Monday, November 16, 2015

Albania revisited ... and other places - part five

Almeria, Spain, with its wonderful fortress. For some (not bad, if I say so myself)) shots of the Alcazaba and town, see last year’s link at bottom of this post.

Hardly off the ship, but I’m virtually alone (it’s early Sunday) in a waterfront park commemorating victims of terrorism. Many, of course, have died in Spain and, given events of the last few days, it seems even more  appropriate.

Terror of a another kind: not far north of this Almeria beach occurred one of the Cold War’s most potentially dangerous incidents. In 1966 two U.S. Air Force planes collided and three nuclear bombs fell around Palomares, a small town just up the coast. One fell into the Mediterranean. None exploded.  

Below are remains of one of the planes.

Only last month, nearly half a century later, was a final cleanup deal agreed. The Americans will transport plutonium contaminated soil to the States, likely to Nevada.

It also seems be taking a worryingly long time to decide the future of Almeria’s extraordinary railway station. The late 19th Century, Moorish Revival building was influenced by Gustave Eiffel’s designs.

Closed in 1989, it was replaced by a station of such institutional blandness I can’t find a single thing to photograph (although it does have a useful washroom). There are plans, or were four years ago, to turn the former station into a library, but no visible progress.

Gloomily, I stare through a dirty pane. What railway wonders will I never see clearly?

Then I spot some missing glass. Cautiously, I insert my small point-and-shoot through the opening (take note, proud owners of ‘my lens is bigger than yours’ DSLRs) and click away without seeing what’s being taken    …

… on checking, oh joy of joy of joys, above the pigeon droppings, an Aladdin’s cave of transport splendour. And even the Virgen del Mar to safely speed travellers on their way.

Almeria has some quite delightful structures. This is the Modernist, 1909 ‘Butterfly House’, which you can also see on the right in a display I find nearby. 

Less well maintained, but still appealing (I don’t live here), is this little lane.

Christ looks upon the city through a jumble of antennae ...

... and, I suspect, smiles to see children celebrating the end of Sunday mass. 

I make the morning’s obligatory stop for a coffee and survey my fellow patrons. I don't think they went to mass.

Next day, Valenica. I skip the city’s historic centre (see last year’s post) …

… and people watch in sunny streets near the port. 

On the way back to the ship are splendid restored warehouses (‘tinglado’ translates as ‘shed’) with wonderful tiles, including representations of oranges. 

Aha! you say. Valenica oranges. Well, yes and no. Valencia oranges we have at home are an American variety and not from Valenica where sweet oranges of different variety are a major crop.

Almeria and Valencia 2014: