All of a sudden we seem to have hit red in the agricultural sense. The northern part of our journey was in the green foothills of the Pyrenees, followed by the amber glow of the orange groves that fill the lands from Barcelona to Valencia. Now, in the desert like climate and topography around Almeria the hinterland is filled with acres of tomatoes growing under vast synthetic greenhouses. Presumably this helps with moisture retention from the irrigation systems and protection from the sun and dust. Further up this coast, salad and brassica crops are grown on industrial scale under polythene tunnels. From a distance, the sun shimmering on the plastic gives the impression of an enormous inland lake.
Gavin above San José & our journey so far
We are now on the Costa Calida, which translate as the ‘Hot Coast’ and it is not hard to see why, it was 27 degrees yesterday. It must be unbearable in the summer. Despite the balmy temperatures, and school holidays there are relatively few tourists here. This whole area is a Natural Park, which suggests that development is strictly controlled, resulting in unspoilt traditional fishing villages which put one in mind of Beer and Branscombe, only with more sunshine.
Yesterday we had a splendid ride out from our Campsite at the pretty seaside town of San José to the fishing and diving village of Las Negras, nestling under the surrounding hills in a secluded, shimmering, blue cove. On route, we explored the remnants of an abandoned gold mine, which although quite eerie, was been used as a film set. The old excavations revealed beautiful rock strata resplendent in ochre hues.
It was quite a hilly ride, climbing over capes between the various little seaside villages. Some were perfect ‘dipper hills’ where, a bit of welly on the downhill section then peddle like fury until the gradient saps the momentum, sees you at the top before you can say Bob – so exhilarating.
In between leaving, Cartagena and arriving at San José, we spent Easter weekend inland in the village of EL Berro, set way up in the pine clad hills of the Parque Natural de Sierre Espuna. There are fantastic remote walking trails, one of which proved that Gavin’s ankle is on the mend but still needs a bit more time/practice before hitting the South West Coast Path again. The scenery is stunning, and cycling up roads continually switching back on hairpin bends gives the chance for spectacular 360 degree views.