Don Quixote is dead. The wise fool has recovered his reason and died in bed, surrounded by loved ones weeping. I shed a tear or two myself as I turn the final page. Then I resolve to do something quixotic today; I will walk to the tower!
On a promontory further up the coast the Torre de Guadalmesi edges its way into view after an hour or so of hiking from the little town of Tarifa. It looks close. It isn’t. Under the impression that it is, I follow the curves and gradients of the path as it runs along the Mediterranean. This is the now defunct road to Algeciras – a highway through the Spain of knights and bandits, Christians and Moors.
I come to a stretch of the old byway which is shaded and sheltered on the coastal side by a rock wall that protrudes from the ground to a height of about two metres and it dawns on me that, even in the absence of any paving or marks to evidence it, the road must always have gone this way; it’s the only rational – possible – choice right here. I may never have been on a road as old and with as much certainty. Thousands of years at least, and who knows how many thousands have passed this way, till it was abandoned in favour of more modern highways further inland, once engineering had made them possible. More