Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Sunday, 30 January 2011

To Mojacar and back

Mouthwatering lemons from the tree!

We had property to view! It was going to take us 3 hours to drive to see it so a visit to the seaside was a necessary inclusion in the journey. Looking on the map and reading up what guides had to say, Mojacar was the obvious beach location to head for.
As well as the property, we wanted the chance to see the countryside on the far east of Granada province moving across the border into Almeria. A rather nice looking road (on the map, it looked meandered a bit, it had mountains to the south of it, there was green around it and little villages dotted either side... it looked nice - as an avid map-gazer I know what I mean -) which I persuaded Cesar we should take rather than the autovia. Now we have no GPS, I am back to official map reader and navigator again - hurray!!
This was roughly our route if you like that sort of thing:

I say roughly because I checked it out on ViaMichelin then decided that we wouldn't do steps 1-4 as suggested, which took us on the now familiar road towards Granada - instead, we cut across country eastwards to the motorway (A44-E902), south to the next junction, then took the little orange road towards step 5. It was better, I think.
Views along the way would have been stunning - of the Sierra Nevada - except it was very misty and damp and we couldn't see much at all.
Not until we got to Guadix (5) when the clouds disappeared and we got a good view of this gorgeous town - all red stone against the snowy backdrop - and I had a pang of remorse that we didn't pursue this as our base...until Cesar reminded me that there were no school places for the children and no places to rent at the time we were looking...ah, that was why!

We felt 'at home' between steps 5 and 6 as this is where we spent our wonderful week in the cave at Bacor Oliver. We waved at Mount Jabalcon and at the house that we didn't buy - 'Cortijo Zorro' - well, at the land that is visible from the motorway.

For the first one third, the road from 6 (Baza) to 10 (Albox) (- I guess 7, 8 and 9 are somewhere behind 10) was absolutely gorgeous! We loved it and saw lots of villages that we want to explore in the future. From then on, we were increasingly less impressed and then we hit Albox and from there to 12 and the motorway that leads down to Almeria, we didn't like. We continued on to a little place high up in the mountains to view the house that in the pictures looked perfect but which in reality was totally unsuitable, However, it had some fantastic land to explore and the owners were a remarkable old English couple who were most entertaining. We had a very pleasant visit - politely making it clear that their house wasn't what we were looking for; I would hate to have raised their hopes of a sale unnecessarily.

Although we could see the sea from the mountain, we were told it would take us around 40 minutes to get there and we were ravenously hungry for our picnic, so we stopped in a strange but wonderful spot to eat.

We were overlooking a quarry, with the sea just visible, surrounded by herbs - thyme, rosemary, sage and lavender - and the smell was totally sense-tingling!

After we'd eaten, we gathered a few fallen fruits from nearby trees and which also gave off a scent that was almost 100 times stronger than we were used to - the lemons in particular were sensational! Scoffing mandarin oranges, we headed off for the coast and found a deserted beach in the currently empty seaside town of Garrucha, just north of Mojacar, where the Mediterranean was producing gently crashing waves.

As the sun began to sink behind the mountains, we headed off to see what Mojacar was like. I had imagined it - not sure why - to be a moorish red stone town so was surprised to see a totally white hill village - gobsmackingly white, gobsmackingly hilly! This is a photograph taken from the because I didn't manage to take a photograph myself as we arrived - too gobsmacked!

Inside, Mateo and I pondered at what point a hill becomes a village? Although from a distance, the hill was the most obvious feature, once we were 'inside' we were obviously in a village...

Mateo thought this was what Lindworm Castle must have been like. (Lindworm Castle is a place in 'The City of Dreaming Books' by Walter Moer - if you like odd, you will like this!)

This image is from the book - illustrated by the author - and I see what he means but perhaps Mojacar wasn't quite so 'pointy'...

View from the top of the village

Comparing this to Salobreña, where we went a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by how much more of a tourist area this part of Spain seemed. This was Saturday, it was a beautiful sunny day and there was hardly anyone around. In Salobreña, families were out and about, the bars were full and people were clearly living in the area. In and around Garrucha and Mojacar, the few people we saw were English (of the retired type) or French and Dutch in big motorhomes parked up near the sea. There were very few Spanish families out walking and many of the bars and shops were closed up - not just for Saturday afternoon - presumably until the tourists arrive in their droves. This is quite rare - Spanish people like walking about and do it a lot!

The journey gave us a lot of food for thought as we drove back - into the sunset as it happens - and at risk of appearing too self-satisfied, have to admit we had yet another really lovely day here in Southern Spain.

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