Saturday, 18 February we decided to spend the day in Almería, only 4km away from the campsite at La Garrofa. Considering it’s a busy main road with two tunnels, a bike ride seemed pretty fearsome (although we’d seen cyclists on the road). As an alternative, the campsite manager told us there’s a bus, no timetable at the weekends, just wait and hail any bus that passes . . . sure enough, this worked well and we were in the city within half an hour. We passed the port and got off the bus at the new bus and railway station. The original, elegant iron and stone railway station was built in 1863 and stands, empty, as a tourist attraction now. It was closed in 2005 when there was no longer the call for ore-laden trains to pass to the loading piers of Cable Inglés and Cable Francés in the Almería Port. The iron ore extracted from the Alquife Mines in Granada used to be transported via the Linares-Almería railway line and trans shipped onto cargo ships sailing for Scotland.
First stop, the Spanish Guitar Museum of Antonio de Torres. The centrepiece of the collection is a huge model guitar and the museum provides an excellent, well curated history of the guitar, rooted in the rich history of Almería and Andalucia. Steve had a chance to try out one of the guitars . . .
After an excellent lunch at La Favorita, a tapas bar near the port, we climbed up to the Alcazaba. Started in 955 by Abderramán III and finished by Hayrán in the 11th century it was rebuilt by the Catholic Monarchs and Carlos I after the Christian Conquest. There’s been considerable archaeological excavations over the centuries and many renovations, but it provides for an interesting visit with three huge walled sections. Within the site there’s a mosque, converted to a church in the 15th century, a royal palace and Arab baths. The walls and fortifications are huge and from the top there are marvellous views across the city and port.
Having failed in our search for some live flamenco, we finished up at ClassiJazz, a tapas bar/community music venue near the railway station. Having considered waiting for a bus that may not run on Saturday evenings, we engaged in an entertaining conversation with some taxi drivers about what it might cost to take us back to La Garrofa Camping. It seemed to be reasonable and on our arrival, at the gate of the campsite, we paid just €10 (the bus would have been €3.50) which we thought to be a very fair price.