Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Almeria, Spain

Reelstreet devotees will have noticed a big recent interest in the south of Spain known as Andalucia, more specifically the south-east corner based around Almeria.

Almeria ("The Mirror") is a major port used to export vegetables grown from the greenhouses which cover a huge extent of the neighbouring countryside.

The area has been hosts to hundreds of films (see Wikipedia's extraordinarily lengthy list), many of them westerns, notably the Eastwood Dollar trilogy, and other Sergio Leone productions. The Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park provides pristine beaches and is protected to a certain extent by its UNESCO status while the desert area around Tabernas, further inland, looks very much how one would perceive America's wild west. It also can stand in very convincingly for north Africa and the Mid-East.

There are three standing western town film sets within shooting distance of each other, all open for visitors and indeed Mini Hollywood aka el Oasys has the additional attractions of a zoo and swimming pool, as well as driving movie trails, taking in some of the still standing buildings seen in the Dollars.

There is plenty of accommodation in San Jose on the coast in the park, and without rain in the summer great weather can be guaranteed. For culture vultures Guadix and even Granada are within a day trip from Almeria. And in winter the Sierra Nevada provides ski-ing. Now that's diversity.

Simon James