About two months ago, between magazine deadlines, my girlfriend and I took some time off to travel to Andalucia in Spain. I’m sure most go to Spain for the sun and the nightlife. We go for the culture, the food and the history however. The forecast for one of the days was pretty poor so we decided to catch the bus to visit the Cueva de Nerja, or the Nerja caves.
Buses in Spain can seem quite daunting for those who don’t know much Spanish (like me), but the ones we’ve taken have been airconditioned and clean. Our journey to the caves was slow (we took the coastal route, which stopped at every town) but that allowed us to take in the Andalusian countryside and count the Torres (Spanish watchtowers) as we passed them.
We arrived at Nerja and grabbed a bite to eat at the Caves restaurant (and almost lost each other but that’s another story). With tickets bought, we descended a small staircase and entered into the first caves. At first I was not impressed, this was a small chamber, the sort of thing I could have seen at home at Kent’s Cavern (just down the road from where I live). Then we descended down a long set of stairs to the main chamber… WOW.
This was a huge underground space rivalling many large cathedrals I’d been in. It was so big there was no echo. The main chamber contains a huge column which is 33m tall. I’m not too sure of the dimensions but it is a rough L shape hundreds of metres long. It immediately made me think of ‘dungeon delving’ in Frostgrave or Otherworld. If you are ever in Andalucia, I’d recommend seeing these spectacular caves (and I do not say ‘spectacular’ lightly).
After our visit to the caves, we walked to Nerja itself (which was approximately 2km away in the sun!). While mainly a pretty tourist town, there was still history lurking around every corner, such as the Church of El Salvador and the ruins of the Nerja Torres (regular readers may recall I commented on these towers in a previous blog.
This particular tower had a lot of history. Built to warn against Moor slavers, it was partially destroyed with the British raided Nerja during the Seven Years War. It was rebuilt and finally blown up by the Spanish to prevent it’s capture and use by the French in the Peninsular War (or as the Spanish would say, their Independence War). Several small skirmish scenarios spring to mind… So next time you visit a place, there’s usually good history and some great gaming inspiration nearby.