Normally on Wednesdays, we go out with friends but we received a message that this would be cancelled for a while as they were doing lots of decorating in their garage. Not to be put off, we decided to go for a drive anyway and the four of us set off heading past the airport. We took the turning leading to Cueva Honda but then diverted off the road, as La Jaca looked larger!
As we pulled into town, we followed the yellow brick road past the empty new builds and down to the main road that backed on to the waterfront and a small beach where a couple of boys were fishing instead of being in school.
Above the sea, where the road turned pink we found some candy-coloured houses. We could have just been transported to Cape Cod, but that is where the similarity ended.
From here on in, I did not take any photos, because I was bouncing around in the passenger seat with two dogs clinging on for dear life. The road suddenly ran out and while we were still surrounded by nice houses, there wasn’t an inch of tarmac to be found. Roads went left and right, up and down, some even ended with an almighty drop without warning and so we had to reverse back over rock and rubble. I can´t remember ever having seen such a pretty town with only made up roads around the perimeter. I began to feel I was trapped in one of those kids’ games and trying to find my way through the maze to get back to normality. We finally made it after following a boy racer in his beat up old Renault who obviously lived there and knew which tracks to take to the main road, so in hot pursuit we followed and finally arrived where we started. After a sharp intake of breath, we continued on our way to Abades. The idea of visiting on an overcast day was to walk up to the old leper colony that is known locally as the Hermitage.
Anyone approaching Abades can see the building topped with a huge cross, this is the church part of the would be leper colony and behind it there are over 30 buildings in various states of completion which should have housed a hospital, recreation rooms, residential areas and a school. The project was however abandoned when cures for leprosy were found in the 1940s and the leper colony never received a single sick patient.
The abandoned town was later used as a military camp where soldiers used the finished buildings as barrack blocks. In later years, it has been used for outdoor events, festivals, rallies and even the odd film set. However, we were not going to complete our mission as the wind was howling and it started to spit with rain. Even the dogs wanted to find shelter, so instead of marching to the top of the hill we walked into the small square in the new town that is slowly developing at the edge of the sandy cove and ordered hot chocolate and churros.
We sat next to a girl of about 3 or 4 years of age. I’m not good at guessing ages but she was only tiny. After spending her time feeding one of the dogs titbits (the other one will not eat anything sweet), we were about to go on our way. It was only then that her mother said “Martina decir adios” and we told her Martina was also the name of the dog she had been feeding. This caused great amusement and we all left in different directions waving and smiling as we went.