Tribute to Las Pitas


Adios, Las Pitas. Photo from 2011

We have always associated Las Pitas with the landscape   of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata.


On the estepa with Bornos in the distance. Winter 2011

Because they are not endemic to Andalucia there was talk of them being eradicated by conservationists.


Cortijo de los Frailes. January 2012

Instead an invasion of black picudos, a small beetle, has invaded the Parque and is rapidly killing them off.


Pitas shooting up their stalks, Genoveses . Spring 2012

We have compiled a selection of photos from our library, taken over the last five years, as a tribute  to the pitas (agave).


Pitas against a tormy sea. Winter 2012

At least we have recorded their memory.


Pita and full moon. June 2013

Pitas always made striking images in sillhuette  into the light.


The dunes behind Monsul. Winter 2014

When pitas died, young shoots would fall off the old stalks and root themselves in the ground around.


Pitas in flower, Las Hortichuelas. Summer 2015

Pitas in flower added bright yellow colour to the summer landscape. We have not seen this in 2016.


Los Genoveses. October 2016

You cannot tell from this photo but most of the plants here have been infected and are dying.


Ruin and pitas above Agua Amarga. Spring 2016

With the eradication of the chumberos (prickly pear) by the red, cochinella beetle the loss of these two plants will completely change the landscape of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata.


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San Roque, Almeria


Narrow, cobbled street at the bottom of San Roque, Pescadería

This morning we went on another of José Campoy’s guided walks in the old La Chanca/Pescaderia quarter of Almeria. Today we walked up from the church of San Roque to the quarry and caves of San Roque at the top of the barrio. This is one of the poorest and most neglected areas of Almeria City. At the bottom of the barrio, narrow cobbled streets are lined by old apartment buildings.


Girl with puppy

The residents seemed to like their dogs. This little girl was sitting on her doorstep with her mother showing off her puppy.


Man with puppy

And a little further up the barrio this man was cuddling his little bruiser.


Vintage Seat

We were soon in the old fishermen’s and gypsy quarter. A mix of colourful houses in good repair and ruins with peeling paint. This vintage Seat looked good against the ochre of the house in front of which it was parked.


Crumbling house

Across the street, although this building was in a ruinous state, it made an interesting photo.


Sunday best

This old gentleman, dressed in his Sunday best, was enjoying a quiet time sitting in the shade.


Las Canteras de San Roque

At the end of the climb we reached the old canteras (quarry) of San Roque. Stone from here was used to build the Cathedral in the city centre.


Inside the local bar

The area was pretty neglected with litter everywhere. A small, prefab building served the locals as a bar and a grocery store.


Caves and cottages at the top of San Roque

Many of the people here still live in caves. This gypsy woman was doing her washing outside her cottage attached to a cave.


Cockerel in the street

Around the corner this cockerel was strutting around outside his owner’s house. Note the broken tiles decorating the walls. This is a common feature of houses in La Chanca/Pescaderia.


Washing outside the front door

Another feature is the washing hanging outside the doors of the houses.


The Alcazaba and La Chanca from Pescaderia

This was our third walk around La Chanca/Pescaderia. It is certainly a fascinating barrio with a lot of history, and full of colour and characters. The squalor and neglect is disturbing though. The authorities have invested a lot of money in the infrastructure of the more prosperous parts of the city. We hope they are going to spend more here.

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Wines from Alboloduy and Tapas from Las Negras


Cristina Calvache introducing her wines

Only nine people turned up for the wine evening at El Brindi Negro last night. It was a shame because the owner of the bodega in Alboloduy, Cristina Calvache, was present to introduce and talk about each of her four wines and it was an enjoyable and informative evening.


Three attentive ladies

We started with her white wine from the grape Jaen Blanca, a native grape of Eastern Andalucia. The vines are over 80 years old and grow at an altitude of 1,200 metres. This crisp and fruity wine is 13%.


A seafood tapas with the white wine

Each wine was accompanied by one of Miguel’s special tapas. A seafood tapas was served with the white wine.


Miguel talking tapas

Miguel came out of the kitchen to describe each one.


A tapas to go with one of the reds

Three red wines followed, starting with a young, fruity and smooth Temperanillo , 14%. Then a Syrah and a Cabernet which had matured in oak barrels. These rich wines were 15%. The wines were all excellent and the tapas delicious. It is a pity more people did not come to this event. Perhaps it was just too sophisticated for Las Negras.


Wines from Alboloduy

Cristina said she is updating her web site but the bodega is open to the public and the wines can be purchased there. Production is too low to supply supermarkets.

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The girl from the tele, books from the ceiling and music in the air



The girl from the tele

We went for a drink and tapas at El Brindi Negro, Las Negras last night and noticed that Reyes Pandora had been in and changed the decor. The flowery summer theme had gone and been replaced with a menage of objects, with a books and music theme, all hanging off the ceiling. The most striking installation is the girl from the tele.


Hanging above the bar

Above the bar she has hung a reading arm, books and letters.


Hanging above the customers

Above where the customers sit hangs items with a music theme like these cassettes …


Music in the air

… and this old radio/cassette player hanging by the pillar.


A clever and original decorative installation

This must have been a difficult installation but she says she was helped by Sergio from Bar Black who is a carpenter.


Corner with tables hanging upside down

Here is a corner above a table with more items, including tables hanging from the ceiling.


The 4 wines from Alboloduy

Miguel, the owner, informed us that next Friday, 21st October, from 20.00 there will be a special wine night at El Brindi Negro to sample the vintages from the Bodegas of Alboloduy. Four glasses of different wines plus a specia tapas to go with each will cost 11 euros. We mentioned the vineyards of Alboloduy in an earlier blog but have never sampled the wines or seen them for sale locally so we are looking forward to it. The web site of the bodega is

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Las Salinas, Las Sirenas y San Miguel de Cabo de Gata


Las Salinas de Cabo de Gata

This morning we drove to Las Salinas de Cabo de Gata hoping to see the flamingos and other birds. We parked at the viewing spot just before San Miguel. It was a hazy morning and the light was almost monochrome looking into it towards the Cabo.


Flamingos agaist a backdrop of hazy mountains

We saw some flamingos wading beneath the misty mountains of the Parque Natural.


Little plovers on the shore

We think these are little plovers on the shore of the flats. We did not have binoculars or a very powerful telephoto lens and the light was not clear so it was difficult to identify the birds.


The Sierra de Cabo de Gata

As the haze cleared the mountains formed dramatic shapes behind the flats.


La Iglesia de Las Salinas in the background

Towards the Cabo the tower of La Iglesia de Las Salinas is always a prominent landmark here.


Boats on the beach at San Miguel

After our walk by the flats we went down to the beach at San Miguel de Cabo de Gata to look at the boats. The sun was high by now and the light and colours sharp.


Classic lines of an older boat

We love the lines of some of the older boats such as this one.


Men working on boats on the beach …

Men were busy working on their boats on the beach ..


… and behind the beach

.. and by the fishermen’s shacks behind the beach.


A couple of the larger boats

There is no harbour here and even the larger boats are moored up on the beach.


By the shacks behind the beach

Around the ramshackle fishermen’s shacks behind the beach are jumbles of nets, ropes, buoys and various types of chairs and junk which add to the image of San Miguel.


La Iglesia de Las Salinas

We then drove towards the Faro de Cabo de Gata and stopped at the iconic church, La Iglesia de Las Salinas.


The church by the sea

This church was restored a few years ago and always makes a good picture with boats and beach in the foreground.


Las Sirenas

Eventually we arrived at the Faro de Cabo de Gata. This is the south eastern corner of Spain and there was the usual crowd of visitors admiring the views and looking down to the menacing rocks, Las Sirenas.


The Faro from below

We left the visitors to scramble down a track to a rocky cove from where there is an excellent view of the lighthouse and headland.


A hidden, sandy cove

We scrambled over the rocks around the corner and found a hidden, sandy cove were we stripped off and enjoyed an unexpected swim.


Daisy among the rocks

We were accompanied as usual by Daisy who likes to get herself in a photo.


Las Sirenas from the shore

From sea level Las Sirenas looked dramatic into the sunlight with the sea sparkling around.


La Sirena y Las Sirenas

When we got back to the original cove a young girl swam out to a rock and posed herself as La Sirena against Las Sirenas.


La Isleta del Moro

On the way back home to Las Negras we stopped at La Isleta del Moro and took this photo of the village. We could add more photos and text but we think this is enough for one day!

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La Pescaderia y El Camino Viejo, Almeria


La Pescaderia, La Chanca and the Alcazaba from the Camino Viejo

This morning I, Digby, went on the third of Jose Campoy’s fortnightly walking tours around the old quarters of Almeria. Today we explored La Pescaderia and the old road towards Malaga.


Colourful lane in La Pescaderia

The group assembled near the port and we walked up the narrow streets of La Pescaderia, the old fishermen’s quarter above the fishing port. Like La Chanca the area is run down but the streets and houses are colourful .


Looking down to the port of Almeria

It was a hazy morning and looking back down into the sunlight the drilling rig in the port made a dramatic picture.


Glimpses of the castle

Through the narrow streets we could catch glimpses of the old Moorish castle, the Alcazaba.


Lads in the street

Just like in La Chanca a fortnight ago, the young people were keen to have their photos taken.


Cloudy behind the city but we walked in sunshine

Although it was cloudy inland the sun came out in Almeria and it became a fine but hot morning.


Cottage on a corner

Climbing higher up to the Camino Viejo we passed this quaint cottage on a corner. Very ramshackle but still with TV satellite dish and aerial.


Retrato de vecino

In the next house the owner, sitting in his room surrounded by his creations, invited me in to have a look and take photos.


The walls were covered with his creations

His walls were covered with items, including musical instruments, that he had crafted out of copper and aluminium.


The port and city of Almeria from the Camino Viejo

We carried on up the Camino Viejo admiring the views looking back and down to the port and city.


Walking back along El Camino Viejo

Eventually we could go no further as the rest of the old road was destroyed when the motorway was built so we returned the way we came. I think this is the last of Jose’s tours but if there are more I will definately join them.

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Exploring the ramblas of Tabernas


Looking back at the Castillo de Tabernas from the ramblas

This morning we drove to Tabernas with the intention of exploring the desert landscape. We know the town and everybody has heard of its tourist attractions, the wild west villages built for the spaghetti westerns, but we had not explored the desert countryside before.
We turned off the main road to Tabernas from the Almeria – Granada autovia and, before we reached the town, took the turning to Fort Bravo.


Eucalyptus trees

Before we reached Fort Bravo we stopped at the entrance to the Rambla de Buho and walked along it. These eucalyptus at the beginning of the walk were the only trees we saw.


Rambla de Buho

This rambla was used in the film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when Nazi tanks rumbled up it. We envisaged the scenes from the film.


Rock formations by the rambla

The rock formations here are stunning and the colours were vibrant in the autumn sunshine.


Old mine workings

This is the entrance to old mine workings but we do not know what ore was mined here.


Looking north from a mirador

We needed to use the car as well as walking because the route we took was too long in the heat of the day and we drove up to this mirador and looked north across this wide rambla towards the Sierra de Los Filabres. You can just make out the white dot of the observatory, Cala Alto, on the ridge of the mountains.


Wonderful desert landscapes

We carried on further along the tracks and saw more, stunning rock formations. The only people we encountered were a couple of men who looked like they were from a film crew. We read later in the paper that scenes for the Spanish TV series, Mar de Plastico, are being filmed here on Friday.


The castillo de Tabernas with the Sierra Ahamilla behind

When we looked back we could see the Castillo de Tabernas and with this in view we knew we would not get lost and eventually followed a camino back which took us straight in to the centre of the pueblo and refreshment and great tapas at Hostal Puente in the main street.

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