One of the features that define Guía Turístico Almería´s brand is its commitment with the Heritage and the Culture Almerian. Therefore, a guided visit to Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory could not be just another experience, since this centre, a landmark of astrophysics worlwide and the largest in Europe, represents the best and most lasting link of Almeria with the Science since more than 30 years.
Why don´t to make a trip to Calar Alto and the range of Los Filabres?
So on March 8th, we planned a full-day excursion to know Calar Alto Observatory and, while we're at it, get into the Filabres Rangethe spine of the Province of Almeriawhich runs from east to west. The idea of the day was to revive the spirit of school trips, enjoying science, nature, good company and the finest views of Almería´s high. The majority group of attendees came from Workspace Coworking Almería,whose manager, Luis Roca, was the organizer of the trip alongside with the one who writes these lines.
Going up to Calar Alto
We left Almería at 9:30 and in over an hour we were in Calar Alto. The day looked splendid and the journey was enjoyable, passing from the dry-riverbeds and badlands of Tabernas Desert to the masses of pines that preside over the climb to the top of the Filabres Rangewhose landscape is typical alpine. It is there, at 2.168m, the Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory lay.
This observatory is a complex that occupies a considerable area, being divided in various modules and domes, which house telescopes. It is currently managed by the Andalusian Regional Government, although until recently it was jointly owned by both Spanish and German goverments. Scientists around the world, including China,stay there to observe and investigate the cosmos, having made several important discoveries.
Visiting Calar Alto
Once up, a local group of the surroundings joined us, , so we were 42 visitors at last . It took us more than 2 hours to get to know Calar Alto guided by Sol and Victor, astrophysical guides of Azimuth Spain,the company of astronomical tourism in charge of guided-visits. An introductory talk (how insignificant we are!), a visit to the interior of the largest of the domes and a workshop on solar observation were the 3 dishes of which our astromenu was composed in Calar Alto. If you want to know more about the ingredients you have no choice but to contact Azimuth Spain, and let yourselves go; you will not regret it!
Touring the Sierra de Los Filabres
And then it was lunchtime, so we dropped in on the north side of Filabres Range in search of La Jordana natural area,a charming picnic site located near the village of Serón.The area has one of the few natural grass meadows in Almería . In fact, the north face of the Filabres Range is rich in vegetation and trees, still preserving native species such as oaks, which coexist with the remains of iron mining, whose major exponent was the mining-town of Las Menas,active until 1968.
At the Posada del Candil
After having lunch there was a surprise coffee, which could not be anywhere else but La Posada del Candil.This is a rural accommodation where good taste, gastronomic quality and respect for the natural environment come together. There, Javier, its manager, was the perfect host before explaining his project and introducing us to the Inn, a clear reference of the rural tourism and outdoor in Almeria.
On the way back we took the route of the Almanzora River, passing by the marble quarries of Macael to Tabernas,where the night came upon us. In the end we arrived at bit later than expected, but with the feeling of having had an even better time than the schoolchildren. Although the best, best, as always, was the human group.