Our first holiday in Spain

In the lane outside Las Rozas 1984

This morning a harsh Poniente wind was blowing in from the west. It was not a Sunday for the beach so we decided to drive along the coast through Carboneras, Mojacar, Garrucha and Vera Playa. We had not visited this area since our return to Almeria last year and were horrified by the over- development along the coast which looks worse in the crisis because of abandoned projects and under- maintained urbanisations.

A door in Las Rozas 1984

Our first holiday in Spain was in 1984. We stayed in a large country house near Palomares, inland from the beach Vera Playa. The beach was idyllic then: a long stretch of sand with virtually no buildings and one little chiringuito. Today we had difficulty finding the beach as we had to wind our way through a maze of housing estates to get to it. The whole area had a run down look with untended gardens, properties in need of painting and general scruffiness.

Las Rozas today

We decided to look for the country house, Las Rozas, where we first stayed. Digby remarked that it was now probably a ruin. We had difficulty finding this, too, as the area approaching it was now covered with plastic greenhouses. We asked some locals the way and when we got there we were horrified to find that Las Rozas is, in fact, a ruin.

The swimming pool today

This fine building, once in ages past the house of the director of the nearby silver mines, is in a dreadful state of decay. The photos tell the story.

The restaurant today

In 1984 Las Rozas was a small campsite. In the main house were guest bedrooms, a restaurant and bar with a terrace and swimming pool outside.

Part of the grounds 1984

It was an idyllic, peaceful oasis and close to that once beautiful beach, Vera Playa.

Goats today

Now a herd of goats scramble over the grounds.

Sketching outside Las Rozas 1984

Afterwards, we went to the bar in the nearest village, Las Herrerias, for a tapa. We remembered that in 1984 the owner’s son, Martin, was soon to depart for his national service. We were pleased to find that Martin now runs the bar/restaurant which was doing brisk lunchtime trade. He remembered us from all that time ago and seemed genuinely pleased to see us. He asked us not to leave our next visit for 28 years. We will return but not, we fear, to Las Rozas.

Notice by the pool is still there

It was a naturist site and the notice by the pool is still there ….

La tienda

…. but the shop is empty.

-Sorry about the quality of the old photos which we have had to scan.

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About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live in the little coastal village of Las Negras in the heart of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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2 Responses to Our first holiday in Spain

  1. Angela says:

    Sad isnt it.however from your other photos the parc seems to be still wild and beautiful. You look lovely in your 80’s photos Margaret!

  2. Tony's blog says:

    just found this blog, it is wonderful… we know many of the places you talk about and will explore some of the others thnk you for sharing… Tony and Lynne

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