Journalist, producer and media consultant based in Spain working for UK press. My focus here is safe travel and the tourism industry. I also cover current affairs, business, architecture and rural regeneration, and work / have worked for The Guardian, BBC, FT, The Times, Conde Nast Traveller, Business Life, Reader's Digest, Evening Standard.
Recently had an action-packed tour of Cabo de Gata and the edges of the Tabernas desert in Almeria, researching an article for The Guardian. Here’s some extra bits.
There’s no better place to be than the sea in July and August, but for walking the coastal trails, hiking back up from coves, and exploring the inland areas, I reckon September and October are perfect. The temperature in Nijar hit 48 degrees while I was exploring the town; I nearly brought down the entire stock of ceramics on the ceramic shop strip, Avenida de Federico Garcia Lorca, and I swear that things inside my filthy, dustbowl of a battered car started to melt, however I was rescued by the lovely Celeste at Cortijo La Alberca who sat me down and gave me things with ice in, and made me promise to call her if my car broke down. Which it did an hour later in the middle of the historic bit of Almeria (the city), where the streets are not quite wide enough for a normal car. Thankfully the front of house team at Nuevo Torreluz found me a mechanic; the fact I had to crank up the car, and navigate my way back out to the suburbs almost made me cry, but the high speed test run with the mechanic after the car had been fixed up was once of the most exhilarating city tours I have ever taken. One of his favourite places is London, apparently.
Anyway, there were a few places I found and liked, or which were recommended and I didn’t get to on that trip, and so I’ll add them here as I remember.
The first is Museo de Arte Doña Pakyta. It’s a small collection in a house bequeathed to Almeria, and even of you linger thoughtfully in front of each work, it will take you less than 15 minutes, but it’s worth it. The majority of paintings are local, 20th century, and many are by the Grupo Indaliano artists, so you get to see the sights around you but through an artistic eye. I’m looking at the brochure now, and see they haven’t included the address or phone number. Oops. Ask at a tourist office. There’s also a highly recommended Guitar Museum which I know is in the historic centre somewhere, but again, you’ll have to ask for directions.
In the feature I suggested hiring a motorbike would be a good way to explore Cabo de Gata. I picked up a flyer for Maremotum in c/Motril, Almeria, which says they have vespas, and Sunco Surf, B-Bone and Yamaha bikes for hire from 70€ a weekend, and 28€ a day. Tel +34 950 151 931.
I didn’t get a chance to take a guided kayak tour, but reckon that would be amazing. Cabo de Gata Activo do tours that include snorkel time, picnic, and wetsuit (just to borrow, obviously). They’ll take you into navigable caves, to otherwise inaccessible caves, and tell you stuff about the volcanic forces that created this crazy coast. They operate from several points, so you can paddle off to Cala Tomate from San José, and the spiky stacks of Arrecife de las Sirenas from La Fabriquilla (closer to Almeria city) etc etc. Email them at email@example.com.
Sailing lessons – only until the end of September – are available from Club Nautico in San José, open Mondays to Sundays (it says, which I guess means, every day) from 10am-2pm; 4pm-8pm. Courses are 2hrs and the price starts at 25€ per person. http://www.sailingsurschool.com
Beyond my tour limits there was also the very interesting sounding Cuevas de Sorbas or Sorbas Caves. The caves are conveniently designed to allow for guided tours that are suitable for beginners, brave beginners, and experts. Tours take a couple of hours – helmets and lights provided. More info at http://www.cuevasdesorbas.com.