Plasticos, beach, farm track and not much busy road at all.
Today we are intending to walk to where the minor coast road intersects with the main coast road. I have got out the correct money 2.24 euros. The price today is 2.22 euros. The driver is very cheerful and says his bus is better and the route is cheaper. Neil wanted to say,"El conductor es mejor" but he was too slow to translate his Spanish. We got to the bus stop just in time because the 7.30 bus actually arrived at 7.30. Because we are an intermediate bus stop, the departure times are quite variable.
We start our walk at 8.00. We are now on the Almería map. Neil has tried several times over the past few years to get a Granada map but it has been out of print. Now we have crossed over on to the Almería map and we no longer need it
We start off round the harbour, between plasticos and then onto the beach until we get to a river mouth. As with many rivers on this stretch of coast, it is bordered by high walls to keep in the water when they are in spate. We inspect the mouth to see if we can work our way round. Even though the tide is out, we decide we can't and head inland towards the main road. Luckily about half-way along there is a gap in the wall for vehicles to cross over and we make use of it to cross the dry river bed.
We then head straight through the plasticos enjoying seeing the different kinds of peppers ripening inside them. There are piles of substandard courgettes and peppers strewn by the roadside so Nancy could have a field day (Nancy is my neighbour who sells reject shop vegetables to raise funds for the Beccles Museum.
By 10.15, we realise that our projected walk for today is far too short. We have nearly completed it. We decide to press on for Almerimar so that we can go to Roquetas on Friday. This will enable us to get beyond El Cabo de Gata at Easter and will save coming in October. If necessary, we will use taxis or hire a car and do half walks for some of the days where there is no public transport.
We pass the Reserva Natural where we had thought of taking Mini for a day out. Just as well we didn't - there were no flamencos which would have been a pity and worse you couldn't get in without permission and a key from the Consejeria de Medio Ambiente Almería. The same notice informed us that the marismas are home to 140 different types of birds.
We continue through plasticos back to the beach. We see runner beans growing inside some of them. We pass through Balanegra and Balerma, two small coastal villages and Guardias Viejas, a larger village with two castles on a headland.
We are able to use a track which follows the main route of the road. It is a lovely peaceful walk. There is a crested grebe on the sea which is a surprise and some cormorants disguising themselves as seaweed or oily rags on a couple of posts also in the sea. Neil's GPS crashes once again but not irretrievably. Each night he works on it to try and sort it out but the next day it is just the same.
We pass groups of black-backed gulls and some small white herons. There is a Thekla's lark on the beach while we have tea. After the busy golden miles and coast roads of the last several holidays this is back to the coast we yearn for. There are concrete rings in the beach containing plastic bags for rubbish. These are labelled El Ejido in a script looking remarkably like Arabic but actually Roman. By chance in Almerimar, there is a bus very soon after we arrive. We ask a lady with a baby where the bus goes from. She sounds Russian but we converse happily in Spanish. The local bus (Rio de Pino) takes us into El Ejido and past a Lidl shop where we learn later there was an intersection with Alsina Graells buses to La Rábita but we didn't know so we carry on to the bus station.
It's very cosmopolitan on the bus with many Moroccans. Is the mayor maybe Moroccan and hence the Arabic style font? We have to wait until 8pm for a bus so we ring Mini to tell her we'll be late and she says we locked her in. The belt and braces key solution for Granada led to neither belt nor braces for the following day. I take the key from my pocket and give it to Neil in the hope that he will remember better than I did.
We have been snacking on left over Christmas santas. We seem to be a Santa short today. This is because when I went out of my room last night for a final pee, I collected a Santa on the way. Neil is embarrassed because I catch him also taking one. He says he is putting them in his bag for the next day but that is a myth because the next day the only Santas available were the three left over from the Granada trip. It took me some time to work this out by which time I had allowed Neil to eat the odd one.
Because the bus is not coming in until eight o'clock, we leave the bus station and look for some food. We find an Arab shop. The toddler is fed up and bored and crying and throwing a tantrum. We buy a normal loaf, a flat loaf (Moroccan style?), some laughing cow cheese, a bottle of water and two happles. We have supper on the central reservation between two carriageways outside the bus station. El Ejido feels a bit like Milton Keynes. There are even more roundabouts than usual in Spain and many buildings are as yet unfinished. The roads are wide with designated bus lanes and separate cycle tracks.
We get home at around 9.30. We pick up some gaseosas for the following day. Neil puts Mini's key back on the fridge so she won't be locked in again.