Over the years, I have visited many parts of Spain. I've studied in Seville, lived in Madrid, spent long hospital time with my poor wife in Pamplona and run offices in Altea, Benhavís, San Pedro and Fuengirola (the old newspaper I had called 'The Entertainer' - from 1985 to 1999). Plus an office or two in Mojácar, where I normally live. I know the province of Almería pretty well, with time spent in the capital and trips to various towns and villages over the past fifty years.
But, I'd never been to Adra.
This hardly makes me unique. No one has ever been to Adra.
Adra, at 25,000 inhabitants, is the large fishing port that signals the end of Almería heading west into Granada and Málaga. In the old days, it was a turn-off from another switch-back curve on the ghastly road between Málaga and Almería (there were 1,060 of those horrible switch-backs, as the old N340 curved and wiggled through the sharp hills), but now the fishing town is close to the bright new motorway. There is still little inclination to visit the place, which, as I finally discovered this weekend, is a shame.
According to Wiki (we couldn't find a tourist office), Adra is the fourth oldest town in Spain, founded in 1520BC. Let see... flattened by an earthquake in 881, yadda yadda, it had the first steam engine in Spain and is a big fishing port...
Yep, the man from the Wiki hasn't visited there either.
So, in the spirit of 'because it's there'. I went with my girlfriend to give the car a good growl, see the sights, buy a 'He who is tired of Adra is tired of Life' bumper sticker, and hopefully enjoy a good fishy lunch. The road swings you in, through and out in a confusing swirl, but then, as your heart sinks and you wonder whether the next town down, Motril, might is open, the planners relent and bring you back down to the harbour.
Last Sunday there was, by chance, a flea market. We walked around, admiring a stand selling Franco memorabilia, and eventually, while looking for a bullfight poster for a friend, we bought a couple of naïf pictures from another dealer.
Adra looks like a place which is worth getting to know, or maybe a great place to hide, as nobody would ever think of looking for you there. It's probably chock-full of museums and interesting relics and buildings, plus a few wanted counterfeiters and smugglers (the murderers prefer Marbella, obviously), but we were there for a beer and a fish-head.
My companion didn't want to eat in the Club Náutico (you can never go wrong in a Club Náutico) so we walked past some dowdy looking places, including a 'American/Italian' joint, before alighting on Taberna La Granja, a splendid and atmospheric bar/restaurant in a back street. We ate a satisfyingly expensive lunch there and returned to the car.
La Granja - and you are on your own here - has a great Tarta de Whisky. The owner pours half a bottle of scotch over it to make sure that it meets with the diner's approval.
Worked for me, although I may have got a ticket driving home...