Day 16: Almeria to Adra - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

February 22, 2024

Day 16: Almeria to Adra

Beauty, and the beastly greenhouses

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Almeria struck us again this morning as a really pleasant city, something like Valencia. It has  lots of quiet plazas containing cafes, narrow streets downtown  with little traffic, and often paved with slate or tile. In our time there, we only travelled on bike paths or on streets with a bike symbol in the middle.

At 7:30 a.m. the square in front of our hotel is getting swept.
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This church is kind of hemmed in, and also surrounded by construction, but still nice.
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A typical Almeria street for us.
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This became our main route out of town.
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The route out of town was lined with trees like this.
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Our bike route out of town ended at the municipal boundary, but there we realized that that west end of town was a spectacular landscape of towering sandy cliffs and headlands. The roads went about  dealing with this  with a series of tunnels, switchbacks, and cliff hugging curves. We were glad to be going the direction that put us against the cliff and not hanging in space. There was a bit of a shoulder, but it still did take concentration to stay on target and not wander into traffic on one side, or the ditch or cliff on the other. In due course, we could also look down on the town of Aqua Dulce. Our route was through Aqua Dulce, so we had to spot the not so obvious turn, that then took us down from the cliffs to the town.

The bike lane ends here, and the spectacular cliffs begin.
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It was a short but nice visit. The shot shows that the cliffs begin where Almeria ends.
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The first of several tunnels.
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Don't know who or what lives up there.
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Bill ShaneyfeltNice arch... wondering what might be in the caves.
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1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Bill ShaneyfeltBats? Swallows? Spiders? Who knows?
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1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltLost hidden treasure?
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Bill ShaneyfeltNow there's a thought.
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Nice to be on the inside of the curve.
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Living up there would make it tough to nip out for a coffee.
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The light rectangle shape at the left is a hotel. It seems like a strange location. We soon cycled right by it.
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The second last tunnel. No shoulder, really, but seemingly no traffic. We hoped to zip through before anyone came from behind . No such luck, two busses buzzed by before we made the other end.
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Oh sure, now the tunnel is clear again.
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Karen PoretLooks like the Waldo Tunnel ( now named after Robin Williams) at the beginning towards the Golden Gate Bridge ( on the Marin-Sausalito side) towards San Francisco.
I prefer this one to the Waldo as it depicts the tunnel as it once was in the 1950’s before the outside shell was painted with rainbow colors.
Thanks for the memories for me, Steve!
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This will be our road, and those are our places.
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From our height we could look down to the sea, and to wonder about these structures. They must be fish farms.

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Inshore fish farming?
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The curvy riding fun is still not done.
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Somehow we have enough attention/focus to be looking at and photographing cliffs and gulls.
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and here, to look out at Agua Dolce, still far below.
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We had to take a turn, into this little canyon.
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and swing around ...
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...through this tunnel
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before arriving at the town.
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Looking at Aguadulce
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Great Cormorants
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Bill ShaneyfeltGreat shot!
:-)
Couldn't help myself...
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Bill ShaneyfeltFunny.
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Here on the beach beyond Aguadulce, we can end the tale of the beauty of Almeria, and its cliffs, ad begin to describe the amazing phenomenon of dusty greenhouses, covering almost all the land surface from the distant mountains, to the sea. These are the same style of greenhouse that we have been passing for some days - totally sealed up and enclosed, so that you can only barely see at times their contents. Surprisingly, their contents are very good looking tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. However, with such a concentrated form of agriculture, the plants must be living on liquid fertiliser, and you have to wonder about their nutritional content.

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Through the photos below, we follow through about 30 km of wall to wall greenhouse. For a lot of the time, only the GPS had any idea of where we were in the maze of them. Had we gotten lost, we would have had to subsist on tomatoes!

Acres of greenhouse roofs.
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Don't get lost in here!
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Scott AndersonIsn’t this the most bizarre landscape though? I’ve never seen anywhere else quite like this.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonTruly unique, and not so pretty either. Quite the ecological disaster.
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One lone living large bird. (A Cattle Egret)
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I did shoot these little lambs...
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Under the watchful gaze of their papa!
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It wasn't all greenhouse - here are some ancillary pallets being stored.
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Ok, maybe it was all greenhouses.
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There were some little birds  in this landscape, but it was so sealed nothing much could really be inhabiting the place.

24149 Barn Swallow
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See the red on his chin?
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And this one, below, never turned around.  Any chance of an ID?

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Scott AndersonNot much to go on here but maybe a female or immature Eurasian Siskin? Keep an eye out, because you’ll probably see others. They’re quite similar to goldfinches.
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1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonThe darn bird not only turned its back on us when the camera came out, but also flew away after just this one shot. It had a yellow belly too but as you say not really enough for a reliable identification.
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The view to the mountains.
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There was a temporary break in the greenhouses as we came to El Ejido, an area of very heavy traffic.  There were some bike lanes to help, but also not.  When we came to the sign below I asked Dodie if she knew what it meant. She did, and replied "It means we're screwed"  (Actually - "end of bike lane").

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But look, we found another one!
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With greenhouses from mountains (north)  to the sea (south), we thought we would pass beyond them as we headed west. But no, were among them all the way to Adra, our stop for the night. Something else going on was a super strong headwind, and randomly angled  gusts (up to 54 kph, according to the weather network), that buffeted us and made riding unpleasant.

The view to the mountains.
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We did spot one of our favourite birds that we have been seeing in this area. He was a welcome break from the monotonous landscape.

Crested Lark (again, not the Skylark we are trying to spot).
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Scott AndersonIt’s really nice to see all of these crisp, clear shots!
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonThank you kind sir.
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Finding our way through greenhouses.
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The view to the sea.
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One slightly different thing to look at was a cliff side that contained some caves. Steps had been built above these to a wall, but we have no idea if this was a defensive idea, or something else.

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In places to stay, we generally favour hotels,  ones preferably with 24 hour front desks. But occasionally we land up with a AirBnB type apartment, listed on Booking.com. We dislike these because thee is always some kind of treasure hunt for the key, or for which door is actually our apartment,  for where to put the bikes, and what is the wifi arrangement. The apartment owner will also invariably send an email, containing clues to the treasure hunt, and also generally demanding our arrival time, which we never can be sure of. The email will arrive while we are on the road, and will then get buried in Cycleblaze comments.

That's the overall "good" version of how it goes with an apartment. But for the one in Adra, there were some special twists.  The owner insisted we register though the web site of some third party company, demanding a pile of personal information, and he wanted our passport images sent to him via Whatsapp. Beyond that, he wanted our European phone number, and the deal was that while standing outside the apartment door we were to phone a certain number with our specific phone, and this would cause the door to open. Oh yah? Also, to get into the building, so we could try to open the apartment door, we had to hit a certain button on an outside panel. Well, none of it worked, at all.  And when we phoned, we of course could neither hear no understand the man on the phone. It was everything we hate about these apartment arrangements.

Fortunately the man (who I think was in Madrid) sent along his (maybe) sister in law, who arrived with an actual key! Once in the apartment, she found that the tricky high tech door lock stuff was unplugged, and that anyway the circuit breakers in the apartment were off as well.

After that, also as usual, we are enjoying the extra space and equipment that is found in an apartment. We are also listening to the wind howl outside, and hoping it dies by morning. 

Space
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and equipment.
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Today's ride: 64 km (40 miles)
Total: 726 km (451 miles)

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Bill ShaneyfeltFun (type 2) day...
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Bill ShaneyfeltIt really feels like most of the last week has been type 2, but for the most part the scenery makes it worthwhile.
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