BOOM! The ancient cannon at Torrox Costa

Sunset behind the cannon at Torrox Costa, Spain

I was down on the seafront at Torrox Costa a couple of weeks ago, just as the sun was going down.

Playing around with the settings on my camera (I have a Nikon D3200), I managed to capture this beauty (ISO 200, f/9, 1/320 if you’re interested).

I love how it looks like the cannon has just fired!  

Have YOU ever been in the right place at the right time, for that perfectly timed shot?

 

Sandstorm from the Sahara hits Spain

 

For the past couple of days, we have been experiencing a weather phenomenon, known in Spain as a Calima.  This is a sand and dust-laden wind, originating in the Sahara desert in North Africa.

A Calima wind generally raises temperatures but lowers visibility due to the fine yellowish-brown air-borne dust.  You could be forgiven for thinking this was fog or industrial pollution and, indeed, a strong Calima may cause respiratory problems in humans.

Sand storm over Spain via Nasa

This amazing photo by British astronaut, Tim Peake, from the International Space Station shows the huge sandstorm currently engulfing the Iberian peninsula.

The University of Athens forecast of the extent of the Calima

The University of Athens forecast of the extent of the Calima

But it’s not all bad news.

The particles contain vital nutrients and minerals which are good for fertilising both the land and the sea.

Sand settled on the car

This weather phenomenon normally occurs around this time of year and lasts a few days leaving lots of cleaning up to do.

The good news is that the situation should improve by Thursday of this week, as a cold front introduces clearer air.

 

Have YOU ever experienced an unusual weather phenomenon?

 

Axarquía leads the way for adapted beach access in Málaga

Torre del Mar's wide promenade and adjacent seafront gardens

Torre del Mar’s wide promenade and adjacent seafront gardens

Who doesn’t love to head down to the beach to feel the warm sand between their toes, or to take a dip in the water?  I know I do!

Clearly this is harder to achieve if your mobility is impaired, and is especially difficult for wheelchair users.

The seaside town of Torre del Mar which sits midway along the coast of the Axarquía region is leading the way in the provision of adapted beach access for residents and visitors with reduced mobility.

Not only does Torre del Mar have a beautiful wide promenade and attractive, accessible seaside gardens, the local council has put considerable effort into upgrading their adapted beach access.

Around 200 metres west of the Sailing Club and known as “Playa Adaptada 1.0”, the scheme provides a denominated circular concrete parking area and ramp access to concrete pathways – one of which extends to the water’s edge.

There is also a large wooden structure providing a shaded picnic area with tables and benches, changing facilities and wheelchair storage, toilets, lowered signage (also written in braille), seated showers and drinking fountain, special wheelchairs and floatation equipment for use in the water, as well as support staff during the bathing season.

Various other adapted access points can be found along the length of the promenade at Torre del Mar, all with concrete paths and showers, and all of which extend as far as the Sendero Litoral (a hard, compacted sand pathway used by walkers and runners, but which would also be usable by wheelchair users), thus giving access to pretty much the full length of the town’s beach.

Adapted access point, Torre del Mar, Spain

Adapted access point

Other towns to the east of Málaga with adapted beach access (though not necessarily with all the facilities described above) include: Nerja, Torrox Costa, Caleta de Vélez, Benejarafe, Rincón de la Victoria, Cala del Moral.  You can see a PDF (in Spanish) from the Town Hall here, showing all the facilities (with photos).

That’s great news for residents and visitors to La Axarquía (as well as families with pushchairs)!

 

What’s the adapted beach access like where YOU live?

 

Related articles:

49 COOL reasons to visit the Axarquía this winter

The King and I on the Balcón de Europa, Nerja

 

 

49 COOL reasons to visit the Axarquía (Málaga) this winter

49 COOL REASONS

For those of you who don’t know, the Axarquía means “land to the east” (of Málaga city) – hence the name of this blog, East of Málaga.

La Axarquía is roughly a wedge-shape of land extending along the coast as far east as Maro, with a northern edge close to Antequera, and bounded by mountains on each side.

Acknowledged as having one of the best climates in Europe, the weather rarely gets too cold in this part of Spain, even in January and February. You’ll still need to bring a jacket, but you’ll probably be able to cast it off when you sit eating your lunch in the sunshine.

White arches on the Balcon de Europa, Nerja

Of course, it’s always a great time to visit Málaga province with the Festival of San Isidro in May , the Passion play at Riogordo and the amazing parades during Semana Santa (Easter week) or the San Juan fireworks and festivities to welcome the longest day in June.  But, when the skies are grey and the weather wet and wild in northern Europe – here are forty-nine COOL reasons to visit the east of Málaga this winter:

1.   Beautiful clean beaches which you might not get all to yourself – but in many places you will.
2.  Sunrise and sunsets are particularly spectacular during the winter months.
3.  Walk down the streets and there are oranges on the trees – how cool is that?
4.  We have some of the prettiest white villages in Spain, and here are just three – Frigiliana, Comares and Cómpeta
5.  Ski-ing in the Sierra Nevada snowy mountains is only one and a half hours away, now that there’s motorway all the way to final turn off.   You really can ski in the morning and sunbathe on the beach in the afternoon.

Frigiliana, Spain

The white mountain village of Frigiliana

6.  Eating fresh fish on the beach – the local delicacy is espetos (or fish-on-a-stick!)
7.  Forget your stereo-typical image of the Costa del Sol.  This is authentic Spain.
8.  Cost of living is low compared with many places around the world (and Europe) meaning your holiday money will go much further.
9.  There are flowers in bloom all year round, with beautiful Birds of Paradise, hibiscus and bougainvillaea to brighten up the place.
10. If you fancy a fiesta, we have them in December and January, too.
11.  Gaze at the boats in the Marinas in Málaga, Caleta de Vélez and further east along the coast at Marina del Este.

Bird of Paradise flower

The Bird of Paradise is in flower, right now

12. You can see snow on the mountains whilst you are basking in sunshine.
13. Buy a ticket for the biggest lottery in the world – El Gordo (in December) and El Niño (in January) – you never know your luck!
14. It’s usual to be given a free tapas with each drink you buy.
15. We have almond blossom in January and February.
16. There are loads of places to visit for day trips including El Torcal, the Dolmens, Granada, and Málaga.

El Tornillo rock formation at El Torcal, Spain

El Tornillo rock formation at El Torcal

17.  Málaga was founded by the Phoenicians almost 3000 years ago, and later settled by the Romans and the Moors – and we have some of the architecture to prove it!
18.  It’s family friendly (and safe) – you’ll see all the generations out together taking their evening stroll.
19.  We have some amazing food markets and street markets.
20.  You can try some delicious local wines, which are very good value.
21. Climb to the top of the highest mountain in Málaga province. La Maroma stands 2066m and looks majestically over the Axarquía.
22. Enjoy a walk around the scenic Lake Viñuela or up Rio Chillar.

Rio Chillar views, Nerja, Spain

Enjoy a scenic walk along the Rio Chillar in Nerja

23. Visit the Buddhist stupa near Vélez-Málaga – you didn’t expect to see one of those, did you?
24. We have some great hiking routes offering stunning views.
25. If cycling is your thing, we have steep mountain roads and La Vuelta de España visits Málaga each summer.
26. You’ll probably encounter a herd of goats on the road as you drive near some of the white villages.
27. There are fewer tourists around at this time of year.

Fancy walking through this archway in Canillas de Aceituno?

Fancy walking through this archway in Canillas de Aceituno?

28. See the hand-built wooden jabegas (traditional local fishing boats) on the beach.
29. Walk along the gorgeous pebbled streets – with each village having their own unique design.
30. Meet up on the Balcón de Europa in Nerja, with views across the Mediterranean Sea.
31. See the traditional farming methods still used here – with oxen and mules.
32. Count the old men sitting on benches under the shady trees, watching the world go by.
33. See the hillsides terraced with vines, almond and olive trees.

El Acebuchal

Mountains and hillsides of La Axarquia

34. There are rugged cliffs and secret coves.
35. Stunning natural park areas, both inland near the mountains and even extending out into sea.
36. Every town and village has their own Christmas lights, but the display in Málaga each December just gets better and better.
37. There are around 320 sunny days every year.
38. There are hot-chestnut sellers on street corners.

Malaga's gothic Christmas lights 2014

Malaga’s gothic Christmas lights 2014

39. If you love star-gazing then the countryside around the Axarquía is the perfect place.
40. On clear winter evenings, as the sun sets we can sometimes see another continent –  yes, the Rif mountains in Morroco, Africa.
41. For all you culture-vultures, there are many world-class museums in Málaga including the Centre Pompidou, the Russian museum and, of course Málaga’s most famous son – Picasso.
42. Gorgeous, long promenades along the coastline to stroll along in the winter sunshine.
43. The sales (rebajas) start in the shops on January 7th, where you’ll find leather shoes and bags made in Spain, and cheaper prices in Mango, H&M and Zara than anywhere else in Europe.

East of Malaga: Making paella

Making paella on the beach

44. Eat paella on the beach.
45. If you enjoy watching football, Málaga CF are in the top Spanish league, La Liga.  Buy some tickets to experience match-day or at very least watch the match on TV for free in one of the bars.
47. There are usually special offers on budget flights such as Easyjet, Ryanair, Monarch and many more airlines.
48. Sit outside on a sunny terrace, to have a drink or meal, without your coat on!
49.  It’s the perfect place to base yourself for a tour of classic AndalucíaCórdoba, Granada, Seville, Jerez, and Ronda are all on the doorstep with good road and rail links.

REMEMBER: Before somewhere becomes your favourite place, it’s a place you’ve never been before.

What are you waiting for?  When will YOU be visiting Málaga?

It’s Almond Blossom time in Andalucía!

First Almond blossom

It’s always exciting when the first almond blossom appears on the trees in the garden, but when that day is also New Year’s Day, it’s even more special.

Happy New Year, everyone!

 

If you liked this post, you’ll LOVE these:

Wildflowers in the Spring

Wildflowers of Andalucía: Dutchman’s Pipe