Spain pre-research tips

Esproquet
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Pita (desert plant)

#301 Post by Esproquet » 15 Jul 2020 11:39

Pitas are plants imported from Mexico a long time ago (in the same manner palm trees were imported from Arabia centuries back).

They can be seen in wild areas of the southeast, especially in the Almerian and Murcian coast.

This is Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park.
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This is Almería city:
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Additional pics, details & info at: http://herbario.ual.es/la-pita-el-heneq ... -invasion/

Esproquet
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Joined: 18 Mar 2020 11:04
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Dams & reservoirs

#302 Post by Esproquet » 15 Jul 2020 15:59

Most of Spain is a rather dry place, it doesn't rain as much as in Portugal due to the Mediterranean sea influence. The more southeastward you go, the drier it is, hence we to need to store water to make sure that all the cities, the crops, industries and golf courses can get that much desired water. The great amount of mountain ranges (sierras) are a permanent source of mineral water, but they are not enough to water the whole country. In fact we need to build desalination plants in the Mediterranean coast and the isles.

Here's a link to some of the biggest dams in the country:

https://www.iagua.es/blogs/magic-places ... des-espana

But with this post I wanted to point out the existence of many small-rectangular sized reservoirs that serve the purpose of irrigation. They are very easy to spot in some areas next to agricultural areas. When you are driving you can see one or two every few kilometers in some places like Campo de Cartagena (they are elevated a few meters above ground level to facilitate water flow).

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Sometimes they have irregular shapes, like this one devoted to keep an olive tree plantation irrigated.
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Esproquet
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Fuente la Higuera - La Font de la Figuera

#303 Post by Esproquet » 21 Jul 2020 10:34

There are 2 main routes along the Mediterranean coast in the Valencia-Alicante-Murcia area:
  • Interior: widely used by trucks because it was slightly shorter, although sometimes you had to use a national road (N-344) instead of an autovía or autopista.
  • Coastal: it's the one that links all the popular towns near the sea (Denia, Benidorm, Altea...), it has intense traffic during tourist seasons. It was an autopista (toll highway AP7) until last year.
The first of the two contains a very important junction around the town of Fuente la Higuera (or La Font de la Figuera in Valencian).

https://www.google.com/maps/place/46630 ... -0.8800271

It was a very twisted road around steep hills and mountains, quite a challenge for trucks. They have been building a wider road with multiple lanes for years, but last time I checked (February 2019) it was still unfinished. It was (and still is) a feared spot for truck drivers.

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And this is a video of mine from last year, the new autovía it is almost complete (skip to 6:00 for Font de la Figuera)

Esproquet
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Joined: 18 Mar 2020 11:04
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Albufera de Valencia

#304 Post by Esproquet » 21 Jul 2020 14:42

South of Valencia city lies a marshy area called La Albufera. It's famous because it's a gorgeus natural landscape (there's a natural park within) and there are plenty of rice plantations: the essential ingredient for paella. Valencians are well-known for their many recipes, especially paellas and other rice dishes. Horchata (tiger nut milk or almond milk) originates here as well. You can see the Albufera from AP7.

Location:
https://www.google.com/maps/search/albu ... a=!3m1!4b1

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Esproquet
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Joined: 18 Mar 2020 11:04
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Mountain passes

#305 Post by Esproquet » 21 Jul 2020 15:37

Sometimes you have to climb a mountain pass even in a main road, autovía or national road. These are called "Puertos de montaña" (mountain ports) in Spanish. Sometimes there's a tunnel, sometimes not, if you check the Spanish wikipedia pages of the different roads you can get access to the different elements that you can find in any major Spanish road (mountain passes, tunnels, junctions, exits...). Here's a quick recollection:

A-1 Autovía del Norte:
Puerto de Somosierra (1444m) around km 95-100.
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A2-AP2 Autovía del Nordeste:
Puerto de Alcolea (1218m) around km 135-140
Puerto del Frasno (770m) Around km 250
Puerto de Morata (680m) + tunnel, around km 255-260.


A-30, Autovía de Murcia:
Puerto de la Cadena (358m) after leaving Murcia southbound.

A-5 Autovía del Oeste
-Puerto de Miravete (624m), km 207


A-6 Autovía del Noroeste
-Puerto de Guadarrama (1511m), between km55-60
-Puerto de Piedrafita de Cebreiro/Piedrafita do Cebreiro (1099m), km431
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-Puerto de la Mora A-92, https://goo.gl/maps/QNxwGcZmfRU7w8xD7
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A-4 Autovía del Sur
-Paso de Despeñaperros (Located in the Natural Park of the same name): https://www.google.com/maps/place/Parqu ... 1026?hl=es
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Esproquet
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Mountain Passes 2

#306 Post by Esproquet » 22 Jul 2020 16:17

A-44 . Autovía Sierra Nevada-Costa Tropical.
-Puerto del Carretero. 1040 m. It's in The Granada-Jaén border. There's a speed control by radar.

https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archivo ... a_A-44.jpg
https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archivo ... sp_a44.png

Esproquet
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Joined: 18 Mar 2020 11:04
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A-66 Mountain Passes

#307 Post by Esproquet » 23 Jul 2020 08:35

Ruta de la plata (Silver Way) is how we call A-66.

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There are 3 main mountain passes, from South to North:

* Puerto de Béjar 924m, in the border between Extremadura and Castilla y León (Cáceres to Salamanca border).

* Puerto de Vallejera 1186m, 20 km north of Puerto de Béjar.

* Alto de Cuatro Calzadas 990m, 50 km north of Puerto de Vallejera.

Esproquet
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Joined: 18 Mar 2020 11:04
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Trucking through a mountain pass

#308 Post by Esproquet » 23 Jul 2020 09:13

When you drive a truck uphill, when it's heavily loaded you'll struggle to find power and lose speed, therefore you need to adapt to the circumstances. It was quite common to see brake problems (overheating) descending a long mountain pass before the invention of retarders and also a lot of realibility issues when climbing (lots of overheating). Nowadays with modern trucks that's not a big problem, however, roads are adapted to prevent these sort of problems:


Additional right lane for slow traffic, if you use the rest of the lanes, you must keep up a minimum speed:
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Signposts to warn about different speeds
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Normally trucks are prohibited overtaking.
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Gradient signpost
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Gravel emergency braking areas:
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https://www.google.com/maps/place/37%C2 ... -1.1561191


Some mountain passes can be closed during heavy snowfall. These are the signs they use to warn people (normally Autovías and autopistas are not closed, this may happen with national and secondary roads). Abierto: open, Con restricciones: restricted to certain vehicles/use of chains. Cerrado: closed.
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Esproquet
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Joined: 18 Mar 2020 11:04
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Cave houses

#309 Post by Esproquet » 23 Jul 2020 09:21

Right in the middle of A-92 there's an area inhabited by humans for a loooot of time (some say they are the oldest popupators of Europe), cave houses are testament and inheritance of their existence. I already posted something talking about Granada province, but here's some additional info, some examples of pics taken from the GoogleMaps car:

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.3196319 ... 312!8i6656
https://www.google.com/maps/@37.3201016 ... 312!8i6656
https://www.google.com/maps/@37.3204496 ... 312!8i6656

Esproquet
Posts: 95
Joined: 18 Mar 2020 11:04
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Lorca Castle and tunnel

#310 Post by Esproquet » 25 Jul 2020 17:06

Location: A-7
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Casti ... -1.7079003

The autovía A-7 passes underneath the castle, it's very beautifully illuminated at night.

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When you drive westward, you will encounter a viaduct first
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Then the tunnel:
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After that, you keep going uphill untill reaching the town of Puerto Lumbreras, there's a junction:

-Northern Route A-92N to Granada. This route keeps gaining altitude, it can be snowy in winter.
-Southern Route: A-7 to Almería. This route contains lots of hills, it's wavy, plenty of dry river beds and viaducts over them. It leads to the Tabernas desert.

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