Bellvei is another small empty resort town. We found another free spot, with a wild coast, and a sea fortress bunker with the untamed water bashing through the small windows.
As it rained for a full week in mid November we decided to spend 5 days of it in a campsite with a large empty indoor saltwater pool in La Torre de la Sal (a great decision). Yet again it was a deserted village with sea spraying the pavements as if a storm was brewing- which it was. The boardwalks through the national park would have made it perfect if it was sunny and calm.
Calpe was the busiest campsite yet, we were cramped into a tiny space between other motorhomes far bigger than our own and ours isn’t small. The beach was too built up and crowded with the small skyscrapers towering over both the ocean and the nature reserve, like much of the east coast of Spain- it’s now a place that has been turned into that of fleeing expats, ready to bake in the sun and know all of their neighbours.
Walks or cycling around the “Rock” made for a beauty spot (with many rock climbers attempting the challenge)
and we attempted one of our longest and hardest cycles yet- 30 miles around the mountainous coast to Moraira and back.
It wasn’t easy and with my family zooming up on e-bikes I was left behind with a stride of stubbornness, allowing me to cycle up the daunting steepness. We found wilder beaches and more fortresses- a common feature on this coast, one I’ve come to like as it’s now expected to find hidden structures with a deep history and a fantastical view.
Besides the town itself and the campsite, the nature made the stay all the more worth it as it usually does.
Murcia is a university town. We stayed on a small farmers aire for 8 euros a night amongst orange tree orchards and vineyards. We cycled along Segura river allowing us to see more of what Spains countryside had to offer which consisted of glowing plains, mountains, fresh air and vineyards. Plaza Cardenal Belluga (the cathedral) is the towns main site.
The cathedral is made up of mash-up styles from Gothic to Baroque and the rest of the town is very much the same, different architectural styles in one town made for an interesting visit.
The van needed a service (not the last time) before we attempted Morocco so we found an English mechanic inland and left the van with him for a couple of days and used the car from the garage to visit the city of Cartagena.
as well as some random parts of the coast.
We took the time to also visit Bateria de Castillitos -the best fortress yet- which was sprawled over the rolling mountains, staring down at the glistening ocean like something out of Narnia. Funny, we always tend to drive on the rockiest roads (and long ones at that) when lent a small car only meant to go on neat roads (Mexico Yucatan 2013 and Crete 2015 to name a couple.
We were now in early December with a newly fixed motorhome and stayed outside the town of Mojácar on the coast for 3 nights. We were camped near a beach fort, and an abandoned construction site.
We were 1h (each way) from the nearest town and shop, giving us a beautiful steep coastal walk in flip flops (of course).
Out of season free spots became our favourite thing, peace and quiet and the place to ourselves along with milky way starry nights.
On the last day we drove up to Mojácar- the white Moorish old town. It was situated in a mountainous landscape, pink flowers draped over pristine white-washed walls and blue windows. It reminded me very much of Greek towns and it was refreshing to see an authentic town after all the built up coastal towns.
I would definitely recommend visiting if you’re in the area.
Sierra Alhamilia- GOT film set
We drove around 3h inland to Sierra Alhamilia, a place apparently that many couldn’t be bothered to drive to (yet again another outback place arrived at by dusty, bumpy roads).
We were in the middle of nowhere, in the desert. Other than random fascinating hills with ridges, palm trees and the odd shrubbery it would have been barren if it wasn’t for the left-over Game of Thrones film set which we came to see. Plywood sets with a mud-like face and stone brick houses had been left along with the odd chair, sofa and bath.
We walked along an abandoned street from the famous series and it was amazing to see what went into a show and how- they also made for some fantastic pictures.
We spent hours wandering the landscape and finding other hidden sets and left-over furniture. Of course, it was all enhanced by the beautiful scenery.
We camped for the night in the middle of it all (for free obviously) and collected wood for a fire.
The stars and firelight lit the area in beauty; the milky way swirled all around us and we lounged, appreciating the lack of streetlights, houses and humans.
7th of December and the town of Almeria was aglow with Christmas decorations and Christmas trees.
Although early it was nice to see some Christmas spirit before we were to enter Morocco and Christmas disappeared.
The city itself was nice, with wide streets and colourful buildings but what made it was the Alcazaba.
The moorish fortress overlooked the entire city and the coast from atop a steep hill.
Within the fortress we are rewarded with beautiful gardens, ponds, Roman and newer impressive architecture.
It was a clear day when we walked it to the Alcazaba, the view undisturbed by clouds and pollution.
A slight haze penetrated the horizon and the iron pier could be seen in the distance.
The fortress was used for filming some parts of Game of Thrones (the Water Gardens)
which made it even better and coincided with our trip into the desert.
Before visiting Málaga we stopped at two beach towns; Castell de Ferro and Torrox Costa to break up the drive.
Málaga also seemed to be in the Christmas spirit.
I probably preferred Almeria as it had more to offer but it was still a great place with it’s cathedral and roman amphitheatre in the middle of the city. The biggest aspect of the city for me was probably the Picasso museum as it had some of his most famous work in, and the building itself was interesting with it’s quirk; unfortunately we weren’t able to take any pictures.
We ended the day in a small niche restaurant serving Moroccan dishes, our first tase of our next adventure.
*Due to losing all my photos from this years trip from a house break-in I have used and will be using phone images from now on until this trip is completed*.