Well it might not have been London but it was a pretty fantastic weekend.
Real quick, regarding London, I think it was a blessing in disguise that my flight was canceled Thursday night. My fight was canceled Thursday night because of weather, however Friday afternoon hundreds of flights were grounded around Spain because of a strike by the air traffic control employees. This has made national news, and at one point a friend of my mine stuck at the airport in Malaga set her Facebook status to “Spent another day sitting around the airport and not going anywhere. Air traffic controllers are being escorted back to work at gun point on threat of arrest.” What a disaster.
Anyway, on to my great weekend.
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Saturday Michael Lynn and I traveled to the nearby costal town of Nerja. It is more of a tourist town and actually attracts a lot of European vacationers (especially from the UK). This is where my parents are staying when they come in March, so it also gave me a chance to scout it out.
We first went to one of the main attractions in Nerja, its’ caves. They are a spectacular series of caves that were discovered in the mid 1900s and have been under archeological excavation since. They have found several bodies as well as several cave paintings within the caves. However, none of those (other than one skull) were on display, and we got the tourist tour of the caves. This was all right because the size of the caves were enough to blow you away. In fact, one of the caverns is so large they have turned it into a underground theater with seats and a stage, big enough to fit a couple of hundred people. There was going to be a concert there later that night. Enjoy the pictures! (They are tough to see, because, you know, they were taken underground…)
After the caves we made our way into the town of Nerja and explored the streets and beaches. We had run into a group of friends at the caves and ended up meeting them for coffee after walking around for a bit.
One of the main attractions in Nerja is called Balcon de Europa (Balchony of Europe). The story goes that King Alfonso the XII visited Nerja in the 1860s and at this site boasted that he had found the balcony of Europe because of its spectacular view of the coast and the Mediterranean. The name has stuck and it’s now a nice plaza with some pretty awesome views. Check it:
After walking around Nerja a little more we headed back home. A successful Saturday of exploring.
While we were in Nerja, a teacher at Michael Lynn’s school called her and asked if she wanted to go to the Apujarras with her and her husband on Sunday (evidently they'd been trying to plan a time to do this). Michael Lynn agreed and asked if I could join, which her teacher said I could.
You see them?
Las Apujarras is a region north of Motril that runs along the southern boundary of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is a very mountainous region that has an incredible backdrop of the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas. The Moors populated the region during the 800-year rule of the Moorish Empire in Southern Spain and they lived as refugees in these mountain communities even after the fall of the Moors in Granada in 1492. In fact, it wasn’t until after several Christian excursions into the mountains and 150 years later that the Moors were finally kicked out of the Apujarras. Yet, almost after a millennia of occupying the region, their culture is ingrained in the “pueblo blancos” (white villages) that dot the mountain sides. From the food, to the clothes, to the architecture, it is an excellent representation of the Moorish culture.
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Michael Lynn and I were lucky enough to be given a small tour of Las Apujarras by local Spaniards. We met them at 11 and were quickly off driving along the curvy roads towards and into the mountains. We stopped at a small restaurant for a glass of locally made wine and a tapa, and then continued up the mountains to one of the more popular Apujarras towns, Pampaneira. We walked around this town for a little bit taking in the local culture and architecture. It is one of the more popular towns in the Apujarras, and with it being a long weekend here in Spain (national holiday on Monday), many people had flocked to the mountains for the day. After walking into a few shops and buying some locally made chocolate we hopped back in the car to drive further into and up the mountains. We eventually made our way to the Trevélez, Spain’s highest village. Here we had a tremendous lunch of bread, tapas, salad, and a main course. Pictures? Pictures.
After stuffing ourselves we walked around the town. This proved to be incredible as we were given awesome views of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains, but also got the chance to walk around another typical Apujarra village. Enjoy some pictures.
By the time we finished walking around the village the sun had crept across the sky and behind the mountains and it was beginning to get dark. We hopped in the car but stopped one more time at a place called Fuente Agria, which is small stream whose water contains iron and is naturally carbonated. The water is said to be good for you (prevents liver and kidney disease), thus people from around the area stop by to fill up water jugs and to try the water. Yet, it isn’t exactly enjoyable to drink. I do not like tonic and that’s what it tasted like, tonic water with a hint of metal. After trying the water and taking some pictures we began our long, curvy mountain drive home.
Another successful day.
Another successful weekend.
Catch all of you later.