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English2015

522 de Veleta in the Sierra Nevada and on to Almería is a paradise for every motorcyclist. Our eyes find it difficult to process all the impressi- ons – blue skies without a cloud in sight alternate with brilliant yellow deciduous woods which line the road. We stop over in Trevélez, one of the highest communities in Spain – the smell of air-cured Serrano ham, for which the village is well known, is everywhere. In the small inn where we stop, myriads of this culinary delicacy hang suspended from the ceiling. And of course, we taste it as the landlady cuts off fine slices for us. All served with bread and a soup made from white beans, bacon and potatoes. Fortified, we climb aboard our saddles and continue northwards along Spain's highest mountains to reach our interim destination at the Cabo de Gata. The deeper the road twists into the valley, the closer we get to Almería, the greater the change in climate – our throats are dry, the landscape resembles a desert. Not surprisingly, the region around the port is one of the driest areas of this continent and the Desierto de Tabernas through which we pass, is the only desert Europe's. "It never rains here for more than two days", explains José, cook at the small restaurant of the camping site at the imCabo de Gata, while we enjoy a cold beer after having erected our tent. A strong wind brews, clouds over the sea, rapidly approaching with thunder and lightning. Just our luck - with only two days of rain per year, we get one of them. However, for José the thunderstorm is a highlight. The whole team stands under the porch and stares at the heavens as the floodgates open. We crawl into our tent and listen to the barrage of the rain on the canvas. When we carefully open the zipper of our abode on the next morning, the sun is back with its beautiful smile. We can hardly wait to discover the Cabo de Cata natural reserve. And off we go. We cross through endless rows of depressing greenhouses which dominate the outskirts of Almeria,

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