My parents live in Spain. Several years ago my brother, Ruslan, and me went there to visit them and on a vacation. We were there for two weeks, so we had plenty of time to visit many places. For the purpose of writing this article I decided to ask my mother, Neli, several questions including the information I already had. From what we saw Spain is a country that has a lot to show to tourists. And even if you are there just on vacation, you’ll still have great time. We were in a city called El Ejido, Almeria. It was very close to the Mediterranean sea and the Sierra Nevada mountain.
The first place we visited was Mini Hollywood. It’s a incredibly interesting sight. Mini Hollywood is used as a set where big studious shoot mainly cowboy movies. When you go there you feel like you are in the middles of a desert with wooden houses, just like you see it in all cowboy movies. There was a prison, stores, a pub, etc. You can also see the big cactus garden there. There are over 400 different types of cactuses in Mini Hollywood. Also, you can see hundreds of different animals in the zoo. This was the first time we saw a giraffe and a zebra. There were also lots of exotic birds. At the end of the zoo alley there was the parrot show. A woman was giving tasks to the parrots and they were competing in doing things that are really unusual for a bird to do. The parrots had to put little rings on a stand, which they did without any mistakes. Then, they had to put shaped cut wooden pieces in a holes with the same form. It was really interesting seeing this done by a bird.
The set was designed by Carlo Simi and built for Sergio Leone’s For a Few Dollars More in 1965. After shooting several more movies the whole set became a tourist attraction, but eventually you can still see movie scenes that are made there.
“There are not many places where you can see real buildings that are used for filming movies, almost all the sets are artificial,” said Neli.
Another very interesting place is Alhambra de Granada. This is an old fortress dating from the mid 10th century, when Spain was ruled by the Moorish. Nowadays, it is a monument of the Islam architecture. It is also part os the heritage of UNESCO. In 2007 it was also nominated for one of The Seven Wonders of the World. In this same fortress Christopher Columbus received queen Isabel and king Ferdinand’s support, consisting of jewelry, in order to sail to the New World. This lead to the discovery of America. The fortress is located on a hill in Granada and is as big as a small town. There are many houses, towers and palaces with many pools and ponds. The fortress has sewer which is a very unusual thing for a place that old. There are also many trees and gardens with different types of bushes and flowers. The gardens are made like little parks. There are ponds in the gardens with water lilies and really high bushes that are rectangle shaped and there are holes used as “doors”. When you go to the highest point of the fortress you can clearly see the whole city of Granada and the surroundings.
“The place is something unique and extraordinary,” commented Neli.
The next place we visited is the Aquarium in Roquetas de Mar. The aquarium was as big as a small shopping mall. There were many different species of fish and reptiles. From small to really big, fancy and unusual types. There was also an exposition room. This was a big aquarium with sharks. People were able to see them through a very thick windows and a host was telling more information about different types of sharks. For us the most interesting part was when we saw the eels, the starfishes and the seahorses. This was because of the strange ways these sea animals move. The seahorses have a really small fin which they start moving really fast, sometimes it’s even hard to see it move. Using that fin they move upwards and forward. We saw a very big seahorse which was older than the others. This one couldn’t move it’s fin that fast, but that was the interesting part, to see exactly the way it moves.
Then, we turned to museums. The first one we visited was the history museum in El Ejido. It is also situated on a hill. There were several tall towers with the exponents. They consisted of old soldier uniforms from many countries as well as old guns and weapons.
The next museum we visited is also something very unusual and cannot be seen that often. It was the car museum in El Ejido. The museum is property of a very good friend of my father. All the cars there are collected for many years. Every car was fixed and repaired with its original engine and parts. They only need a car battery and some fuel to run. We are talking about cars from 100-150 and even more years ago. There were even steam cars. In this museum you can see these old cars with the 3D logos and the strange forms. The really interesting part was that the owner was standing right next to us, explaining more details about every car we found fascinating and how he repaired it. The different brands there were Jaguar, Porsche, Mercedes, Fiat, and many more.
If you are just on vacation and shopping therapy in Spain, again this is the right place. There are many places for that. I visited only one mall and one open market, but still the variety was big. The mall I visited was made for the tourist eye. Palm trees were planted on the underground floor and they were as high as the mall was. Up to the ceiling on the last floor.
As I wrote earlier, El Ejido is really close to the mountain. Sierra Nevada is a mountain in the south part of Spain with the highest point there – 3478 meters. There are not many trees in this part of Spain, but this was the mountain a whole different place. As high as we went we saw more trees. The mountain reveals an amazing view towards the Sea. In a really clear day it is possible to see Africa if you are high enough. There are also many places for picnics there. We went to a place that was near a mineral spring. Although it was very hot there, the water in the spring was cold and it was also very clean and clear. There are lots of rocks, so we did some hiking for fun. The highest point we went was around 2200 meters, but unfortunately because of all the water evaporating from the sea we were not able to see the continent of Africa.
From really high in the mountain we’re getting down to the beach. The beaches we went to were not ones with exactly sand. The sand consisted of little round pebbles. Many people would say that this is uncomfortable, but no it isn’t. The water in the sea was also very clear. No matter how deep we went into the sea we were able to see the bottom. The water in the sea was nicely warm. The beach was very wide and long, and very clean. It was made just like oasis – clean with palm trees.
This is only a small part of Spain. Can you imagine how much you can see in other parts of this not that big country?
“All the sights with their interesting history are just waiting for tourists”, says my mother.
Although we had plenty of time to discover the interesting places in Spain, it was not enough.