Playa el Canuelo

Today for the first time for four months, we went to our most favourite beach.

Situtated in the natural area of Los Acantilados de Maro, El Canuelo beach is fifteen minutes drive from our house, on the border of Malaga and Granada, and we stopped the car on the way to take some photographs from the road looking down to the bay. A stunning vista of cliffs and coves, and turquoise water edged with the pale coloured arc of the beach.

Getting down to El Canuelo is always an adventure! You park at the top in the dusty carpark fringed with pine trees , and you either walk, ( I wouldn’t advise it unless you are a masochist who enjoys walking down – up is even worse- a precipitous un-made up, slippery track in 36 degrees of heat, loaded with beach paraphanalia!), or take the bus. No cars allowed.

The small shuttle bus runs from June to September, and starts at 10.am and goes up and down all day, with a long break for lunch. I would recommend getting there early, and I would avoid the weekends .

The just over a mile drive down is pretty bumpy and scary, with twists and turns and occasionally wheels skidding and locking on the track. I spend most of the journey averting my eyes to the long drop below. It is so dry on the first bit of the road, that the shrubs and olives look as though it has been snowing, as they are shrouded in dust. Further down it opens up , and the track is edged with pines , herbs and yellow gorse; its coconut scent hanging heavy in the air. You can spy the glittering water below. Whenever we get to the beach, I look up, and can`t believe where we have come down from.

It is a wild shingly beach, with flat grey and white stones, with tinier pebbles as you get nearer to the shoreline. It reminds me of Greek beaches. Wild fennel waves in the breeze, and you bruise it underfoot releasing a delicious aniseedy smell. All that could be heard today  was the incessant cacophony of cicadas buzzing loudly in the hot sun.

Although it is July, the beach was not heaving with people, busy, but okay. That is why we chose to go on a Monday. We pre-book our sunbeds from Dani the beach guy, who , apart from sorting out peoples sunning arrangements, spends the whole day on his mobile phone, non-stop chat at ninety miles per hour! At lunch time he crashes out on a sunbed and has a sleep.

The sea was flat calm, and crystal clear. Oh what a joy to immerse yourself in it. Nothing better. There are always plenty of fish darting around ( and jumping in shoals), so it’s a favourite beach for snorkelling. As well as tiny silver ones that can nip your legs if you stand still in the water too long, there are plenty of Saddled Seabream with a black spot near their tail, and they swim close to the shore.

There are two beach cafes at Canuelo, ( both good), but we always go to the one just behind the beach beds. It is called Las Piedras, ( the stones), and it is low built against the cliff, and almost camouflaged in its setting. You walk through the scrubby terrain of the aforementioned fennel, and as you get nearer it changes to clumps of oleander with their apricot scent, craggy olive trees, spikey agave, prickly pears and bright scarlet geraniums.

The terrace is covered in a canopy of ivy and is the perfect respite from the heat.

We tucked into the most delicious tomato, onion and avocado salad. Always a favourite. Sweet raw onions, the best, most reddest of  tomatoes , locally picked avocados, and all dripping in garlic and olive oil. We also had pulpo frito, and gambas cooked on the plancha with slightly carmelised garlic and sea salt. Just yum.

As always, we had to drag ourselves away from our lazy day at our favourite place. We have come home, dusty and sleepy and sated by the sun.

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