We felt the dry heat as soon as we disembarked. It was 9 pm so we did wonder whatever it would be like during the day. We picked up our hire car in Almeria, fairly painlessly, only being second in the queue. From experience we knew to sprint to the hire car desk to avoid long waits. It is a nuisance that you cannot pay in advance for everything you want, eg extra driver, fully comp insurance. This makes it very difficult to compare prices. Our chosen provider, Goldcar, turned out to be fine and we were very pleased with our Opel Astra car. The newly modernised airport is superb.
After having been quite impressed with our Tom Tom’s performance, navigating me from Glasgow airport to Glen Nevis, Wasfell Head and Pen y Pass, I had downloaded the Spanish maps and we were able to test these out, finding our first night’s hotel in the centre of Almeria. We were delighted not to have to park our own car and felt quite the VIPs!
The hotel Citymar Gran Hotel had a pool and was situated in an ideal position for the many cafes, bars and restaurants. When we had dropped our things off we headed for a cool drink and were delighted to be presented with ‘tostadas’ which were very welcome after the journey. Relaxing in a square off the main street we were able to observe the Spanish on a Saturday night out. Almeria is a very Spanish town and there had obviously been a dancing competition that day, flamenco costumes are probably not every day wear. Fans appear to be standard accessories for Spanish women in the summer.
Almeria beach did not have a very good write up so we headed south east into the national park of the Cabo de Gata. Passing a lake of wild flamingos (bring your binoculars), we headed to the lovely sandy beach. There are lots of places to stop all along this section of the coast and, although busy as it was the Spanish holiday season, we found our own space and had a great time in the sea. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants all along the sea front as well as a shop and ice cream stalls.
In the evening we headed into town again. In Almeria Sunday night is not a night to stay in, and there are loads of clubs and bars, particularly south of the Puerta de Purchena. After supper we walked along towards the beach, stopping to see how many wild cats and kittens we could spot on the scrubland by the sea.