So to get back to my arrival in EL Maestrat, and the start of a very long adventure, I back track over the last post a little. Near the end of March James fixed a roof box to our Skoda estate and I packed it to the brim. Setting off in sunny weather from Liverpool, I drove to Folkstone, took the channel tunnel, and then traversed the length of France, staying in cheap hotels along the way. It was pelting with rain. In fact, the further South I went, the more it fell. This was not at all what I had hoped for, but never mind. I still hoped.
On the 1st of April 2010 at 10pm, two days before my eldest son’s 20th birthday (don’t make a fuss mum, he said, I am spending it with friends), I arrived in Atzeneta by the skin of my teeth. The rain was so heavy for the last 45 minutes that the CV10 after Sant Mateu had become a torrential river of sorts and I feared sliding into a premature watery grave at the bottom of a ravine. I pulled into the village at about 2 miles per hour, clutching the steering wheel for dear life and looked at the grim and grey village. Abandoned. Everyone was home and shuttered against the storm and I could not blame them.
There was no way I would make it up the mountain to my cabin, not without a 4×4, and maybe not even with. I pulled up to Fonda Gilber and entered the empty bar. Tall skinny Anton from Romania was standing forlornly behind the counter and gave me a weak smile. Business was not good, and yes I could have a room for the night. I took a key, a bottle each of water and red wine, and ascended the ugly cement stairs to a room that I had hoped never to see again.
I got myself settled; book, thermal long johns (no heating) and a big swig of wine. Before I knew it, morning had broken to reveal a clearing sky, my book was on the floor, and a puddle of red wine was spreading across the thankfully tiled floor.