The first time I came to Spain was in 1982, I would have been 20 years old and working between seasons as a ski instructor, wind surf instructor and occasionally just doing nothing. Happy times! I drove south with one of my oldest friends James Dobree in his Triumph Spitfire convertible. Of the journey I remember little except getting caught in a huge summer storm outside Madrid (the roof was stowed in the boot under our luggage and within minutes we were driving along with our feet ankle deep in water) and swimming with a dead fox.
It was unbearably hot as we drove over the Sierra Morena on a windy road with the roof down through resiny scented pine forests with cicadas shouting for attention. We spied a hillside villa and its pool, seemingly empty, so we parked up outside the gates and leapt into the garden. The sight of fresh water was overwhelming, we stripped off and dived straight in. Admittedly the water had a greenish tinge but we weren’t too bothered, perhaps we should have been. Gradually the winters detritus lying at the bottom of the pool rose up and I felt something soft brush against me. I reached out to push it away and my hand pushed into the sodden rotten carcass of something very dead. I could see a snout and a tail through the murk. We leapt out so quickly as first a sludgy grey fox rose to the surface followed by a small black pig and an assortment of twigs, branches and dead birds their beaks separating from the heads as they came up.
Happily we never caught any diseases and laughed it off with a cold beer in the Plaza de la Corredera. I’d only been back a couple of times since then, this time researching Hammams with Ellie. I was so impressed with recent restoration of old Cordoba, a majestic time trap of a city where the famous Mezquita must surely be on every culture addicts bucket list. Anyway I had a training run and took my GoPro for good measure and well worth it too. We stayed in the Palacio de Bailio where the interior running shots were filmed.