It was a beautiful day when Dad, Jack (four-legged friend) and I went to explore Bobastro.
As with most of El Chorro, the views from up here are incredible – the mixture of grey rock, blue sky and surrounding greenery providing a lovely backdrop for a slow meander around the ruins.
I love the sense of history here. This was a church and village carved out of the rock and is of both historical and geological significance. We spent a couple of hours here, clambering over the rocks and ruins and taking photos.
I “discovered” what I thought were graves or tombs and, somewhat darkly, thought it would “fun” to lie down and play dead. Jack was less than impressed by this turn of events and sensibly tried to get me out.
After I’d pretended to be mature and sensible for a bit, reading the plaques telling the history of Bobastro, I discovered my tombs were in fact grain stores. Fact is often more boring than fiction I find.
The plaques relate the story of Bobastro and Umar Ibn Hafsun, who had it built as a base when he was staging a revolt against the Moors of Cordoba. The plaques are in English and Spanish. The English translation is not brilliant, but it’s enough to understand the gist of the story.
You get to Bobastro by following the MA 5403 road from El Chorro towards the Lakes and Campillos, taking a left turn onto the MA448 – it is signposted. You then wind your way up the road and eventually come across Bobastro on the left, opposite a small wooden kiosk. There isn’t a car park, but there are lay-bys you can use to park in, and it’s rarely busy. We had the place to ourselves while we were there.
There was an entrance gate to the ruins which was open and the kiosk opposite was empty. I believe that a couple of days in the week it is manned and there is a small charge for entry.
Spanish families tend to congregate around the Lakes area at weekends and in school holidays, but during the week it is very quiet here (other than the coaches weaving tourists up and down the road to and from El Caminito del Rey).
If you carry on up the road after Bobastro, you come to a large reservoir. If you follow the road around that, you come to a small parking area to the left of which is a café/restaurant which is sometimes open and sometimes closed. Up to the right of the car-park and an easy walk up with rewarding and spectacular views is El Tajo de la Encantada. This a viewing point looking out over El Chorro, the surrounding landscape and hundreds of miles into the distance. You can see as far as the Sierra Nevada from here.
While we were up here being wowed by the views, we got really excited as some of the local Griffon Vultures appeared below and alongside us at eye level, making their way up into the warm air currents and into the distance.