Monday, 22 August 2016

Cabo de Gata, day three: Nomming the Stone Fruit of Cinema History

Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, Spain (Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata-Níjar, España)
November 2015
On our second morning in Apricots (aka Albaricoques) we strutted into town armed with an informative booklet. We'd acquired this from our hotel, whose bar area was heavily cinema themed, with photos from various films on the walls and a veritable hodgepodge of Wild West paraphernalia on display.
The old, dusty streets lined with whitewashed houses had become slightly more modernised since the golden age of spaghetti Westerns, but it's still easy to imagine cowboys riding through (except when you saw the residents' shiny new SUVs).
The booklet could be used alongside plaques dotted around the place that outlined where some famous scenes in films took place. The booklet showed two photographs for each location: a still from the scene in question, and the present day view. You may recognise the above 'duel ring' from For a Few Dollars More, in which Albaricoques was called Agua Caliente. The ring looks strikingly similar to how it looked in the movie, but it has been restored since 1965.

In recognition of all the cinematic work done in the town, streets had been named after cast and crew members. This is Calle Clint Eastwood!

Apparently a gun fight happened here. You can probably tell I don't really watch Westerns. But it was quite interesting to imagine loads of filming done here many decades ago.
Once we had explored Albaricoques sufficiently, we rode off into the noonday sun on our trusty steed, Denis. The larger-than-life cutout figure of a gunslinger that stands at the entrance to the town bid us farewell. Denis took us down some even worse beach-bound roads than the day before (not even gravel much of the time).

Some stretches weren't so bad, and some had giant rocks that lay in wait to puncture tires alternating with stealthy potholes.

We tied Denis to a fence post in the carpark. At the entrance was an empty stall where I suspect in summertime a man would charge visitors to park their steeds. Wintertime is good for some things, including almost zero tourists! Though it was windier than the previous day, the temperature was higher and out came the bikini at the Playa de Monsul. 

Our final adventure for the day was peeking into an abandoned mining town near Rodalquilar gold mine. While currently overgrown with weeds, the area had once been used in filming Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. We couldn't get right up close to the buildings, as a fence had been erected (presumably to keep out local vandal youths, bored of their lives in a desertified national park).
Full of cinematic knowledge, we moved on and drove east for two and a half hours to reach a little AirBNB where we would spend a quiet week.

Today's post was almost called: Desert Rangers on a Diesel Steed