have just returned from a 9-night trip to southern Spain, partly to see Ian’s
sister Maggi, partly to get some sun, and partly to explore the Almeria region of Andalucia
which we hadn’t visited before. We had four nights staying with Maggi and her
partner Charlie in the B&B they run in the little village of Las Higueras,
in the Cordoba region of Andalucia. We enjoyed staying with them in one of
their beautiful guest rooms, walking in the local countryside, visiting nearby
towns and villages and chatting to the locals in their (often illegal) bars.
One of the villages had a fiesta in honour of Our Lady of Fatima while we were
there, and we watched from the comfort of the bar as they paraded her statue
through the streets with the band playing.
headed east towards the coast from there, passing north of the Sierra Nevada and visiting some
interesting towns on the way. We went to the village of Marchal, near Guadix, where
most of the houses are caves dug into the soft cliffs. Some of the newer caves
seem very smart and well-appointed. We stayed a night in the town of Sern, perched on a hilltop,
with great views and a nice meal in the local hostal.
we reached the sea we did some interesting walks along the coast to little
beaches with weird rock formations (reminiscent of some we saw in New Zealand!). We stayed in
Mojacar, which is a white town on top of a hill and a favourite with tourists.
We explored the coast of the Cabo de Gato, with some wild scenery and
interesting villages. We drove along the coast to the major city of Almeria, with its large Moorish
castle (Alcazaba) dominating.
carried on west to the more tourist area of the Costa Tropicale, and stayed in
a hotel in Salobrena with a hot tub on the roof and views of the town on its
hill, with the distant Sierra Nevada in the background again.
We went on to Almunecar and Nerja, both popular tourist towns. In Nerja we
arrived just in time for a big fiesta in honour of St Isodoro, with a colourful
and seemingly endless procession involving carts pulled by decorated bullocks, horses,
tractors etc etc. Many people were in
traditional costume, and there was much dancing, eating and drinking. We had
time before flying home to explore Malaga, which is an
interesting city in its own right, with two semi-detached castles on the hill,
and magnificent views from the connecting footpath.
Our brief trip to Spain was a great success and achieved all its
objectives. We caught up with family, got some much-needed sun, and experienced
some of the Spanish culture we’ve been missing. The Costa Almeria is very good
for sun, although the scenery is dry and almost desert. Much of the countryside
is covered in plastic sheeting to grow fruit, giving it the title ‘Costa
Plastica’. We saw a lot of new property developments half-finished, probably
because the credit crunch has cut off the source of Brits looking for sun.