooth Spanish coffee. Likewise, the bill, contactless payment for it’s settlement, all tech enabled.
We took V to the station where she’s travelling up to Madrid, working for a company that delivers parcels all over the world using the latest hard and software available.
You get the picture.
But the most fun we had with technology today, was the battery-powered scooters around Malaga. By downloading the scooter app, you register (with bank details, obviously) scan the QR-code on each scooter, which unlocks it and then whoosh, you’re away. You end your rental (charged at €1.15 per minute) by taking a picture on your phone that acts as a date-time stamp.
Malaga is beautiful. The Castle is set in parkland, overlooking the port beside which unfold the granite-lined streets of the city centre. Rich in heritage, pre-dating the Romans with Phonecian foundations, it has a mellow, gracious feel.
As we wander back down from the fortress, a busker plays classical guitar and I imagine wide crinoline skirts rustling against the flowerbeds and hedgerows of rosemary. You’d hope they had good shoes though – not kind on the tootsie pegs these pathways!
We need to plot a route home. With just under 4 weeks now by which to be back at Calais. Straight up North, or East before North, or West and then North? Either way, eventually, it’s gotta be North. We’ve got about 1300 miles to cover, route dependent.
Heading out of Malaga, we start with North, up into the mountains. We’ll probably stop off at Cordoba and then head for Mid-Pyrenees, get to Lourdes (for M) and then chug across France, west-ish, arcing left of Paris.
Today, the poo-box needs attending to. There’s an dearth of appropriate facilities, but we find a campsite. The manager won’t let us pay to use the chemical site without paying for all of us to come in – so two adults, a camper and a dog all get charged for separately. Charm might be in short supply, but his technology efficiently relieves us of our euros. We find our allotted space, next to other parked vans, all neatly stacked like sardines in a can.
M does the nasty bit, I recycle and empty rubbish, we take on as much water as we’ve got containers for. Then we sit, for at least 3 minutes, before M says:
“Shall we just bite the bullet?”
I’m not sure what he means.
“There was a beautiful spot back there, on the Park4Night app, overlooking the lake – described as stunning, quiet and peaceful” he explains, “shall we just go?”
Neither of us can bear being confined in an area that has more rules than its 217 pitches. It’s wooded but not beautifully clean, the dog needs to be on a lead all times, we need to be on leads at all times and the boundary for our spot gives us, at most, 3’ on all sides.
So, like kids bunking off school, we gleefully escape, delighted when the barriers open automatically and our exit is unimpeded. It’s been an expensive water exchange but the relief to be out is so enormous, we simply don’t care.
A few minutes up the hill sees a track, reasonably flat if you drive round the craters. It takes us out to a spit of land, maybe 100m above the reservoir which envelopes us on 3 sides. Imagine the lake district, Ullswater probably, tree packed islands emerge from its depths, it’s blue reflects the azure of the cloudless sky and in the distance the sierra mountains wrap their arms around us, in an all-encompassing embrace.
M and I pick our very own angle at which to park, unrestricted by any regulations. We get set and take the dog out for a wander. Both of us have spotted the ominous lumps of tissue paper beneath bushes, so Stan will stay on his leash even if we’re glad to be off ours. A couple drives part-way up the track and we exchange “Hola” and “Buenos Dias” as we pass. But, we return too soon for them. She’s wiping her hands with a piece of tissue that she discards to the breeze.
She bloody well has.
The steaming evidence is just round the nearest bush to where we’re parked and the pong is all the proof you need.
For God’s Sake – don’t these people have toilets to go to?
We relocate slightly, away from the offending ‘mound’ and settle to enjoy the rest of the evening, it’s stunning sunset and supper. This is a qualified beauty spot, you just need to watch where you step and keep the dog under close scrutiny, something that sadly, technology has not yet developed an app for.