Friday, 25 May 2012

Antics in Antequera

Another day of Andalucian exploration. I had gotten itchy feet and, for inspiration, picked up one of the many books and brochures lying around the holiday apartment. This one was called Antequera, with a photo of some interesting looking rocks on the back. Ben figured this was as good a reason as any to do a day trip, plus Shilo needed to hitched a ride to catch up with an old friend, so we tried not to feel entirely selfish stealing the car for the day.

After a few wrong turns, followed by a lucky right, we made it into and out of busy Malaga city to arrive at the chilled town of Antequera. Normal Spanish town life prevailed with hardly any tourists it would seem, and it was nice starting off with a breakfast coffee to soak it up.

Browsing Antequera for Streetscapes and Churros
Once we were among the narrow streets we attempted to find one of the main attractions of Antequera, the Alcazaba. It was a 14th century fortress and therefore the largest building in the town on top of a hill, so we did not think it would be too difficult to find, especially since we thought we were clever and could memorise the town's topography without a map. Oops, wrong hill we realised as we snapped this shot of our intended destination before heading to the other side of town.

View of Alcazaba over Antequera Town
Wrong turns did not fazed us as Antequera was a pleasant place to get lost in. Evidence of ancient Rome lay among at least 30 medieval churches dotted around the small town and centuries-old archways and buildings blended seamlessly with modern houses and shopfronts. Plus we held hopes of stumbling across a churreria (alas, not today unfortunately).

16th Century Arco de los Gigantes (Arch of the Giants) leading to Plaza Alta - Antequera, Malaga Province
Plaza de Santiago with central fountain, Iglesia de Santiago on the left and Santa Eufemia Convent on the right - Antequera, Malaga Province
This beautiful panoramic shot from the ramparts of the Alcazaba takes in the great view of the town and the hills beyond, including Face Mountain (to the right) which, when seen at the right angle, really does look like the profile of a face looking up!

Count the Churches. 180 degree panoramic of the beautiful town of Antequera
Next we headed out of town to walk the easy ruta amarilla (yellow route) of the El Torcal Nature Reserve. These fascinating limestone rock layers were forced up out of the sea hundreds of millions of years ago, but somehow maintained their horizontal layered form into which time, wind and rain have chiseled fascinating rock patterns.

El Torcal Panoramic - near Antequera, Malaga Province
Huge Natural Rock Stack Formations - El Torcal near Antequera
Poking About the Rocks of El Torcal - near Antequera
At first it looked like some professional rock stacker had become a little overzealous with their occupation, but this just proved that nature itself was just as crazy.

180 degree panoramic of the El Torcal landscape - near Antequera
An All Natural Rock Stack - El Torcal near Antequera
Mountain goats and other rock climbing enthusiasts would probably get a kick out of this as well.

Out of Reach. Ibex standing high up on top of rock formations - El Torcal near Antequera
Standing on a rock stack - El Torcal near Antequera
We were on a bit of a high after our rock scrambling sojourn, so we were a bit disappointed with the lack of birdlife at our final stop at Laguna de Fuente de Piedra, a lake known for its flamingo population. Most likely the wrong time of year since we only saw one pale flamingo picking among the reeds. No worries, we had a great day anyway.

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