Quiet coast road. Port and golden mile. Carboneras town roads.
We drove the hire car to Agua Amarga with only one minor detour caused by a software error. The Garmin Mapsource program thought our exit was at kilometre 474. It was actually at km 494. From Agua Amarga, we walked 10.1 km to the far end of Carboneras. The route started on a very quiet road. At the cement factory, ports and power station, there were lots of lorries but alongside there was smooth wasteland good for walking and wild flowers. Where the main road merged, the golden mile ran parallel providing another safe and pleasant route. This was another half walk due to the lack of public transport into the Parque Natural. Our total distance was 21.2 km.
We leave a bit late but this may not matter as we are going to use the motorway as far as possible. Neil's map says we need exit km 474. We come off at km 475 which is the nearest and it is just a way under the motorway to do a U turn. We have no alternative but to loop the loop and come back again. We carry on eventually in the right direction again and look for Carboneras. The exit we actually want is km 494. We get to Carboneras shortly after 8.00 so the late start and detour have not affected us that much. We park opposite the Bar La Hoya for old time's sake and set off in the direction the taxi arrived in yesterday. The road is almost deserted and for much of it there is a pecuaria which makes it even nicer than we had expected.
We see a few gladioli a white lavender and the biggest nicotianas I've ever seen and a blue or purple spike flower which I have read about in the book so I must look it up. Our black bird with the white tail is not in the book we have brought so I must look it up at home. We also see some juicy pink alliums.
Carboneras begins with a massive cement factory with lorries going in and out all the time. This factory has its own sizeable port. Then comes a coal-fired power station also with its own port for coal and lime deliveries. Then comes the fishing port which is quite big and in front of it a large piece of waste ground where we see a Rio del Pino bus and a Frahamer one. The Frahamer has Madrid Carboneras via Mojácar on the front. This may come in useful tomorrow. Then comes the town itself with a pedestrianised street running through the middle and a marine parade by the sea.
We went right through the town looking for a bus station and eventually found one high up with times for Almeria on it. We wanted the coastal bus times so we worked our way to the roundabout at the far end of the town - this was not in vain because we would have to cover this stretch at some time - and then back down and left towards the beach for lunch. The people we ask haven't a clue where the bus stops are although one lady did direct us to the uphill stop we had already seen.
On this stretch we see a Baraza bus from Garrucha go by. This cheers us up. We have lunch in the lea of some huts because it is overcast and windy. We have avocado for starters which is a treat. Then we carry on along the pedestrian precinct and at the far end find a Tourismo. Here we get the bus times for the Baraza bus and they are not good - only two a day and both in the morning when we shall not yet have arrived. If we can't pick up a long distance one we'll have to get a taxi again. We carry on back towards Agua Amarga. We see Ramon in his taxi and he gives us a friendly wave. I expect he is surprised to see we made it to Carboneras and are already on our way back. We seem to need to sit down every few hundred yards to get sand or teddy grasses out of our shoes or socks. We seem to pick up steam once we get past the cement factory and in the countryside again. We have a longish break in the pecuaria section and make for Carboneras which we reach by 4.00.
When we get to the car Neil goes striding past it. He did this in San Jose and I asked him Where are you going now? He replied frostily that he had to go beyond the limit of the margin for error on the GPS to log off. This time I didn't say anything but waited by the car for him to return. This time he was a bird and hadn't spotted the car at all. He was making for another blue car at the far end of the carpark but realised when he got to it that it was a much bigger one. We came home using the route we hope to use for Mini's day out so we don't get lost.
Once back at Torre Tanzania, Miguel was in the lobby. We have arranged our transfer. He is going away for the weekend so he wants to deal with us on Friday morning. That suits us very well as it means we can leave when we like on Saturday. He asked if we were getting in touch with the owners but I said not so we have our little conspiracy.
Mini has found a microwave cooking kit in Mercadona so just as well. She has bought more seeskweem. She said she'd been silly and mouthed what it was to Neil. I asked if I could see it but she said no. I then guessed it was seeskweem. A jolly good idea I think and not silly at all. Neil thought it was naughty rather than silly. However, Mini has also bought ingredients for a fish pie for the last day and that is a bit silly because you don't want to be doing cuisine when you are packing.