Pleasant Surprises

Trip Start Apr 25, 2007
Trip End Oct 03, 2007

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Dan and I left Granada in the morning, rented a car, and took a side trip into the Sierra Nevada mountains to two small villages, Capileira and Bubion. The drive there was one tight curve after the next, and after about two hours we finally unfolded ourselves from the car in Bubion. The villages were all white, with strange looking little chimneys (or vents?) sticking straight up out of the flat roofs. We strolled around the sleepy place, which had a few hikers walking through, some Brits who live there, and views up to the mountains behind. After lunch we drove back down the winding road and ended our afternoon lounging on the beach in Salobrena where Dan found a very nice hostel on-line, Hostel San Juan, run by a Frenchman and his Spanish wife. Everything was very clean and well kept, with free internet in the nice courtyard where breakfast (4 euros) was served the next morning.
Our next stop was Almeria, where we had a few names of possible places to stay. We found our way to the center of town and ended up at the Hotel Torreluz, which is actually two hotels, one with two stars and one with three stars. The young man at the reception was thankfully honest with us and told us the only difference was a mini bar in the three star hotel, so we opted for the two star. It had been renovated a year before, and reminded us of a nicer Best Western. The great part was free wi-fi in the three star hotel, so we sat in the lobby drinking cortados (our favorite coffees ever) and planning the rest of our road trip.
Almeria was a working class town, industrial, with lots of immigrants. We loved it. There were practically no tourists (except for us and two German girls), an Arab quarter near the castle, (which was beautifully taken care of and full of jacaranda trees), and lots of interesting restaurants and bars. We spent the evening sitting in the main square with all the locals watching the police making traffic stops (there is nothing like people watching), wandering around the Arab quarter, and we then stumbled upon one of our most memorable dinner experiences yet. We were walking from restaurant to restaurant when we heard the buzz of people and headed straight for them. This restaurant was packed with locals, and we were lucky to find a table outside. It was definitely the place to be. As we sat there more and more people came, couldn't find places to sit, and just waited. We ordered canyas and then a platter of grilled meats and sausages. Not only were there three different kinds of sausages, but Spanish hams and pork chops, all for 6 Euros. So much for my vegetable cravings, this was carnivorously delicious! It is always a pleasure to stumble upon a town you unexpectedly like, and with good food to boot. We put Almeria down on the list of places that surprise you, and places you would like to revisit, but tomorrow it was on to Cabo de Gata and the national park.
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