A little sign with an arrow says “turn left, take the other road.” What do you do…..? Do you take it, see where it goes, or do you ignore it and stay on the main road?
That was the choice: I was about an hour out of Málaga (Spain) and had just left the town of Antequera behind me. Here I was about 10 km into the wide-open countryside with the next town a good 25 km ahead of me. It was getting close to 8 pm, definitely time to start finding a hotel, and I hadn’t seen one since I left Antequera. There in the middle of absolutely nowhere was a little arrow that said “Hotel Fuente del Sol 7 km.” The arrow pointed to a smaller road, winding up and off to the left, quickly turning out of sight. Think fast: take it, or drive on. There was no picture of the hotel: it could be practically anything, good or bad, open or closed. It could be a complete waste of time.
Oh well, let me take a look at it. What do I have to lose? And off I went up the winding road, climbing gently, turning, climbing more steeply, the road progressively narrowing so that I was glad I didn’t meet any cars and have to squeeze past them. With one eye on the kilometer counter I knew when I had driven the 7 km and still wasn’t at the hotel. Oh well, as the Spaniards say: mas o meno (who’s counting!). Well, at least at every fork in the road there was a new sign, steadfastly pointing the way. Nevertheless, as the road kept twisting higher into the hills, I told myself, “you’re never going to find this place,” “you can be sure it went out of business a long time ago and they forgot to take down the signs,” “they certainly won’t have a room available,” “I must be crazy.” At one point the road was messy with twigs and debris that my car kicked up against its belly with a loud “clunk.” The subsequent unrelenting growls from somewhere inside the motor did nothing to reassure my navigational skills. Finally, I drove steeply uphill (what else?) through a small town built into the hillside only to exit it out the top. I was up to 9 km by now, mas o meno. Then, miracle of all miracles, there was THE HOTEL. Imagine that, I had found it.
When I walked inside and asked if I could have a room, the young woman at the reception desk looked at me in astonishment and asked “How did you find us?” I think she was even more astonished when I answered, “I saw your signs and followed them.” Apparently some people have trouble following signs, or maybe keeping the faith. Once I was there, it all seemed very simple. And yes, she had a room available.
The room was charming, Andalusian style with lots of dark wood, a tall ceiling, and shutters on the windows to keep out the hot sun. The room was very tastefully decorated, the double bed was huge and comfortable and the bathroom was a delight. Something I noticed: the Spanish tiled floor was more effective than air-conditioning: it cooled you off from the feet up.
The hotel’s typically Andalusian patio was home to the fuente del sol, the fountain of the sun. Set for a banquet or celebration, the patio would be breathtakingly romantic.
In the dining room my luck continued and the headwaiter gave me the table with the best view of the Spanish countryside and the Mediterranean in the distant background. Across the sun-drenched panorama I could envisage Roman legions, Moorish armies and Reconquista forces sweeping across the Iberian peninsula throughout the colorful centuries of Spanish history.
Dinner and the house wine were excellent. My compliments to the chef! The Spanish-style breakfast buffet was attractive and tasty.
It was my luck again that the hotel had few guests just then and gave me such a lovely room at a very reasonable price. And seeing as they didn’t need the room the next day, they didn’t mind if I stayed until early afternoon to enjoy the pool and still be able to shower before I left. That was indeed hospitality. Thank you, Hotel Fuente del Sol! www dot hotelfuentedelsol dot com
Yes, going off the beaten track had been a lucky choice. I’m looking forward to the next time.
The author was a paying guest of the Hotel Fuente del Sol and received no complimentary benefits based on this posting.
Thank you for reading!