Is anybody still using a Microsoft Autoroute programme on their computers? I have the 2010 version and together with Google Maps & Google Earth, use it for all my route planning. I had decided it was time to plan for another day out, away from the site. Usually, I try to work out a circular drive with three or four stopping off points. The route which I’d done for yesterday began by doing the nine-mile sprint westward along the A7, then taking the familiar road along the valley bottom, then up into the hills to Viñuela. I took the road to the western side of the lake, and there, I saw the first signs of Spring – the almond blossom coming into bloom on the trees.
A few miles further on I called in at Camping Viñuela. I’ve known about this site for years although I’ve never stayed there. I walked around the site some years ago and the place was deserted. This time, there were probably ten or so outfits on the pitches. For anyone who is fond of hiking, it could make an ideal base. Reception was closed, but from what I could make out from the Spanish price list, in the winter, a pitch for an outfit+2 people would be €16 per night with a 30% discount for staying for a month. No mention was made of electricity so maybe it’s on a meter. Considerably more than what I currently pay. See a couple of pictures of the site HERE. Also on the downside …………….the nearest large supermarket is 9 miles away. But the views…………..
The white building on the extreme left is the hotel/campsite.
The road continued for another twenty miles following the undulating ground through the mountain ranges. Eventually, I arrived at my next stop in Casabermeja, a village close to the Malaga to Antequera motorway. Casabermeja’s claim to fame is its San Sebastian Cemetery – declared in 1981 to be of historic and artistic value. See: https://www. tripadvisor. com/Attraction_Review-g2440070-d2717787-Reviews-San_Sebastian_Cemetery-Casabermeja_Province_of_Malaga_Andalucia. html All the graves are built above ground, as they often are in Spain, but the tombs are set out in streets – some with their own pavements.
Continuing on my drive, my route took me under the A45 motorway, along the road heading towards Villanueva de la Concepción. But I needed to go slowly because I was looking for a dirt road signposted “Arroyo Carnicero” and leading off through the olive groves. My search was on for an olive tree. Not any old olive tree – but this one.
What makes it special is that it has three trunks.
Cordoba University has carried out dendrochronology on the tree and their tests tell them that the tree has been growing for more than a thousand years. It’s mind-boggling to think that an Arab farmer was here planting this olive tree even before the Battle of Hastings took place in England. Despite its appearance, genetic studies have confirmed that the three trunks all grow from the same root. Back at the car, the remote area made it an ideal spot to unload my chair, open a beer and have a picnic lunch.
Later, I took the motorway and drove fifteen miles towards Malaga. After leaving the A45 at the last exit, in less than a mile I arrived at the Jardín Botánico-Historico. I parked close to the entrance and paid the €3 entry fee.
In 1855 Jorge Loring whose family owned the Malaga Iron Foundry married Amalia Heredia and they began buying up several fincas, olive groves and citrus fruit plantations situated to the north of Malaga. They planned during their honeymoon to bring back exotic plants from all the countries they visited around the world. They built the mansion which is still standing in the grounds.
Over the next sixty years, the gardens continued to grow and mature.
Being in the foundry business, the owners had a long pergola created from cast iron and over the years, has become intertwined with branches of Japanese Wisteria which I’m told comes into flower during March.
In the rest of the house, there is further evidence of their ‘iron’ connection. Also during the 19th Century, the French-born archaeologist, George Bonsor was discovering and excavating the Roman artefacts at Carmona. He, together with his partner took every opportunity to sell some of their discoveries to the highest bidder. Hence, one of the Roman mosaic floors at Carmona was lifted, badly damaged then installed in the Loring museum built in the grounds.
By 1911 the house and gardens had changed hands and had been bought by a family whose business was in shipbuilding – this time a family from Bilbao. They continued expanding the gardens but they mainly used the mansion as their winter home, staying from September till May.
In 1990 the house and grounds were purchased by Malaga City Council, in whose care it now is.
To read this blog with extra pictures see:- https://jondogoescaravanning. com/spain-nov-2018-feb-2019/