Jan 19 – La Garrofa & Almeria

Our next stop was to be Lorca. We have made several attempts to get there but for various reasons we have never quite made it. I looked on Search for Sites and came up with a stopover at an autocaravanas dealership at Lorca. We arrived there to discover that not only was it tatty and very close to a busy main road, it was 10 km away from Lorca. We had driven past Lorca to get there but had expected to be able to get a bus. No such luck. As we had already gone out of our way, we put it back on the to do list and trundled on to Almeria. This time we decided to use the ACSI site at La Garrofa. It is a quirky little site with it’s own beach and a handy bus stop.

Beach at La Garrofa

We had a lovely few days on the campsite. Lots of lovely people of various nationalities there and a real party atmosphere. We could quite see why people had gone for a few days and stayed for a few weeks.

On Monday we got the bus into Almeria and did a bit of exploring. It was a public holiday so many places were shut, including the tourist information. We had an interesting chat with a local man who works in the tourist industry in Norway. He was pleased to find some friendly Brits to chat to and we found him entertaining. We were a bit late to really make the most of a visit to the Alcazaba, which had been the focus of our visit, but enjoyed our meanderings. There is an attractive park along the harbourside with fountains and trees.

Dolphin fountain

Next day we went back into Almeria and this time the tourist info was open. We picked up a map of the town and found our way to the Alcazaba. It is free to visit so we made the most of the day and also had our sandwiches sitting on a wall in the sun.

The origin of the medieval city of Almeria dates back to the 9th century when it was the port of Bayyana, situated 6km inland. The small port grew until it became al-Mariyya. The new city was walled in 955 by the caliph Abd al-Rahim 111 who awarded it the classification of a medina. The city prospered and during the 11th and 12th centuries, the city expanded beyond the original walled area.

The Islamic period lasted 7 centuries and the Alcazaba was the headquarters of power for the different governments and kings. The Alcazaba is divided into three enclosures, the first two are of Islamic origin and the third is a castle built by the Catholic Kings after the Cnristian conquest of Almeria in 1489.

The whole site is a mixture of original ruined buildings and renovated walls with a completely landscaped interior which is not as it would have been. The area that has been landscaped would have originally contained the living quarters of the population. However, it is an attractive addition to what would otherwise have been a few remains. There are parts that have survived and the Jayran wall which runs across the San Christobal hill is very impressive.

Jayran wall
Carefully preserved walls
View of the harbour from the Alcazaba
Doorway to main entrance

We walked back via the cathedral but decided not to go in this one. Sometimes less is more, and we had enjoyed the Alcazaba. It had been a very pleasant and unexpected treat to visit Almeria and find it more interesting than we had hoped.