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January 7, 2008
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Video Diary: Cabo de Gata update visit Dec 07 (Pt 1: Landscapes)

Fishermen's sheds, Cabo de Gata, Almeria province, Spain
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Xmas 07 proved blustery but sunny for a return visit to Andalucia's magnificent Cabo de Gata coast. Happily, it was just as uplifting as my first visit back in 2002 - the same sense of tranquility and seclusion shone through effortlessly.

First time around I had been mildly apprehensive of a couple of cranes on the hillsides at the edge of San Jose. Notwithstanding the theoretical protection given by Natural Park status, was this a harbinger of intensive development to come? Happily, it seems no. There had been little diescernable expansion and the same laid-back, beach-chilled atmosphere prevailed.

Perhaps the only significant casualty over the intervening years was the demise of San Jose's El Arbol chiringuito - a classic beach shack cafe bar that had been a great place for a beer or two. It's now been replaced by a smarter paella restaurant (looked good but was closed so I couldn't check it out). On the positive side, Las Negras' Hotel Cala Chica has bedded down very well and makes a grreat accommodation option if you want to base yourself in this vaguely counter-culture fishing village.

For information on organising your own weekend on Cabo de Gata's desert beaches click here.

My video diary entries:

1. Introduction to Cabo de Gata - speaking into the teeth of a gale from the summit of Mesa Roldan.

2. Las Negras - funky beachside fishing village most definitely right at the end of the road.

3. Yucca forest - the otherworldly landscape away from the coast.

4. Why so empty? - How the developers have been kept at bay.

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