Wednesday, April 2, 2014

3/28/14 Day 71 Benajarafe

I am not even sure why we try to have early mornings, up and out of the house by 9:00, if there is no deadline we certainly won't have fed ourselves until at least 10:00 more often closer to noon we might actually be out the door. The day we visit Nerja is no exception, missing the 11:00 bus by minutes and waiting for another half an hour before eventually being delivered to the foot of the Nerja Caves. We arrived ten minutes after 14:00, which according to the internet is when they close for afternoon siesta, to our amazement they sold us our 9 euro tickets and ushered us in. Always surprised/shouldbeskeptical when something like this happens, something better than planned. We wandered down the stairs to the first cavern of huge stalactites. The story of the discovery is that four boys playing in the area stumbled upon it around 50 years ago, definitely a great day outing. Slowly wandering through and marveling at the huge structures when one of the workers politely came up behind us and told us they were closing in 15 minutes. Really we should know better of course we can't catch a break, I read online that they close at 13:00, realistically they close at 14:00 but will admit people (probably right up until 14:00) without indicating that they will close soon and kick you out. Oh Spain, how annoying those siestas can be. Well almost 20 euros later we adamantly walk through the rest of the caves as slow as we feel is necessary and appropriate, which is not a huge problem since there is really only two rooms modestly sized rooms, we are followed out step for step by the same man, trying to guilt us into leaving early...I don't think so buddy! We stepped out at 14:00 on the dot and began our trek 5 kilometers back to Nerja city center. We came across what is left of an old sugar San Joaquin sugar mill with a beautiful still functioning aqueduct running straight through the middle. The mill has been out of use for half a century, but the buildings are still in a beautifully damaged state. We managed to get to the balcony of Europe just as the most intense sun rays were fading away and enjoyed the view across the bluest of blues Mediterranean. Formerly a fortress this lookout is beautiful, but the way guidebooks fawn over it I was expecting it to a little bit more impressive, not that I'm trying to knock the view, I've just seen a lot of beautiful beach lately and my standards might be a little aggressive. An hour bus ride and we were back to Branko and Madeleine's place for a bit of dinner and conversation. The next day we spend some time doing laundry and enjoying a comfortable recharge with a beautiful view from Branko and Madeleine's view above all of Benajarafe.

The hike up to Branko and Madeleine's place is littered with beautiful homes with fantastic views
The beach just in from of their place, Benajarafe is such an idyllic little beach town with a small population and time and space to enjoy the beauty, definitely not a crowded tourist destination. 

This is the largest stalactite at an inspiring 32 meters or just under 100 feet!

A more modern aqueduct
San Joaquin Sugar Mill 

The Balcony of Europe

Look at that view!

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