Up with the larks it was an early pickup and a short coach ride to the village of Seron. The members were split into two groups – one being dropped off at the base of the village and the other half of the group driven to the Planetarium.
Seron is a village situated on the northern slopes of the Sierra de los Filabres and, unbeknown to us, everything, apart from a couple of bars, is closed on a Monday. As its elevation is approximately 800m that would suggest that the only way is up, this for some was a struggle. A few of us took a deep breath and wended our way up the narrow, winding streets to the summit and the castle. The Castle dates to the thirteenth century Nasrid period and from here, visitors can see the entire Almanzora Valley, the Sierra de las Estancias and part of the province of Granada.
The Planetarium (inaugurated in May 2018) experience was amazing. On arrival at the site of the now-defunct railway station, we were given the opportunity to view the sun through two types of specially-filtered telescopes. We were then ushered into a dome-type building with seats around its perimeter and cushions placed behind our heads to give us comfort!! Raul, Graduate in Astrophysics and our “astronomy teacher”, requested that we tilt our heads back and look up (now we realised what the cushions were intended for). With a section of the inner roof unfolding, we were then taken for an experience travelling from earth to outer space and beyond, even landing in a crater on the moon and visiting the “dark side” of the moon. He explained the layout of the stars and moon through the seasons and the solar system. It is difficult for the uninitiated to put everything into words, but it was awe-inspiring to say the least and a not-to-be-forgotten experience.
It was then back on to the coach to pick up the first group and off to our lunch stop at Restaurante La Tejera in Olula del Rio. The tables were laid out in the function room and we were served a delicious menu del dia by the friendly waiting staff. Needless to say, the wine and beer were flowing. A fitting end to an interesting and exhausting day.
Thank you to Ian and Frank for organising the event.
If you are interested in visiting the Planetarium, details can be obtained from their website including information relating to the opening times, events and special openings. https://planetariodeseron.com/