Helen Rose Outdoor Diary
When I have been out with the Wednesday Wanderers, www.bearsdenandmilgavieramblers.org.uk we chat away on the walks and Ian and Linda mentioned they went to Nerja in Andalusia in Spain several times a year for a month and walked every day. The club committee decided it would be an excellent idea for members to have the opportunity to go on a walking holiday there. This took a lot of organising by Moira and Fiona T and in November 2013, some members who volunteered to lead the walks went out with Ian and Linda to put together a walk programme for the week. Ian and Linda know the walks in the area well and this winter, the club members went out for eight days with three walks on offer most days, two easy and one moderate. We all stayed at the Nerja Club Hotel where we were comfortable and had very good half board meals.
We were very lucky as the weather was warm and sunny for the first five days. The last few days were overcast but still warm and dry. I opted to do the easier walks every day as I wanted to relax and recharge my batteries. On the first day we had an excellent orientation walk of six miles taking in Nerja and the surrounds with Fiona Mc C leading. Fiona had really done her homework and pointed out all the landmarks such as the Parador (the posh hotels run by the Government and of historic interest) and the Balcon de Europe which is world famous. Nerja is just over an hour from the airport at Malaga and is on the Mediterranean Sea coast just across the sea from the African coast. I was particularly impressed by the tiles on the steps and balconies which had a Moorish influence.
I am going to describe three walks in this article starting with the visit to the Maro Tower which Euan led and had all the information to impart. We walked from the hotel though the El Capistrano Village to the aqueduct over the dried up river bed. The aqueduct of Maro, also called Puente del Aguila (eagle bridge) is a beautiful piece of engineering work, erected at the end of the nineteenth century, this aqueduct was built to transport water from a spring in Maro to the San Joaquín de Maro sugar factory. Today this factory is closed but the aqueduct continues to be used by the local communal irrigators. It was then up to our morning coffee stop. We were on holiday after all so it was not only walking but visits to bars and cafes! After coffee we made our way up to the tower of Maro. It is one of many similar towers of the historic coastal defence system which we could see dotted along the coastline. From here there are incredible views and it was a fine view over the sea as a lunch spot.
We took the bus to Frigliana, a village in the hills high above Nerja. After coffee and retail opportunities, we had lunch before walking back down to Nerja. Frigliana claims to be the most beautiful village in Europe which is a claim disputed by many other villages! It hosts the Festival of the Three Cultures, celebrating the region's historic confluence and co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions and the fountain in the square has the symbols of each culture. On the descent we passed through the old district inhabited by the Moors before and after the Reconquista. Its name Mudéjar is used to describe the architectural style used by Arab craftsmen working in Christian territory. The quarter is made up of steep cobbled alleyways winding past white houses resplendent with flowers. When we reached sea level, we walked along a dry riverbed to Nerja and back to the hotel where Dortë went swimming in the sea. She also had daily swims in the pool. Although it was warm, every day, the water was very cold!
Another highlight of the trip was the walk to the caves at Nerja. You can read about the caves on www.cuevadenerja.es. We walked through the spectacular Tourist Galleries and these are only a third of the total area of the caves. It was like being in an underground cathedral. After the cave tour, we walked in to the Parque Natural de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama which is a magnificent tumble of unspoiled mountains. We walked down through the forests of the lower slopes and along the gorge back towards Nerja. We spotted many flowers on our walks, most of them we could not identify. Back at the hotel we had our regular evening dancing with a little bit of flamenco.
On the last night, the hotel owner’s niece was to be married at the side of the pool outdoors and we were invited as hotel guests to the wedding ceremony. It was a delightful ceremony complete with a choir of guests. The bridegroom took the microphone and sang a love song, accompanied by a flamenco guitarist, to the bride who looked radiant. There was much flamenco singing throughout the evening. It was a holiday to remember and already members of the club are asking when the next trip to Nerja will be arranged?
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