Many, many years ago, during the Arabian ownership of Al Andalus, Mojacar was known as ´Muxacar´, and, indeed, was located on the hill in front of where it currently is.
Indeed, during the ´Reconquista´ of Al Andalus by the Catholic Kings, the capture and holding of Vera and Muxacar was considered to be an important victory for the army of Maestre Felipe de Aragon, the victorious son of the leader of the kingdom of Aragon, and head of the Military Order of Montesa, and was the launching point for his armies as they headed inwards towards Baza.
Now, the reason he stopped at Muxacar (Mojacar) that hot summers day in 1488, was because from Mojacar onwards the huge mountain ranges of the Sierra Nevada impeded the passage of the Catholic armies, protecting the few harbours and ports left to the Kingdom of the Nazari of Granada. So, they headed up the Levante valley, leaving the Sierra Cabrera to their left, towards Baza. Where, incidentally, Maestre Felipe of Aragon met his death in the siege of Baza, hit by a catapult.
500 years later, the now Spanish inhabitants of the area were equally stumped as to how to get along the coast. The old road from Mojacar to Carboneras (you think the current one is bad?) was long, arduous and took most of the day to reach. Hence, the little hamlet of Sopalmo flourished, as the last place to take on water before the long road to Carboneras.
Which leads me, in a long and roundabout way, to Bar Restaurante Sopalmo. Established by Maria in or around 1974 (I´ve forgotten the exact date, not that it matters), it was the first ´proper´ restaurant in Sopalmo, and probably only the third or fourth ´proper´ restaurant along the whole coast. She started off selling damned good slap up meals for very little, and still flourished doing just that.
For 10E or thereabouts, you get a proper, old fashioned ´menu del dia´, with a big salad, bottle of wine or beer and casera, starter, main course and pudding. All home made, in the kitchen, by Maria and her little elves.
She also does regional specialities, such as paella (a damned fine paella, too!), gurullos, and other dishes as it takes her fancy.
Outside, on the shaded patio, you can relax and chew the fat with other like minded locals – her bar has been a haven for the locals and residents since time immemorial.
The restaurant is small, but usually packed, seating around 30 covers, in a room just off the small bar. Most people prefer to sit outside, under the cover of the large trees that surround the tiny town square.
You can´t miss it, it´s on the left as you drive through Sopalmo towards Carboneras. Says ´Bar Restaurante Sopalmo´ on the awnings.
Marias also a bit of a firebrand, not only is she vice president of ´Levante sin Cables´, the association to stop Endesa putting up lots of high powered electric lines all over the Levante, but also is spearheading the effort to stop the village being plowed up in order to put through the new water pipes from the desalination plant in Carboneras.
Where is it?
|Bar Restaurante Sopalmo
On the left as you drive through Sopalmo, the last hamlet before Carboneras from Mojacar.