Wednesday, 26 June 2013

El Chorro - active holidaymaker's paradise

In the end we did get to El Chorro, too. This time we took our own car, thanks to which we got to explore the area a lot more thoroughly. Train is a brilliant way to get here though as the El Chorro station is located right in the middle of the nature reserve.

El Chorro is a haven for the outdoorsy types and has plenty of wow factor in store for hikers, canoists and mountain bikers. The steep walls of Los Gaitanes make this place particularly popular among rock climbers. And what better destination for someone with fear of heights... Luckily half of us was dresses appropriately for the day's ventures.

French pedicure and golden sandals - the appropriate attire for EVERY occasion...

In addition to the free roaming the nature reserve has 2 marked trekking routes - the other is about 45 minutes long and the other about half an hour. The first one comes with a bit of a climb, with views to match.

The hills of this nature reserve are also home to numerous animals and plants - some of them protected. The foodblogger/ amateur horticulturalist was also thrilled to discover several wild herbs - I recognized at least rosemary, sage and wild thyme. 

El Chorro is famous for the gorge of Los Gaitanes, which brings together 3 rivers that flow through Malaga. Before the dam was built here, the annual floods brought on by the rain were nothing short of legendary. 

Railway built halfway through 1850's finally linked Malaga to the rest of the country. The tracks ran through the tunnels carved into the rocks and are still in use today.

The building of the canal started in 1901. During the project a narrow maintenance walkway, resting on steel beams hacked into the rock, was built. In the honour of King Alfonso XIII's visit to the site in 1921 the pathway was named Kings Pathway. Unlike on many similar and equally dangerous constructions sites around the world, this labour was not performed by prisoners forced to put their lives at risk, but the skilled workmen were recruited (among other places) from the local port. 

Views from the walkway would, without a doubt, still be very royal indeed, but unfortunately due to part of it collapsing, the path is no longer in use (just what my acrophobia wants to hear...)

Not that it's enough to put these dare-devils off. I do wonder what sort of travel insurances they have...?

Day in El Chorro is enough to burn off all those churros - all that trekking makes one break some serious sweat. And those sandals of mine never never did make through the day. But it is beautiful here - to a point I'm going to defy all clichés and call the atmosphere paradise-like.

No wonder it has fuelled young (*sighs*) love...

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