Spain (HPB Alfaix) Another stage of our ongoing mission to visit lots of the resorts owned by Judith's Holiday Property Bond holiday club. This time we were visiting their resort at Alfaix in Almeria.
Scorchio Saturday - We left a scorching Gatwick airport on the Easter weekend. I think that's Brighton we were flying over as we left the UK.
Pyrenees The Pyrenees mountains were looking magnificent, as usual, as we passed from France into Spain.
Spain Shortly after we entered Spanish air space it went all cloudy. And stayed like that. Doh!
HPB Alfaix Having landed at Almeria airport, we retrieved our luggage, picked up our "Hyundai i10-or-similar" (actually an Opel Mokka) and headed for HPB Alfaix. Although it had been drizzling for most of the drive, the sun was just starting to show itself as we arrived.This is the courtyard outside of reception.
Bench Judith on a bench in the sunshine, outside HPB reception.
Roof Terrace The HPB website did say there were excellent views from the roof terrace of our apartment, and they weren't kidding. That's the Sierra Cabrera mountains in the distance (although at about 1,000m tall, I'd call them big hills rather than mountains).
Terrace Judith reading and admiring the view from our other terrace.
Mini Golf The weather was deteriorating a bit so we decided we should go and have a look around the resort before it started raining again. However, once we'd found the mini golf, it seemed rude not to play a round (which we drew, 4.5 holes each).
Mini Golf View This was the view from the mini golf, across the resort to the mountains in the distance.
Outdoor Gym Not as exciting as it looked. And it doesn't look that exciting.
Raining Again! Doh! Fortunately we'd had the time to pop over to the supermarket in neaby Turre to stock up on snacks and wine.
Dark From our terrace we could see people in the resort's restaurant having dinner. But we'd been up since 3am and were thoroughly shattered by this time so we decided to skip dinner and call it a day. Still raining :o(
Roof Terrace View Sunday - This was the view from our roof terrace looking broadly to the south (in black and white). It was still very overcast, but at least it wasn't raining, so we decided to go out for a short walk.
Trail After the earlier rain, the trails were a bit muddy, but still passable. So we walked up to the abandoned farmhouse...
Farmhouse View ...where there was a trig point and a nice view back to our resort (in the top left of the photo).
Walking That's me yomping off into the distance. Makes a change to seeing Judith doing the same.
Bamboo Lots of bamboo in this area for some reason.
Raining Again Shortly after we arrived back at the resort it started raining again. Fortunately the local bar had just opened for Happy Hour(s), so we went in there before getting an excellent takeaway paella for our dinner from our resort's bar.
Walking Monday - I was up early and out for a walk. It was still overcast, but cool and dry. Almost perfect walking conditions for me.I'd picked one of the walks from the pack supplied by the resort. It started out on a deserted road...
Walking ...before soon heading off into the countryside.
Rresort View There was a nice view of the resort before I crested the first ridge and it disappeared from view.
Scenery The scenery was very impressive.
Nearly Sunny The sun was nearly shining, but not quite, which was keeping the temperature pleasantly cool.After the last couple of days rain, the tracks were slightly damp, which made them very grippy, which was also good for walking.
Too Grippy Although in some places the ground was a bit too grippy and tended to stick to the bottom of ones shoes, which was a bit of a pain. Fortunately this didn't happen much.
River Bed At one point the trail followed a dry(ish) river bed for a couple of miles. I'm not sure what you're supposed to do about that if the river is actually flowing though.
Abandoned Airport I passed the control tower of an abandoned airport. I'm impressed that they managed to find enough flat ground around here to build a runway.
Orange and Lemon Groves The last leg of the walk skirted along the edges of massive orange and lemon groves...
HPB Alfaix ...before I arrived "home".
Playa El Algarrobico After having a shower and a bit of a rest, we decided to go for a drive up the coast road as it was supposed to be quite scenic. There were some good waves at Playa El Algarrobico.It's unclear whether the hotel in the distance was being built, renovated or demolished.
Mokka Our Opel Mokka at Playa El Algarrobico.
Mirador da la Granatilla There were spectacular views from the Mirador da la Granatilla.
Mojacar We continued to drive up the coast until we got to Mojacar, where we decided that we were very hungry. So we parked the car and headed off to find somewhere to eat.Here's Judith on the promenade at Mojacar.
Mojacar Village After leaving Mojacar we drove past Mojacar village, which is just a couple of miles inland. It's a very impressive place, built on the top of a very steep hill. This was the view looking to the west(ish) from near the top.
Mojacar Village And this was the view looking towards the east.After leaving Mojacar village, we headed back to our resort for Happy Hour(s) in the local bar. Given that it wasn't even raining for a change, we were able to sit outside and enjoy our beer.
Sunset By sunset it was even clear enough to see the sun disappear behind the nearby hills.
Sunshine Tuesday - When I went to bed, the BBC Weather app said that it was going to rain this morning, so I didn't bother getting up early to go for a walk. So much for predicting the weather 12 hours in advance.
Cuevas del Almanzora So having been thwarted in my going-for-a-walk aspirations, we decided to drive the 12 miles or so to the town of Cuevas del Almanzora, where it was market day. They were holding their market in the Plaza del la Libertad, outside of the town's castle.
Castillo Marquez de los Velez The market was more functional than interesting (more food and clothes than interesting nik-naks) so we popped into the castle instead.
Castillo Marquez de los Velez We played "where's Judith" for a bit as she was disguised in castle colours.
Castillo Marquez de los Velez
Presa de Cuevas de Almanzora In tourist information, we discovered that there was a dam nearby, so we thought we'd be as well to go and have a look at that. The views were excellent, but it was very, very windy on top of the dam.The dam itself is visible on the left and the white bit is the spillway, where excess water escapes if the reservoir gets too full (there didn't look to be too much chance of that happening on this day).
Presa de Cuevas de Almanzora Judith on the dam, with a view of the reservoir in the background.
Presa de Cuevas de Almanzora Looking down the spillway. In the distance you can see a recreational lake that they've built in the massive channel that would take the overflow from the reservoir all the way to the sea, some ten miles away. That's quite a feat of engineering.
Overflow Channel Obviously you can't dig a hundred meter wide, ten mile long channel all the way to the sea without disrupting local traffic a bit, so numerous roads cross channel. Here's our Mokka parked on one of them.They've made the most of the available space as there are football pitches and all sorts of stuff in the channel.
Cortijo Cabrera When we got home, the luxury village of Cortijo Cabrera was looking quite enticing in the distance in the evening sunshine (although it's quite hard to see in this photo as the buildings are the same colour as the scenery), so we thought we'd have a drive over there to have a look around. However, in the 25 minutes it took us to drive there it clouded over and started raining heavily! So we went to the supermarket in Turre and bought some wine and went home again.
Sunrise Wednesday - All of the weather apps agreed that the weather was going to be jolly nice on Wednesday, so I was up just before the sun and out of the apartment just after the sun rose.
Road The first part of my walk followed the same route as Monday's walk.
Hills But on this day, instead of doing a big loop back to the resort, I was just heading straight up into the hills.
Shadow The shadows were still long as I headed into the hills.
River Bed Like Monday's trail, after a few miles today's trail also started to follow a dry river bed. This one was very wide.
View After two hours I reached my end point. Fabulous view.
View Time to turn around and retrace my steps as there was no easy way to turn this walk into a loop (at least not a loop that wasn't going to take all day to complete).
River Bed Back into the river bed.
Animals I was going to follow the river bed pretty much all the way back to the resort, but decided to divert out of the river bed to follow my outward trail back. And I'm glad I did as I could see that there were what looked like a couple of hundred sheep/goats (?) relaxing in the river bed, being guarded by at least a couple of big dogs that likely wouldn't have been happy to see me.
Pothole As Crocodile Dundee would say, "That's not a pothole, this is a pothole!". Although the trail was generally very good to walk on, it definitely paid to pay attention, just in case you fell into a massive hole in the ground!
Judith Approaching the resort, I could (just) see Judith on our roof terrace. Can you see her right in the middle of this photo?
Judith Back at the resort, we went into the bar for a light(ish) lunch.
Mojacar Judith noticed that from our roof terrace, we could see the hilltop village of Mojacar, where we visited a couple of days ago.
Coast Having lounged around in our apartment for a bit, we decided we should make the effort to go out, so we headed for the coast.Here's Judith on the promenade at Villaricos. No idea where everyone else is though.
Coast There were many lovely views along the coast road.
Beer A while later, back at the resort, we popped into the Venta de Alfaix (our local bar) for Happy Hour(s).This lovely beer is Amstel Oro. Only EUR2 for a large one during Happy Hour(s). Although it was apparently only EUR2.50 normally, which seems like a mega bargain compared to what we're used to.
Roof Terrace As the weather was still lovely (albeit rather windy), we decided to spend a bit of time on the roof terrace before dinner. A nice way to end the day.
View Point Thursday - We drove to the Cactus Garden at Nijar, but the weather got progressively worse the further we got from the coast until it started raining just as we got to Nijar. So we decided to press on along a very scenic, but very narrow and winding road to the north.On the plus side, once we crossed the first ridge of hills, the weather improved markedly.
Sorbas We passed the impressive looking town of Sorbas, which was perched on a sort of cliff thing.
View Point Judith at a very windy view point somewhere to the east of Sorbas.
Another View Point Brilliant views from here...
Another View Point ...but it was incredibly windy!
Mojacar We decided to head back to Mojacar for some lunch. This also gave me the opportunity to get this nice photo of the hilltop town that I didn't manage to get when we were here a few days ago.
Restaurant View The restaurant we picked for lunch turned out to be not so good, but we did have a brilliant view from our table.
Plaza View Judith on the plaza at the top ot Mojacar after lunch.
A Thing This looked interesting, but hasn't really photographed as well as I was hoping.
Walking We headed back to our resort. As we had a bit of time before Happy Hour(s), Judith decided to have a snooze and I decided to check out the start of the walk to the nearby town of Turre (because it was going to take about three hours to walk there and back and I only had just over an hour).Here's me leaving Alfaix on the deserted road.
Walking After a while the trail started to follow the railway line. Except there's no railway line there yet. They've done all of the groundwork but not actually bothered to lay the tracks. Weird.
Time's Up! I could see Turre in the (far) distance, but I ran out of time to get any closer and had to turn around and head home. Doh!
Mountains There were super views of the mountains on the way home.
Dinner We thought we should have dinner in the resort's restaurant at least once during our stay, so we decided to tick that box this evening. And very nice it was too (although we did seem to have arrived rather early!).
Stars As it was clear out, I thought I'd take a couple of stars photos from our roof terrace.
Pre-sunrise Friday - Our last full day on holiday, so I was out shortly before sunrise to reprise my walk from Wednesday (as I enjoyed it so much).
Sunrise About fifteen minutes after I set off the sun appeared.
"Tony Hart" View As this was the same walk as I did two days ago, I didn't take many photos along the way. But I couldn't resist taking a picture of this fabulous "Tony Hart" view.
Top There was a great view from the "top".
More Top Although this was as far as I was going today, I was by no means at the top. Looking at my map, there appeared to be few ways to go higher than this. But there were some. Dry riverbeds mainly by the look of it. An adventure for another time.
Goats On the way down I passed the herd of "animals" that I saw on Wednesday, so I thought I'd take a zoomed in photo and find out if they were sheep or goats. Goats apparently.
Flower I saw a few of these lovely flowers growing from under stones on the trail. I'm sure they weren't there when I came this way two days ago.
Cortijo Cabrera Back at the resort I met up with Judith and we decided to try to visit the mountain village of Cortijo Cabrera again (after our weather-thwarted attempt on Tuesday). We did eventually get there, up some very narrow, winding and bumpy roads. And it was a really weird place.
Cortijo Cabrera There are loads of super-posh looking villas and quite a lot of apartments too. But there were no people about at all. And it was so hard to get to. I can't imagine why anyone would want to live up here.We drove down to Turre for a very nice lunch in the Restaurante Casa Adelina before heading home for Happy Hour(s).All in all, a pretty good last day on holiday.
Resort View Saturday - Going home day. I managed to take a couple of photos as I was walking around the resort going to the recycling bins, etc.
Resort View Time to head to the airport for our sensibly timed 12:55 flight home.
Snow There was a bit of snow left on the hills/mountains just to the north of the airport, which was a bit of a surprise.
Home! And then we were home. The weather this week had been a bit more challenging than we were expecting, but we had a super time and will very likely be going again (but not in the summer as it will be way too hot).I've finished with a picture of our Mokka, which returned a creditable 40mpg over 376 leisurely miles.