I visited Benalmadena years ago with my boys (staying in the Flatotel which was perfect for us at the time). Whilst we were there that time we visited the theme park, Tivoli World (I was never going to get away with not going was I with 2 young boys in tow!)
This time though we were determined to go up the mountain in the cable car. We tried twice…. The 1st time we got to Benalmadena before realising that the weather wasn’t as warm there as back at Cabopino, and would, of course, be cooler still at the top of the mountain – plus neither of us had bought any sort of warm top with us. So we had to abort. The trip wasn’t a complete wash-out though – we sat and had a drink in a cafe and found a cheap perfume shop where Calv managed to buy me a birthday present 🙂
A month later we finally found the time to return to head up the cable car. This time it was much warmer but we went fully ready for all eventualities – except for the fact that the day before we arrived it had closed for a month (as, apparently, it does every year…) We are completely useless and really must be better prepared. Continue reading “Delights on our Doorstep – Days out from Cabopino”
A spa town in the hills north of Murcia. Amazing thermal pool – well worth paying a little extra for 🙂
On leaving Oliva we were going to head to Isla Plana to stay at Los Modriles (1 of our favourite Spanish sites in 2017), but instead decided to head a little inland to try a new area and different site.
We found ourselves slightly north of Murcia in a little town called Banos de Fortuna, just a few kilometres past the town of Fortuna, but otherwise pretty much in the middle of nowhere up in the mountains.
The clue is in the name ‘Banos’ meaning ‘thermal’. We didn’t immediately realise this or that this was a proper spa town. Not until we took a different turn on coming home from the mountains one day and found lots of people wandering around in their dressing gowns!
We did struggle to find the original spring, although there were a couple of contenders. There were also 2 campsites; we were staying on La Fuente – not an amazing site but it was home to the, simply amazing, thermal pools 🙂 I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we revisited on our return journey!
The area is very special with the underground water providing a particular environment for rare grasses. The main picture was taken from our van as the sun went down – and this was our view every morning and evening.
The area was settled originally by the Romans and we rode up into the mountains to find the Cuevas de Negra. Amazing views but steep inclines on the way – Calv rode his bike all the way up to the caves and then had to come back for mine, as I’d resorted to pushing and was really struggling…
At the bottom of the final incline we found a large abandoned building which was completely open – so we had a look. This answered some questions about why there are so many ruined buildings around. There were massive cracks running down the walls. Calv says that these buildings have no foundations and that is another explanation. (Also, we’re now convinced that all Spanish buildings are rendered to cover up the diabolical brickwork – we have now seen the backs of many many walls – it’s a shocker!)
We took a wrong turn on the way back and ended up in the traffic in the, fairly busy, town of Fortuna. We discussed going further this way, but didn’t really like the feel of the town so headed back up the main road to the site.
On the way we found an English bar, Tina’s Bar, so stopped for a quick drink. It turns out that there is a large ex-pat community in the area.
The next day we headed out again in search of the original spring and evidence of any roman settlement. We still have no idea if we found anything, although we did manage to convince ourselves that we might have done! It was a mini-adventure though coming back down the ‘mountain’ that we had gone up, as the way we went was marked as private land and we ended up clambering down the terraces (which wasn’t as easy as it might sound), and then making our way to the road via an unofficial rubbish tip (that’s what it felt like anyway!!)
Our final day was spent by the pool. It cost 6 Euros (which is the normal price for non-campers, but we didn’t purchase ahead of time so got no discount).
It was worth every penny. Not only was there a constant temperature of 38degrees, there where jacuzzis and massage jets that were every bit as good as having a real massage 🙂
All in all a fitting end to our time here. Our next stop was back on the coast at a site we’d previously stayed at, Mar Azul – we weren’t initially heading there but more of that in my next post 🙂
Our first stop in Spain – loving the discoveries of the partially completed Castello de Montgris and the Castello Dali (bought by Dali for his wife, and restored for her).
Cycle Ride around l’Estartit
The next day we stayed local and used our bikes. There are many opportunities for cycling around this area and numerous cycle paths (we tend to make up our own routes!) We first headed right out of the campsite, finding la Gola, where the River Ter meets the sea.
Unfortunately, due to the recent storms, the beach area was a bit untidy. However, there were people there busy clearing it all up.
We then headed back up towards the campsite and the other way towards the marina. This entailed cycling through the floods (we weren’t meant to, but I followed Calv – although I but managed to hit a large bit of debris and ended up jumping into the water to stop myself from falling off completely! It was deep enough to come up to my ankles, so the rest of our ride was completed with me in sodden trainers….)
We moved on towards Tours after leaving la Ferte-Vidame. This route was chosen after much deliberation regarding our route – resulting with us eventually, and reluctantly, deciding to abandon our plan to cross the Millau Viaduct (boooo….); mainly due to the seeming lack of campsites open for us on that route 😦
Having decided on Tours, I thought that we might actually stay for 3 nights, having seen a weather forecast suggesting full sun and a high of 21C on Monday. Sadly it turns out that there are several towns called Tours in France, and my app had decided to provide me with information for a different one, rather than the main town of Tours located in the Loire Valley. So we just stayed for 2 nights after all.
We could have hopped on the cycle path and ridden into Tours to visit the old city (about 4 miles away, with the cycle path passing within about 50m from the site – albeit across a busy road); but we didn’t…
We paid 14 Euros each to visit the castle and gardens – other attractions within the grounds include a maze, wine cellar (caves), gourmet restaurant, tea-room, self-service restaurant, 16th century farm with carriage musuem and donkeys 🙂