Learning to Love the Landscape of Almeria

If you come from Northern Europe, the phrase “rolling hills and rugged mountains” will conjure up an image of huge forests – mostly pine – interspaced with jagged rocks and underlined with lush, green valleys.

When you visit Almeria – anywhere in the province, you will soon appreciate a very different landscape. The stark, arid wilderness that is for the best part un-spoiled; has mountains of sandstone and minerals and each one has an undulating surface – reminiscent of the surface of the moon! In the setting sun, dramatic shadows are cast, emphasising their soft shapes.

Here, the surface is not grass, but wild herbs – such as sage, lavender, rosemary and thyme – growing to proportions I have never seen before, but particularly enjoyable and therapeutic to walk through.

Owing to the hot, relatively dry climate of Almeria – I have yet to see many non-succulent wild flowers – but this morning I captured my first.

If you are looking for dramatic scenery, the Cabo de Gata has cliffs of volcanic rock plummeting 100 metres into the sea. In between these awesome giants are secret beaches of sparkling white sand that you stumble upon, and wonder if you will ever find again!

Almeria is the farthest, South Eastern province in Spain. It is also home to the only desert in Europe, and with it some unique flora and fauna.

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At sunset this evening I left the Playa del Algarrobico, on the Eastern edge of the Cabo de Gata-Nijar As I drove, a large deer stepped from the rocky hills and crossed the road then started chewing on the vegetation on the other side. Amazing!

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