Truman Capote - travelled by train from Granada to Algeciras sometime in 1950. His short story of that journey - more a letter than a novel - illustrates the country, people and pace of life beautifully.
Some say that the arrival is more important than the journey. These are normally the same people that say you must save for a rainy day, work hard and pay into your pension scheme, then, at the end of life when you are not able to do anything else, waddle around a golf-course, sup sherry and tuck you socks into your sandals as you stroll along the sea front on the Costa Del Calcetines..
There are others, however, that claim that the journey itself is the point. They say that: "If where you are going is more important than where you are now, then you'll probably be disappointed when you arrive". * (Alan Watts)
"Certainly the train was old. The seats sagged like the jowls of a bulldog; windowpanes were out, and strips of adhesive held together those that were left; in the corridor a prowling cat appeared to be hunting mice, and it was not unreasonable to assume that his search would be rewarded."
Me? I'm just into trains. Having done the journey myself a few years back, I can assure you that little has changed; particularly the bull-dog jowl seats and the window panes.
Granada - Loja - Algeciras
The journey begins under the snow-topped mountains of the Sierra Nevada and winds through deep valleys, tropical forests and parched olive groves at the pace an avocado softens. Yet, it is an appropriate pace because the joy of travelling at such a speed grants you the time to think, reflect and absorb the changing landscape and prepare you for the breezy delights of Algeciras.
"In the next compartment, the lovely girls leaned against one another loosely, like six exhausted geraniums."
Your first stop from Granada will be at San Francisco de Loja. If you know nothing of this historic town - perhaps previously having passed by on the motorway thinking to yourself that that it is not worth the stop - think once more, for should be tempted to break the journey and spend the day, you will find a hidden cultural, social and political history of Spain just beneath the surface.