Spain 23rd November -  2nd December 2001
And so on Friday 23rd November, 2001, the long awaited trip to Spain had finally arrived. Having packed the night before, I rushed to finish my work in order to leave at 15h30 in time to pick up Kavida and head to Luton airport. Our flight on easyJet to Malaga, Spain, was scheduled for 18h30.  Having done most of my travelling through Europe my own, it made all the difference to be sharing the experience with someone so special. It was also the first occasion I had hired a vehicle, pre-booked on easyRentacar. The cost for the two return flights totalled £203 and the car with insurance for the full 9 days an additional £140.50, exclusive of petrol. It was my gift to Kavida. How she needed this holiday! So excited indeed, her tail was wagging!


Kavida was near panic stations on the M1 to Luton, owing to the standstill traffic, but we finally made it to the huge long-term car park filled to capacity with thousands of vehicles, through which a bus to terminal building passes, to pick up passengers. I dropped Kavida off with the luggage and parked hurriedly, running back to catch the bus just in time. We checked in, Kavida was excited and nervous. We had a coffee before boarding. Soon we were in the air and on our way. Sandwiches are sold on low budget airlines at exorbitant prices, whilst they expect one's own sandwiches and foods, which may be subject to foot and mouth disease, to be handed over, unless one eats it, of course. We arrived at 22h15 local time in Malaga. Claus (whom I met on my African overland tour) and Mariangelis were there to meet us at the airport. We drove to easyRentacar and picked up our car, a beautiful Mercedes A class family vehicle with slanted nose. Then it was on to Claus's flat at Plaza San Francisco off Carreteria alongside the Rio Guadalmedina. We parked in his underground garage next to his motor bike, of which he was quite proud. We were introduced to one of his flat mates, a Danish girl known as Dorte and her Spanish boyfriend David. She kindly offered the use of her room for Kavida and I as other their other housemate was away at the time. I was to use the floor mattress and Kavida the bed. We had brought our own sleeping bags along. Claus then drove us around a bit through the old town, narrow streets, up to Gibral Faro, which afforded us a magnificent view of the city below and the city and harbour lights. We drove past the awe-inspiring Malaga Cathedral, also lit up. Finally, we sampled helpings of tapas, invented in Andalusia, with wine, at the Garrafa tapas bar in town, till after one in the morning. Exhausted, it was time for bed.


We surfaced at 9h30 and showered. A casual stroll down the narrow lanes to café Madrid for a typical breakfast, that involved sampling churros, usually dipped in chocolate sauce, as well as toasted baggette, smeared with tomato and olive oil (no butter), rounded off with tea or coffee. Claus then left us to sort out private business regarding signing a lease for the flat they were to move into, after announcing that he and Marangeles were moving in together and moving forward in their lives. Kavida and I strolled from Plaza de la Constitution, exploring the old town down towards the harbour, before returning past the Cathedral, which we entered. Nearby we located Alcazaba, a castle built into the ramparts of a Moorish city built up the hillside on the site of a Roman fortress Teatro Romano, part of which is still visible. We strolled to Plaza de la Merced, where the Casa Natal de Picasso was located. The painter spent his early years here. The weather being warm and exquisite, we enjoyed a beer and mineral water and olives, of which there is an abundance in Spain, whilst soaking up the sunshine at one of the numerous cafes located on the outer perimeter of the square. Claus sent an SMS indicating he required siesta time after signing the contract. He phoned later and joined us. We then walked to a tapas bar, where we enjoyed our best meal of the entire trip, consisting of tuna salad, followed by a grilled seafood platter known as Fritura de Pascado. A bit later we enjoyed Andalusian tea and cake at El Haren. Teteria are essentially charming, cosy tearooms. We returned to the flat. I slept though Kavida was unfortunately not able to. After freshening up, we left late in the evening with Dorte and David for the smoke-filled pub Parcenas, where I joined them in sampling sweet Andalusian wine, not unlike Muscadel. Claus was otherwise engaged in a family social event. Spanish are extremely family orientated, the children remaining the focal point. The streets crammed with young party revelers, Malaga seems to come alive at night. We returned around two and slept till 10 the next morning. Perhaps as a result of the wine I had consumed, though I had not drunk excessively, Kavida stayed awake most of the night, battling with my snoring. At one point I tried sitting up to stay awake until she could get to sleep, but found myself falling asleep even in this position.


Before the flatmates surfaced, I made tea for Kavida and I before joining her in her morning yoga ritual in the lounge, the doors of which open up on a charming inner courtyard. After showering, we left for breakfast at Café Centra in town off Plaza de la Constitution, along with Claus. Back at the flat, we picked up our vehicle and drove down the coast to Nerja to view the awesome limestone caves, also visiting the picturesque village of Frigiliana, with its whitewashed houses. The weather being overcast, the light faded fast. Owing to the late night out, which Kavida and I are not used to, the day turned out to be over before it appeared to have begun. Mariangeles joined us from her parent's home that evening after Claus, Kavida and I had walked to Circus Spagheterria for an evening meal. In the chill evening air, Kavida and I took a brisk walk back to the flat and set up the two mattresses on the lounge floor. It was not a good night on the relationship stakes.


Peter snored and disaster struck when Kavida lost an earplug. She stormed off to sleep in one of the spare rooms, after claiming Peter had tossed the missing earplug at her, an act that he would obviously deny. Did this have the makings of a sequel to top war of the Roses? More drama was to follow, that in retrospect turned into something of pantomime. Early that morning after getting up, Peter went on the search for Kavida, assuming that she had found her way into Dorte's room. Peter went in calling out Kavida's name, only to have Dorte sit up like a startled hare. Upon realising his mistake, next he ventured into Claus's room, waking him in the process as well, who shot up like a startled hare too. Once again Peter enquired as to whether Claus had any idea as to Kavida's whereabouts. Now totally confused, he finally located her in the third, vacant bedroom. Upon telling Kavida what had happened in my search for her, we could not stop giggling. After tea in bed, we got up at 7h30 ahead of the others, this being a work day for them. We packed in and headed off on the N331 highway. A road map was purchased at the gas station as strangely, the easyRentacar had supplied none. As we had no music in the vehicle, in retrospect a serious omission, en route Kavida sang one of Joni Mitchell's gems, "Both Sides Now", that had Peter in tears. The voice of an angel, thought he. Turning off at exit 20 to find a breakfast spot, we ended up driving through valleys of dense morning mist amidst farmland and small rural towns. After taking a wrong turn we found ourselves near the highway again on the A359 and finally stopped over in Loja, negotiating the steep, narrow streets, Kavida being at the helm. We devoured a much-needed omelette breakfast. I broke a previous rule by buying tobacco for Kavida, who rolls her own once a day. She claims it helps her with her constipation, mind. We bought some fresh fruit at a greengrocer's and made our way once again, heading off on the A92 eastwards.

Without a map of the city itself, we entered Granada based on our instinct, though the inadequate or otherwise confusing road signs enabled us to lose our way. In following the signs to the Alhambra (this being the palace, as we discovered later) instead of the inner city, we were effectively back on the highway again. Retracing our way successfully back into city centre and the nearest underground parking, we proceeded on foot. Once acquiring a map and list of hotels at the tourist office, we walked around the bustling yet charming city to find a suitable hotel, checking the rooms in the process. Parking was important to us to safeguard the vehicle at night. Though many hotels do not have their own, they rely on nearby underground parking agreements, which means that one ends up paying half price. In the midst of our quest for accommodation, we were now simultaneously discovering the city. Two architecturally stunning hotels, Palacio de Santa Ines and Carmen de Santa Ines, were not easily accessible by road and too expensive to serve our needs, as we would undoubtedly be out most of the time. We focussed on what we truly needed. We located the Carrera del Darro road along the Rio Darro, a small stream that leads past crumbling bridges and fine facades of ancient buildings, truly beautiful. We had been shown our way to this courtesy of a kind old man andwere now in what is known as the Albaicin, the corner of the city clinging to the hillside opposite the Alhambra Palace. Along the cobbled alleys stand carmenes, villas with Moorish decoration and gardens. Using the guide book, we arrived at what we thought were the Arabic baths Kavida's friend Harvey had told her about.

El Banuelo was in fact a museum and not a functioning bath but we did not know that at the time. In any event, it turned out to be shut on Mondays. We would return the next day. The Arabic quarter was indeed an eye-opener, with its beautiful stalls and shops - lampshades, hookahs, clothes and Egyptian drums, mirrors, silverware and the like would make for ideal gifts.  Late lunch was enjoyed as we sat outside at Las Cuevas, at the upper end of the Arabic quarter along the route which would turn out to be an oft-travelled. Inspecting cheaper hostels which were not bad value, the road works coupled awkward accessibility via the Alhambra back along the highway around the city and the remoteness of the garage, ruled these out. It got progressively colder. Patience paid off in the form of Hotel Las Nieves, Alhondiga 8, below the Cathedral in the lower part of town. It was ideal. Room 108 at the back took Kavida's fancy. The separate beds, for practical purposes, meant that she could sleep better. Peter wished to avoid a repeat performance of the Malaga debacle. Now for the first in a line of numerous cock-ups. We had to move the car to the hotel's designated parking area, or so we thought. We realised upon exit that we had been in the correct one in the first place, so we executed a double trip around the block and promptly drove back in again, about five bays from where we had parked before. Daft as rabbits, we were. We wheeled our luggage in one go to the hotel and returned to the Arabic quarter for tea and dessert at Kazbahs Teteria. The interior was delightfully decorated and truly authentic. We engaged a delightful young Bristol lass in one of the shops in conversation. She was keen to sell me one of the beautiful mirrors I had been eyeing. The day had been a long one and though it felt much later than it really was, we returned and showered at the hotel and turned in after cuddles.


We surfaced at about 8h00 to 9h00, Kavida doing her yoga. After a douche, we ate some of our fruit and headed off to see if we could secure our booking for the active Egyptian baths, which we located across the bridge from the museum near the Rio Darro. We confirmed our appointment for 18h00 for bath and massage. Ravenous, we found a restaurant serving Falafels and enjoyed a welcome brunch. We became engaged in conversation with a young American couple, whom Kavida referred to as Dead heads, cult followers of the Grateful Dead rock band or college types perhaps, I don't know. The sun eventually poked its head out for a while. Disaster struck later when I accidentally dropped my new camera after the strap became hooked on a metal post, yanking it out of my hand in the process. The skylight-filter glass shattered and sported a nasty dent. Kavida had warned me earlier and would have had a go at me, but felt empathy too, as she knew how much the camera meant to me.  We then embarked on a two-hour wild goose chase during siesta for a photographic repair shop. I could write a book about siestas, juggling time, when Spain comes to a halt for what seems like an eternity, particularly at a moment when you are desperate. We gave up eventually. At the hotel, I carefully removed the broken filter glass so that I could use the camera again. Though the filter rim was jammed, the lens seemed undamaged. A partial repair completed, we paid the cathedral a visit, a huge but largely neglected and uninspiring complex, painted white, its appearance cold and empty.  Mapless, we perused what we thought was the Jewish quarter and the network of steep intertwining roads, just below the Alhambra. We arrived in good time for our 18h00 appointment at the baths, the entrance and massage costing 3000 pesetas, in the region of £12 . We had arranged it so that I would have the services of the masseuse and Kavida the masseur. I mistook the masseuse's question as to "where" not "how" I would like to be massaged, the obvious answer being "all over". Alternating between the bath and the plunge pool, we retired a couple of hours later for "tea for two" at the Teteria adjoining the bath complex. Feeling peckish at this stage, we found a vegetarian restaurant and ordered a Paella with vegetables and a cheese dish. Feeling yummy and relaxed, we returned to the hotel.


Kavida had arranged a wake up call at 6h30. The shower in this hotel was exquiste, a corner unit with sliding doors and small jacuzzi spouts that made one feel as one were inside a water capsule. We left at 7h30, well in time for the steep hillside walk up to the Alhambra complex entrance and gardens, till we reached the ticket office. Tickets were priced at 3000 pesetas each. Once purchased, one is allocated a entry timeslot for the Alhambra Palace proper, our entry rendezvous being between 08h30 and 09h00. In retrospect, this was the best arrangement, owing to the fact that one misses the madding crowds early on. The Palace is a truly stunning Moorish construction of halls with tiled walls and marble columns, patios with fountains of running water, huge exquisite gardens and pavillions, built when the Nasrid dynasty ruled Granada. It has to be said, though, that the physical recollection is one of extreme cold. How did they survive the winters in those times? Having avoided breakfast, we snacked until lunch at 14h30 in the restaurant, after we had completed our tour of the Palace. The salmon lunch went down extremely well. Realising that I did not have my credit card on me, I paid in cash and we rushed back to the hotel, locating it in my coat pocket. Kavida walked up to a promenade adjacent to the Rio Darro, whilst I took advantage of the last rays of sunshine in desperation, to capture some final images of Granada, prior to our pending departure. We returned to the Arabic bazaar and a clothing shop, where I bought a shirt each for Kavida and I. A final tea and cake at our favourite Teteria and it was back to the hotel. Further impressions of Granada. The condensed city layout and narrow streets make the city inaccessible by car yet fascinating on foot. This added to the impression that the city was unique in that it seemed quiet from any higher vantage point. Wherever one goes, officials smoke openly in the presence of clients, which Kavida pointed out would never be seen in the UK. Granada has a laid-back city fell about it and its folk and indeed in all of southern Spain, seem a peaceful, kind group of people. The autumn colours of the trees and accumulating leaves covering the grass, meant that it was a good time of the year to visit, with far fewer people to contend with. The guitarist Segovia described Granada as "a place of dreams, where the Lord put the seed of music in my soul". Knowledge of the language would have increased our appreciation immeasurably. A final observation. Dog-pooh is to be found everywhere, though this not a criticism but merely an observation. At the hotel we engaged in a Tantric meditation that I found difficult, primarily as it requires substantial practice.


Kavida did her yoga and went off to breakfast downstairs. A moment of insensitivity on my part had upset the apple cart and she wanted some space. We had further drama to contend with owing to our losing our underground parking garage ticket after Kavida had cleared out her rucksack the previous day at the Alhambra. The hotel manager's procrastination in sorting this with the air of Spanish male ego and nonchalance infuriated Kavida. We had agreed to pay the 1000 pesetas for one extra day for the lost ticket, so we could not understand the need for any delay in settling the matter. For some reason he had assumed that we were unwilling to pay the penalty and was waiting for confirmation from the garage manager, who was probably approaching siesta or at least distracted whilst thinking about it. Anyway, we settled the 3000 pesetas bill and headed off after having had our time wasted. At the parking garage, the official at the pay office stared blankly, his lips moved though no sound was forthcoming. Forms were to be filled in, requested the boss. Frustration galvanised Kavida into verbal action once more, as she put the fear of God into them. The result was that we got out of garage without any additional payment, albeit much later than would have liked. Sharing the driving was terrific. In retrospect I should have trusted Kavida's intuition more in terms of having music in the car. A signposted route on the northern side of the Sierra Nevada runs to the ski resort near the highest point, over 3000 metres in altitude. Instead, we chose the A323 towards Motril, turning off on the A348 via Lanjaron and Orgiva, though we initially missed the turn-off owing to bad sign posting and road construction.
We stopped for lunch and spoke to a German lady who had settled in Orgiva, relating her experience. There are in fact numerous English folk living in this part of Spain who had long since opted out of English society. Call them dopeheads or hillbillies if you wish.

We then set out after lunch to explore the upper valleys of the Alpujarras, on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, with the purpose, too, of finding accommodation for the night. We got as far as Trevellez, famous for its cured ham, before realising that it was unlikely that we would find suitable accommodation in some of these villages. From Trevellez we could see the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Uppermost in our minds was the desire for a walk somewhere in the mountains, too. I cannot recall the names of all the villages explored, but Pampaneiros at dusk stands out in my mind. Whitewashed buildings dazzled in the sunlight. Old folk engaged in discussion during siesta. The majestic landscape is reminiscent of the interior towards the Karoo in the Cape in South Africa. Journeying through these villages is a time warp, indeed, a journey into the past. The day was drawing to a close. In Pampaneiros, we found numerous shops selling countless colourful woven rugs. Kavida was captivated by the shop selling hand-made shoes, playing Jeff Buckley rock music. Short of time, we headed back to Orgiva and checked out a few hotels. Kavida was getting hungry, too. We settled on a reasonable hotel adjacent to the petrol station at the entrance to the town. He had at first showed us cheaper rooms in the cheaper block. Realising that we were unimpressed (where did he think we were coming from), we were shown more acceptable accommodation. We ate dinner at a cosy restaurant, the music at first seemed inappropriate (indeed a general observation wherever we ate in Spain but then we both set high standards), though it improved when they started playing some jazz. A single waiter served the entire restaurant, a feat in itself. We popped into the "vegetarian" restaurant, more like a dropout for the dopeheads (with its loud music) and obtained advice from the English girl behind the bar counter as to where we could walk the next day. The potential for further tourist development in southern Spain, I have to say.


We decided that, with the prospect of great weather, we could not forego a walk, however long it would take. I was thinking of Seville but being in nature was of supreme importance and would set Kavida's delectable tail wagging. We could not find a decent restaurant for breakfast. All seemed to serve the traditional churros or toasted baguette smeared in cooked tomato. Then came my contribution to our good health and mental stability. We ventured into an adequately stocked Spar-type supermarket and lo and behold, we found some Dorset Muesli on the shelves. With our organic milk, tangerines, snacks, yogurt and utensils, we headed out of Orgiva and pulled off near Los Llanos onto a dirt track to where the road petered out, where we stopped for a healthy, hearty breakfast. 

We were about to embark on a daunting walk up the steep slopes above us. The sun was out, the skies clear. Though not extremely hot at this stage, I knew that we would soon be sweating buckets. It was then that Kavida spotted a 4-wheel drive vehicle on the slopes higher up and we realised that another route existed and that we were possibly on the wrong track to begin with. The distance we were expected to travel before reaching the clearing, as we had been informed the night before, was unclear to us. We decided to jump back into our vehicle and check this route out. What a stroke of good luck that turned out to be. Just around the corner was a signposted entrance to the National Park. We followed this route into the upper reaches of the Sierra Nevada. The road twisted and turned, a dirt track in sections, that took us on and on until I was beginning to feel the oncoming sensation of vertigo setting in. We seemed to be rising above the adjacent peaks. Though hazy, the view was awesome. We were in God's country. Yellow and brown leaves of forests of trees displayed the signs of late autumn. We discovered houses people had built higher up. How did they achieve this, at what cost and what were they doing up there?  We were approaching the snow-capped upper reaches. We stopped and continued up a separate twisting zigzag dirt track to the base of an outcrop of trees. The snow seemed so close. We lunched on our snacks and tanned our English bodies, now as white as the driven snow. A small pool with the snow-capped mountains as a backdrop made for an ideal photo shoot. Suddenly, whilst glancing over a rise, some whitewashed villages came into view. We realised we were above Trevellez and the other villages, as if our mountain road had been a short cut compared to yesterday's drive. Kavida had lost the desire to continue on. We had, after all, been walking for the best part of two hours and were a couple of thousand feet up.

With Kavida at the helm, we drove back down again into Orgiva and filled up the Mercedes with 4500 pesetas worth of petrol, the equivalent of £20. Thereafter we set out on the late afternoon haul via Lanjaron and Granada westwards to Seville. After a quick estimation, Kavida suggested we stop over in Antequerra. We arrived there after dark, we drove up the main road into town, the streets thronging with late evening shoppers. Parking was hastily found near the information office. We rushed over and reached it just as the staff were closing up for the night. Thankfully they gave us a map and an indication of the hotels in the town. We set out to examine a few and found one close to where we had just parked, checking in. Scruffy, feeling dirty and unsuitably attired though Kavida cared not, we were cold and in desperate need for food and found a restaurant. We ordered. I can recall the sumptuous toast and duck liver pate, aubergine starter and marinated chicken main course. Kavida's bodily needs satisfied, we called it a day. In retrospect, it was our poorest choice of hotel thus far. My snoring was bad, 10 on the Richter scale, according to Kavida. I got up and moved to the couch in the lounge, sans heating. My back and sides were to pay the price the next day.


We got up and debated our next move after polishing off the muesli that we had bought previously. Kavida was quite happy to stay in Antequerra but graciously allowed me to make the choice. Part of me wondered what we would miss of the capital of Andalusia, had we not continued. It was a good two hours away, though and we were behind in our schedule. I chose for us to continue, my curiosity getting the better of me. We entered the city outskirts and followed our noses and the road signs. A sign-posted information office just off Paseo de Cristobol Colon was definitely not shut due to it being siesta time. In fact it was way beyond siesta. It was totally shut, stone dead, if you like.  I politely engaged a police officer's advice, who sketched out a route to the tourist office further on just before the cathedral and underground parking. In attempting to trace the tourist office and parking, we took a wrong turn and found ourselves traversing a square known as Plaza Virgen de los Reyes in the midst of a Spanish wedding, adjacent to Seville Cathedral . Somehow suspecting what we were doing wasn't quite legal and expecting to have local fists shaking at us, no one seemed in the least perturbed. We had inadvertently stumbled into the Santa Cruz district, once a Jewish ghetto! What a gem of an area it was! We navigated around the block again and moved into an enclosed parking area. We proceeded on foot, located the tourist office for a map and hotel details. Had we had the time, we would have booked for a show. Flamenco is the soul of Andalusia.

I phoned Claus to let him know of our plans. Finding a spot in the sun down an alley way behind the least interesting facade of the cathedral that happened to be thronging with people, we desperately ordered lunch. Kavida could have eaten a horse but would settle for less. We both tried the grilled tiny fish assortment. Elegant horse drawn carriages lined the square we had driven across. Kavida engaged a German girl in conversation at the fountain. Given our limited time, we were advised that the Alcazares was worth a visit, if anything. This royal palace, the Alhambra of Seville effectively, is a rewarding combination of exquisite Mudejar craftmanship, regal grandeur and exquisite gardens. After a lengthy search involving wild goose chases and rooms bordering on dust bugs, we located Hotel Montecarlo at 5000 pesetas, with parking, and booked in. A word of advice is given. If you are ever in Seville, avoid the hostels and in particular, a rip-off dump known as Hotel Madrid, at 7000 pesetas! Kavida needed to take advantage of the last hour before the shops closed to acquire gifts, clothes, a fresh pair of designer socks (she had packed in the wrong clothing for the trip) and fresh earplugs! On the search for a tapas bar we found a lovely place and ordered a healthy assortment. We headed back to the hotel. Both of us woke up several times in the middle of the night. Cold and with no central heating, unbeknown to us, a few blankets had been stacked into the cupboard. 


Whilst Kavida did her yoga and needing space, she urged me to pay Seville Cathedral a visit, so I showered first. In the midst of this, I slipped and fell out onto the bathroom floor, tearing down the shower curtain in the process. Kavida heard the almighty thump and rushed in. Fortunately I had not injured myself. Seville Cathedral's La Giralda bell tower, offering excellent views, was shut. A Sunday church service was in progress, so I merely caught a glimpse of a small section of the actual cathedral. It was clear that we had not done justice to the city but we were grateful for the small insight nonetheless. Back at 11h30 at the hotel, we packed in, settled the bill and headed out. Kavida had the good sense to ask the manager for directions out of the city. She drove.  At some point the previous day, I realised that I had left my polartec-lined double jacket in the Antequerra hotel. I'm truly getting senile in my old age. Fortunately we were heading that way anyway, so we returned to Malaga via Antequerra. At first, on approaching the staff and inspecting the room (new guests had moved in), we were disappointed. As we made our way down the stairway, the receptionist came rushing down behind us. She had graciously gone back to the room again and found the jacket hanging behind a door. I was so relieved. Grateful, we decided to have lunch before continuing the journey. In taking too long to serve us (why do they have one waiter serving an entire restaurant in Spain?), we upped and dove into the adjacent tapas bar, where a tapas vegetarian and fish selection was prepared in no time, that satisfied our needy bowels. 

We arrived in Malaga at about 15h30 and phoned Claus. He was engaged in moving to his new apartment. We headed off to the beach. Kavida wallowed in the shallow water. We then ordered tea and coffee at a beach cafe. The image of a dead cockroach in the tea still makes us shiver. A fresh cup was dispatched and the drinks were provided on the house. After rendezvousing with Claus and Mariageles later for an hour of drinks and a chat in a nearby bar, they led the way to the airport. Claus was delighted with the Pat Metheny gift cd we had bought him. After dropping off the car, now covered in dust 1000 km later, we bad our farewells and spent the last hour in the terminal building duty free section. I tried on a beautiful leather jacket but the price was outrageous. Kavida bought the kids an assortment of sweets. We boarded the flight and soon we were heading, literally, for greener yet colder pastures of the UK. Upon arrival at Luton, more drama was to follow. I discovered I had lost the parking ticket. To cut a long story short, an airport computer malfunction meant that an arrangement was made with the official on duty at the parking enquiry office to have us let out at the gate by a fellow official, free of charge. This would have cost us in excess of £60. Now well after midnight, we headed down a practically deserted M1 towards Kings Langley. Bed at two in the morning was most welcome. Our journey, though hectic and rushed at times, it had been a memorable one. I was grateful to Kavida for the company and the sharing. We both acknowledged that we had learnt much about ourselves. I won't forget this trip in a hurry. In an way, it was our swansong.



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