The air is hot and dry, the dusty earth crunches under my feet. I pause and look at my surroundings. Parched grassland stretches before me, squat, low oaks provide much needed shade for deer. I scan the horizon, past the grass and trees, to low, rounded mountains, some of the oldest in Spain, pushed back down to earth by millennia of erosion. I have to remind myself I’m still in Europe, not the plains of Tanzania.
Early October in the Parque Nacional de los Cabañeros, just south of Toledo and a mere hour and a half drive from Madrid. Looking around me I feel I could be on the other side of the world. Cabañeros has been both a mesmerising and frustrating experience. It is an undeniably beautiful area of Spain; wild, untouched landscapes, calm, idyllic rivers and streams, deep valleys leading to high, if slightly dry, waterfalls.