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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was an idyllic, peaceful oasis and close to that once beautiful beach, Vera Playa.
Now a herd of goats scramble over the grounds.
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.
It was a naturist site and the notice by the pool is still there ….
…. but the shop is empty.
-Sorry about the quality of the old photos which we have had to scan.