Almeria; Tapas, More Cycling and Not So Fantastic Plastic
After leaving the lovely city of Cartagena we continued on southwards and finally made it to Andalusia, the most populous of Spain’s autonomous communities and where we plan on spending at least the next couple of months. Our first stop was the province of Almeria. We decided to head straight to the main city of Almeria to check out what it had to offer.
We parked right on the port. It’s basically a parking lot without any motorhome services but has a pretty waterside location and is a short walk from center of the city. Perfect, it wasn’t too crowded when we got there and we wondered why the few other motorhomers weren’t parked at the far end of the parking lot where the views were better. We discovered why later that evening. There are massive floodlights at that end of the port on the coastguard watchtower which makes it a popular spot for locals to come fish until the early hours of the morning. They weren’t partying hard, just talking at regular (albeit Spanish) volume but enough to make our sleep less than restful. The next morning we moved further down the parking lot in the hope of a quieter night!
We found the city of Almeria to be very charming. Small and compact and with a great tapas scene, we enjoyed wandering around from bar to bar and basically eating for free. In many bars each drink you buy comes with a sizeable tapas that you select from a list. In others, we just ordered from the menu and marveled at the local scene and the waiters who kept a note of your bill by writing in chalk on the bar.
We also enjoyed a great cycle ride along the coast from the port. Once again, cycle paths in Spain are a wonderful thing. There is nothing more fabulous than peddling alongside the Mediterranean in the warm sunshine. Life is good.
From Almeria, we had planned to head to Granada, a city we had visited before but only briefly. We had a campground picked out and I ensured they were open and had space but then we looked at the forecasted temperatures and promptly changed our mind. Nope we were not doing that… Granada will still be there in a few months when the mercury has risen to acceptable levels, meanwhile we decided to stick to the coast.
That’s why we ended up heading for Almerimar, just a short drive along the coast from Almeria. It is a pretty stretch of beach, again far too dominated by British expats for our taste but we enjoyed cycling along the Mediterranean and soaking in the lovely warm weather and vistas.
There’s one thing I haven’t yet mentioned about Almeria, but it is something inescapable to anyone who visits. The whole area is dominated by plasticulture. This is the practice of intensive farming, using miles and miles of polyethylene to provide the continent of Europe with year round produce. I won’t comment on the environmental and human costs of these vast swathes of plastic, there is plenty of journalism covering the negative aspects of this form of”farming”. I will just comment on what I saw with my own eyes and say that it’s grotesque. It’s impossible to know if this area was beautiful and now ruined because there are literally no remnants of the original landscape left. No pictures I took could have born witness to this, so here’s a link if you want to see what I’m talking about.
We liked the city of Almeria, but the plastic really put me off the whole area and honestly I felt quite relieved to leave it in the rear view mirror and head to the province of Malaga and the Costa del Sol.