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J70 - Friday, December 25 : Luque – Montoro

73.29km – 9H49’
 Noël, Joyeux Noël  à tous et merci de vos nombreux messages.
Merry Christmas and thank you to everyone for your many messages
Serge took a few minutes to be Santa Claus, with the fine costume that he was given yesterday.  The only things missing were a long white beard and the chimney.  It is dry at the departure but at km 60 the rain is back…
On Christmas day Paco and Alfonso, who live in Cordoba, come to run for a few kilometers with Serge before returning to celebrate Christmas with their families.  This visit put some spice into our day.  We are surrounded by olive trees and René is fed up with the scenery, which is beginning to be monotonous. It’s better not to step off the road to relieve oneself and risk getting stuck in the mud up to the ankles: Serge and René tried it.  But today is Christmas and we won’t let ourselves be depressed, even if spending 10 hours per day outside on the road is not always fun.  We stay on course, headed toward Madrid, which we won’t go around as we did for Malaga (1.5 million inhabitants, including greater Malaga), Grenada (100,000 inhabitants) and Cordoba (300,000 inhabitants).  In Andalusia there are traces of human beings dating back several thousand years, and the region was under Muslim domination for 500 years until Charles V drove the Moors out, in the 15th century.  This province has a very rich historical heritage that we have not been able to enjoy.  The cathedral-mosque of Cordoba or the Alhambra of Grenada are jewels that we will have to return to visit.  But nobody feels deprived because our days are so full and so intense that it is enough for us. We see things that the ordinary tourist who gets in and out of his bus will never see.  It’s just another type of travel, which we appreciate at its true value and which thrills us every day, even when our feet are wet all day long.
Happiness is always there, close to the person who knows how to put things into perspective and seize it when it flies by.  At the end of the stage we listened to a CD of the Poppys who sing about Christmas in an unusual way “une trève au sommet,” “La paix règne en maître”.  So let’s be happy, even on the road, even with wet and muddy feet, let’s enjoy the moment.
Tomorrow: we will take the N420 = Cardena – Fuencaliente and several mountain passes

Town : Montoro (Province de Cordoba)

GPS : N°37.57967° W004.28200°