So 900 km of driving later, my 6 days in Spain are over and I am back in Madrid waiting for my connection to Lagos.
Had a result at Almeria airport as I had to get the car back within a certain period or face additional charges. Then it would have been 2.5 hours waiting there, but as I was early enough to get an earlier connection the woman at the Air Nostrum desk, which is Iberia’s regional airline, switched me to that and now I have 3 hours here in Madrid airport instead of having to RUN from one terminal spot to another with the later flight.
Madrid is a vast airport comprising the regional routes and the international routes and all these are linked by a train so you HAVE to get there early as flight connections could be tight and then you would miss them.
So I have been on my Almeria jaunt this week and was so pleased that I hired the car as I have been able to explore the coastline from Cartagena (in Murcia region) to Almeria (Almeria region!)
My first full day in Mojacar I took off and drove up to Vera, a lovely little town in the mountains where they had market day. This is also a lovely mix of old and new and the nudist playa of Vera was also an attraction another day.
After Vera I drove to Palomares, (where I had arranged to meet up with people I knew from Goa)
I spent a very pleasant afternoon with them in the village square listening to live Spanish music and dancing some of the time away as well as catching up.
However, I don’t know if I would want to live there as it is a little TOO small for me and not near enough the coast. Also a lot of British although it has a good mix of Brits and Spanish apparently.
Mojacar, where I was staying on the Playa side is very spread out and seems very much a resort area as it is quiet here now but apparently can be manic during July and August so maybe best to avoid at those times. The beaches here are OK but not as nice as the one in Carboneras (which is 20 minutes’ drive around the hills).
In the other direction the little town of Garuccha, with its marina and fishing port was also lovely and only 5 minutes’ drive from where I stayed. I explored there a little on the first evening here.
I was pleased to have selected Mojacar as my point of Airbnb stay as it was central and actually a lovely stretch of the coastline. One of my favourite spots here is Aguilas (a large town on the coastal border of Almeria and Murcia). This is very Spanish and reminiscent of Fuengirola to me.
I came across this town when I headed up to Cartagena on Monday (the previous day I spent relaxing on the nudist beach for a couple of hours and generally just touring around.
Cartagena was lovely and has a mix of old and new, reminding me of Tarragona (where I visited last June) as it is a town with character, ROman ruins and lots to see. However, as I went on a Monday (when all museums are closed!) I only explored the exterior of buildings, the amphitheatre, the walls of the town and had a good walk around, right up to the top of the town and then down (great views) Finally I had a lovely Menu del Dia and Helados later. Had parked on the seafront in an underground car park so that was great as the car stayed cool and it cost very little for the 4 hours I was there.
I also checked out San Juan de Torreros, on the way to Cartagena, where a developer was promoting new properties in a location called Pulpi del Mar. I had arranged to view one but felt this town rather remote even though it was fairly close to Aguilas (previously mentioned above).
I spent the next day travelling through the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Park, which stretches for miles and encompasses lots of little villages and lonely stretches of roads that meander around the hills and coastline there. Glorious.
This is when I discovered Carboneras, a rather lovely village and another one of my favourite spots. It is only 15 minutes drive from Mojacar and is a lovely seaside Spanish pueblo with a GREAT beach stretch and Paseo Maritime just inside the lovely Parque Cabo de Gata area of Almeria.
They have a large desalination plant there on the edge of town and I was advised by my Airbnb host that they tend to have prices for Spanish and prices for foreigners there, which seems rather cheeky but reminded me of course of Goa in that respect.
Anyway, the place has a lot of character and is again very Spanish.
From there I headed into the City of Almeria where I spent a couple of hours having a wander up to the Alcazaba (like the Alhambra but lots smaller I think) before coming back through another part of the park to Mojacar.
I am loving the quiet that is April in Almeria and SO pleased I chose this time of year as it was warm enough to sunbathe but without hordes of people ( or kids!)
Spain is still suffering from the recession it seems and prices of property has plummeted so if you bought here 10-12 years ago you will have lost money now if you are selling. However, it is still a bit of a buyers’ market although prices are apparently starting to recover slowly.
One night I discovered La Dolce Vita, a restaurant on the seafront in Mojacar.
In fact it was by chance I went in as I had searched a few places early evening (6pm) to eat and was either told that they opened at 7pm or 8pm. As I tend to be an early eater this does not help me. These were restaurants on the seafront as the wind was up that afternoon (after I returned from Almeria outing) so the sea was wild and wonderful – so the perfect spot for dinner overlooking the sea I thought.
Anyway – no luck so decided to JUST go for coffee and cake in this pasteleria on the seafront and Lo and Behold on entering I discovered a lovely restourant with a great little menu and enclosed decking right on the seafront. Bingo – I had a lovely meal there and then returned today to enjoy a coffee and cake late morning.
The weather though cloudy from around 4pm that day until 1030 the following morning then cleared and it became very hot and sunny with a great breeze. So I was loving the “Dolce Vita” in Almeria I must say.
This was my final day so I stayed in the area to mooch, had a sports massage and then a pedicure (much needed both!) and as my hostess had suggested we go for a drink early evening which will be along the seafront we ended the day (and my stay) very pleasantly before going home to pack and for a great night’s sleep before I head back to Lagos today and work tomorrow.
I had lovely weather the whole of my stay and I would definitely recommend a visit to this area of Almeria – there is a lot to offer and I think Mojacar is a lovely beach resort. The Pueblo in the mountains is also very quaint although for me the draw has to be the coastal areas.