Friday, November 6, 2015

Road Report -Iberia


Back in Lisbon, we turned in the car yesterday. 

The highways of Iberia are in excellent condition, though somewhat better in Spain than Portugal. Everything in Spain seems in a bit better shape than Portugal; a reflection of their economies. The highways are mostly free in Spain, mostly toll in Portugal.


The drives were really very nice. This whole place is far more mountainous than I knew and so much greener than I expected. In terms of topography, much of what we saw was quite similar to central Texas, only very green, so Hill Country Texas for those few weeks in spring. And many more trees. And far more agricultural. 

Adding to the attractiveness of the drive - no billboards. No mobile homes. No yards filled with junk cars. 

Detracting? So much graffiti, ugly blotches and run of the mill tags, sometimes even on historic buildings but nearly always on highway walls. On rare occasions, it's good. 


This was at the end of an ancient wall in Granada where they had covered it with reinforcing concrete,  visible only if you climbed to the top floor of a home from the time of the Moors. 

Saw millions of olive trees. They seemingly grow anywhere, including up the sides of mountains. Saw trees that looked like oaks (from a speeding car at least) obviously planted in rows and couldn't figure out why till I saw some that had recently been harvested - they were cork trees. 

Gas expensive? Yup. We paid $5-$6 - gallon, but that came as no surprise. Mark says the Renault Clio impressed him. Handled well and got about 42 mpg. (I drove almost none.) 



We saw so many car brands - about 20 European brands, including the Spanish made SEAT (it's an acronym) now owned by VW, and the Czech made Skoda, now owned by VW. Also saw all the Japanese and Korean brands, but for all of the above, mostly models not sold in the US. Only American car we saw was an occasional Ford. Saw one Honda CRV - our car back home - and it looked huge. 

The roadside convenience stores were very clean and well stocked and had clean "aseos" which are also called "W.C."  which I  always thought was a British term and likely is because English is everywhere. Everywhere and all the time. 

All the stop signs are red hexagons that say STOP.  




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