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The Beckoning Horizon

For some of us, there is always a beckoning horizon. However much one can try to live without looking up, concentrating on the day to day pleasures and work of family and business you catch yourself gazing at the line between sky and land, and errant thoughts slip in; that if allowed to coalesce say – ‘I want to split that line and find the next, push outward and onward.’ Much as I love my home town, I need to travel! The biggest part of that is the going. I prefer to go to Spain because my travelling is rationed, if I could go many places in a year I would go wherever a ticket took me – including the moon (and I really mean that).As Robert Luis Stevenson said; ‘I travel not go anywhere, but to go.’“Have you rode the vast plains of La Mancha? Before you a distance that is hard to encompass? A haze keeps the horizon and hidden mountain ranges secret. Though one is riding for the moment, under clear skies and in a steady dry heat, ahead are dark-grey, threatening, towering, jellyfish-clouds that trail black tentacles of stinging rain. Occasionally lit with lightning. One feels small and alone, but also intensely alive. Across these great plains I am riding like Richard III, hunched against a long, ill-blowing crosswind.”“Over the Sierra de Gredos to Casavieja. The sun is lowering and the sky turning tangerine in long streaks of alto cirrus. The mountains loom ahead and the road is a constant switch-back as it climbs the 1000 feet to the Puerta de Mijares (around 5,000’ above sea level). The same again all the way down. Sometimes the road ahead is so close underneath that you can’t see it. Later as dusk falls I heat up my tin of cocido madrileño (chickpeas in a mild spicy sauce with bits of chorizo and pork). Delicious with the remains of my bread, and washed down with rough red wine – vino de la tierra. A soft wind brings the scent of the mountain pines as the warm darkness closes around me. It is quiet, but for the small orchestra of crickets. The stars take advantage of the clear mountain air and gleam brightly. A Tawny Owl calls…”Like Don Quixote, set forth with your imagination and little else…I have had a good excuse to travel Spain in writing two Spanish travel books. The first ‘Back Roads of Spain’ covered my first nine years of annual trips on my motorbike. The new one that has just been published ‘Sketches of Spain’ is; “One man’s guide to the richness of Spain”, it covers all the years and places that I have enjoyed. So far! Of course there still more to see and find. This April I will spend 3 weeks in Andalucia working another book.‘Sketches of Spain’ is available online from

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