In order to reach my mate near Granada, I had to make steady and predictable progress from Lisbon. This pretty much ruled out Couchsurfing and Warm Showers; as comfortable and enlightening as those stays can be, they are difficult to plan. If you can string together successive nights, they’re likely not to follow a logical route. So I switched to campsites, hostels and patches of dirt off the side of the road.
maps.me (an Android app) has proved really useful for this. It’s offline and so doesn’t eat my data (I currently don’t have a Spanish sim card so I can’t use it away from wi-fi areas anyway) and it knows the location of campsites, hostels, hotels and national parks. In conjunction with Strava and my Garmin I’ve been able to plan realistic days in the saddle and know what I have in store for the day ahead, which has been a huge relief.
One of the places I stopped was Iznajar. Purely because there is a campsite there. I knew nothing about the place before I visited and this is the glory of cycle touring (and I guess other range-limited modes); you end up staying in places without researching them, fretting over them or canvassing for recommendations. Hence, when those places turn out to be lovely, or lively, or both, you feel like the luckiest tourist around and even when they’re neither, you at least feel like you ‘discovered’ them. It’s way more personal than just following the recommended tourist itinerary, which is always ruined for me by the presence of other tourists. I’m aware that this is ridiculous and hypocritical but it’s the truth. The tourists I have seen were pretty much all Spanish, which feels more ‘authentic’.
Anyway, Iznajar is a small town perched atop a jagged hill, next to a lake and there were hardly any tourists around when I visited. It was a trek up the hill but I needed meths (the ’s’ there is really crucial) for my stove and I as I had chosen to have a rest day I could also buy some fresh ingredients and make something resembling a meal.
I didn’t find out much about the place, but the photos kind of tell it all. If you’re ever in the area, I recommend a visit. By the way, if you didn’t know already, you can click on the images above to see them full-size, I think.