Following Clint Eastwood’s footsteps: Desierto de Tabernas
You won’t believe this!
Hidden somewhere in the alluring lands of Andalucia, in the dry region of Almeria province, lies the Wild West!
I never even knew Tabernas Desert (Desierto de Tabernas) existed until visiting my friend Gloria in Cabo de Gata. She kindly made sure to let us know exactly where The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was filmed because I had no idea – for some reason, I never questioned what other movies besides Game of Thrones have been filmed in Spain. Oh, and that famous episode from Star Wars in Plaza de España from Seville (didn’t see it but everyone seems to know about it…).
And even so – a desert?! Here?!
Of course I had to see this place AND the retained western movie sets with my own eyes!
We headed by car on a pleasant warm afternoon towards the desert, hoping the sun will be less harsh and we’ll catch a lovely sunset over the arid lands. Cutting the story short, the road took us longer than expected and the sun was already setting down. You know how perspective in photos can easily fool you? Well, we didn’t approximate correctly how tall the slopes were from the pictures! Therefore, when we arrived at our destination we realised the peaks of the slopes were already shading most of the ground, so if we wanted to take a walk to the heart of the desert, we had to face the falling night deep between the badlands (yup, that’s how this type of scenery is called! Just found out too!).
No other human beings around. A rustle in the bushes lifting the hair on the back of our necks.
And every slope looked mostly the same as the one before.
Ok, we decided that after all it might not be a good idea to spend the night trying to find our way back so instead we looked for the highest slope at hand, climbed it and oh-em-gee!
I have never seen something like this in my whole life!
After the rich scenery of Cabo de Gata area, now these badlands (sounds like badass!) going on for as much as my eyes could see! Deea was amazed!
Now, I’m not the right person to teach you a geology lesson, but to give you an idea of how this impressive landscape happened: the soil here consists of softer sedimentary rocks and clay and can’t retain moisture. So it gets easily eroded by the wind and the little rainfall that falls down (mostly torrentially), forming all these winding shapes and their variety of shades. Any geology aficionados around here? Please correct me if I don’t have my facts right! 😀
I know, I haven’t mentioned anything about the film sets. That’s because we ended up not visiting them after all.
First of all, they were too expensive. I read a ton of reviews and everyone seemed to recommend only a particular one out of the 2 or 3 existing studios. The price was around 20€ for an adult for the whole day if I recall well, which included some western shows and other entertainment. It was probably fun for a family with kids, but we weren’t really interested in that – we just wanted to take a walk through the set and move on.
Second of all, I still had an annoying irrational voice trying to convince me to forget about the money and just go visit it. But thankfully, that voice was shut down when we arrived too late – it was already closed. One more but! I did get a sneak peek of the set from outside!
Guess what I did with the saved 20€? Had the best paella in my whole life at La Ola restaurant in Isleta del Moro! Of course it was accompanied by tinto de verano, how else!
Did you guys know about this desert? Been here or seen something similar? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. One of the photos taken from above has a tiny human in it – to give you an idea of the scale!