On the last two days of the field course, students work in groups on their own research projects exploring aspects of the geography of the Nerja region – ranging from studies of Quaternary deposits to the architectural identity of villages transformed by tourism. So, for much of the day I became a taxi driver, dropping off students measuring river morphology in the Chillar valley and others interviewing tourists and farmers in the picturesque village of Frigiliana. The day ended, though, with experiencing the unique rally environment of the upper Río de la Miel valley (see video), and then clambering up into the clouds to see the remains of the old fortress of Los Castillejos. That was before the night began!
The fourth day of our undergraduate field course based around Nerja saw us exploring the tensions between agriculture and tourist expansion in the villages of Maro and Frigiliana. It was interesting to see how much change has taken place over the last few years, with considerable expansion in the amount of holiday accommodation, accompanied by some evidence of agricultural decline. Yet, in part, the success of tourism is based very much on the landscapes created by a vibrant agricultural sector.
The second day of our urban exploration of Nerja led by Alasdair Pinkerton and Sara Fregonese – traditional architectures, urban origins, and cultural understandings of place…
The Geography Department at Royal Holloway, University of London, has been taking first year students to the Andalucian town of Nerja and its surroundings since the late 1990s. Below are just a few photos from the first day exemplifying
- that geography is about understanding the human interactions with the physical environment that shape places, and
- field trips should be about working hard and playing hard!
Video of panorama from Balcon de Europa