In route with Joe Strummer to Granda and Almeria
It is more than 10 years since Joe Strummer left us. This artist, famous for his punk period with the well-known The Clash, was in love with spanish poet Lorca, Granada and Almeria coast, where he spent lost of time during his lasts years.
This is something which can be surprising for lots of people, but not for the ones who really knows him drinking rhum and coke at the famous Silbar – at calle Pedro Antonio de Alarcón in Granada- or for those ones that digg into his discography.
It was in the squat where he lived in London – despite being a world-renowned artist- living together with two girls from Málaga and a guy from Navarra, where Strummer once said that he wanted to set up a hardware store in Andalusia. Hence the documentary’s name by Antonio Jesús García and Javier Navarrete where he explains how the singer took refuge in Granada and Almería in search of anonymity and Carlos Prats directed under the title “I Want a hardware store in Andalusia “. All kind of anecdotes are explained in the documentary by his widow Lucinda Garland, vocalist of the band 091 José Antonio García a.k.a. ‘Pitos’, his first band drummer Richard Dudanski and Jem Finer, The Pogues’s component.
Another documentary about his stay in Spain is “I Need a Dodge ! ” by British director Nick Hall, that inquires about the location of the car he loved and he left forgotten in a garage in Madrid . By buying this Dodge, he wanted to go to Víznar, a population at 8 kilometers from Granada where Federico García Lorca was shot to death , with the crazy idea to buy a shovel at a hardware store, locate his grave and dig it up .
The fact is that Joe had great interest in the Spanish Civil War and Federico García Lorca. Thereby he wrote “Spanish Bombs” in his honor, one of the most emblematic The Clash’s songs . In 1984 he settled in Granada and spent long periods of time searching for himself and looking for disconnection in southern Spain’s land. Ten years after his death, the city he loved gave its name to a small square in the heart of Realejo, the old Jewish city’s quarter.
Joe Strummer Square
Due to the popular demand from fans on Facebook asking for Joe to be a part of the city, the City Council of Granada has ended up dedicating him a small space close to the Alhambra. In addition to his first wife, Gaby Slater, and his widow, Lucina Garland,an emotional concert in acoustic remembered the influential figure of the leader of The Clash. The features some Jose Antinio Garcia and Antonio Arias of 091 to which Joe godfather for “Más de 100 Lobos”, Paul Cook of The Mescaleros, Jem Finer of The Pogues or Richard Dudanski of the 101 ‘ers have done a review on some of the artist’s repertoire, without forgetting classics such as “Spanish Bombs” or “London Calling.
Las Gabias – Granada
In this village a few kilometers from the city of Granada, Joe Strummer was hosted at Gaby Contreras’s home, a radiologist nicknamed ‘the mad doctor’ by Joe and who was also close friend to Sid Vicious.
San José – Almería
During his long stay in southern Spain, Joe Strummer settled for a time in the small picturesque village of San José, in the Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Nijar. Bought a house to spend the summer and enjoy Mónsul and Genoese beaches. He spent the nights at Jo’s bar, the Red Fish that is now the Pez Azul – and . Fan of cantaor el Niño de Olivares, Strummer went regularly to Fernan Perez’s flamenco club to attend his performances.
In summer and coinciding with Joe’s birthday on August 21 they continue to schedule concerts in his memory at Jo’s bar in San José by Richard Dudanski’s band Doghouse -former The 101′ers’s drummer and whom Joe Strummer made his first foray into the world of music.
Desierto de Tabernas – “Straight to Hell”’s filming
Tabernas Desert is located about 30 kilometers from Almeria, in a desert area with a low rate of rainfall that becomes one of the driest in Europe. Although it has a tourist charm for having been the scene of the shooting of many spaghetti westerns like Death was priced or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and many others
Here the film Straight to Hell Alex Cox was filmed in 1987, starring Joe Strummer and the cameos by Dennis Hopper, Courtney Love, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello, Jim Jarmusch and members of bands Amazulu, The Circle Jerks and The Pogues. The Irish Pogues’s travel to Almeria inspired them in one of their most famous “Fiesta”. Straight to Hell is a parody of spaghetti westerns that was written in two or three days and was shot in four weeks.
I am Francisco Vasquez Garcia
I am welcome to Almeria
We have sin gas and con leche
We have fiesta and feria
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From sea and mountains
From sea to mountains, Almeria´s cuisine keeps the essence of every little town in the Apujarras, Sierra de los Filabres, Tabernas or Velez. Antique recipes still remains in these little towns. These popular recipes are cooked with the best ingredients collected from their lands and their rich coasts.
Its cuisine is very rich and comprises from amigas, fried potatoes, garlic soup, all kinds of seafood, operettas and paellas, grilled vegetables or the countless tapas route in the capital.
Gurullos and Nijar fish
Gurullos is a tough handmade dough from Muslim heritage made with durum wheat flour, water and salt.In the seaside towns of Almeria, the Gurullos are usually cooked with octopus and cuttlefish.
Let´s taste the best typical dishes from Almeria, made with high quality ingredients in Restaurante La Ola, located in the Isleta del Moro (Little Muslim Island), inside the Cabo de Gata National Park.
There you will enjoy magnificent views of the Mediterranean Sea while waiter serves you fresh fish, sailor casserols, red prawns and paella. Every single ingredient is really fresh, no doubt about it! Because in Restaurante La Ola they have their own fishing boat and the go fishing every day.
Zarzuela in Roquetas de Mar
Roquetas is a very picturesque place that retains the truly essence of the sailor towns and its tradictional fish auction. The supply of fruits and vegetables and also seafood guarantees the quality of its cuisine. To make a good Zarzuela we need to mix fish and seafood like crayfishes, prawns, mussels, clams, lobsters, squids and rockfishes.
Come to any of the port side restaurants, like Restaurante Nido or El Chiringuito de Paco and taste the best fish and zarzuelas.
Sailor stews and red prawns from Garrucha
Garrucha is a sailor village where you can find a hugh variety of good quality fresh fish and seafood. Here, recipes are quite simple but anything else is needed when primary ingredients can bring you to heaven. Red prawn from Garrucha is bigger and has a dipper red color than usual prawn and it is one of the best Mediterranean seafood.
You can find these simple dishes in El Almejero, located in Explanada del Puerto of Garrucha. Ideal to eat the best red mullet and grilled prawns with amazing sea views.
Garden products and fish from El Ejido
Greenhouses vegetables from el Ejido are exported every year to almost the wide world. There is nothing better than taste the Mediterranean healthy recipes in El Ejido, made with the best garden vegetables and excellent seafood.
The best place to enjoy it is La Costa (Avenida Bulevar de El Ejido, 48), an excellent restaurant with one Michelin star where its chef Jose Álvarez provides it with a sofisticated atmosphere.
Almond cake or oil cake from Velez
In Velez, 35 kilometers away from the capital, some varieties of dry fruits like grapes, olives and almonds are grown. This is the reason why its cuisine uses these products in particular.The most typical dessert from Velez is the oil cake, a recipe known for 50 years!
Patatas a lo pobre (poor style potatoes) at El Quinto Toro
Although at first view it seems a simple dish, it is not so easy to get a good dish of poor style potatoes. The recipe is simple with sliced potatoes, onion, oil, white wine and salt and you can eat a very good one at El Quinto Toro, Juan Leal 6 of Almeria.
Migas and some other tapas at Casa Puga
Find a place in La Puga (Jovellanos 7 )and choose from a wide variety of tapas: fried fish, meats, cheese, smoked fish, scrambled garlic, prawns and snails. Maybe La Puga is a little bit more expensive than other establishments in the same area but it is one of the most recognized good tapas place in the city. And don´t forget to ask for somemigas(crumbs)!
The Ajoblanco at La Encina
The garlic soup is a very common snack in Almeria. A thick cream with almonds, garlic, olive oil and vinegar, served with toast spread or as an accompanient to some dishes. Almeria is a land of excellent almonds, so it is used in many recipes.
If you are walking around the city center, taste it at La Encina (Marin, 6), and taste also theis cold raf tomatoe soup, hake pie or marinated sardines.
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Poblado Spaghetti Western Townslos Spaghetti Western
About 30 kilometres from Almeria is Tabernas, a very dry desert region of Spain that is one of the driest areas in Europe. In spite of that, the area has cultivated a certain tourism charm due to having been used as the set for numerous spaghetti westerns (including For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) and over one hundred westerns.
Some of those sets are still standing; three Western towns that Sergio Leone built for his films and that have since become a tourist attraction for people wishing to see live shows performed by stuntmen. They are: the town of El Fraile, the so-called Mini Hollywood, the first to be built and the set used on For a Few Dollars More; the larger town of Fort Bravo, which was used on ‘For a Few Dollars More’ and ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’; and Western Leone.
It is also possible to explore the Tabernas Desert nature reserve by following the numerous low-difficulty hiking routes that have been prepared for visitors.
Picture by Gordito1869
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Cabo de Gata Natural Park
Located 30 Km from the city of Almeria, the Cabo de Gata is the most important natural park in the entire Mediterranean region due to its size and ecological significance. Visitors can enjoy some spectacular walks, sunbathing on its virgin beaches, bird watching in the marshes and wetlands, water sports, visiting its charming villages, cycling or horse riding.
The Natural Park comprises the entire area between the towns of Cabo de Gata and Carboneras. Along the way can be found a large number of small, particularly charming villages, such as San José, Las Negras, La Isleta del Moro, Agua Amarga and Rodalquilar.
The best beaches are those of Mónsul, Playa de los Muertos in Carboneras, El Playazo de Rodalquilar, La Fabriquilla in Cabo de Gata, and the bays of San Pedro and De Enmedio, along with many others.
Picture by Mihael Grmek
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