10
Mag-2013

Almuñécar, in the Andalusian region

Today is my first day running around Almunecar. I woke up late, still confused because of the jet-lag, so I have a quick breakfast at my friend’s cafeteria and after gathering some information on how to move around, I start my sightseeing tour.

The first stop is at the beach, few blocks away from Aurora’s house. It’s called playa Puerta del Mar (Door of the Sea) and it’s made of rocks and gravel giving the water a dark color, caused also by the cloudy day:  even if it’s still the Mediterranean, it cannot be compared to the Sardinian beaches to the point I’m not attracted by the sea at all. It’s better this way, I think; I will have more time to see other things.

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Playa Puerta del Mar – Almunecar

 I reach the top of Peñón del Santo (rock of the saint), a wide space build on a huge rock by the sea, with a view on the coastal area on both sides. While climbing up the stairs the first thing that comes to my mind is my personal trainer in New York. Finally a vacation where I don’t spend most of my time sitting in a car. If Helio could only see me, I really believe he would be so proud of me! From the top of the peñón, I can see the playa de San Cristobal, where I spend just few minutes later on, taking photographs of the fishermen unraveling the nets.

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Peñón del Santo

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View from Peñón del Santo

Using my English, my Italian and my poor Spanish, I ask ahead if it’s okay for me to shoot some pictures. They tell me they want to be paid so I forget my Italian and my Spanish and turn back to English: I DON’T UNDERSTAND! Most likely they are just joking but since I’m nor really sure about it, I turn a deaf ear and keep going.

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I move toward the medieval castle of San Miguel, built right above the ancient Roman ruins. Going uphill almost gives me a heart attack, as the road is really steep. Only later I come to find out I chose the hardest way to get there, but I still have Helio in my mind. I’ve been eating healthy food and I’ve been moving a lot. I’m ALMOST very proud of myself. Once I get to the castle I find out it’s closing since everything here shuts down at lunch time for the afternoon ‘siesta’, only to reopen later on in the evening…if they feel like it. The gentlemen at the entrance is very kind and lets me in anyhow, informing me know that the price also includes a visit at the  museum few blocks away…also close now. I may come back in the next few days, since it’s all paid for already.

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View from the walls of San Miguel’s castle

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Details of the castle of San Miguel

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Inhabitant of San Miguel’s castle

I keep walking around the historical center. Almunecar is very similar to Castelsardo, in Sardinia, with its narrow and steep streets, but the flower vase outside the balconies and the colorful ceramic tiles framing the house doors remind me we are in Spain, bringing me back to the first time (and last up until now) I came to this country. I don’t a have any precise destination in mind nor I’m using a map to know where I’m going, letting just my instinct and my curiosity guide me. Luckily I’m going downhill now and the shadows of the houses along the edge of the streets give me some relief from the heat.

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How hot is it???? The morning clouds are gone and the sun is shining high right now to the point I even think I could go swimming, forgetting the fact I didn’t like the water. I’m getting ready to use all the Spanish I know to ask for directions to Aurora’s cafeteria, but there’s only one problem:  beside the fact my language skills are very poor, I also forgot the name of the street. How can this be possible? Thank goodness as soon as I leave the historical center, I see the sign  around the corner that reads: “Estaciones de Autobuses” which I recall seeing yesterday on my way from the airport to Cafeteria Almunecar, my friend’s business. In Italian we call this “culo” (which means “ass” but it’s a synonymous of “luck”). Well, once on while a little “culo” does not hurt!!

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