After stalking the Easyjet website for a week or so I finally decided to fly to Almeria in the bottom, right hand corner of Spain. From there I travelled on to San Jose in the Cabo de Gata national park.
I’ve been here before; around ten years ago, when I was living in Malaga, I drove up for a few days. I always said I’d like to come back so finally here I am.
San Jose is not exactly party capital of Europe, if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s a small white town with a pile of bars/restaurants, a small harbour, one bank, two ‘supermarkets’ (really more like little corner shops) and a collection of pretty little beaches. I did fear that in the intervening ten years they may have turned it into a ‘resort’, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.
The whole area remains largely unspoilt, good for walking/hiking, good for finding deserted little coves (try doing that in neighbouring Malaga now) and good for watching the sunset with a glass of Tinto de Verano.
Nearby there are goldmines (a legacy from the area’s own little gold rush), there are some salt plains (popular with bird-watchers) and there is Europe’s only desert in nearby Tabernas.
Public transport is limited (effectively non-existent), so I have broken my own promise and hired a car. I managed to get it out of the parking garage without hitting anything this time, so I am already a hundred percent up on my last trip to Spain. Spacial awareness seems to be my problem; I have trouble judging the width of a gap or concentrating on two things at once (reading a signpost and turning the car for example). There is comparatively little traffic on the roads here though, so that helps.
I really would like to beat this; driving is such a useful skill and it seems a waste that I effectively lose this skill simply through eight years of non-use whilst living in Asia. I’ll keep you posted.