A Tunnel and a Lake

On Monday we decided it would be our last day in El Berro and we should do another walk, but nothing as strenuous as Saturday’s hike. We picked a 5.5 mile loop past the next village, Gebas. It was another sunny day, temperatures in the low 20’s and great views again, paticularly looking back at El Berro. We picked thyme and rosemary (it grows wild everywhere!) and half way around the walk found a large boulder to perch on and have lunch.

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The track back turned a sharp corner and we were soon walking through a deep cutting. We couldn’t think why anyone would go to the trouble of making this cutting, but it was obviously man-made. As we progressed further, at times having to clamber over small landslides, we rounded a corner to find the entrance to a tunnel. Wow, the walk actually went through the tunnel, how cool. We came out the other side in to a ‘hidden’ valley with a few farmhouses and lots of almond trees, but still no reason we could see to justify what was maybe once a railway.

Eventually the path turned off but was equally exciting as we then got to walk along the top of an irrigation channel that was still in use. We were a bit unsure about walking on top of the wobbly, crumbling concrete covers, but at times we had no choice. In the end it was fine. What a great walk, it’s always exciting to find something a bit different.

We managed to get on the road at 8.30am on Tuesday and headed for our next destination, which is a bit of a mouthful, Parque Natural de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas. As we entered the park and climbed up mountain roads the scenery got more spectacular, with dramatic craggy peaks, mountains clad with trees starting to bud, and the white village of Hornos perched on a cliff. To top it off we enjoyed our coffee breaks outside basking in sunshine whilst admiring the snow on the peaks. There’s a big lake in the centre of the park and we needed to get right round it to the other side, it looked like a quick journey on the map, but the road hugged the lake edge so took longer than anticipated.

We had a choice of 3 campsites, all close together, and after seeing the first 2 from the road carried on to the 3rd, Camping Chopera, which looked preferable. We were about the only people staying so picked a good spot next to the river and chilled out for the afternoon.

On Wednesday we were both keen to get on our bikes and explore but first walked into the small village of Coto Rios to stock up on food… and wine, of course. We weren’t expecting much from a local shop but this one was great. In the space of a small convenience store there seemed to be everything you might find in the likes of both Tesco and B&Q, although much better and cheaper. What a great little shop. Shopping done we loaded up the cycle panniers with lunch and cycled off on the track that followed the edge of the lake. I’d spotted the path yesterday from the opposite side of the lake and thought it looked fairly flat, although it turned out to be continuously undulating with a lot more climbing than I’d promised Lisa. Fortunately I didn’t get in to trouble and we were both happy, it was good to be on the bikes and the stunning turquoise colour water of the lake was a good backdrop. We cycled 13.5 miles when we reached a small stream and had lunch here. We then turned back as we’d already gone further than planned and had plenty of hills to climb on the way back. It had been a good cycle, we’d seen plenty of wildlife including colourful butterflies, endemic squirrels, deer with huge antlers and wading birds at the water’s edge.

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