Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day trip from the Funny Farm

Wild Flowers at Las Salinas

Boats in Port at Carboneras

The drive starts at the top of this hill and continues down the coast to Carbo de Gata. It must be one of the best drives in the world

White Buildings at Las Salinas evoke the abandonment of a Spaghetti Western town - although there was washing on the line!

Strange Rock Formations at Playa De Los Genoveses

The view from Los Muertos look out

Ruins spied along the way - we think it was on the road to Agua Amarga

The house at the end of the citadel ruins- looking through its doorways to the coast beyond

New York (Nancy Manter) and I hired a car and took off at great speed, glad to have a release from the routine and constant views of the residency, and because we are not just working here, but very aware of the wonderful countryside that surrounds us and very distracted by the temptation to take advantage of our chance to see it. We could stay in the studio no longer, and had a wonderful day driving in the Cabo de Gata National Park, south of Mojacar.
This is a very special part of Spain, where the volcanic mountains change in waves and dance all around, the see sparkles (it was a perfect day) and ruins, grand vistas and even Flamingos are the attraction. We visited Carboneras a port town, at the beginning of the drive to release our resident draw-er Desiree "into the wild" and continued down the coastal road to Isla de San Andreas. We took a right after visiting the spectacular view here, and returned to the Coast via Agua Amarga, which is where we think we discovered some spectacular ruins on a mountain ridge, that very few were visiting on the day. We returned the same route, and drove through the Sierra de la Higuera scenery to Fernan Perez (no signage, just a castle!) then into Las Negras (another beachside, white town with confusing signage, and back streets which announce the town but which do nothing to attract). It was then on through a number of other seaside or port towns set into the cliffs and which can be seen variously from higher surrounding hills or lower winding roads which were delightful.
Released from a Boarding school eating routine, our rumbling stomachs still told us it was 1pm and lunch time, so we headed for the nearest seaside eating place we could find. Cafe de Ola turned out to be an inspired choice, despite the rather surly waitress, as a cold Alahmbra Cerveza and exceptional char-grilled squid and french fries were just what the doctor ordered. Feeling lazy and sated, we climbed the obligatory observation hill and returned for the rest of the trip towards San Jose, then back tracked (we thought the road stopped - it did on out map!) towards Las Salinas, at the end of the Cabo and where we tried valiantly to spy the four Flamingo that had returned early in the season (I think I saw an albino one!) Strong winds, which whipped up magnificent cloud formations, kept the flamingos away, so we weren't as lucky as Lilo, our resident German artist, was a few days before.
Although the flamingos didn't show, we spied an interesting set of run-down white buildings which immediately brought to mind the theme from "The Magnificent Seven" and so were rewarded for the extra 30 mins driving at 20kph on a rough and very bumpy road.
The return trip, which is often undervalued by drivers as "been there, done that" revealed sights previously unseen or at least from a different viewpoint and was just as exciting as the way there.
We arrived in Carboneras at the rendezvous point just as Desiree was entering the cafe, so we shared a beer and a walk on the port before returning in time for another lovely meal at Valparaiso.

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