Diary of a traveler through the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata
In the Cabo de Gata the landscape is the fruit of two encounters, that of the sea with the land and that of the land with itself. If we mix them with the sun and the wind, we get an idea of what and how it was formed, creating bays, coves, cliffs and islets and sculpting impossible shapes in the rocks.
Walk around Monsul, the Genoese, the sirens, the Escullos, the beach of the dead, the Isleta del Moro it is to enjoy the result of that encounter where water, salt, limestone and volcanic rocks have united all the colors, from white to blue and ocher to black.
If we move away from the sea towards the hills and mountains we will be able to admire, without being distracted by anything, the fruit of the thrusts, fractures and shocks of the tectonic folds, of the volcanic materials, of the lands that emerged from the seabed. Go up to the Roldan table or, above all, go behind the mines of Rodalquilar it is a spectacle of colors and strata, of folds and faults, the final result of a moving earth that was petrified.
On the earth and the rock, the sun and the wind have covered the landscape with a multitude of plants adapted to dryness, to saline air, to volcanic rock. Thus we see a desert often painted green, with flowers that cover the sand or grow in the holes in the rocks, which act as small bowls.
The light transforms and nuances throughout the day. At dawn it rises from the sea, shrouded in mist. Then it becomes intense and transparent, giving contrast to the tones of the water, rocks and sand, against a sky that varies from milky gray to deep blue.
But it is in the late afternoon when the atmosphere is flooded with a golden light that covers everything and nuances and attenuates everything. See sunset from the Amethyst Lookout It is a unique experience. The road that climbs in both directions, like a roller coaster, opens on one side to the Rodalquilar valley and, on the other, to the rugged silhouette of the coast.
Memory and memory
The entire Cabo de Gata park is dotted with places that are a memory of bygone times. These places do not remember how and what people lived from centuries ago until only a few decades ago.
The coast is silhouetted with architectures that recall the defense of the towns and wealth against the Berber corsair or the enemy fleets. Watchtowers or defense like the the Wolves or the Alums, batteries like San Ramón or forts like San Felipe de los Escullos... but also the line of bunkers along the coast, built during the Civil War.
The water was extracted from the subsoil with norias or windmills to water the terrace and orchards. From the Arab period is the Ferris wheel of the Well of the Friars, with its wooden framework. The entire field is dotted with cisterns, ponds and wells ...
The ancient mining splendor leaves its mark on the Rodalquilar hills. After the ghostly structures of the old farm, the trails bring us closer to the hills drilled by a multitude of tunnels and galleries. The slopes devastated by the search for the mineral leave a landscape of cracks, mounds of different colors and abandoned buildings that were mining towns and areas of exploitation.
On the other side of Cabo de Gata we find the Salinas de La Almadraba de Monteleva and La Fabriquilla.
Reddish-toned dammed water next to mounds of salt, white and shiny. In front are old and abandoned buildings made with tables and deserted streets.
And finally, the remains of one of the last resources to survive in this harsh and poor land. Starting in the sixties, this area was chosen to shoot exteriors reminiscent of the desert. One of the emblematic places of these filming was the Cortijo de los Frailes, with a tiny church, corridors and galleries, cistern and well. There were filmed classics like Death had a price or The good, the ugly and the bad….
But, above the wonderful landscapes and historical memories, what gradually invades you and ends up filling you is the feeling of tranquility and peace. Surely it would not be explainable without anything we have already mentioned: beauty, light, contrast ... but there are other causes.
The silence that lets you hear the wind and hear the sea and the noise of birds
The open space before your eyes, lonely and virgin
The noise of your steps when walking
The warmth of the sunset sun, soft and golden