Monday, 24 October 2016

Side roads in Valle Almanzora

On the basis of the directions I received yesterday, I drove to Arboleas, but couldn't find a sign that directed my to Los Corrascos. I knew it was on the south side of the town, out past the Municipal Thanatorio, but how far I wasn't sure. I did a tour of part of the town due to a missed turning, but second time around, found the Thanatoro, predictably, next to the cemetery, took the wrong turning but quickly realised my error. The correct turning took me a couple of kilometres out of town over a hill and into a valley parallel to Valle Almanzora. There was no sign for the village I was looking for until I reached the sign announcing that I had arrived.  

I drove through Los Corrascos wondering where my right turning would be, and spotted a rather worn Correos posting box on a right hand corner, which I'd noticed in the Google Street View photo that didn't reveal the extent of the street beyond. I turned, and then immediately before me saw the shiny new street name plate I was looking for. Apparently this housing area acquired street name plates for the first time only recently, after a wait of more than a dozen years. No doubt Google Maps will catch up in due course.

After an hour of planning funeral service arrangements for Wednesday, I headed back down the Valle Almanzora, but instead of taking the autovia, I followed the winding country road east, on the opposite side of the valley leading to Zurgena. The road climbs up and out of the valley through a gap in the south side of the valley. Zurgena's houses are distributed on the slopes and floor of this gap, and is in effect a hill village. I didn't want to stop, as I was determined to return and complete my preparation for the funeral while my memory was still fresh, as I was asked deliver a tribute. The drive through, showed me that it's worth stopping to take a look around next time.

The road ascends from the village on to a rolling plain, green with citrous orchards, and ringed by jagged peaks formed by volcanic action and soil erosion. So the pale yellow soil is rich and fertile in what can be grown there with suitable modern irrigation techniques. In fact, it's surprising just how much green is visible in an area of very low rainfall.

The road from Zurgena looks relatively new, and was probably built or upgraded to provide a direct link to the A7 autovia. It runs outside rather than through Concepción, the next village on a ridge overlooking Valle Almanzora. From there, it's just a couple of kilometres to the next junction down from where I usually turn off the A7 to drive to Aljambra and Llanos. On the last stretch to the coast, I diverted to do some shopping to the large Mercadona just off the road at the edge of an urbanizacion a  couple of kilometres outside the coastal resort of Puerto Rey, in between Playa Vera and Garrucha. I must make an effort to drive north and explore the coast road. It has an industrial history due to mining before modern tourism made its mark.

In the afternoon, I completed preparations for Wednesday's service, and only after supper, when it was dark did I go out for a walk, and phoned Clare and Rhiannon, who's staying with her for half term, from the sea shore, so they could hear the sound of the waves and the tree frogs chirping in the moist warm night air. Tomorrow promises to be warmer.

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