Today we set off early again for a trip to Rodalquilar to follow the 'Movie Triangle', a 10km route through the mountains on corrugated dirt tracks. This area has been used for the location filming of over 400 major movies. See:http://www.unique-almeria.com/mini-hollywood.html
Unlike anything you would find in the UK, all this is set in the mountainous desert region within The Cabo de Gata - Nijar National Park. Hold your nerve as bitumen road surface gives way to corrugated gravel, the width narrows, and the inclines steepen. All of a sudden, after driving through narrow mountain passes, some with sheer drops, the vista in front of you turns into a lush green plain laid out before you, with mountains all around in 360 degrees, in complete contrast to the barren landscapes you have been picking your way through.
This is what is known as the salad bowl, and is an irrigated fertile oasis within the mountain range, where all kinds of vegetables are cultivated. Drive by this, heading towards a pass out of the 'bowl', and you shortly arrive at the now derelict Mission building which featured in the Clint Eastwood 'Dollars' series of spaghetti westerns.
From here you could follow the track towards the disused gold mine and the surrounding area that was used in the movie Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark. However, we found the track to be badly eroded here, with very tight turns and sheer drops, so would require a 4X4. Rather than risk our little Citroen, we backtracked to the bitumen road, and followed the coast road to the entrance of the mine from the other side. It was well worth the effort. There are records available to view in the small visitor centre that date back to 1902. On the approach is a whole village, all now derelict, that once housed the mining workforce. When mining ceased in the 1960's, the village went with it.
A model of the mine as it was when working.
The movie epic Lawrence of Arabia was filmed down the dirt track towards the coast, famously shipping in two whole railway trains complete with rolling stock and track, to shoot the 'blowing up of the train' scenes. Almeria City was also used in this movie for the Cairo scenes.
An excellent day out.