Von Ryan’s Express Starring Frank Sinatra and a host of film stars of the day achieved this films success using (at the time) state of the art special affects using aeroplanes, trains and tanks. It was shot on location around Northern Italy in Cortina d’Ampezzo and Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station in Florence.
But, did you know that the railway sequence at the film’s conclusion was filmed in the limestone gorge of El Chorro and the area around the Caminito del Rey?
The voice over for the trailer just makes you want to get out to the cinema!
“El Caminito del Rey”, in English, “The King’s little pathway”) was initially built as an access route. It enabled workers at the hydroelectric power plants of El Chorro Gorge and Gaitanes Gorge with an easier way to transport materials, maintain and inspect the workings of the two power plants. Construction of the “walkway” began in 1901 and was finished in 1905 and in 1921 King Alfonso XIII visited and walked along the path for the inauguration of the Conde del Guadalhorce dam and since that time it became known as the “Kings path”
The original walkway was just 1 metre (3.3 ft) wide and in places more than 100 metres (330 ft) above the river below. From one end to the other is about 3KM. The path was constructed with concrete resting
on steel rails supported by stanchions at around 45 degrees driven into the rock face and for many years was in a highly deteriorated state with numerous sections collapsed and large open air gaps bridged only by the narrow steel rails. Very few of the original handrails existed but a safety-wire placed by climbers ran the length of the path. The area is a mecca for climbers and the Caminito del Rey became known as one of the most impressive and dangerous mountain trails in the world (as the many videos on you tube certainly demonstrate.) But, after several people lost their lives on the walkway (in 1999 and 2000) both access points were demolished by local authorities and access prohibited.
In June 2011 the regional government of Andalusia and the local government of Málaga agreed to share the costs of a restoration project (including car parking and a museum) but even with a budget of €9 million euros,the project took approximately three years to start and only in March 2014 the restauration work began.
In its new upgraded and repaired state the Camino del Rey has wooden and concrete flooring, glass-bottomed viewing and safety rails along the whole length.
The official opening ceremony took place in February 2015 and the Caminito del Rey is currently one of the most visited destinations in Andalucía.
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This is the screen shot of the online booking portal for the Caminito del Rey when it is overloaded with people trying to buy tickets… The message tells you where you are in the queue and also the warning “Do not close your browser or you will lose you place in the queue! The page will refresh untill the number reduces to zero and then will forward you to the booking portal.
I have had quite a few emails from people asking me why they can’t book 2022 caminito del Rey tickets (currently we are in September 2021) or in many cases any entry tickets more than a month or so in advance at any time of year.
The reason for this is that the online reservation system for the Caminito del Rey normally only opens up ticket availability for a period of around 8 weeks in advance. For example, in the second week of July 2021 tickets were made available for the months of August and September and it should be safe to assume that tickets for October and November 2021 will be made available sometime around the second week of September.
Working forwards, tickets for the Caminito del Rey in 2022 should become available in the second week of November for (December 2021 and January 2022).