2. LeMans to Torremolinos

Three of UsWith the three
of us…

We could not trust Keith to write this one on his own!

It’s interesting – when the three of us circulated our notes prior to writing this chapter – none of us could remember anything of the trip between Le Mans and Biarritz – and then only the glitzy lights as we drove straight through.  And that includes the Bordeaux wine region – such impetuous young men!  So much wine, so little time…

DavidWe were headed for the sun – and away from a North European winter.  We crossed the Spanish border at San Sebastian – turned left at Bilbao – through Burgos – and the first stop was…
Madrid – we found the sun there. Wonderful rich old architecture – carved doors – and we sat in the sun on stone steps – still dressed in sweaters and greatcoats – for hours.

Election posters everywhere – urging people to vote – “Vota Si.”  Franco was still in power and was holding a referendum on his presidency (his was the only name on the ballot) – but the advertising was powerful!

PeterIt was approaching sunset when we drove around a steep escarpment and saw the old, Mediaeval City of Toledo below us.  We camped on that escarpment.  Between us – we’ve seen a few sunsets – in a huge bunch of countries – but the three of us remember that one!  We spent the next day amongst the steel works and old buildings.  Keith still has his sword on his basement wall – but somehow John wound up with two clay water pots – which he carried around the world for years – giant pain in the jars! 

South again – we had sun – we needed warmth.  Down through Castilla La Mancha (we’ll get back to that!) – Granada and the Sierra Nevadas – to Malaga and the Costa del Sol.  Sun, warmth and cheap red wine – we had arrived!

Torremolinos – too many Poms (but David liked it).  We found a camp-site in Fuengirola – and for the next couple of weeks we partied.  Not like we might party these days – we were 20(ish) – it was the 60s – and we PARTIED!  So you will understand a little difficulty in total recall (not ‘selective’ – just difficult.)  There was something about a lonely, wealthy Norwegian lady – and one of us disappeared for three days – but none of us can remember which one of us that was!

There were moments of lucidity however – meeting up with David’s friends and Peter’s cousin Jane.  Riding in the hills on horses that were a touch over-energetic – they had not been ridden since the previous summer.  Peter was on a donkey – looking like Sancho Panza (The Man from La… forget it).  David was on a very ‘spirited’ horse.  He made the fatal mistake of sticking his heels in –  and went off like a rocket – yelling for help from the guide. “Hey Senor – Hey Senor” – arms and legs flailing the air!

We went to our first bull fight in the small mountain village of Mijas.

The only square bull ring in Spain – and yes – the bull lost! 

But it made some sort of sense – when the bulls were cut up and the meat sent to the local orphanage. 

We didn’t know it at the time – no one did – but the Matador on that day was billed as ‘El Cordobes’ – now acknowledged as the greatest bullfighter ever!

Keith found a Canadian athlete who was training for the Mexico Olympics – because the altitude was similar in Mijas.

The night before we left Spain for North Africa, we moved the old blue truck (it didn’t have capital letters then) into Torremolinos – and parked near the beach.  Three of us went into town for a last Malaga red and left John to guard our stuff.  It was dark on that patch of the beach – and someone came knocking – loud knocking.  John – not knowing the Spanish for “Please go away” – used the English vernacular… The back door flew open and a VERY animated Guardia Civilia – climbed in – with his torch – and his rifle…

The Sahara beckoned…

Now go to the next page
Torremolinos to Tunis


One Response to 2. LeMans to Torremolinos

  1. […] found this old poster a few days ago!  New Year’s Day 1967 – we were in Mijas… Our first Bullfight – in the only square bullring in the world.  The Matador was a […]

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