Going East along the Mediterranean coast, the Costa Del Sol is a dense thicket of hotels and condos, ending in a town called Nerja. We made it home base for a week, in an apartment called “Casa de Charlotte”.
Nerja and its small neighbor Mora, have lots going for them. There are long white beaches with turquoise water, the Nerja Caves, and a huge coastal reserve, where houses are prohibited, adjoining them. The surrounding area includes picturesque Andalusian villages in the nearby mountains and historic sites in every city and village. We found it easy to spend a week and could have stayed longer.
The Nerja caves are pretty interesting. They are similar in size to the Carlsbad caverns in New Mexico, but they include paintings indicating that Neanderthal people lived in them 25,000 years ago. During the tour, you go back about 1/2 mile through some huge rooms full of colossal stalactites and stalagmites, and past a 32 meter high column (the highest in the world). The cave was discovered in 1959 by 5 local boys who were playing hooky. The discovery changed the fate of Nerja, turning it into a major tourist destination.
We drove up into the hills north of Nerja to check out three classic Andalusian towns. What
makes them classic is that the buildings are all white, with flat roofs and skinny round chimneys. The streets are narrow, steep and winding, made of cobblestones, and designed to get you lost quickly. One neat feature of the villages is that they all have plentiful water flowing through them. They all seem to have public water fountains and wash basin buildings where people historically used to gather to wash clothes. In one shop a woman was making artistic weavings using a flying shuttle loom. A short video is here. Evidently a man named John Kay invented the flying shuttle in 1733. It doubled weaving productivity but he died a pauper due to the disruption the invention caused to the social fabric.
In nearby Malaga, we spent an afternoon in the very
impressive Picasso museum, learning more about his painting and art (no pictures allowed). And since no afternoon would be complete without a visit to a Roman ruin, we visited a Roman theater that was unknown until
1951 when the town was excavating to build a new building. The ruins of the theater were buried under a Moorish castle and fortress. It’s an impressive site, and the cats love it too! Evidently ruins are uncovered almost every time a new building is built – almost every museum we´ve visited has, in its basement, the ruins uncovered during its construction.
Other favorite photos from Nerja