Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Nice Picture from Carboneras

There you are, leafing through the various catalogues, magazines, webpages and so on, in search of that vital holiday: as guaranteed by the State and your Employer both. Hard work for fifty weeks means a fortnight of some rest and relaxation to compensate. Where to go?
There are the tried and true holiday destinations, where you pretty much know what to expect, having perhaps been there before, or from hearing reports from your work-mates. There are farther away resorts, with new and cheaper offers: well, why not?
There are new places as well, perhaps more exciting, or adventurous... and won't those same work-mates be jealous when they hear about your discovery?
So, Carboneras. It's a small fishing port in Almería, just along from Mojácar. It has some good and cheap fish restaurants and a castle. There's an attractive bay and some famously wild nudist beaches. The tiny and pretty village of Aguamarga is just next door. Carboneras also has, as you can see from the picture, a splendidly odd sculpture cum farmhouse, built in the early sixties by a Belgian who ended up being eaten by a tiger in Bengal.
But here's the thing. The Carboneras Tourist Board has to work with what it's got, which in this case is the most polluting power station in Spain (according to the European Environment agency) which, by the way, was cropped from the above photograph. The massive plant, accompanied by another behemoth, the Holcim cement factory, are within scant metres of the above oddity - jus' saying. The town is also known for the Hotel Algarrobico, an unfinished 22 storey hotel where completion was put on hold several years ago by the Ministry of the Environment because it was built both too close to the sea and also in a national park, breaking two planning laws in the event. However, with politics, inertia and a whopping demolition bill, no one has actually got around to knocking it down.
Carboneras isn't a bad place, the food is good and the people seem nice, but is it really the best choice for a holiday? Perhaps not.

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