Sunday, 13 October 2013

CABO DE GATA - Nijar Natural Park

Cabo de Gata

Final morning at Las Negras before leaving Cabo de Gata.

A view over Cabo de Gata looking out of Las Salinas. Flamingos in the background.

Cabo de Gata is situated in the southeastern part of Andalucia and is said to be the only region in Europe with a desert climate (Wikipedia). Cabo de Gata is a marine-terrestrial Natural Park  that comprises high sea-cliffs, volcanic grounds, dunes and small lagoons. There are also several small towns like Las Negras, San Jose, Los Albaricoques and Rodalquilar to mention a few.  Many farms, houses, factories and sometimes villages have been abandoned and form in itself interesting photographic objects. 

Lighthouse of Cabo de Gata

A volcanic chimney,  reef of Las Sirenas

Cliffs near Isleta del Moro

Tourism is important for this region, too. Over the years the trend has been towards Eco Tourism with outdoor activities such as bird watching, photography, geological field-trips and e.g. diving and boat excursions. A special attraction is the abandoned mining village around Rodalquilar. This "ghost town" is interesting not only for photographic intentions. However, the visitor is advised not to spend time looking for the odd hidden hip here. Picking (if found) amethysts at the Mirador de la Amatista is also not allowed even if rumors say that people have walked away with buckets of amethysts  In Los Albaricoques many western films have been shot, e.g. by Sergio Leone. San Jose is an old fishing town and now the main tourist centre with our nice hotel MC San Jose.

San Jose, the main tourist centre.

A look out for approaching vessels at Mirador de la Amatista

Heavy seas at Los Escullos
Flora and fauna in the area is interesting and mainly relate to Mediterranean species but also endemic Afro-Iberian and Iberian can be found. Several kind of birds, reptiles and mammals exist. We found the seaside particularly interesting, especially the town of Las Negras with its volcanic grounds. We also found an excellent small but extremely tasteful fish restaurant there (Las Barcas). Mrs T  is easily pleased with a mountain of clams in salsa verde and a glass of white wine. Mr. T had grilled dorado. The food was prepared from FRESH and simple ingredients by a personnel that knew what they were doing. On top of that the price was very affordable and service friendly and relaxed.

A (fishermans?) shed next to the boats

A fantastic sea view over the fishing vessels.

Las Negras lava formations

Heavy sea bring the boats ashore

Excellent fish restaurant Las Barcas and a happy customer - uuuuh!

Plate of clams in salsa verde plus white wine for Mrs. T  :)   :)

Rodalquilar Pueblo is a cosy village where a local artistic community have found their place. Independent galleries show off paintings, photography, pottery and ceramics. We took particular interest in the old gold mines and abandoned miner's village. A couple of shots from there.

Rich skies and empty mines

A former miner dwelling. All of them deserted.

We decided to return home by the Sierra Nevada southern side. The eastern side of Andalucia was unknown to us and there where several small villages along the route. Mrs T is a fully learned co-pilot and masters the map and the routes fantastically. Mr. T, the driver, sometimes decide to take his own turns whenever this seemed logical. Sometimes maps and navigators are not up-to-date so it is better to rely on your own eyes. In CÁDIAR, however, what appeared to be an interesting route through this small village proved to be like any other small village with NARROW ROADS and diverted passways which created a feeling of loosing directions. And the shortcut was in fact a delaying factor of an unknown character. The problem was missing drivers for unkown vehicles. Near Cadiar when found by a chance a nice small rural hotel named Algueria de Morayama. Categorised by with good marks. Mrs. T managed to talk to the staff and order some Coke and tapas (in Spanish of course, no choice) while Mr. T was busy photographing the nice autumn like atmosphere up here on the mountain slopes.

Near San Jose: An old windmill play with the clouds

This wind mill was turned into a rural home

Agave is plentiful in Cabo de Gata

A different vegetation up on the mountain slopes, autumn colors!

At the same time flowers blossom in October

This is it! The market place in Cádiar where we were stuck for a while. And you have not seen the narrow streets.  But again,  Mr T mastered the KIA without a scratch. The final picture from a sun rise the last morning in Cabo de Gata. Taken at Las Negras. See above start of this bloque.

We would like to extend a warm thanks to Sr Juan Lucas Gordillo Gallardo for giving us the tip to visit Cabo de Gata which we had not heard about before. This adds another fantastic trip to our Andalucian adventures. We now have an understanding of eastern part of the region and the unique Cabo de Gata.

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