Sierra Alhamilla: Purple Mountains Majesty

January 3, 2016

Well, today the officials finally came around. We’ve been at Playo del Playazo for the last four days (since last year! har har), and camping is technically not allowed. We finally got booted. We stayed on the beach until evening when the winds started picking up, the sky becoming dark and the sea starting to churn. We drove a couple of minutes inland and slept in a small lot. I cooked beans and popped open a bottle of wine, and we had dinner together in our bus with our new friend Chrissy, who we met on the beach. Chrissy has had an incredibly interesting life, and we loved talking with them. We met them while we were pathetically trying to practice windsurfing. Chrissy saw us and took pity. Soon we were all in the water together, Chrissy instructing, and us paying rapt attention. They patiently helped us learn how to keep our balance and how to turn using the wind. Chrissy is from the UK and has been on the road for the better part of the last thirty years. They have had so many adventures and wild times, and we only had time to hear about a tiny fraction of it all.  Chrissy also happens to be a pretty gifted writer. Check out their blog!

The next morning, we said goodbye to Chrissy and headed towards Sierra Alhamilla, a sprawling mountainous region next to the Sierra Nevada, with our friends and on-and-off-again travel companions Marian and Manu.

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The view on the drive out there was nuts. We passed a gigantic field where they were growing olive trees. It took us a few minutes of driving to get by the whole thing. And when we started getting to the mountains the ground was purple. Purple!

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Did I lie?

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At the start of the Sierra Alhamilla was a tourist attraction, the likes of which I’ve encountered before but which amazes me anew every time.

“Texas Hollywood” aka Fort Bravo, near Tabernas.

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This Spaghetti Western film-set/theme park has an American West side and a Old Spanish side. We only took pictures from outside, but just being there was enough to make me feel weird. I can never quite reconcile myself to the idea of there being a place called, for example, “Fort Apache” (see above) in the middle of Europe. It’s the same feeling I get whenever John Denver comes on the radio, or when I somehow get dragged to Karl May theme parks or festivals in Germany, which are the absolute weirdest things (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, google it and prepared to have your mind blown).

Finally, we moved on and found a place to camp.

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I was dying to get out and explore the area. We hopped on our bicycles and set off up to the highest point we could get.

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Unbelievable views. I can’t get enough of this landscape.

After all the cycling we were f’ing starving, so we glided back down to the buses.

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Hot soup and pierogies for dinner in the chilly evening after a full day.

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We went to bed happy.

 

 

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