A DRIVE THROUGH THE WHITE TOWNS OF ANDALUSIA

The white towns of Spain and Por­tu­gal of­fer a life­time of mem­o­ries that’ll be etched in vivid hues

Hindustan Times - Brunch - - NEWS - Text and pho­tos by Saub­hadra Chat­terji

Driv­ing half­way up the hills, there are lines of white houses — like strings of pearls — amidst this dra­matic An­dalu­sian land­scape. The can­vas is straight from Claude Monet’s stu­dio

O ne shouldn’t blame me for giv­ing a hoot to traf­fic rules when (a) there are no other cars on the road and (b) there aren’t any cops around.

On the high­way num­ber A 2300 of Spain, there’s an­other al­ibi to take the wrong side and rash turns. A turquoise blue lake lies be­low shim­mer­ing in af­ter­noon breeze. Hills of dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes sur­round the vast wa­ters and paint the horizon in shades of brown, grey and green.

Across the lake, half­way up the hills, there are lines of white houses – like strings of pearls – amidst this dra­matic An­dalu­sian land­scape. The can­vas, as if straight from Claude Monet’s stu­dio, is so as­ton­ish­ing that I al­most for­get that my rented car is not at an au­tho­rised park­ing lot! (No, I didn’t pay any fine.)

Ten min­utes later, we start climb­ing up the cob­bled road that goes through this ‘white vil­lage’ with a fancy name – Za­hara de la Sierra.

And when we reach the steep­est part of the road, my wife cum nav­i­ga­tor abruptly makes me stop, em­pha­sis­ing that we missed a park­ing space.

My driv­ing skills have been ac­quired in Noida. I tackle cars rush­ing from all direc­tions, jump­ing red lights and bovines block­ing 70 per cent of the roads. It’s a cop-out that the Maruti school never taught me how to restart cars on a slope!

Ev­ery time I press the ac­cel­er­a­tor, my fat Citroën Cac­tus rolls down fur­ther. Fi­nally, when it halts dan­ger­ously close to the brand-new BMW be­hind us, I

Wall graf­fiti in La­gos, Por­tu­gal ART AT­TACK

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