The three of us had left the uber-driver behind.
Like the captain of a sinking ship, the driver had wished to stay with his stricken vehicle. The vehicle which he had managed to get stuck half-way off a bluff, and which was only prevented from going over the edge entirely by some unusually large, green plants.
With nothing except our clothes, hats, glasses and mobile phones (which got as much signal as you would expect in the middle of nowhere), we continued, by foot, the journey along the path which the driver had so foolishly taken us.
In spite of the blazing 40°C heat, I found myself walking ahead of my mother and elder cousin – I was rather enjoying this unexpected jape. I thought it rather like the Duke of Edinburgh expedition I had gone on in Year 11.
But unlike the Yorkshire Dales, there were no impressive hillsides, wonderful green pastures or beautiful plants and flowers. The vegetation here was almost entirely brown and dried-out, and the hills – despite their stature – were clustered uncomfortably close to one another, giving them the look of molehills. These hills of south-central Spain were very much not a green and pleasant land.
The venue to which we were heading was buried somewhere around these barren hillsides, and after some slightly panicked conversations over a faint and crackly line, along with a screenshot of Google Maps, we figured out that took the fork that curved round us to the right, we should get there eventually.
It is obviously not advisable to walk several kilometres in 40°C heat, fully clothed, with precious little water, but going back the way the driver had taken us would have taken even longer.
He had managed to take us on a route to the venue which was not meant for general use – if any use. The roads were rocky, unpaved, narrow and had all sorts of twists, dips and elevations that made it unsuitable for a saloon car. We were later told that ‘no-one uses those roads, only the fire brigade if they have to.’ All the other guests to the wedding reception had arrived using a paved, tree lined B-road which came off of the main road less than a kilometre after the turning our driver had taken us.
Soon after, we passed a fork in the road and as the path grew steeper, a Land Rover thundered towards us. It stopped, and two employees opened the doors – beckoning us in. They handed us chilled water and orange segments before taking us to the wedding reception.
While I was slightly sad to have the hike ended so soon, my family were relieved. My mother found it rather more difficult to traverse the paths in her heels than I had done in my now-dusty trainers. My cousin, who seemed considerably more worried about the affair, was put at ease – only to nearly faint once we had disembarked at the venue.
Such was the latest misadventure in our summer holiday. Both myself and another of my cousins had wound up in A&E the previous week (being in a hospital where the medical staff do not speak English – and you do not speak Spanish – is not fun).
But, unfortunately, the worst of a series of misadventures was yet to come: the wedding itself.