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      November 2012 > In the Footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia

In the Footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia

Self-guided walking holidays in SpainImagine walking along a deserted beach on the coast of Almería in southern Spain. The sun is beating down and the only sound is the lapping of the waves on the shore. You look inland, up a long, winding dry river valley, your attention caught by a cloud of dust rising into the air.

It’s getting nearer and more vigorous, but the source of this sand storm has yet to reveal itself. Suddenly, with shouts and yells, hundreds of fierce-looking Arab warriors, armed to the teeth and whipping their camels along in a fury, come hurtling round the bend towards you, at their head a blond-haired, blue-eyed man, his white bisht blowing in the wake of his charge.

Self-guided walking holidays in SpainImprobable? Unlikely? Not if you’d been standing on this particular beach almost exactly 50 years ago, for this is just one of many locations in Almería that was used in the filming of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’.

The film was released to great acclaim on 10 December 1962, winning 7 Oscars, 4 BAFTAs and 5 Golden Globes. It depicts the true story of a British officer (played by Peter O’Toole) and his attempts to forge the various tribes of Arabia during the First World War into one force to drive out the Turks who had annexed much of the Middle East to the Ottoman Empire.

Filming was originally planned to take place in Jordan, but spiralling costs and illness forced the crew to move to Spain where many of the most famous scenes were filmed.

The aforementioned attack (on Aqaba) was filmed in a dry riverbed at Playa del Algarrobico, where a town of 300 buildings resembling Aqaba in 1917 was constructed; the attack on the train was filmed at Genovese Beach (below) south of San José on the Cabo de Gata; while the Plaza de España in the Moorish city of Seville stars as the officers' club in Cairo, and the Mudéjar pavilion was meant to represent Jerusalem.

Travel to the Coast of Almería today and all is calm and tranquil. The film-makers came here because the desert-like nature of the landscapes mirrored almost perfectly the deserts of Arabia. Even today, this is a remote, unspoiled region more reminiscent of Africa than Spain and boasting Europe’s driest, sunniest climate. It’s perfect for leisurely walking, year-round swimming and relaxing days on the beach – where the only footsteps you’ll see in the sand are your own.
Self-guided walking holidays in Spain

Posted: 16/11/2012 14:47:55 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: heritage, media, Spain

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