Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Salt Museum

This morning we phoned for a taxi to take us to St Pola's Museo de la Sal, on the outskirts of town on the section of N332 road which crosses the salinas on the way south to Torrevieja. We thought we'd go one way by taxi and walk back into the port for one last fish lunch at Bar del Curro afterwards. Our driver was a friendly cheery man named Elvis, and we decided to ask if we could book him for the return airport journey tomorrow. So much easier face to face than over the phone. We saw him write us into his diary, and feel sure he won't let us down.

The salt museum has its own saline ponds, albeit a little low in water this visit, and its fair share of the commonest marine wildfowl, flamingos, stilts, avocets, terns and gulls, with a good mile's walk around the perimeter. The buildings was evidently one of the places to which salt was transported for processing after extraction from the dried salinas, as some of the machinery used in the process for crushing salt and filling containers is still in place. 

There's an excellent guided display on large photo panels, to explain the importance of salt in human history, and in relation to the ecology of marine wetlands. It's a must visit place, no least because, just across the main road outside the perimeter, the much greater expanse of the salinas extends inland and south across the coastal plain. I have enjoyed the journey south through the salinas when I've driven here in the past, and wished for more easy places to stop and look, take photos and absorb the atmosphere in this place of few trees, many birds, and a landscape in which earth seems to mirror the heavens. 

Out there you get the occasional glimpse of an osprey or a falcon, and it feels so remote and so different. Salt is certainly still extracted her, although not on the scale it was over millennia when many were employed in hard manual labour, day after day in the heat of the sun, seemingly glaring at you from every direction.

Clare and Ann walked back into town after our visit, and I took an extra half hour to visit the salinas closest to the road junction, with access just behind a Chinese restaurant car park, and look for some more birds to snap, but there wasn't too much activity middle of the day. Sunrise or early evening are much better, if not always convenient.

The Bar del Curro never disappoints situated as it is, right on the edge of the beach by a row of fish market retail stalls. Clare ate bream, Ann ate swordfish, and I had a docen de sardinas, pure and simple, washed down with a beer. There are always local people from around the port meeting there to socialise, as well as visitors like ourselves. The atmosphere is welcoming and the buzz of chatter, the comings and goings, are all full of warmth and good humour.

We walked back and started packing and tidying up. I cooked all the leftover veggies I could manage to use into a sauce to which I added fine noodles for a change. Not quite so many noodles next time, I reckon, but we all cleared our plates as the sun was setting, and then went back to getting ready to leave, early in the morning. We've been blessed with mainly warm and dry weather. Cardiff will feel very cold in comparison, tomorrow afternoon.

No comments:

Post a Comment