Sunday, September 07, 2014

Park Life

According to the Almeríapedia (yes, there is one), the Parque el Boticario just outside the City in La Cañada is 14 hectares in size, that's 34 acres, and it's a large park that proposes to introduce all the different plant life from the province, from trees to plants, from cactus to weeds and, for some reason, from lumps of stone to other lumps or marble. Cute idea. There's a large restaurant/bar and a giant playground as well.
Built for the boys over at Medio Ambiente with government and European funding, opened in 2005, the parque has spent the last nine years drying out, rotting and falling to bits. The bar and restaurant are closed and some of those senior citizen exercise machines - yes, they're there too - have rusted out completely into absorbing works of sculpture. The ponds are almost dry and there're weeds and garbage where there shouldn't be.
It's not surprising I suppose, the Medio Ambiente people (think 'politically-fired environmentalists') are keen proponents of returning Almería to the stone age (Demolition of the Algarrobico Hotel, their refusal to address the prickly pear issue and the spiteful insistence on the demolition of foreign-owned houses across the hinterlands of Almería together with the consequent impoverishment of the small interior villages). So, there's simply no time to look after their flagship park with '75,000 plants'. However, according to the Almeríapedia post, the Consejería of the Medio Ambiente merely built the park, before attempting to cede it to the Almería Town Hall, or failing that, the Junta de Andalucía. Neither of whom wanted it.
Today, it was open, hot, and empty. We saw not one employee there and no visitors either. It has lots of trees, bushes and plants as promised, but they certainly needed watering. The prickly pear had some infection and the explanatory signs had all been burnt black and unreadable by the elements. All said, it was still an interesting visit (after all, the rest of the province is in a similar state of desertification). Just bring a bottle of something to drink, and if you are feeling generous, a full watering can... 
The barman in nearby La Cañada (it's thirsty work walking around a 14Ha park - and on another subject - the tapas are huge), said he had gone along when it was first opened, but expressed surprise to hear that these days it was practically desolate.

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