Quietish coast road. Gloden mile and beach.
We drove the hire car to Carboneras. From there we walked along the coast road to Mojácar. Whenever possible we tried to get off the main road. At Sopalmo we missed an opportunity. There was a sign off the main road leading down to the river valley. We are 80% sure this river bed route goes all the way to the coast where it is possible to re-join the road. We saw a cyclist and a walker below us using the route. At Mojácar we got a taxi back to Carboneras because for some reason the coast road bus only runs in the mornings.
We went along the motorway to the Carboneras exit at km 494. It was then not far to Carboneras itself. Neil parked in a side street near the roundabout at the far end of the town. We then set off along the road near the beach. It was 7.50am. The mornings are noticeably drawing out as the sky gets lighter sooner on our route each day. The map shows that the road to Mojácar from Carboneras has several pecuarias on it. We use some of them but could have used more. Níjar was very effective in signing its footpaths but Mojácar is less switched on.
Perhaps there is a Catalan on the Níjar council. They have a long tradition of walking in the way that Andalucians don't. The terrain was very mountainous and there is no guarantee that a side road will link up again with your route. Even where the side road is obviously part of the old road which still survives, you can end up at a rock face. We only used the ones where we could see the exit. The road climbed to 186 metres at its highest point. Not nearly so high as when we climbed up to 555 metres above Motríl. No wonder I had kneemonia afterwards, especially as we did it from cold on our first day and it was 28 km. Being careful about dead ends meant we missed out on a fantastic one signed to Puta Transcabrera at the top of the rise which came out at the sea via a river bed. Neil didn't see this road at all and I thought it led to the few houses I could see up it.
In any case I thought puta was something rude but maybe it's like tart in English and can gave more than one meaning. I will look it up in my big dictionary at home. The one I bring with me is useless for anything other than menus and although I can't claim I know all the other words in it, I do know that the words I want are never there.
Although we had left the Cabo de Gata when we entered Carboneras, the first part of today's walk took us back into it. Like local authorities everywhere, you declare as Natural Parks only those area which are too arid or steep for agriculture or building. The road to Carboneras was not particularly busy and, now that we were out of the arid belt, the vegetation was a lot more lush with many more different plants. White and yellow rock roses pink and small flowered white cistus, genistas and gorses purple mound as outside Loule station. On one small stretch I saw a new yellow flower with a spire like a lupin but a different habit otherwise. Is this ononis speciosa? Neil was far ahead and I assumed we would see some much nicer ones later on. We didn't. We haven't got a photo to check.
Flowers of South-west Europe says you can see them along the road to Granada but this can't be the only location. Perhaps if we had used the Puta pecuaria we should have missed them altogether. Once we had passed the village of Solpalmo where we had seen the Puta sign, it was downhill all the way. When we got near the bottom, we could see a golf course ahead. It was obviously very new and all the greens were being sprinkled to keep them fresh. I think planning permission for golf courses in arid locations should be dependant on the club having its own desalination plant.
Neil wonders if the makers of Tele-tubbies played golf because their land is just like a golf course. I have not yet watched Tele-tubbies but will now make a point of doing so to complete my education. One programme was enough for the Simpson's so perhaps the same will be true for the Tele-tubbies. When we saw the golf course, we were glad that we had not risked the pecuaria because while you can find a way through most things, a golf course can be a real barrier. We wished now we had had lunch up the pummock as it was getting less and less nice as we got nearer the sea. Once we got right down, we could see that there did seem to be a route behind the golf course after all. Never mind. Most of our walk had been very enjoyable and we now had lunch in a windy river bed on the beach. We had it quickly because the weather was making a change for the worse and it looked like rain.
Neil got out his umbrella and I got out my cagoule. It soon started to rain in earnest and I had to stop and instigate my dry bag protocol. Mojácar on the pummock has joined up with Mojácar on the beach. The Hotel Indalo was there just as I had remembered it from staying there many years ago, but from then on the whole sea front was built up and only at one point was it possible to see the old Mojácar on its hilltop between some buildings.
As we had got to the Hotel Indalo by 1 o'clock when there might have been a bus, I suggested to Neil I look at the confusing timetable again to see if this was the case. He really wanted to go two or three kilometres further on to the far roundabout so that we would have walked through the town when we come again at Christmas. I have a look. I go under a shop awning as it is still raining and eventually locate the correct parper. I think I now understand it.
The bus goes through Mojácar the wrong way round and the 13.00 bus is for Vera in the other direction. We decide to continue walking. There is an urban bus service which may possibly go as far as Garrucha in the other direction and various other Baraza and even Alsina Graells buses. We'll find out ready for Christmas. We go along the seafront along the marine parade or the beach when this runs out. By 2pm we are at the roundabout at the far end. We have a look at the turismo but it is shut and the bus stop only has information about local urban buses on it. Now all we need is a taxi. We have seen lots so we decide to stand in a strategic position at the fountain roundabout. We miss one going along the main, so I go round the corner a bit and eventually a taxi comes along. I wave and he stops for us.
We now retrace our steps by car. It is a big new mercedes and we arrive quickly. The driver asks where we want to be dropped off and we indicate the Carboneras roundabout. It is 21 euros which is not bad for a day's walk. We thank him for stopping and he says it's his work. I say even so. We didn't know if he was free or not and he could have gone on. He says he was free and had been going home to eat. I said buen provecho. I hope the wife isn't fed up and that is lunch is not ruined. By now it was 3 o'clock and getting late for lunch even by Spanish standards. Neil sees now the wooden galleon at the side of the road - the one I pointed out to him yesterday but he never saw it because he was navigating with his GPS. We then drove home and now I am having a coffee and typing this. The sun is out and we are back really early. Tomorrow we are showing Mini the pussy. Our route is planned out. I have emptied the contents of my mustang all over the floor to dry. My socks, cagoule and hat are likewise hung up.