EL CAMINITO DEL REY – WHERE ONLY KINGS SHALL PASS

Vanderlei J. Pollack - Jun 8, 2009
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El Caminito del Rey is a shockingly narrow pathway along the steep walls of a gorge in El Chorro, Spain. Access is prohibited as several adrenalin seekers died here trying to cross it in 2000, which is why it became an even more powerful lure for adventurous travellers.

 

El Caminito del Rey is more than a century old walkway built along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, Spain. Workers of two hydroelectric power plants had to go through a lot of trouble to cross to the other plant and thus, in 1901, a narrow pathway was built to help them cross much faster. The tricky construction was finished in 1905 yet only when King Alfonson XIII paid his noble visit to the walkway in 1921 for the inauguration of the dam ‘Conde del Guadalhorce’ the path got its famous name. El Caminito del Rey literally means ‘The King’s Little Pathway’.

For nearly a century, the pathway attracted adventure tourists who could not get enough of the striking views over the gorge. The Caminito comes with a little twist – initially, the path itself was about 1 meter wide, yet maintenance has been seriously neglected and very often, there is not much to walk on except a metal rail on which the mortar structure lies. Except for a few exceptions along the way, there is no safety rail, thus there is absolutely nothing between the steep wall and a deep drop, anywhere between 100 to 700 feet. Talk about adrenaline.

Following the tragic deaths of four tourists, the authorities decided to close the path. Police often guard the beginning and have actually destroyed part of it to prevent anyone from being tempted. Nevertheless, the thrill is so intense many still sneak in to conquer the forbidden king’s pathway. And quite frankly, those who manage to reach the end alive have every right to call themselves true kings.

The positive news recently revealed is that the government is ready to raise finances for the reconstruction of the walkway. It is in a terrible state yet so many are attracted to its thrilling charm it is worth preserving this attraction. If everything goes according to plan, within the next five years, El Caminito del Rey will be as good as new.

 

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