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J69 - Thursday, December 24: Marker 30.5km on the A335 (9km before Montefrio) - Luque

72.77km – 10H13’
Altitude 409m
Apocalypse Si ! Calling Noah’s Ark – SOS !
When we get up, next to our camper we see a car  which is cover by a pine tree.  The happy owner is still sleeping and will have quite a surprise when he wakes up.  We are sympathetic because it could have happened to us.
Before Serge reaches the mountain pass the rain starts again.  It’s becoming boring to always talk about the rain, except that it really made an impression on a good part of our day.  Between furious torrents, mud slides, landslides, rocks, branches and trees down on the A335, nature has gone completely wild.  Some secondary roads are cut off and we hope that the locals have everything they need for New Year’s Eve because it’s not today that they will be able get out with their car to go shopping:  impossible!
We are first hand witnesses to the fury of the elements and it’s with mixed emotions: good humor and anxiety.  Serge is in direct contact to the natural elements and he has a front row seat at this unusual show.
At Km 25, we come upon a river of mud and stones that has cut off the road.  Today we seem to be in luck because Serge arrives just after a tractor with a powerful blade that clears the road and allows the halted traffic to go through.  Serge continues on his way as if nothing has happened and the vehicles can follow him to Alcala de Real.
We head due west in the direction of Cordoba on the main road, the N432.  From this point on, the wind is against us and so strong that the rain has stopped in the sky and clouds give way to blue, then the clouds fly by again.  It’s an accelerated 3D image, just like in the movies: some blue, some gray, big, black, dense clouds, then a bright patch and everything goes very quickly, except Serge who labors, bent in half.  The days are long and Serge has trouble taking the situation calmly: he spends his time playing cat and mouse with the van and its occupants.  He is upset and he upsets them but it’s a game for Serge in which he finds some of his motivation.  It’s OK when you are in a good mood but it’s not so good when you yourself are a bit irritable, which is the case for each of us these past days, thanks to the horrible weather… Luckily, it happens to us one at a time so the bad mood of one of us is drowned in the group.
Finally it’s Christmas, at least it’s the 25th, but Christmas Eve is an important feast.  We celebrate but without turkey and the Christmas log cake.  But we do have toast with duck liver and toast with smoked salmon, white beans cooked as they do here and for desert a layer cake with chocolate, a sparkling wine from Angouleme and a Bordeaux Suppérieur de Le Fieu, a souvenir of the day we were knighted.
Each of the boys has red shorts that say « Feliz Navidad » and we understand that when Santa Claus comes to Spain that’s what he wears.
Merry Christmas!
This morning we are leaving the sunshine coast without having seen one bit of blue sky.
Tomorrow: Baena – Castro del Rio – Bujalance – Montoro by the la A309

Town : Luque (Province de Cordoba)

GPS : N°37.57967° W004.28200°