We were so excited to have friends visit us during their Spring Break this year. We had an absolute blast, with two sets of friends coming over the course of the week. All the kids got along great, and we loved spending adult time together while the kids occupied themselves.
The first part of the week, we stuck pretty close to home. In addition to spending lots of time at the beach, we had a few adventures nearby.
Cuevas de Nerja
Back in 1959, a couple of local kids found this cave near Nerja, Spain, on the southern coast not too far from Malaga. Though they “found” it, it had clearly been discovered, at least in the distant past, because skeletons, cave paintings and other signs of human inhabitation were found inside. Walking through those caves, I couldn’t imagine being one of the young kids who were brave enough to go into it!
The history is remarkable – the remains found in the cave shows that the caves were inhabited around 25,000 BC! To me, imagining walking where life was happening so long ago was mind-blowing. There are also cave paintings they speculate to be from the Neanderthals 42,000 years ago. We weren’t able to see any of the cave paintings because the lights in the cave caused a sort of green discoloration of the cave walls, so they didn’t want to shine any light on them, since it would clearly ruin them.
I booked tickets for our group for 2:30, and we arrived about 2 minutes afterwards and waited in a long line. When we finally got to the front, there was a flurry of activity by the staff, and we were led straight down. Apparently, we were late and waiting with the 3:00 crowd. The guy was mumbling angrily at us as he led us directly to the 2:30 group, already walking around the first cavern. My Spanish-speaking friend with us said it was probably better we didn’t know exactly what he was saying!
We were led around the cave by a guide, so all of us “2:30ers” were herded around together. We had audio-guides, and I think as we got to each new area, the guide would activate the audio for that room and all of our guides would start simultaneously, in our desired language. That was pretty slick.
The tour was pretty interesting (though we were all sad to miss the beginning overview of the cave when we got rushed down to the first room), though I think we may have liked it even more if we hadn’t recently been to the spectacular Carlsbad Caverns National Park in western USA.
Frigiliana – A Spanish White Village
After our time in the cave, we decided to head to a nearby town, Frigiliana. Frigiliana is one of southern Spain’s scenic “white villages”, and sits a few miles inland in the hills, as it overlooks the sea below.
As always when traveling with kids, we knew we had to give them plenty of time to play, so we found a nice spot with a large playground near some outdoor restaurants. The adults sat down and ordered our food while the kids played. It was perfect!
After we ate, we took a little walk through town and enjoyed the views. It was a cute little town and I’d love to go back and wander through it again.
No big deal, just a Roman Aqueduct
At the north end of the town, about a 20 minute walk from us, there is this little park that is actually pretty boring. It only has a few pieces of equipment, kind of beat up and designed for younger kids. It is pretty much unremarkable, except for one fact. It sits in the shadow of a HUGE, AMAZING, WELL-PRESERVED Roman-era aqueduct.
This aqueduct is just sitting in a field, minding its own business, and largely left alone. There has only ever been, at most, one other group or family there when we are, and most of the time, we are there alone. There is no entrance fee, no signs explaining what it is, no ropes blocking anything off. It is the total amazing lack of attention on this aqueduct that makes it such a special surprise to see. We actually made two trips here during our week. The beginning of the week, we took our first set of friends, and then just before the next group was getting ready to leave (the other family already left), they decided to go ahead and check it out. I don’t think they were sorry once they saw it!
In the next post, the Y family joins us and we head up to the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas – stay tuned!