We have just arrived back from a lovely trip to the stunning Cabo de Gata.
We stayed once again in the charming Moorish village of La Isleta del Moro ,(written about on a previous Blog post here), for three days. The small pension overlooks the jetty ,where small boats are anchored just offshore in the shelter of the bay.
Our lovely friends from Javea joined us half way through , and actually although it was only a short break, and two and a half hours drive ,it is such a world away from where we are here in southern Andalucia, it felt much longer, and like a proper holiday.
Last time we went there, it was towards the end of October, so it was hot and sunny, but quite peaceful. This time it was truly scorching hot, dry and very windy ,with wild seas, and the tiny fishing village ( that looks as though it could be on a Greek island, with its white painted walls and bright blue windows and doors), was busy and buzzy and full of people on the small beach and harbour, frying in the sun, diving and snorkelling.
I have raved on about the unique landscape and terrain before, but it has to be seen to be believed. Just inland where the Natural Park is situated, is the only region in mainland Europe with a true, hot desert climate. You drive through vast hills, and dry scrubland , down to Isleta del moro.
The land is peppered with clumps of thyme and rosemary, and spiky ,yellow flowered Azofeifa, and the vistas are framed by huge agave plants with towering shoots of sculptural flowers, famous in the area.
Driving down to the sea , you see white sugar cube Moorish style buildings , and from our balcony the view of the bay is dominated by the dual peaked extinct volcanoes.
We already miss our room with a view .We slept with the sliding doors open each night, and went to sleep to the sound, initially of revelry from people drinking on the terrace and by the sea, and the odd strum of a Spanish guitar, that soon gave way to that of the crashing waves .I loved it.
We ate at the hotel on the waters edge, but a couple of times we had to be moved, as the rough seas were hitting the stone wall so hard that we would have been drenched. A light sea spray is one thing ….
The tiny crescent of the beach dotted with shells, was a lovely place to read and chill, but the sea was far to wild to even dip a toe in. Great to watch though, and the air was full of salty ozone. We hadn’t seen our friends since last October, so we had so much to catch up on. Non-stop chatter,and the odd snooze on the beach.
We visited Las Negras with them, just up the coast, a small bohemian town , with its stony shoreline, and vast beaches of black ,volcanic sand.
And we also headed to the nearby village of Pozo de los Frailes, to have drinks one evening at the coolest bar. It is called Bartreze Sur, and it`s all yellow and white, ( my favourite combination of colours at the moment), and fringed with esparto grass, and it really does have the wow factor. There is also a shop selling gorgeous white ceramics, cool linen and cotton clothing, and stylish esparto baskets and lighting. Very inspiring. I wanted it all!
The food at the Hotel de Isleta del Moro, is fresh and local, and they serve all of our most favourite things, the best ,simply cooked clams, the best dorada, the best calamari ,and we had the best Monday lunch -a large, shared earthenware pot of pre-ordered absolutely delicious ( and it couldn’t be more Spanish), Arroz Caldoso.
This literally means `brothy rice`, so it’s a sort of wet rice soup, choc-full of huge red prawns, mussels, clams, calamari, smoked paprika, saffron and fresh peas. It was the perfect late lunch, sitting by the sea with our friends, before we headed back to Maro.