The weather omens were good; bright, clear, still and warm. At 09:30 it was 23°C and cloudless as eleven cars met at the Ace Café. After everyone seemed to take on board essential caffeine, the convoy eased onto the CV-945. Traffic was light and unusually the anticipated peleton were absent and progress was unhindered. Pedrera lake appeared almost turquoise, contrasting with the greens of the forest fringing the CV-925 and highlighting the succession of hairpins and bends which makes this road so attractive. A turn-off onto the RM-F24 and eventual crossing into Murcia heralded a dryer, less green environment. The only real “event” was being held up by a tractor and her slurry tank; too many in our convoy to safely overtake on the short straights that characterise RM-F24 but for the less patient or the more reckless our extended convey was barely an obstacle, merely a hindrance! Another 11 kilometres or so and we turned off into San Cayetano for a comfort break, chance for a decent coffee, for smokers to sin and the prudent convertible owners to apply sun cream! Time taken: 45 minutes, temperature now 28.5°C. A further 25 kilometres and as many minutes and we turned into the Licor 43 site; with no workers we could all park in the covered carpark.
Much of the tour hinged upon the effects of advertising which have made the Zamora family wealthy. A swift tour of the clinically clean factory unit with it rows of gleaming, stainless steel tanks. Then back to the bar; a lesson in producing a “Ginger 43”, a “Minibeer 43” the innovative new cocktail followed by a tasting of both and a tiny “shot” of Blanco43. Whilst I enjoyed the “Minibeer 43” my semi-professional “taster” made sure there was no wastage. A trip to the shop, purchase of a “Ginger 43 kit” and we were on our way. Temp. 32.5°C
The final leg, seven kilometres through Roche and La Union, followed by turning onto the N-345 with 8 kilometres of uphill and down dale stretches interspersed with bends and spectacular views to the sea and ruined mining gear and buildings brought us into Portman and thence a expected 8 kilometres of the RM-314 towards Los Belones is under-going extensive road straightening and widening resulting in diversion and some unsurfaced, dusty stretches brought us to “Restaurante Campo Verde” (Temp. 35.5°C) where the entremés (bread and alioli, ensalada, chopitos con calamares, jamon y queso) were hot and plentiful (they must have been some lettuce and chopitos were left), the mains
were fairly substantial, the emperador with a touch of salsa verde, the paella mixta of chicken and seafood succulent…
I never found out about the caldero ( a traditional dish of the Mar Menor area made with rice and fish stock and served with garlic mayonnese) nor the chuleta. The desserts excellent including one of my favourites (tocino de cielo), coffee together with option of a bottle of wine for two, was fantastic value.
And the we drove home!
A fantastic day? Yes. A perfect day ? Umh; hopefully for some!
In La Union, three cars became detached from our convoy. Surely my superb route planner would save the day? Not exactly but those three cars did arrive at the restaurant first! Did the convoy have a perfect trip? Not quite. 400 metres from the restaurant the leader suffered an aberration and took the wrong exit (poor choice amongst two!) and lead his convey around the diversion again!
My thanks to those intrepid travellers who did not lynch me and my admiration to those who must have suffered with a lack of air-con