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Max Abroad : The Best of Spain

Quite simply writing about the best things Spain has to offer and anything that might crop up along the way. Spain is a lot more than just sun, sand and sea...

The Eighth Wonder of the World….according to Rita
17 December 2014

Described as “The Eighth Wonder of the World” by Hollywood movie legend Rita Heyworth, the Jameos del Agua in lanzarote is a main attraction for many tourists. So, what exactly is a 'jameo', it is a geographic feature similar to a sink hole and is caused when a lava tube (an underground tunnel created by flowing magma) ceiling collapses in on itself, or as in this case, when natural gases accumulate and blow the ceiling off, opening the tunnel to the sky.

Los Jameos del Agua is a partially collapsed section of a larger volcanic tube system extending out from Montaña La Corona. The whole structure known as the "Tunnel of Atlantis" is the largest submerged volcanic tunnel in the world and Los Jameos del Agua is found near the end of the tunnel system on the north coast of the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. It prominently features two "Jameos," or large holes in the roof structure of the volcanic tube, the larger being Jameo Grande and the smaller Jameo Chico, with a stretch of un-collapsed tunnel between the two.

 

 

Artist and architect César Manrique transformed it into an underground water garden which includes two cafe/ bar areas, an underground lagoon, a beautiful pool area with a magnificent tropical garden, a stunning underground auditorium, a shop and a museum. Jameos del Agua is César Manrique finest creation. This place epitomizes the artist’s desire to fuse art with nature in order to create a truly unique attraction.

 

Today, to enter the lava tube, one descends a large winding staircase and enters a bizarre lava tube which leads to an impressive cave system full of stalactites, stalagmites, water systems (as well as a range of low-light optical illusions), the Jameos del Agua is also home to a unique species of blind white crab that have adapted to the dark and live in a sheltered Atlantic-fed pond.

 

Guests are encouraged to visit La Casa de Los Volcanes, an interactive information center about the island located on the ground level above the jameo, as well as the nearby Cueva de los Verdes which allows further exploration of the Montaña La Corona volcanic tube system.

 



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Nature's Lagoon
09 December 2014

 

Standing in front of the Garxal lagoon is like watching the creation of the world. The sediment dragged by the powerful Ebro is continuously catching up to the sea, forming barriers, islands and lagoons such as this one, which is constantly visited by seagulls, terns and a thousand other birds. This is where today the Ebro flows into the sea, and it is difficult to imagine that during the times of the Romans the river used to end in Amposta, which is now 25 kilometres from the coast. There is a special route dotted with observatories so cyclists and walkers can go all the way around the area but it is forbidden to enter inside. Nature is the boss here.

To reach this spot at the tip of the arrow-shaped Ebro delta, you need to cross many kilometres of rectangular paddy fields, which turn green when the rice shoots appear in summer but look like mirrors for the rest of the year, when you can only see water.

A farming landscape pleasing to the eye and also the stomach, as this is where they produce the high-quality rice of the Delta de l'Ebre Protected Designation of Origin, which is the basis and star of paellas and other dishes. If you visit between September and November or from April to June, it is a good idea to take an umbrella as it often rains heavily during these periods. The rest of the year is totally dry.

In the Encanyissada lagoon, measuring nearly 1,200 hectares, children can have great fun observing many types of birds close up, like mallards, purple herons, coots, podiceps, cormorants, flamingoes and black-crowned night-herons, although if you are visiting in a couple, there is nothing better than enjoying the peaceful Eucaliptus beach nearby.



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An Unusual Royal Pathway...
03 December 2014

 

In 1901, a pathway was built across the El Chorro gorge to provide easier access to the hydroelectric plants at the nearby falls. It took four years to finish. Today, that pathway, considered one of the most dangerous in the world, regularly draws visitors hoping to cross it.

Caminito del Rey is 3 km long and it lies along the Gaitanes Gorje walls from Ardales through Antequera and ending at El Chorro. It is located in the province of Malaga. It is only one hour drive away from Malaga, about 64 km North of it, via A-357.

The path can be accessed via El Chorro, a small village, which is also one of the main climbing resorts in Europe, due to its proximity to the Gorge of Gaitanes and also due to its highlight: El Caminito del Rey.

Twenty years after the pathway was completed, King Alfonso XIII crossed the pathway for the inauguration of a new dam. This led to the pathway's modern name, "The King's Little Pathway," or "El Caminito Del Rey." After the King's crossing. However, the pathway began to fall into disrepair.

The path itself runs 100 meters above the river below and is only 1 meter wide. It has no handrails and some of the concrete path has fallen down the gorge, leaving only a steel beam left in place. While it is not recommended to attempt a crossing (in fact it is currently illegal), there is a cable running the length of the path one can clip onto. However, the integrity of this cable is unknown. Between 1999 and 2000, four deaths occurred due to the instability of the path. As a result of these deaths, the government has closed both entrances.

In March 2014 restoration works were started jointly by the regional government of Andalusia and the local government of Malaga. The Caminito del Rey is expected to be renovated by March 2015 when it will be safe to walk on it.  Currently there is a fine of 6000 euro for hiking the path or the train tunnels (including jumping or climbing to their closed access points).

 

Inauguration Photo with  King Alfonso XIII



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