Desert, Donkeys, and Clint Eastwood
Trip Start Apr 25, 2007
17Trip End Oct 03, 2007
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On the website loquo.com we had found a studio to rent for 35 Euros a night in a village called Las Hortichuelas. After a quick lunch in a beachside fish restaurant in Las Negras (12 Euros for six sardines - yikes!!), Cunera, a Dutch woman who owns the studio, met us and we followed her to her village
Excited to get back to the beach, we set off the next day to a village called Las Isleta de Moro. Since it was a Saturday, it was crowded, but compared to the Costa del Sol, it was nothing. It was still a small fishing village, with a few restaurants, and the beach was framed on all sides by rocky outcroppings. We splurged and bought a small cooler, so our day was spent swimming, lounging, and enjoying the occasional cold one. That night we were excited to be able to use the little barbeque, and had sausages, peppers with sea salt, and a bottle of red wine. After dinner we took some cucumbers to our new friend Estrella, the donkey, who was white and lovely
The next morning we were greeted by our new dog friends Haba (fava bean) and Concha (shell) who licked us and wagged their tales at us until we were awake. After breakfast on our terrace (mmmm, the best pear yoghurt), we drove to San Isidro to the Sunday open air market that was a mixture of Spanish, Moroccan, African, and Lithuanian stalls selling vegetables, CDs, clothes, and shoes. We found Lithuanian and Moroccan grocery stores, as the workers who pick all the vegetables come predominantly from these two areas, as well as from parts of Africa, making for an interesting mix of people in this agricultural town. We also found our way to Nijar, a historic town in the foothills selling mostly pottery and knick knacks, and then ended up lost on a dusty, fascinating mountain road in the middle of nowhere for about an hour, the only other living things being a hundred sheep and their shepherd.
On Monday we drove to Rodalquilar, a village and beach in the next valley over. We noticed something above the town built into the hillside and went to explore. One of the abandoned buildings said "Guard Block C", so we thought we had stumbled upon an old prison (but why in English?). Cunera later told us this whole area had been the site of the spaghetti westerns, such as "A Fist Full of Dollars", and what we had seen in Rodalquilar was a gold mine used as a prison in one of the movies
We had planned to stay in Cabo de Gata only three nights, but thanks to Cunera, her hospitality and great conversation, we stayed five. We knew we had to leave, but our days on those wonderfully empty beaches, the stark beauty of those mountains, and the luck we had finding such a nice home in Las Hortichuelas made us want to stay for a long, long time. We reluctantly said goodbye to Cunera, Haba, Concha, and Constanza the Cat, went to visit Estrella the Donkey to give her one last cucumber, and drove through the mountains towards Murcia.