Nov 18 Vera to Cabo de Gata

After our stay at Aguilas we had an appointment at Hispavan in Vera on the Monday.  We decided to head there on Saturday so we could stock up with baked beans in Iceland and meet up with some fellow campers, who live nearby, on the Sunday.  Last year we stayed on the aire at the tennis complex and it was very peaceful.  We thought it would be easy to go there again as it is close to Antas, which is where Hispavan is located.  Of course, nothing is ever that straight forward is it!  The road to the aire is closed as they are putting a roundabout in.  We really struggled to find our way to the tennis complex as our map doesn’t have enough detail, and the sat nag refused to believe the road is closed.  We got there in the end and parked right at the top with great views.

View from our crows nest pitch at Vera
View with setting sun
One of many amazing sunsets at Vera

The couple we were meeting live at Vera Playa.  It was convenient as we had already decided to go there for a beach visit.  The beach is unspoilt by tourism and we enjoyed a couple of hours sitting in the sun.

Vera Playa on a beautiful day
Man in hat on uncrowded beach!

After a very enjoyable couple of hours with our friends we took the country route back to Vera and managed to get to the aire without help from “James” or the map.  Our last night on the aire was disturbed by howling gales.  We had parked on the edge overlooking the view so we were very exposed.  I was certain our rooflights were going to be ripped off but they survived.  We had an early cup of tea, struggled to the showers in a headwind, and were ready for our appointment in plenty of time.

Between our stay at Vera and a planned in advance visit to Granada, we had a few days to fill in.  The Cabo de Gata had been on our list for a while, so we thought we would have a quick visit there.  We had forgotten just how much plastic there is in that region.  The journey to Los Albericoques in the centre of the Cabo de Gata area was a bit disappointing as the plastic greenhouses stretch for miles.

Plastic greenhouses stretching towards the mountains

We were also struck by the sheer numbers of , what appeared to be, migrant workers.  We saw them walking along the roads at the end of each day and many seemed to be heading for shanty style dwellings amongst the greenhouses.  During the daytime we saw washing on lines amongst very rudimentary shelters.  Many were constructed from more plastic and tarpaulins.

One of the more substantial looking dwelling blocks

The village we stayed in is called Los Albericoques.  It’s claim to fame is that it was one of the locations used to film the spaghetti westerns.  There is a statue and an information board telling you all about it and directing visitors to the exact locations used.

Cowboy statue

We stayed on a camperpark which was very reasonably priced and provided a good base for exploring. We now know where to free camp and will do so on our next visit.

One of the small towns on our radar was Nijar, a 20 minute drive away. The town is renowned for its colourful pottery and rag rugs.

Pottery in Nijar
More colourful Nijar pottery

As we were there out of season and on a weekday, a lot of the shops were closed.  However, we did find some open and I even made a purchase!

The main street is quite picturesque and the narrow streets of white houses in the old part are attractive.

Main road in Nijar
Narrow street on way to the Atalaya

The central square is currently undergoing a facelift and we had to dodge around workmen to look at the parish church. The exterior is unprepossessing but, inside was a pleasant surprise.

Iglesia Parroquiel
Looking towards the rear of the church
Ornate alter
Wall painting

I started to walk up to the Atalaya which is an old watchtower dating back to the 1500s, but it was too long and steep so I thought better of it and went back down to rescue Clyde from a hard bench!

Atalaya viewed from below

Walking back down the main road we came across some lovely ceramic signs.

Beautiful tiled plaque outside the carnicere
Ceramic officio sign on main street in Nijar

After our visit to Nijar we had a few hours to while away so we went down to the coast. The first stop, for a late lunch, was Los Escullos. We spotted a bit of rough ground near the beach with a couple of campervans parked.  We joined them and had a walk along the beach after eating our lunch. It is a very pretty bay with some impressive rocks.

View from Los Escallos cove
Interesting rock at Los Escallos bay
Los Escullos beach

After Los Escullos, we drove along the winding coast road towards Las Negras.  On the way we came across a mirador which was certainly worth a visit.  It overlooked the sea and had commanding views in all directions.

View from the mirador on Cabo de Gata coast
Inland view from the mirador
View from mirador
Tiled information board at the mirador
Close up of mirador information board

The tiled information board was a work of art.

We just had time for a quick visit to Las Negras and no time to visit the gold mines at Rodalquilar.  Back on the list for our next visit to the area!  Las Negras is a pretty fishing village on the eastern side of the Cabo de Gata.  It is another white village which remains unspoilt.

White buildings against mountain backdrop. Typical of the region
Las Negras harbour
Village against the mountains

As the light was starting to fade, and we had to drive back along a narrow winding road, we left Las Negras for a longer visit next time.

Our stay in the Cabo de Gata was much too short as there is so much to see and enjoy.  We will definitely return and give it some proper attention.

Next stop Granada.

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