Tag Archives: Almeria

The Alcazaba

The Alcazaba

Spur of the moment sightseeing is awesome as far as I’m concerned, so I was excited to see what this Alcazaba was all about. We drove through Almeria, not really knowing where we were going. Luckily the Alcazaba is on a hill, so we knew which direction we should be heading in, and there were some signs here and there to guide us. We finally reached the Alcazaba and parked along a narrow road, thinking that we could just walk up the road to get to the fortress.

The Alcazaba

The Alcazaba

When Curt parked the car, and we got out, I notice a HUGE amount of dog/cat poop along the side of the road. Geez! It was crazy. Talk about landmines… this fortress didn’t need walls, the poo could keep people out!

The road was steep on the way up, and there were some crazy daredevils on motorized scooters zipping along; and a man walking two dogs, one of which was just skin and bones, but other than that we didn’t see any tourists coming to visit this huge fortress and we thought that was a little odd. No matter, we just kept hoofing it up the hill. All of a sudden, Curt thought he might have left the car unlocked, so we went back down and this time decided to drive the car up to the top. When we reached the top of the hill, there were some stairs to what seemed to be one of the towers.

Alcazaba stairs

 

Alcazaba tower

The views from up here were beautiful, and we hadn’t even gone up the stairs yet! We were really interested to find out what would be at the top. (**insert ominous foreshadowing music here… again**)

View of Almeria port

View of the port of Almeria

Okay, so we climbed up the stairs and found that they led to… nowhere. I mean, pretty much nowhere, because they just led to the backside of the fortress where it seems that young people probably hang out and drink or smoke. There were lots of cigarette butts and broken beer and wine bottles, but other than that it was not an entrance to the rest of the fortress. We head back down the stairs, and back down the narrow road…

Down the stairs at the Alcazaba

“Nothing to see here, folks…”

Alcazaba road

Along the road we met up with a one-eyed cat. He looked pretty hardscrabble.

One-eyed cat Almeria

“You’d be cranky too if you had to walk through all these stinky ‘land mines’ !”

When we got to the bottom of the hill, we realized that we had driven right past the main entrance. (oops) We parked the car along the side of the road again, and made our way to the ticket office.

Alcazaba entrance

The actual entrance

At the ticket counter, the man asked where we were from. When we said “Los Estados Unidos” he said, “Oh, then it’s free.” Not ones to question ‘free,’ we went on in. I’m not sure what the fee is if you are not from the U.S.

We knew nothing about the Alcazaba before visiting it, but you can read all about it here. It was a beautiful fortress with a lot of history.

Alcazaba archway

Beautiful arches

Alcazaba gardens

Gardens

Alcazaba Looking out

“Who goes there??”

Alcazaba

Steep sides!

Alcazaba

Irrigation

Irrigation system

Archeological remains are still being excavated in one portion. In this area you can walk through what were once baths, pools, and palace rooms.

Ongoing excavations at La Alcazaba

Ongoing excavations at La Alcazaba

It was in this part of the Alcazaba that we met up with Los Gatos de La Alcazaba! Okay, so I have no idea if they have such a name, but if not, they should. There were cats everywhere. Sunning themselves on the walls, sleeping in planters, napping on windowsills…

Alcazaba cats

Alcazaba cat

Sleeping Alcazaba cat

Fuzzy Alcazaba cat

sleepy Alcazaba cat

Alcazaba Cat

Many Alcazaba cats

How many can you spot in this picture?

After walking through this area, we got to the third enclosure which was the Christian castle. The backside of this was where we had been when we first went up the narrow road and up those stairs. Seeing things from inside was much more interesting!

Alcazaba

Alcazaba Christian Castle

Alcazaba Christian castle

Alcazaba

Alcazaba view

Alcazaba cannons

cannons

Cannon

The view was really pretty from the highest vantage point. You could see over the port of Almeria: all the houses, buildings, and ships.

view fromt he Alcazaba

The view from the Alcazaba

We left La Alcazaba. I was glad that we stopped here and had a look at this fortress. It was a good way to spend the last part of the day. We made our way back through Almeria and drove to Arboleas.

Almeria

Almeria

Almeria to Aroleas

On the road again…

 

 

Almeria Playa

Almeria Playa

Almeria is located right along the coast, so we drove to the beach to take a stroll. Almeria has a very busy port with boats and ferries coming in and out quite often.

Almeria seaside

Just like in Garrucha and Vera, there was a large tiled promenade alongside the shore and this made for a nice place to spend a little time. There were a lot of apartments, hotels, and restaurants along the way, but not a lot of people were out since it was a little cooler at this time of year.

Curt along the Almeria promenade

We saw a sandcastle maker who seemed to be living there on the beach. He was having a serious conversation with himself, so we didn’t linger too long…

Sandcastle maker in Almeria

Curt braved a beach toilet, and it was pretty disgusting. He said there were towels, or clothing, or bedding in the corner and he fully expected to see a bludgeoned body on the floor in there. Needless to say the aroma was not exactly “springtime fresh” in there either. I managed to get a picture of him as he staggered out. (Note to self: go to a restaurant/bar bathroom next time.)

Beach servicio

P U !

I really knew nothing of Almeria, but they had a nice big map of the city and when we looked at it we realized that there was some sort of fortress that we could visit, so we turned back toward the car and left the beach.

Almeria map

 

Almeria playa

 

Almeria promenade

 

Shopping in Almeria

Shopping in Almeria

It was still early in the day when we got done at the Foreigner’s Office, so Lucas recommended that we browse through the shopping mall (since we were parked in its parking lot) and then do some sightseeing along the shore of Almeria Playa.

We had a great time walking around the mall because it was fun to see the things that were in the shops compared to what we see here in the US. There was one store with a cat theme. A true haven for Crazy Cat Ladies everywhere! You can check out A Loja de Gato Preta and see what I mean. Lots of cat items: dishes, textiles, decorations… you name it!

A Loja de Gato Preta

A Loja de Gato Preta

Sophie

Sophie, erés tu?

One of the main stores in this mall was Alcampo which is a lot like a SuperTarget or Walmart Superstore. It had pretty much anything you might want. We were thrilled to death because we came across an oscillating space heater and a portable CD player/radio. Warmth and entertainment were two things we could use back at the house! We were like kids in a candy shop; ooohing and ahhhing at everything. We couldn’t believe how many paella pans there were to choose from!

Paella pans at Alcampo

Wow! What a selection!

In addition to home goods and electronics, Alcampo sells clothes and has a large grocery section.

Alcampo Don Limpio

Hey! We recognize Don Limpio! That’s none other than Mr. Clean!

Alcampo tuna2

People in Spain must really eat a LOT of tuna! Do you see how big the cans are??

Alcampo Jamon

Now that’s a whole lotta ham!

Alcampo jamon iberico

Notice the price!! (It looks like Curt is about to grab a ham and run out the emergency exit.)

Alcampo also has a big fish counter with lots of activity and lots of interesting seafood.

Alcampo fish market

Alcampo fish market2

Alcampo fish

A face only a mother could love…

Alcampo more fish

Alcampo shrimp

Alcampo shellfish

After our big shopping excursion (we bought a few other items for a picnic lunch, as well) we checked out and Curt returned the shopping cart. I love how in Europe you put a coin in to get a cart and only get your money back when you return the cart. I wish they did that at home in regular stores (and not just at the airport when you get luggage carts) because I bet there would be a lot fewer carts rolling around crashing into people’s cars in the shopping center parking lots!

Alcampo cart return

We went back out to the car and ate a picnic lunch before heading over to the beach.

My NIE… finally!

My NIE… finally!

We had to get up nice and early to meet up with Lucas to make our way to the Oficina de Extranjeros or Foreigner’s Office. It was not easy to drag out of bed because, although the bedroom was toasty warm, the bathroom and downstairs were muy frio! After making coffee in the french press (also left by the previous owner) and having eggs, bread and marmalade, we were ready to head out. (As a side note: we noticed that the eggs were super “eggy” if that makes any sense. A little like when you buy organic, free range chicken eggs in the States, but even more “eggy.” They were awesome.)

Once again we felt like we were in some movie, because Lucas told us to meet him at a roundabout just off one of the highways on the way to Almeria. We stopped at that roundabout and waited for his car. Some guy pulled up and stopped on the other side of the roundabut and we thought, “Is that him? It looks like a different car…” and when we drove over, we did indeed find that it was some other random guy waiting for someone else. I guess it’s normal to meet people at roundabouts!

Lucas arrived shortly after that and we followed him to Almeria. On the way down, we saw lots and lots of greenhouses. I mean LOTS! Apparently millions of tons of vegetables are exported from here each year. While that’s great as far as the production of fruits and vegetables goes, it wasn’t too pretty for the landscape. From the car, it was hard to get a good picture, but it was literally miles and miles of greenhouses.

Greenhouses in Almeria province

Almeria is a nice city on the south eastern coast and is the capital of the province of Almeria. We had never been there, so it was nice to drive down and see it. We followed Lucas downtown and went into the Foreigner’s Office. There were a lot of people in there waiting around, and we were obviously the only Americans there (Curt’s baseball cap is always the dead giveaway!) Lucas told us, “Wait here. Don’t move.” and left us. He rushed around and in a few minutes he came back and said, “Okay, stay here. I’m going to see if I can jump the queue.” Of course we did as we were told. There was a huge waiting room of people behind this glass, but we were on the other side where there was a huge room of desks and people rushing here and there. The next thing we knew, Lucas was back and said, “Come on! Follow me! Have your passport ready!” and we walked quickly to a lady’s desk at the back of the room. He spoke to her, she asked for my passport, she stamped a paper, and Lucas said, “Okay. That’s it! I’ll file it with the notary and everything will be fine.”

It just goes to show you that it helps when you know people who know people. Luckily Lucas is in good favor with the people there and was able to get us in and out of there quickly!

Almeria Foreigner's Office

Outside the Almeria Foreigner’s Office

NIE — ARRRGH!

NIE — ARRRGH!

Okay, so I spoke too soon.

Curt received his NIE in the mail in three days. I checked my mail faithfully every day only to find nothing.

At this point I was really stressed because you can’t just buy property without an NIE. Lucas tried to tell me not to worry, that we could drive an hour to Almeria foreigner’s office the morning of the completion, get the NIE, then drive to Vera to sign the papers, and everything would be juuuust fine. I know the Spanish have a “eh, it’ll be fine!” attitude about things, but this was really going to be cutting things close!

There was nothing I could do but roll with it, so I planned to do the last minute checking of the mail before departing for the airport, and if we had to go with Plan B, so be it.

Our estate agent arranged a room reservation for us at the Hostal Meson in Arboleas, and if the closing was delayed we at least would be able to stay there extra days if we had to. We were keeping fingers and toes crossed that this wasn’t going to be the case.