drive to Parque Natural de Torcal de Antequera
involves a certain amount of in-car time, something we've not done
too much of, so we're not too unhappy. We drive north-eastwards
following a circuitous route determined by our not very helpful
hire-car map (which is eccentric to say the least). Vélez-Malaga,
Zafarraya, several Villanuevas and finally Antequera.
area around Vélez-Malaga is an untidy mess of commercial
development, smallholdings, farms, villas and second homes. It isn't
until after Viñuea that the mountains lift you out of this
into more arid and less crowded climes. After Zafarraya you enter
limestone karst country, where farms wrest a precarious living from
the cracks between boulders. Then, around Villanueva del Trabuco,
a very different and much more prosperous area with lush farms,
big villas and horses exercising in front of stables.
approach Antequera through commercial suburbs, then plunge into
narrows streets filled with attractive young women and traffic jams.
Eventually we find our way out again, and drive up to the Parque
Torcal is a massive upheaval of limestone that has been eroded into
crazy shapes. It's a place of crevices, weird boulders, capstones
teetering on the tops of limestone towers, lizards, succulents,
thorny vegetation, circling hawks and, though fortunately not today,
of cloud and mists. Access to most of the Parque is fortunately
restricted, and you can see why we follow the "Green
Route" through a sample of the landscape and it is apparent
that the environment would soon be destroyed by the antics of thousands
of clambering humans. At first we are surrounded by a large and
noisy family who attempt to climb every boulder and experience every
echo. We slow down to allow them to get far enough ahead to be out
of earshot and get to feel almost alone in this wilderness. We guess
that in the summer it would be very different!
PICTURES OF THE TORCAL LOTS OF STONES!