Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Another strange and wonderful find for me.  Ten years here on the coast, and I am still finding new things.  After visiting a friend in hospital in Motril, I decided to take a route I had never taken before.  I headed north from the hospital, and found myself on a beautiful scenic drive through a pine forest, and out the other side to a small area of ruins and homesteads.  This is also the road to take to get to the Fabrica Del Rey rural route.  I will be going again and following that route one day soon, but I think in a car the next time instead of the scooter, a breakdown out there would be disastrous, as the bat cycle isn’t exactly the bat mobile.  On part of the journey, you cross over the new highway that is being built, but at the moment, it actually has stopped progression right here, as you can see by the photo it is quite ugly, rather ground zero-ish in appearance.  Other sites were lovely, and I have tried to show you both.

Motril in the background with old highway marker in the foreground.

Bat Cycle

Pine Barrens

Right out of the rock.

Along the route you will see this sign for the old mine shaft which you can visit.

The new Autovia de Mediterranea stops here.

On the same bridge, pedestrian foot path is secured by wooden fence, my guess is livestock use this too for safe passage

Honk if you love geese!

Start of the Fabrica Del Rey Rural Route which travels up off this road.

Following the road to La Gorgaracha, lots of ruins.

I think this is an old smoke house, but if anyone can confirm this please do.

Good news, it’s for sale!

Just in case there is interest.

Open plan

A not so old ruin, but a ruin just the same

The time required to see all of this was under a couple of hours, and I was traveling via the bat cycle.

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Taken just inside the entrance to the Nazarí Gardens

Massive Cypress trees in the Nazarí Gardens-see staircase for size comparison.

18th Century building being restored internally to match the era of the Nazri Garden

Okay so on Sunday the 30th we toddled off to Vélez de Benaudalla for a an incredibly interesting visit to the Nazari Gardens and then a 2hour walk through the countryside.  Both were hugely enjoyable, and I will be doing both again soon I hope.  Vélez de Benaudalla is just 20 minutes up the road from Salobreña, very easy to get to and lots of parking in town.

The Nazarí Gardens were built by the Arabs, centuries ago when the Moors ruled most of Spain.  There are in fact Moorish castles all over Spain, and  Al-Andalus was the name given to the area ruled by the Moors, today we know it as Andalucia.

In Vélez, the castle is quite different, it is a 7 sided building sitting high above the town for all to see.

Vélez Castle top centre, Church far left. Photo obtained from Vélez town hall's website. http://www.velezdebenaudalla.org

To the left of  the church  and just out of view, you will find the Nazarí Gardens located on the edge of town, cliffside.

Amazingly, you could walk right by them and not realize they were there.   You enter through a door, of what looks like a house and immediately you are in the area shown in the first photo shown above.  The Al-Andalus gardens are typically made up of 5 areas in order to provide man with the five  essentials of life. Those 5 essentials are

The Spiritual :  The  Muslims believed that they were mirroring heaven here on earth in praise of Allah with the building of these gardens.

The Aesthetic :  To design a  place that stimulates us and inspires us to create, a place that demands us to be more artistic, to make music, write poetry etc.

The Psychological: The garden should invite us to observe, contemplate, rest, relax and enjoy.

The Botanical and Scientific: A place for research, a place for experimenting.  Much study was done with new plants from around the globe to ensure a healthy and well fed people.

The Nutritional:  Condiments, herbs, vegetables and fruit trees were grown to feed the inhabitants.

I have included a small video that was made to show how the gardens look today and what the plan is for the future. The Vélez town hall has spent around 2million euros to bring the gardens back to life.

And now, more photos taken this past Sunday.

Entering the grounds

Part of the vegetable garden with fruit trees.

Aromatic Garden- Lavander, Allysium, Rosemary are just a few examples of the plants grown here.

Small treacherous staircase that leads to the level where some of the cave entrances are.

Cave entrance

Small reflective pool inside one of the caves

Another old cave entrance

Going in.

Cave ceiling.

Big old tree

Water naturally flowed thru this area, the Arabs built channels to control the flow and bring it to other parts of the garden.

Beautiful little waterfall

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As stated previously, here are some additional photos from my day trip to the Alpujarras.

Roadside Cafe on the way to Pampaneira

Homage to Don Augustus for his ceramic murals. The sign itself is an example of a ceramic mural

Missed you at the harvest- Sharon fruit or Persimmon to others.

Sick of having their photo taken.

Right this way please.

Real Donkey do. 🙂

Sentry on duty

Church Door

Pampaneira Chocolate Factory.

Road to Capileira

Out of focus mountain goats.

It says end of the road, but you can keep going.

The road to Grand Mothers house

Somebody lives here.

The road less traveled

Diana sprinting ahead

Tent Catapillar- Danger Will Robinson

Small side street in Bubión

Casa Fina- You can stay here

The type of finish on this wall is called Capa Fina- translation is Fine Layer.

And this is it for the photos on the road trip.  Remember, there are plenty of economical places to stay, just google accommodation Las Alpujarras.

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Happy New Year all, I am sorry for starting so late, but a major electrical  storm on the 22nd of December did major damage to computers all over town, our personal  internet was only just restored on the 8th of January. Ugh!

Welcome to 2011, here we go!

On the 21st of December my good friend Diana and I took a day trip up to the Alpujarras for some fabulous site seeing, it was a beautiful day and I for one thoroughly enjoyed it.  Thanks Di!

We visited Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira, three of the prettiest little mountain villages  in the area, to get there, just head up the Granada road and follow the signs for Orjiva and then follow the signs North East then the sign for the 3 villages, very easy to get to.  Enjoy.

In the town of Pampaneira, I am guessing that that is a beautiful climbing wisteria.

The handmade rugs of Pampaneira

Pampineira, you can tell they got a lot of rain and run off by run off canal down the center of the street.

Christmastime in Pampaneira

Bubión from a distance

Looking down on Bubion


Small street in Bubión, check out the ceilings of the under passes.

Typical chimney style special to this area.

A closer look

Someones front step.

Around every corner something interesting to see.


Wall Gardens

Peppers, Chorizo, Blood Sausage and Laundry...I like it!


Ceiling in the bar where we stopped for coffee on the way up.

Fresh mountain stream north of Capileira

Roadside lookout

Road to nowhere.


Old stone wall

Old communal laundry station with diverted fresh mountain water.

I took over 300 photos on this short day trip, so many more to show you, but enough for today. 🙂

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As promised here are a few photos from Tarifa, I didn’t actually get to take too many this time, as my camera was really acting up, and has since bought the farm.. So I have combined the new photos with some of the old ones not previously published..I was there in Sept 09 as well with my brothers.  Enjoy.  I would also like to mention that you can go whale watching in Tarifa as well!

This piece of art has been located at the main gate to the old town for many years.

Beach Boys

A family place

Tarifa has one of the nicest beaches in Spain.

This wooden walkway extends a few kilometers along the beach.

The walkway passes very close to grazing cows, quite scary at first as there is no railing.

Getting close.

Beach front properties for rent

Entrance to the old town.

Fishing boats in the port.

Getting Ready


Lots of women in this sport.

I'm sailing.

The eagle has landed

1am and some shops are still open.

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Well I have said it before, and I will say it again, Salobrena is a great place to stay whether you just stay put or decide to get adventurous.

I have been away from the blog for quite a while, chalk it up to a busy summer with lots of visitors and a fair amount of work to keep me busy.

One of my visitors, my best pal from school, and I decided on a short road trip.. we headed to Morocco for 2 nights and followed that up with 2 nights in Tarifa, a beautiful little town the other side of Algeciras on the south coast of Spain.

We did not have a car, so don’t think that you can only do short inexpensive trips if you have a car, the bus service is not only fantastic, but dirt cheap.  We caught the 1030am bus from Motril to Algeciras at a cost of 21.72 euros each.. a bargain by any means. The journey is direct with only 4 stops along the way, no bus changes. Motril is a 20 minute bus ride at a cost of 1 euro from Salobrena.  The bus stops in Almuñecar, Nerja, Malaga and Marbella along the way. The bus goes everyday too.

When you arrive in Algeciras, you are walking distance to the ferries that take you to Tanger or any number of destinations for that matter.. just come out of the station and hang a right and walk towards the water.. walking time 10 minutes, most of that is thru the grounds of the ferry terminal.. go to the building with the blue top on it.. you can’t miss it.  This trip to Tanger was different from all the rest, in that the ferry no longer goes into the downtown port of Tanger, but rather to the new port which is 50 clicks from the downtown area, don’t panic there is a free shuttle, or you can take a taxi for next to nothing.  The bus goes every 30 minutes or after each boat load which ever comes first.  The cost of the ferry was cheaper too, normally the fare is 37.50 euros into the old town, but because of the new port, we only paid 27 euros.. big bonus I think.

We stayed at the hotel I normally stay at, which is the Rembrandt Hotel.  It is central, inexpensive, has a pool, restaurant and bar.  Breakfast is included in the cost of the hotel, which was 75 euros a night for 2.  Not the cheapest place for sure, and there were cheaper, but I know it and so always stay there, it is walking distance to the market place too.   Coming into the new port, made for a nice change, we got to see a lot of little seaside towns, Berbers in full ornamental dress on the side of the road selling the biggest onions you have ever seen.  It is quite a picturesque journey, one which I thoroughly recommend.

I should mention, that the infrastructure of the new port and terminal aren’t quite in place.  Getting off the ferry we found ourselves running with the cars (similar to running with the bulls, on every level).  It was an exciting and hilarious arrival into the country, and forget about shade..my little pink friend from Canada nearly burst into flames..lol.

We also took a taxi ride for 5 dirham, the equivalent of about 50 centimos out to the casino by the Mövenpick Hotel..it was lovely, and very air conditioned Haaaaaaaaaa.. there were free drinks and a sandwich buffet for anyone gambling..there are the usual slot machines on the lower level, the tables are upstairs, roulette, black jack and the rest.. Becareful what you wear, no espadrils or shorts..slacks and shirt or dresses and skirts are fine for women..

After depositing much cash we limped back to our hotel. Taxi back was 20 dirham or about 2 euros.. it’s a long ride, for such a cheap price, and you get to see an area you wouldn’t normally see if you just stayed in the old town..Lots of villas, wide boulevards with lovely palms, and disco after disco along the beach.. it really does have an exciting night life there.. Plus during the summer months, there are kiddy fair grounds set up all along the beach.

Next stop Tarifa back in Spain.  The ferry to Tarifa still goes out of the old port on the high speed ferries.. it’s quite a ride and the ferry is about 100 years newer than the one going into Tanger from Algeciras.. arriving in Tarifa is great too.. you walk off the boat and in 5 minutes you are down town Tarifa.Cost is 37.50.

Tarifa is a gorgeous little town.  It has a buzz all it’s own.. lots of cute trendy bars, shops that are open really late..most til 1130 pm and some til 2am.. We ate at a cute place where the food was dynamite and so cheap..individual pizzas, thin crust perfectly cooked, 5 euros. You can’t beat that.  We also had meals in more upscale places, and we were happy every where that we ate.  We paid a little more for a hotel here,it was off the beaten path but it had airconditioning and was still walking distance to downtown, and the bus station for our journey home.

The week we decided to do these trips, it was so hot I thought I would melt.  There is a bus several times a day from Tarifa to Algeciras, I recommend the 1230 bus, it gets into Algeciras with plenty of time to have some lunch and a beer and catch the bus to Salobreña at 3pm. That’s right the bus back drops you right back in Salobreña, that was an added bonus for sure.. When I am coming home from a journey, I just want to get there, no messing about.  The bus ride from Tarifa to Algeciras was under 2 euros each and then we had the 21.72 euro fare from Algeciras to Salobrena.  I have included some pics from our trip, I hope you enjoy them, and I also hope that you decide to take a trip to either or both of these destinations, they are well worth it!

I forgot to mention, that Tarifa has the most beautiful beaches, fine powdered sand without a rock in site..so gorgeous and you can walk out for hundreds of feet and still find shallow water.. It’s also a kite surfers paradise. I will be posting the Tarifa photos tomorrow.

This reads God, King and Country not tourist go home lol.

Arriving at the new port.

Look who just stepped out of 1950

Beating the heat and looking good.

The Moroccan flag was everywhere and they were big and beautiful.

Olive salesman

Olives for every taste

Fresh Bread Vendor

Brass salesman.

Scenes from the market.

Fresh meat.

Grains and preserves.

Happy Salesman.

Fresh eggs-look at the size of those babies.

Fresh ground spices on demand.. We bought curry, tumeric and cumin.

Street vendor.

Goat Hell.

Grocery shopping ladies.

Pretty woman.

The masses.

Watch your step.

My wonderful friend Catherine in Tanger with the old port in the background

Kaftan shopping.

The main entrance to the food market

Looking down the staircase at our hotel. There is an elevator as well.

Up the down staircase.

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I still have lots of great shots to show you from the Morocco day trip. Enjoy!

Inside the fruit large market

Inside the main fruit,veg and meat market



halal butcher

halal butcher

man selling prickly pairs

man selling prickly pairs

skinned and ready to go..hint- it's upside down

skinned and ready to go..hint- it's upside down

Barbary Partridge

Barbary Partridge

Prickly pears up close

Prickly pears up close

Bread for sale

Bread for sale

Bread for sale

Bread for sale

Bunnies and Chicks

Bunnies and Chicks

Olives and then some.

Olives and then some.

More photos tomorrow. Watch Monday for the Romeria photos from Sunday.

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