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New windscreen, Montes de Malaga and a ride to the Torre

Another early morning on Saturday is called for as we drive into Malaga for our appointment at 1000 with Carglass. On arrival, we’re waved into our allocated service bay with friendly  introductions to Carlos and Manuel. Our replacement windscreen will take about two hours, so we walk down to a suggested cafe and enjoy an excellent breakfast, cash only, at Cafetería Hermanos García. With a clear new windscreen and complimentary set of replacement wiper blades (all covered by our UK insurance with an excess of just £95) we set off to tour the Montes de Malaga (having found nowhere suitable to park up for a visit to the city). The drive along the MA3101, a scenic route north up over the mountains between the AP-46 and A-45, reaches over 600m and provides spectacular views not only of the mountains but the two gently curving autopistas with their viaducts and tunnels as the old road twists and winds up and down across the contours between them.

We return to la Herradura in good time to park up and get changed before queuing up at the theatre for the flamenco show, presented by Bev’s teacher Geno Rodriguez at 1930. It was an excellent, well supported event and we ended the evening at a tapas bar with Nick, one of Steve’s fellow students on the guitar building course. This weekend marks the start of the St José Festival but we decided not to stay up for the festivities at the castle which didn’t start until midnight! On Sunday, after an excellent breakfast at the cyclists’ cafe in la Herradura, we retraced the route Bev took up to Cerro Gordo last week, continuing over the N-340 tunnel instead of riding through it.

The ‘old’ N-340 is an excellent tarmac road up to the Mirador where we stopped for a beer at the restaurant, only open Thursday – Sunday, which may be worth booking for a special meal out (and trip up there by taxi) later in the month. Leaving the bikes we clambered the last bit of rocky path up to the Torre Cerro Gordo to see the views down into la Herradura and across to Nerja. Climbing nearly 800’ in two miles was quite a stiff ride but worth it for the spectacular views and downhill back to the beach at la Herradura.

The Cerro Gordo tower is one of many built in the 16th century along this coast to guard inhabitants from pirates and smugglers. All the towers are ‘blind’ with access only possible through the top. Many are in good condition having been renovated and preserved in recent times. The coastline from Nerja to la Herradura forms a Natural Park, extending 12 km. along the coast both inland and offshore covering 1,815 hectares. The dramatic rocky cliffs (acantilados) rise steeply from the sea hiding caves and sheltered bays. The limestone outcrops form fantastic stacks and arches eroded by the sea and weather on the edges of the Sierra Almjira. We enquire again about hiring kayaks to explore the caves from the sea.