The white village of Grazalema! Aaah! Sigh! Gasp! I’m not normally a great fan of los pueblos blancos as they are often deserted but for old people and foreigners. Grazalema is another story altogether. It’s buzzing! Men in berets congregate in the bars and street corners; shops with delicious honey, blankets, cheese and mouth-watering pastries abound, the hardware shop has a queue round the block, young women push babies and smile at me, everyone has an umbrella (except me – mine flew away in Cadiz). Grazalema has the highest rainfall in Spain. WHO CARES!
I have learned my lesson and park the rented car at the bottom of the hill. Hotel Mejorana looks out over the village roof tops and beyond to layers of cragged mountains. There are terraces, a pool, a log fire, help-yourself-to-coffee & biscuits, charming bedrooms and a small number of dedicated hikers – mostly English. Andreas gives me a choice of two rooms. He advises me to use the electronic shutters which are operated from inside the bedroom but close outside the French windows. The sun will be pouring in my window and disturb my sleep in the morning.
Perfect! I feel ridiculously happy. Having not eaten all day I can’t wait for the dining hour (9pm) and end up in a bar wolfing down a delicious cold collation and then buying a huge ensaimada to take back and eat in front of the log fire. I have the sitting room to myself.
I wake up at 8 a.m. to find there is a power cut! The room is pitch black, the shutters don’t work and the bathroom has a small, high window with metal railings (rejas).
I ring Andreas – no reply. I yell through the bars, “AYUDAME!!!!”
Quite soon he comes running. The shutters won’t budge!
This is our strategy… He will go and get a ladder and some screw drivers, unscrew the railings and I will exit through the bathroom window. I duly pack in the dark, dark room, waving my phone light around to do a final swoop. The railings are unscrewed. I hand the little suitcase through the window, put my bum on the basin shelf, swing my legs over the window ledge and cautiously climb down the ladder. Andreas gives me a very rewarding hug! The English hikers think it’s hysterical.
It’s pouring with rain! I set off in a heavy mist and have a perilous drive over the mountains on an extremely twisty road.
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