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Mon Jan 12 2015: Pueblo Blanco Prisoners

We are going to be facing a sad day very soon. After two weeks of traveling with The Pula Girls, they will be turning around and heading back to Croatia. They've been really fun company and we'll miss them, but really, we are scared to see what will happen with the weather once they leave us.

Surely it's just a coincidence that the longest stretch of good riding weather we've had was when we were traveling with them, right?

The White Village of Vejer de la Frontera

Although the sun is still shining brightly down upon us, the ride to Vejer de la Frontera was fraught with high, gusty winds coming from the south, as if somebody had erected a gigantic wind machine on the Straits of Gibraltar specifically designed to blow us off our bikes.

We can handle heavy winds, you just maintain a constant lean on the motorcycle. But when they blow on and off unexpectedly, it becomes very tricky with a top-heavy motorcycle, especially one with so much lateral surface area like mine. From the side, I am basically one giant sail, and the random, powerful gusts feel like someone has laid a large tablecloth on the road and is violently yanking it out from underneath our motorcycles.

I watch how Neda's bike moves in front of me, hoping to predict when the next gust of wind will kick the front wheel out from under me, but I quickly find out that they're not location dependent. The tablecloth will be pulled out from under us when and where it pleases. My hands hurt from clenching the handlebars so hard and the grips now have a permanent impression of my tightly closed fist. :(

So obviously, no pictures of us while on the bike...

*whew* made it safely into town

We've been to the Pueblos Blancos in Andalucia before. On our last trip, we visited Arcos de la Frontera as well as Ronda, but because we are just following Iva and Tajana on their tour of southern Spain, this is obviously something they wanted to see. They picked this town because we had not visited this one before, which was nice of them.

Roaming around the narrow streets of Vejer de la Frontera

Traveling at their own accelerated pace, the girls were completing an extended tour of Andalucia, which left us to find the apartment by ourselves. The GPS maps that we have have let us down before, often leading us down one-way-roads the wrong way or sending us through shortcuts that really aren't shorter. We always tell ourselves to check and double-check the larger picture or corroborate with Google Maps beforehand. But when we do, the GPS tends to behave and does so for a long time, lulling us into a false sense of confidence.

And then we stop checking...

The road gets steeper and narrower. This doesn't look like the right way? (part 1 of 3)

It's not. The road ends at a flight of stairs. Our GSes can go off-road but this...? (part 2 of 3)

Neda makes the backing up noise in her helmet *beep* *beep* *beep* (part 3 of 3)

Some of the villagers peer their heads out the door and watch us back our bikes down. I bet they've seen a lot of tourists cursing their Garmin GPS as they slowly reverse down their narrow street.

Time to start double-checking the GPS routes again. :(

Riding through these streets reminds me of this

Finally, we reach the office for the apartment we're staying at.
We slowly follow behind the caretaker as he walks us to our apartment

Free parking right outside our apartment! We take off the panniers so traffic can squeeze past our bikes.

Iva and Tajana have the same troubles finding the apartment, and to compound their problems, there's no space on these narrow streets for their car, so they they have to park quite a ways away. We help them carry all their luggage back under cover of darkness when they finally arrive. I love being on a motorcycle!

We've booked four nights at this rustic little apartment. I have a feeling that the girls are a bit travel fatigued as well after 14 days of non-stop sight-seeing. I know I am.

Neda makes some octopus stew. Another delicious home-cooked meal!

Our apartment has a terrace overlooking the town

Obviously I was mistaken about the girls needing downtime. After one day in the apartment, they hopped in their car and left to visit nearby Gibraltar for the day. Neda and I spent the time relaxing and enjoying the sunshine that the Pula Girls left for us here.

A great view from our terrace

Back to her book. Neda loves three things: dogs, her Kindle and me. In that order...

Taking a leisurely walk around town

I used to watch a TV show called The Prisoner when I was a kid, and I was fascinated by the idea of being trapped in an enclosed town. Although this Pueblo Blanco looks nothing like The Village, while walking through its deserted streets during the off-season, I could easily picture a re-make being set here - retired secret agents spying from behind every shuttered window above the claustrophobically narrow white-washed buildings.

"I am not a number!"

Iva has a favorite pose where she's looking up and off to the side in pictures.
This is our homage to the "Iva pose"

Just like in Seville, this is called Plaza de España.
I think like "Main St" in the USA, every town in Spain has to have a Plaza de España.

We found out from the owner of this cute pup that she's a rescue dog.
Neda told me that when we settle down, the dog that we get will be a rescue as well.

Lots of neat little nooks and crannies around town

The old villa of Vejer de la Frontera is walled in and this is one of the gates: Arco de Segur

Hanging out atop the ramparts of the old villa

The Pula Girls don't let up one bit. Tajana has taken the last couple of days to do some work remotely on the computer and Iva goes on a day-trip to sight-see in Cadiz. By contrast, Neda has been stuck in bed with a really bad cold, fighting a high fever as well.

She's not fully recuperated when we finally bid farewell to the Pula Girls as they set off back to Croatia. Neda and I talked about staying another night in Vejer to give her a chance to rest and recover, but we can't afford this apartment alone and if we're going to move to another place, we should find something more in our price range than Andalucia.

Thank you so much Iva and Tajana for letting us travel with you! We had such a good time together! And thank you for bringing the sunshine with you!!! :)

Sidecases back on, getting ready to leave Vejer de la Frontera

Without The Pula Girls guiding our destiny, we're left to our own devices (GPS, iPhone, Kindle, laptop). It's been so long since we had to pick a destination. Where to now?

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