We had five nights at Cabo de Gata beach car park. All that time we were parked in the front row with a perfect view of the sea. Every night we watched the sun set in to the sea. Each night we thought we won’t take any more photos but in fact we do take lots. Some nights the sun sets in a blaze of splendour and some nights it slides quietly in to the sea and the real colour comes over the next 30 minutes or so. Every evening people would gather on the promenade to enjoy the sunsets – either promenading or sitting outside the bars witha  drink watching the colours develop. We found our evenings were planned around enjoying the sunsets!

One of those sunsets when the best colour comes later

In between sunsets we went to see the flamingoes. The big salt lagoon starts less than a kilometer from the car park and stretches 6 kms to the village of La Fabriquilla where the mountains that form the actual cape start. We tried three of the four official observatory points and hides but the best was the furthest near the salt works at La Fabriquilla. Even so the flamingoes were not close enough to see clearly without binoculars. We also saw a black winged stilt (a first for us), a greenshank, numerous gulls and quite a few egrets as well as several smaller birds that we can’t name. All three “birding” expeditions were good and we saw all that we expected and more besides.

Flamingoes

New Years Eve was much quieter here than it would have been in Almeria and for that we were grateful and had an early night! I wonder what the year will bring and whether we will be able to do this again next year. Our New Year’s Day dinner was based around the venison sausages that we brought with us all the way from Fraser’s of Forres. It is a testament to Bertie’s freezer that they kept so well for so long.

On Thursday we needed to service Bertie. Since there is nothing here but a tap that meant a drive back to the Repsol garage on the motorway that we had used before. We took the opportunity of moving Bertie to drive to the end of the road right down to the cape itself. This is quite an importnat place as it is the most South Easterly point in Spain and marks the point were the coast turns from its mainly NE/SW direction to a mainly E-W direction across the Costa del Sol to Gibraltar. Past La Fabriquilla the road rose up around the end of the mountains to reach the cape a few miles away. We enjoyed the dramatic views and had coffee before returning back the way we had come and heading over to the Repsol garage 15 miles away.

Cabo de Gata itself

We were really pleased that when we got back to the car park a few hours later that we managed to get a space in the front row once again! It is wonderful to have that grandstand view of those amazing sunsets.

In total we did not do much in those five days. We walked on the beach, we wandered around the little town, we watched the sunsets, we had little expeditions to see the flamingoes. Mainly we just enjoyed the location and we watched the sea and the beach and the feral cats.

The beach
Looking along the lagoon toward the cape of Cabo de Gata

Today was the day to move on. We needed fuel, LPG and supermarket shopping so we returned to Almeria and dealt with all those issues. Then we headed inland. Our destination tonight is the small town of Terque about 30kms from Almeria. I had picked this out partly as it had a nice free aire (no services) and it had several museums and it looked an interesting little town. Once we cleared the urban sprawl of Almeria we started to climb up in to the hills. This is an arid landscape indeed and the rocks look soft and easily eroded (or at least they would be eroded if it ever rained here). Actually this was one of the main locations for the “Spaghetti Westerns” and some of those film sets can still be visited. You can easily imagine Clint Eastwood riding through these hills.

View from the road as we approached Terque
Roadside scene

Terque turned out to be a small town about the same size as Ricote. It has a tourist trail but everything was closed so we just enjoyed a walk up through the town to see the cave houses and up again to the viewpoint and shrine right in the very top of the hill into which the town was built. Bertie is parked in the small car park right at the bottom of the town where the town trail starts. The car park is surrounded by orange trees that are laden with fruit. Eileen tried one and declared it was too sharp to eat!

Bertie amongst the oranges
Troglodytic dwellings at Terque
Looking down on Terque from the very top of the hill. You can see the little shrine in the background of the picture above.

Tomorrow we press on over the mountains to Abla where there is an aire with free services – free water means we can have showers which will be a treat.

Flamingoes and the Cape