I stumbled across Mark’s Blog about a year ago while looking into the possibility of visiting “El Condor” (the remains of the purpose built filmset Fort used for the film of the same name). His blog had a post talking about his visit to the site then going on to explain that the land owner had turned up with a gun and loosely threatened to shoot him. Obviously I was rather put off by this idea as I never trained to be a teacher in Trump’s America and would therefore be unable to overpower him. Reading on I discovered that Mark was a photographer with a fondness for the Almeria region and also a huge interest in Spain’s historical Spaghetti Western film history.
He has spent many years documenting the villages, forts and farms that are slowly being reclaimed by nature. So much so that to the untrained eye there isn’t a village with a bar, a church and a ferreteria at all where Alex Cox filmed his 1987 movie “Straight to Hell” and previous to that Charles Bronson took the lead as Chino in “Valdez the Halfbreed” in 1973 right beside the Autovia A-92 just outside Tabernas……
……. after reading through Mark’s blog I discovered that he had book that was very close to being published featuring lots of photos of his visits and naturally I had to own one.
To cut a long and tedious story of how my mind (doesn’t) work it arrived at the beginning of this week and It is fantastic…. Lots of lovely photos of places I’ve visited and some that I haven’t that aren’t all totally overexposed like mine always are.
Credit: Mark Parascandola
Fun Fact: The “Flagstone” Set for Sergio Leone’s 1968 Once Upon a Time in The West Movie was also used in the KLF’s 1991 White Room Film (find it here on Youtube).
If you have any interest in the Spaghetti Western genre then this is a great book to have,
It’s about £25 (find it here on Amazon)
** I’m not selling it by the way **
** I’m just informing you because I like it very much 🙂 **
Paper over Board, 10 X 12 In. / 148 Pages / 70 Color Photographs
I haven’t updated in a while…. as there hasn’t been much going on in my life cave-wise since I was last in Spain, today however I thought I’d pass on some information about a project one of my friends in has been working on.
The plan is an eco friendly (offgrid) campsite on a piece of land that she has recently purchased in Almeria Province. She has been planning the site for over two years but now the purchase of the land is complete it is finally moving along and will almost certainly be an interesting place to go and stay.
Situated on the outskirts of Vera the site is a sunny, level plot about 14 minutes from the sea, just under an hour to San Jose, The Cabo de Gata and Almeria and good place to start if you are wanting to explore the Spaghetti Western locations in and around Tabernas and the Cabo de Gata. Vera town itself is just a short walk away and is full of the usual amenities, Supermarkets, Bars etc.
The site is taking shape slowly but surely but at present she is looking for some help doing stuff clearing, heaving, building and generally being helpful (obviously having a skill in eco stuff would be more than handy)…. there is already a small team onsite doing stuff but any help would be or could be useful…… so if you have some time free between now and next summer and fancy a cheap holiday in a lovely part of Spain get in touch via the Verde Veras Facebook Page.
When the site is open it will be a great spot to base your explorations in this area of Spain…..
There are several Airports within fairly easy access: Almeria 50 Mins / Murcia 1 hour 22 minutes / Alicante 1 hour 56 minutes / Granada 2 hours 10 minutes / Malaga 3 hours.
and of course the drive from the ferries in the North is well worth the experience.
Also if you are in anyway interested in exploring this region pop in and LIKE the Facebook page for updates Camping Verde Veras
Well we popped over for 11 days in early August for our second and final holiday of 2017.
I was armed with bits and bobs along to decorate a little and put a bit more of a mark on the place (mainly vinyl albums in frames but also some other junk I had collected from charity shops over the past few months). The weather was brilliant, mid to high 30’s the whole time and the jacuzzi was even at 35c when I first turned it on…. more importantly though, My first bit of Great News was that Clive had fitted the new hot water boiler so we now have Hot Running Water, this might not seem like much but it has never worked properly since we bought the place, partially due to me not having cash and partially due to other things that were more important. The excitement of having hot water forced me to buy a portable washing machine from Amazon and have it delivered to one of the local bars so this was also waiting for us at a friends house on arrival. This was a great addition to the house and meant I was able to leave a full 10 days worth of CLEAN clothes behind thus meaning I can take more junk next time. Clive had also worked on the arch in the large bedroom and made some nice little cubbyholes with sockets inside (just big enough for a cup of tea and a mobile phone).
Our neighbour had told us that “Donk” the Donkey had reappeared and was living in the Old Bullring so we bought a big bags of apples and carrots from the Mercadona in Baza and took her an evening feast (the following day she got sold to another farmer so we ended up with a heap of apples and carrots we had to throw out).
We didn’t really have any plans for this holiday other than going down to Granada for a night. Granada is about an Hour and a Half from Cortes de Baza and we had booked a little apartment on the hill below the Alhambra. I’m not really a city/town person but I loved it there and really look forward to exploring further, our main goals were to visit the Alhambra and Placeta Joe Strummer (Joe Strummers memorial plaza). However I have recently taken an interest in the Spanish Civil War and the story of Federico Garcia Lorca which means we have far more exploring to do in the future. Granada is very hilly and when we visited the temperature hit 44c so I would advise using the busses or taxis around the town (even though we didn’t). There are mountains of interesting Bars and Restaraunts and the Alcaiceria is certainly worth an hour of your time. We pre-booked tickets for the Alhambra (and I would strongly advise that you do to, if you want to guarantee entry) but by the time we arrived we were so hot and tired that we didn’t queue for the palaces but instead had a cerveza and partook in some much needed people spotting. There are some fantastic views of Granada and the surrounding area from the Alhambra so it is definitely worth taking the time to visit.
Granada Photos Below:
Day 1: Went to the Supermarket
Day 2: Fed Donk and got Got Burnt
Day3: Donk left 🙁
Day4: Went to Granada, got Hot and Tired
Day 5: Came Back from Granada
Day 6: Went to Rachel and Shawn’s for dinner (Lenny the giant dog did not steal my food)
Day 7: Our other friend Rachel arrived from the coast for a few days.
Day 8: Had a look around Baza.
Day 9: We all went to a Barbecue at Bob’s House.
Day 10: One Rachel left and one of the other Rachels came out for lunch at Hotel Galera (for my Birthday).
Day 11: Drank and Ate too much.
Day 12: Did some tidying and washing before setting off home.
I managed to get the drone out briefly but it was a bit breezy and I got scared (footage below). Drone Footage August 2017
and finally the most recent Cave and Holiday Pics. ….. Thanks for taking the time to have a look.
Something we love doing when in Spain is visiting filming locations, as you probably know the Tabernas Desert in Almeria was and still is used as the setting for many a Spaghetti Western. Films such as The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More and Once Upon a Time in America were all largely filmed in the area. I’m starting here with a somewhat less obvious one, the location for The 1986 Alex Cox film Straight to Hell which starred (to name but a few) Joe Strummer, The Pogues, Elvis Costello, Grace Jones, Dennis Hopper, Sy Richardson and Courtney Love. This set was originally built in the Tabernas Desert for the 1973 Film Chino starring Charles Bronson.
We headed down here on our way to San Jose and in typical (of me) fashion we arrived in the midday sun that was hitting the low 40’s and what was supposed to be 1 mile as the crow flies was about 3 miles each way….. Blistering Heat and No Water (not the best combination).
As you can see from the photos most of the site has now collapsed and is slowly eroding back into the desert so I guess in another 10 or 15 years or so there will be nothing left here to see except for some roof tiles and broken bottles. I was rather taken with how close the site is to the motorway but how out in the wilderness it feels. To me there is something quite special about walking around this area knowing how many famous feet have trampled here, In the UK you would expect to see a parking area with an Ice Cream van and people trying to sell you Cowboy Hats and Cap Guns but in somewhat typical Spanish Fashion it has just been left to crumble away.