After a morning walking around the Alhambra in Granada, we check out the time and figure we have just enough time to get to the Cueva de Nerja for the last entry (if I speed a little). The caves close at 4 pm and we arrive just in time – we pay our €10 admission fee, are given audio guides, and sit through a 10-minute video that explains a bit about the caves before heading to the entrance escorted by a (not-too-happy) security guard.
CUEVA DE NERJA
Though it was kind of iffy getting there so late, I'm glad to have been able to visit when it wasn't jam-packed with other tourists. The caves are spectacular – the stalactites (hanging from the ceiling) and the stalagmites (rising from the floor) are jaw-droppingly impressive. And if you're worried about feeling claustrophobic, no worries, as the halls of the cave are massive – large enough that they actually have room to seat about 100 folks in the Hall of the Waterfall for concerts in the summer! Well worth the visit, though beware of the steps... no one tells you that there's about 400 steps that you have to make your way up and down throughout the visit.
Entrance area to the Cueva de Nerja
Descending to the caves
Sala de Vestibulo (Entrance Hall)
Sala de Belén (Nativity Hall) – filled with columns of calcite
Sala del Colmillo (Hall of the Tusk)
Sala de la Cascada o Ballet (Hall of the Waterful) – It is here that concerts are actually held
Sala de los Fantasmas (Hall of Phantoms)
Time to head up the stairs in the Sala de los Fantasmas to the Sala del Cataclismo
Ugh, more stairs......
This particular formation has been nicknamed the "curtains" since it sort of does look like hanging curtains
Sala del Cataclismo (Hall of the Cataclysm) – The photo doesn't do it justice, but that central column (32 metres high) is the tallest in the world
Checking out the massive central column from the other side
Who knows how many years of calcium deposits
Back in the light of day – Plaza de los Descubridores
Monument to group of kids that accidentally discovered the caves in 1959 – Plaza de los Descubridores
BALCON DE EUROPA, NERJA
Leaving the caves, we head down the hill and find parking somewhere close to the city centre. Nerja itself is a tiny coastal town, but what sets it apart from all the other coastal towns along the Costa del Sol is the Balcon de Europa – a large round balcony on a towering cliff with incredible sweeping views of the Sierra Almijara and the Mediterranean Sea.
Lucky that we there during low season, it seemed like we had the entire promenade and balcony to ourselves. After rushing and driving from one city to another, we couldn't help but just sit and enjoy watching the views of the sea, sky, mountains, the little figures on the beach below and just enjoying the general "calmness" of this particular spot.
Time to search for the Balcon de Europa
Love the tile work under the balconies
A glimpse of the Mediterranean
Flower pots on walls
View of Calahonda beach and sierras from the promenade
It's freezing – like winter jacket and scarf freezing – and there's people on the beach
Iron railings of the Balcon de Europa
The child, taking in the impressive views
Someone is crashing my selfie – Balcon de Europa
Rocks far below
The child, chillin' with King Alfonso XII
Alone with the sea and sky
Paseo Balcón de Europa – a pedestrian promenade lined with cafés, restaurants and ice cream parlours
La Caletilla Beach, El Salon Beach and the rocky promontory at Torrecilla Beach
Iglesia de El Salvador on the Plaza Cavana
Beautiful flowered balconies
ITALY IN SPAIN
It's dinner time and the child is begging for pizza. Pizza! You're on the southern coast of Spain with all kinds of yummy Spanish cuisine at your fingertips and you want pizza. Sometimes I wonder if she's really my child. Anyway, we find a cute Italian restaurant in Benalmadena and thank god that have my Pil Pil Shrimps (basically garlic shrimps), and the child gets her pizza – a taste of Italy in Spain.
Time for a fruity drink
Pil Pil Shrimps – YUM!
Not quite the same as having pizza in Italy, but to the child, pizza is pizza
Ravioli for me!
Photos taken | written by JENNIFER MAHON
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