Monday, 31 October 2016

Cuevas del Almanzora visited

Once my morning tasks were done, I drove to Garrucha to get some close up photos of the cargo ships in dock, and went on from there to visit Cuevas del Almanzora, another 20km inland. The town is one of the largest along the Valle Almanzora, with a population of nearly 14,000. The road from Vera runs through a large area of coastal plain which once was covered with sea. The soil and hills are pale and sandy, both in colour and texture. This is a young landscape, its surface easily eroded. For millennia, people have burrowed into the cliffs and created homes or storage areas. Hence town's name 'Cuevas'.

It's a fertile area, given over to orchards and vegetable growing. The green of industrial horticulture is a striking and beautiful contrast to the colour of the soil on the sides and floor of the valley. The town's oldest quarter is on a hill to the north of the rambla, which the rio Almanzora flows after heavy rain, and at the top is a sixteenth century castle built by the Marques de Velez of that time. It's well used, housing a museum and art gallery, the town's policia local headquarters, and seating arranged to make an open air auditorium for plays and concerts. 

The views of the town and surrounding from its bastions are wonderful. A modern cast iron walkway has been constructed around the east facing castle walls to give access to the best views. The town hall and other administrative buildings dating from the early 19th century are a few hundred metres down the hill in the narrow triangular shaped Plaza de la Constitucion, and below that in another street is the Parish Church.

I walked up the hill behind the castle to find the Ermita del Calvario y San Diego, again with amazing views across town. In front of this, down the hill, is a cave museum, and also the town's well, none of which were open. San Diego de Alcalá was a 15th century Franciscan missionary lay brother and ascetic of the kingdom of Seville. The name Diego is derived from Santiago (St James). He was one of the first post-Reformation saints to be canonised in 1588, 125 years after his death. His name lives on in the Californian county, and also in the devotion to him is his home region of Seville.

I was back in the apartment again by three for a late lunch, but went out again to take some twilight photos of the rio Aguas, as it was beautiful evening with just a few clouds to make it more interesting. As I was cooking supper, the postman turned up to deliver a local rates bill from the Ajuntamiento which I had to sign for. As with other aspects of life here in Spain, the name on the account is of the original property owner. The bureaucracy attached to changing the account identity is considered 'too hard', and rarely done. But someone currently responsible for the property has to pay up nevertheless. I was confronted with the same bill delivery routine when I was in Nerja, so at least it wasn't a surprise. And I did get a chance to speak some Spanish again.

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