Hire car fuel tank full - Check
Destination address loaded into sat nav - Check
20 hours worth of top tunes loaded into phone - Check
Ham salad sandwiches and water in cooler bag - Check
Beanies, hoodies, sunnies and SPF 30+ sunscreen - Check
By 4:00am on a dark and rainy Friday morning in early February the hire car was loaded and the nice lady who lives inside our sat nav told me to turn right at the next intersection and keep going for another 680 kilometres (422 miles). I complied with her instructions. She's been with me now for over 7 years and I've found it best not to argue with her or question her decisions.
At that hour of the day the road leading us out of Javea and onto the AP7 south bound was almost deserted and it wasn't too long before we were on the toll road with our cruise control locked onto 120 km/h (75 mph). The lady in the sat nav informed me that we'd be arriving at our destination in approximately 6.5 hours. I cranked up the music and settled into a comfortable driving position as Aannsha blew up the travel pillow and settled into a comfortable dozing position.
If you don't include Russia and Ukraine, then Spain is the second largest country in Europe, after France, and with a population of 46.5 million it means that the roads and motorways outside of the main cities are relatively empty. The toll roads even more so, as the Spanish avoid paying tolls whenever they can. I couldn't find anywhere online to calculate what the tolls would be from Javea to Gibraltar, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was about 24 Euros (AU$34.50) each way.
The hours passed by, the truck drivers were polite, the passenger
coach drivers made lane changing decisions at the last minute
and the BMW, Mercedes and Audi drivers zoomed past us at breakneck speeds and disappeared into the darkness. Somewhere around Sierra de Baza (catchy name) I began to notice that the 'rain' in the headlights, which had been fairly constant since we set off, had started to look different but I couldn't figure out why. It was only when my bladder informed me that it required emptying, the cars fuel gauge indicated the tank needed refilling and I pulled off the motorway into a service station that I realised that it was snowing. It had been 20 years since I'd seen snow falling and 30 plus years since I'd driven through it in the dark, that's why my brain couldn't figure out what was wrong with the 'rain' in the headlights.
The snow fall was only light but as we looked around and took in the snowy lan