Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain towards the end of January 2018 for about a month
'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Trips to Almeria and to Aledo

Last Tuesday I decided to take a trip down to Almeria, basically because I wanted try out the rest of the Cartagena to Vera extension of the AP-7 toll motorway beyond the Cartagena to Mazarron sector, with which I am already very familiar. I also wished to check out for myself the route to Almeria airport; Almeria lies on the A-7 motorway, which one joins at the end of new AP-7 extension at Vera.

As expected, the continuation of the AP-7 extension from Mazarron to Vera is, like the Mazarron-Cartagena sector of the new motorway, a superbly-engineered piece of road and currently costs €7.10 each way to use. It also travels through some exceptionally beautiful scenery and like the Mazarron-Cartagena sector is little-used ar present (no doubt because people wish to avoid the toll when their are alternative toll-free roads) so it is almost like driving on one's own private motorway and very relaxing and enjoyable, despite the high speed of travel. There are two quite lengthy tunnelled sections on this sector, which cut right through mountains.

However once one joins the A-7 at Vera it is a very different situation! The first 20 Km or so is over a VERY rough road surface and like a lot of the older motorways in Spain is engineered with quite sharp bends and steep gradients, because Spain is quite a mountainous country. More recently-built motorways lessen these awkwardnesses by simply lavishing money on the construction and tunnelling through some of the higher obstacles. Anyway, after the first 20 Km or so the road becomes considerably better, similar to the standard of the A-7 between Alicante and Totana, although like that section it is very busy because it is the main traffic artery and it is toll-free.

Access to Almeria airport is at junction 456 off the A-7; there are some sharp and unexpected turns shortly after leaving the motorway (at least I found them so) and great care needs to be exercised. I've updated the travel details from Mazarron to Almeria airport in my Casabill website and you can see the updated notes here (the related .PDF file has also been updated). Also partially-updated is the table of toll fees at the foot of the linked page, to take account of increases in charges with effect from 1 January 2008 for the sectors I have used personally; the other figures in the table will also have increased by about 2 per cent.

This morning I took a drive up to the Hermitage (Monastery) of Saint Eulalia of Merida near Aledo, in the mountains north of Totana, because the atmosphere was very clear today and there is a fabulous view to be had from the 'Sagrado Corazón de Jesús' (holy Heart of Jesus) monument, the culmination of the walk up the hill from the monastery. Here are a couple of the photographs I took this morning:

'Sagrado Corazón de Jesús' (holy Heart of Jesus) monument
(20th April 2008)
- Click on the image to see an enlargement -

The view over the valley with Mazarron and the sea in the far distance
(20th April 2008)
- Click on the image to see an enlargement -

- I took some photographs up here in February 2007 as well and you can see those here; I think the panoramic photograph I took today is rather clearer than the one I got last year.

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