Having spent a good deal of yesterday and this morning cleaning the house and preparing for the arrival of Fr Hywel tomorrow evening, I felt it was time for one last outing with a camera. So, I drove down the N-340 to Marbella, then turned inland to ascend to the hill village of Istan, which stands at 600m at the top of a valley in the biosphere park of the Sierra de las Nieves, about 15km above the conurbation. For about 8km below the village the steep sided valley has been transformed by a dam into a huge lake, providing a major water supply for the region.
Vehicle access to the lake is officially restricted but large numbers of people visit for family outings, or else for bird watching. Without a guide, to help find a proper parking place, and avoid getting lost on the multitude of forest trails in the surrounding environment, I decided to give the nature walk a miss on this occasion, and drove all the way up to the beautifully maintained village, perched on a high ridge, overshadowed by gaunt grey peaks of 2,500m. Forestry, horticulture and now eco-tourism have enabled this place to thrive and even grow in recent decades, so there are plenty of new buildings in the traditional Andalusian 'white village' style, that blend in nicely. You can see my photos here.
On my first stay in Fuengirola, I drove along the high road from Coin to Marbella to discover Monda, and the remotely located Refugio de Juanar with its spectacular views out across the sea from 900m. I noticed there a walker's trail signpost showing Istan as the next destination, 10km away. That's stayed on my to-do list ever since, but there's been no opportunity of company to share it with with. Very glad to have seen Istan, however.
Well, there's been a modest amount of Hallowe'en hype in the shops, even our local Granier pasteleria had a few fake cobwebs hung over its wall lights. So incongruous in such a bright clean eaterie. There were no kids out in the dark trick or treating, that I noticed in our urbanizacion however, and yes there are a few families living in the neighbourhood, or visiting at weekends with young children.