September—discover magical locations

Cave houses in Gaudix, Granada -

AT last the fierce burn of the sun has subsided. The capital’s tourists have crept home, finally leaving the roads free.

Take the hint, use the advantage: hit the road. September is nothing less than adventure month. Rediscover Spain on a personal level.

If you’re on an extreme super budget stay local and visit a few nearby cortijos. Their blatant austerity will give you a new appreciation of the bleak circumstances that generations of people endured to scrape a meagre living from the land.

For those not wishing to wander too far into the land of ‘terra incognito’, take a short trip to those nearby towns that you read about in the paper but haven’t managed to get to yet. You owe it to yourself to ferret out their best restaurants, watering holes and cultural buildings.

Cuevas del Almanzora has a super museum inside the castle with a touch of Neolithic to modern art. There are quite a few cave houses that need and deserve a peek inside the door.

For the livelier, Guadix, just up the road toward Granada, has lots of cave buildings to view and you will be more than welcomed. It has a full basilica, archbishop, and was the home of many a famed writer and musician.

The ‘secret road challenge’ is also herein issued. Just past Guadix is Purellena, then to La Peza (where they hold the fiestas de toros without any walls separating you from the bulls) and on to Granada. You will come out right in Generalife, but on the way you will presume you are looking at Nordic fjords with their deep, ice blue colour. Cheat and take the ice bucket challenge right there or stop and catch a few trout.

Going the other way, northwest, the cave town of Galera is another must spot to get to know. Good local wine and friendly people. Nearby is Orce, where the bones of an 800,000-year-old man have been unearthed. A small but neat castle also awaits. You can get there by going to Velez Blanco, Velez Rubio, Maria and on to Orce. You can climb up to the Cueva de los Letreros where the Indalo man is said to hail from.

Driving almost straight north will take you to Murcia, a city well worth visiting just for its culinary pleasures. Some of the small villages in the hills around it have yet to be blessed with a passing tourist. Trip reports ARE required. I want to learn of new places to share with others.

By Ric Polansky ©

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