Covid Precautions

Just a short continuation of the previous post [ link ].

We’ve been here in Spain now for four days, today is Thursday, we landed on Monday.

IMG_3958The wearing of masks in public is mandatory pretty much everywhere, unless you’re sat at a table eating or drinking. If you stand up to pay, or visit the toilet, you have to put your mask on. If you walk along the street, or the beach, you have to wear a mask. Even cyclists wear masks, although other activities that can be considered sport, such as running/jogging are exempt from masks.

You have to sit in the back of taxis unless there is a need to use the passenger seat. All must wear masks.

We’ve got used to it.

It felt weird at first, but as everyone else is wearing them, we soon got used to it ourselves. Up here, away from the more congested (but not very congested) paseo (sea front) it’s much easier to walk without a mask and generally, people simply put their mask back on if they come across someone else walking their way. We have heard stories however, of police cars stopping and fining folks for not wearing them, so if we hear a car, we put the mask back on.

I’m mainly using the disposable type as they are cooler and much easier to adjust so that my sunglasses don’t get (too) steamed up. We each have another one that has all sorts of protective stuff built into it and that’s a good second choice as it fits nicely – but it is hot in the weather here. All in all, the wearing of masks is not too onerous.

The car is now repaired and serviced.

IMG_5652I called out the mechanic the other day and he got it started, I took it for a 20-minute run afterwards and then on Wednesday, it wouldn’t start again. So, the mechanic came back out, started it and took it back to his workshop (it was booked in for a service today anyway). He rang about 14:00pm to say it was ready, so I jumped on my scooter, caught the train in to Fuengirola and the scooted up to the workshop on the Coin Road from Costa Mijas. Shopped at Mercadona, filled the car up came home. And finally, NOW I’m here!

And finally, newer Covid rules and ones that don’t affect us directly:

  • The beach is closed from 21:30hrs – 07:00hrs – I guess this is aimed at stopping those daredevil youngsters from congregating in the dark. All it seems to have done is push them up into the campo behind us.
  • Smokers can only smoke in public if they are 2 metres away from anyone else, even if that someone else is their husband/wife/partner. This is causing much upset in bars etc. where they are used to being able to smoke outside.

 

We’re back.

So, we’re back in Spain. For just how long, I don’t know, but we’re here to sort out some things with the apartment, to get the car serviced and insured and – if possible, to relax. As it is for many others, 2020 hasn’t been the best of years.

The flight was unexpectedly relaxing. We had been worried about the Covid restrictions and travelling with others, but it was all ok in the end. We started yesterday by taking our first train ride since February (in to town) and then our second, to the airport. Both trains were much less than full and it was easy to socially distance. Wearing our masks all the time however, took some getting used to.

Arrived

We had stayed in a hotel earlier in August, so the mask/sanitiser routine was not unexpected. We had a lovely meal there (much better than the restaurants we find next to the Premier Inn type hotels). I had gravadlax followed by pan fried sea bass on crushed potatoes and Sharon had a tasty frittata followed by sticky toffee pudding. We shared a ‘red pepper hummus’ with flat bread while we waited. All really tasty. Also, as the beers were all of that cold, wet chemical variety, I had Guinness – not the best choice 😦

Friends are staying at our home, while we’re away. They’re looking after the place and enjoying a ‘sort of’ break of their own – it’s been really difficult for people to know what to do about their holidays this year. We will have to quarantine ourselves for two weeks when we get home too, unless things change while we’re here, but ‘hey ho’

Because we don’t know what the future will bring we have not, as yet got our flight home booked. So many things are still in the air.

Cannot tire of this view

When we planned to come here at this time (way before the Corona Virus was a ‘thing’ anywhere but China) we knew that we would see Carol and Mick as they would be coming to Alessandra round about the same time. Later in September, Peter and Linda would be coming along to use their allocation of 916. However, neither of those journeys are going to happen now, mainly because of insurance difficulties, but also the necessary quarantine upon return. We’re risking the insurance thing ourselves as the U.K. Gov. have banned all but ‘essential’ travel to Spain. However, we feel that our visit is technically ‘essential’ as we’d not known that our apartment here would be left unattended and unserviced for so long when we left it way back in February. We do have private health insurance over here, and car insurance, which includes an element of of legal help. Also the apartment insurance is Spanish. (So, fingers crossed).

I am drafting this on the airplane. Our Ryanair flight to Malaga is only half full and once again, social distancing has been easy. Continued wearing of the mask is strange but not problematic and everyone else is adhering to the rule. Security was hassle free in Manchester and the plane began boarding as soon as the gate was announced, so there were no queues – once again we were socially distanced. At Malaga, we had to present our QR Code for Covid-19 health check. This is generated when you fill in the Spanish Authority’s questionnaire prior to flying. There were many others however, that were caught out and had to fill in the questionnaire at the airport, potentially causing queues.

More later, when we’ve been here a few days. I’ve just had to call the mechanic because the car won’t start – lol.

Happy New Decade

After N.Y. Eve, we spent quite a lot of New Year’s Day with Tony and Gill, David and Gail. We had set off walking towards Marsden around 10:30am and took a fairly easy route to begin with as Sharon had a sore heel. Once we got to Park Gate Road, we left Sharon to hobble on into Marsden, whilst the rest of us did a bit of hill work. 

We all met up outside The Riverhead, just before it opened. Then we had a couple of drinks and walked back to our place, where I had prepared us all a nice warming lunch of Leek and Potato soup.

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We arrived back in Spain on 3rd January.

Jim and Yvette where staying in 916 at the time, so we joined them at Marleen’s for a pizza. We’d ordered a take-away as we would possibly be late arriving (and it was quiz night) but they were going down anyway – so we had a few beers and a late-ish supper.

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Over the next few days, until they returned home on the 8th, we joined them to visit various places for food – some successful, some not. Sharon and I had been turned away from Casa Pepe’s one Sunday in December (we’d spent a few days here after my birthday) because they were entertaining a private party, so we were surprised when the same thing happened again when we tried to get in with Jim and Yvette.  I think the party must have been breaking up because ‘William’ started chasing us and shouting (presumably, “don’t go”) as we walked towards Marleen’s. We pretended deafness.

Jim, Yvette and I walked up to Mijas one day too.  And back down!  We ate a late lunch at Bar Pepe in Los Boliches – which was delightful. Sharon picked us up afterwards. IMG_2687

After Jim and Yvette had gone home, we had a few days alone before Billy and Angela joined us for a week. 

During our time alone, we took a stroll around the Decembocadura del Guadalhorce. There, we made it as far as the beach and had a lovely picnic overlooking the sea and the river mouth.

Billy and Angela are looking to buy somewhere that they can stay in over winter but where they can rent out over summer, to make the place pay for itself. At times when they were not looking at properties, we took them to see various places in the region. These included a trip to Castillo Monumento Colomares, and a visit to La Cala de Mijas. We also attended a quiz night at Marleen’s – we didn’t win, but did come second.IMG_2705The weather here, for the first three weeks of 2020 has been fabulous. Nevertheless, it’s colder now and rainy, but we cannot complain really.

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Back to Blighty

We’re home now, after our long time away. We know that we’re very lucky to have the opportunity and the ability to visit Spain for so long each year. Long may that opportunity and ability last.IMG_2355

We showed Graham and Sue the way to the Stupa, high above the Benalmádena coast on their last full day.

Our walk took us past the El Higuerón restaurant, where we stopped for breakfast. The views from here are terrific and on a clear day I suspect that you could see Gibraltar. We could see Africa in the very pale distance.

Sharon and I have walked past El Higuerón many times before but have only just recently stopped there for a coffee. Their coffee is nice and tasty and like the breakfast, reasonably priced. The evening meals however, look quite expensive. Maybe one day, I’ll save up and try it.

IMG_9995The views from the Stupa (which is close to the Butterfly House) are also terrific, but here and here abouts there is a lot of building work going on. Spain seems to have recovered big-time from the recession.

Just before we set off on our walk, I had been by train to Benalmádena to collect my Tarjeta Dorada, but found the office closed! Grrr. I did eventually go back again the following Tuesday and managed to collect it. That day (the day I eventually collected my card) I arrived, joined the queue (which was out as far as the entrance door) and watched the shutters come down on la taquilla (the ticket office). Groan.  Much of the queue then disappeared but two folks in front of me stayed put, so I thought ‘they must know something’ and decided to stay – we like queueing, us Brits.

Fifteen minutes later the shutters came up again, just after two security guys walked out of the side door with wheelbarrows full of cash. So that was the reason he was temporarily closed. The envelope that contained my new ticket was stamped 9th October, so it wouldn’t have been ready the previous Tuesday anyway. I do wonder though, if the office closes at the same time every day, or every Tuesday.

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We flew back on the Thursday, exactly six weeks after arriving there. We left the apartment at 07:50am and walked down to the train in the semi-dark dawn. The colours over the Mediterranean, as the sun began to rise, were stunning. I managed to use my new card today too – the price of train travel on the Cercanias rail line have risen recently (Sharon paid €2.55) but my card allowed me to buy my ticket for the old price of €1.25!  Bargain. However, the train we had gone for (the 08:24am) was cancelled and we had to wait for the 08:44am.

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After that, everything went really smoothly. EasyJet to Manchester, 14:20pm train to Huddersfield, picked up by Betony, Josh and Chester and then out later, to Carol’s to enjoy a lovely meal she had prepared for us and Mick. Thank you.

Prior to coming home, Huddersfield has been deluged for weeks, but on the day of our arrival it was gloriously sunny and as warm as you might expect for mid-October. It’s back to wet and miserable now – but thank you for allowing the sun to welcome us home.

Dos ferias

It was another week before David and Gail flew back home to the UK, so we did see more of them for meals etc. which was nice.  David also took me back up to the Opal Garage on their last Monday, to pick the car up after its quite expensive repair at the Opal Garage.

On Tuesday, the 24th September, Sharon and I caught the train into Benalmádena, so that I could apply for the new supplementary security card to go alongside my Tarjeta Dorada.  I’d had to have a photocopy of my passport and a passport photo prepared for this document.  We had walked on to Fuengirola to do this first, but the queue there was very long.  We then found the queue to be no shorter in Benalmádena!  We waited 45 minutes to hand in my application, pay my €2 and be told to return in ‘ocho dias’.  Suffice to say that I have been back since (after catorce days) and it still wasn’t ready.

The weeks since we arrived have been particularly hot, but we did manage to walk on to the castle on Thursday. We had to keep skipping in and out of shaded roads though. We ate at Café Cosa del Sol on the way back.

IMG_2278Sue and Graham arrived on Sunday 29th, so we met them at teatime and walked into Los Boliches for a couple of beers and some tapas at Bar Pepe. Sharon and I had a quiet couple of days then, on Monday and Tuesday eating Carrillada on the Monday (with mashed potatoes) and then baked salmon and ratatouille on Tuesday.  We joined Graham and Sue for tea at their place on Wednesday, for vegetable curry – which was nice.  I tried to make some nan breads to go with this but they didn’t work out that well.

Then on Thursday 3rd October, it was quiz night at Marleen’s.  We were a team of four, with Graham and Sue, and we did quite well – we didn’t win but came second or third. We’d tried to eat early so that the table was clear during the quiz, but that didn’t quite work out.  This was out second quiz night, we did the one two weeks ago with David and Gail and we did come second that time – however, we found that eating and quizzing did not go together well.

IMG_2266On the 5th October, we went with Graham and Sue to the cheese festival at Teba.  This was interesting and well worth the hour plus journey to get there.  Teba isn’t too far from the lakes close to Caminito del Rey, so it’s well worth another visit one day.  The choice of cheeses was superb, there were over 50 stalls, all providing tasters. We bought some cheese, some bread, some croquettas and some plastic forks and drove over to the lakes for a picnic in the sun.

Monday 7th was the big parade in Fuengirola for the Feria del Rosario. We’d hoped to see lots of horse riding and horse and carts but the main event was seeing hundreds of people dressed in traditional dress (the women were stunning) and either carrying, or following a huge statue of Rosario.

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Graham and Sue joined us that evening for dinner as the sun set.  We planned to see the evening’s fireworks which would celebrate the feria.  We were not disappointed.

The fireworks lasted 15 minutes and they were fabulous.  We had some of the blue cheese we’d bought on Saturday, on sesame biscuits with fresh fig as a starter and then followed that with Baked Salmon and ratatouille with a cheesy potato on the side. Sharon had made some chocolate pudding, but we had some strawberry tart that Sue had brought first – two puddings!

Picnic-Kioski

Things have been quiet since then, we went into Los Boliches on Wednesday, forgetting that Bar Pepe closes on a Wednesday and ate instead at Grand Café Santé.  Review on Trip Advisor.

Car problems and some days away

Well, the car passed its MoT (ITV) and had its service, but because of some odd ‘warnings’ I’d seen on the dashboard earlier in the year, we decided to have a full computer diagnosis too. This turned out to be inconclusive. ITVThe car therefore, had to go to the main Opal dealer, which it did on our second Monday.  On each occasion, I scootered back from dropping the car off, but David very kindly took me to collect the car at the end of the day.

The guy at Opal, Francisco, spoke good English and seemed to know exactly what was wrong with the car, according to the computer. He gave me a quote, which wasn’t cheap and showed me the two things that were causing our problems – one of them was quite a meaty piece of kit. So, once again, it was booked in for the following Monday (our third).

Before the second Monday above, we had a quiet weekend, which started with dinner at David and Gail’s, in 916.  Then on our second Tuesday, after being assured that the car was ok until its upcoming repair, we set off for the Costa Tropical.  David and Gail hadn’t visited the area before, so we were the tour guides.  We stopped at Almuñécar, for a walk around and a bit of lunch, before finishing our journey in Salobreña, where we were to stay in the Hotel Avenida Tropical.

It was a little grey and overcast as we arrived in Almuñécar, so we didn’t do an awful lot before stopping fimg_2192.jpgor lunch just up behind the botanical park. The (free) tapas here was a large plate (for four) of fried calamari, baby squid and one mussel (I was lucky!). David had a little, Sharon none and so Gail and I had a ball. It was delicious. Sharon had a lovely tuna and tomato dish, while Gail and I shared a quite poor seafood paella. David had a sandwich.

After dropping off out bags at the hotel, we all walked up into the white town, but just as we were about ready for a drink all of the shops and bars up there had started to close. So, we decided not to venture up there that evening, just in case they were closed on Tuesday evenings too.  

We had a drink in a chiringuito on the beach later and had pickled fish and sour olives as tapas.  We then headed for one of the restaurants that Sharon and I had liked previously but it too was closed, so we ended up with a less than average meal at la Bodega.  Gail had a fairly small fish dish; David had a Solomillo dish, which was ‘ok’, I had a fabulous piece of cod in a very tasty tomato sauce and Sharon had a very poor salad, topped with all sorts of tinned goods, overcooked eggs and not much tuna.

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The day after, Wednesday, we drove up into the mountains, the Alpujarras. Sharon and I had explored the area last year, so we simply headed for Pampaniera, as we knew that that was the place to see. The day was very hot and the journey up the winding mountain roads hadn’t been easy for Gail, so it was far enough. We managed to find a parking place easy enough and spend a lovely few hours exploring, viewing and best of all, eating.

Las Alpajurras

We stopped at one of the small backstreet bodegas. It initially looked closed but once we’d managed to rouse the bodega-keeper, we were treated to some excellent food. We simply asked for a plate of ham, a plate of cheese and a plate of tomatoes. It was wonderful. The local tomatoes were simply delicious.

We then, slowly worked our way back down the mountain and although we might have had a coffee in Orgiva, it was closed! So, we headed back to Salobreña, where we were able to have a short break before going out for dinner.

We had dinner at Restaurante El Penon, which is built onto the rock that separates the two main beaches of Salobreña.  The restaurant is a lovely venue, where you can watch the sun set in the west while you eat.  I’ve written a review on Trip Advisor.  I’ll link directly when it’s been published. Direct link

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September 2019 – 1

We arrived in Spain again, just less than a week ago. Because of delays to our flight we didn’t actually get into the apartment until after 11.00pm. It’s worth noting here too, that the frequency of trains from Malaga Airport changes from three an hour to two an hour after 10:00pm. So instead of xx:02pm, xx:22pm and xx:42pm, they become 10:12pm and 10:42pm until 11:42pm.

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Friday was spent sorting out the apartment, cleaning the car (it had become very dirty again as the local roadworks were being completed) and shopping. We then joined David and Gail at Marleen’s that evening for dinner.  They are both here for most of September and when they go, Graham and Sue will replace them in 916.

As there were quite a few bits of ‘stuff’ in our tiny freezer, I decided to use as much of it as possible before we set off for Salobreña (next week).  So, on Saturday I defrosted some chicken and made a make-shift curry, with basmati rice.  Sharon and I went up to Mijas on Saturday too, to see what their ‘feria’ looked liked.  I’m afraid it hadn’t really started, so we were not up there long.

Mijas

We both walked on to Fuengirola on Sunday morning for a spot of light lunch at Café Costa Del Sol. They do a sandwich called Entrepan, which is basically two slices of toast, with filling. I tend to have the one with smoked salmon. That evening, we accompanied David and Gail to Bar Casa Pepe.  This was our second, David and Gail’s first, visit to the restaurant since it had new owners. It tends to cater for the tourist, rather than the local Spanish, but the food is tasty, even if the portions are a little on the large side.

Monday was ensalada rusa day – I made a pot of it and that what we had with salad, for tea and for lunch on Tuesday. We spent Tuesday morning at the Ayunamiento in Fuengirola – sorting out some bills, which the bank had missed, when changing from Santander to Sabadell. It was much quieter today than whenever we’ve been before, we will have to remember: the day children go back to school in September. All four of us walked down to Los Boliches that evening to eat at Casa Mavi, which is just up the road from the Santander bank. Sadly, this wasn’t our best choice and we were fairly underwhelmed. My pizza was rock hard (in a nice way, but impossible to cut even with a steak knife) and the promised (and eagerly anticipated) topping of ‘Italian Sausage’ was quite disappointing. The wilted ‘Napolitan’ broccoli (friarielli) was soggy and tasted very overcooked.

Castle

Today, Wednesday, I took the car in for its annual service. Tomorrow it will have its MoT (ITV) and all being well, it will be ok for another year (two years in the case of ITV). The British Mechanic is based right over the far side of town, so once I’d dropped the car off, I scootered down to the front, by the castle and then back along the paseo. Lovely morning.

A few days away

We arrived at Michelle and James’s apartment just before lunchtime, unpacked and then set off to buy food etc. at Mercadona, down in La Linea.  What we should have realised, but didn’t give it a thought, was that July 16th is ‘chuck a virgin in the sea’ day!  Although we have experienced this celebration before, we ate out that time, so we hadn’t realised that it was a bank holiday and that all the supermarkets would be closed!  Aldi, Lidl, Carrefour and Mercadonna in La Linea were all closed. Cerrado!  We’d left our passports back at base as we had no intention of going in to Gibraltar today – however, if we were to eat, we would have to go into Morrison’s in Gib. (We did later see a Dia Market open – but by then it was too late).

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A river, seen on our way back from Jerez.

So we came back, picked up English money along with our passports and joined the always-there queue into Gibraltar. The queue started at the car park just outside Gib, which was full (completo), and almost an hour later we were in Morrison’s car park – about 15 minutes of that was me getting lost looking for Morrisons!  As we had things to shop for (exclusively in Gib), including Sharon’s wedding anniversary present, we marched straight up to Main Street, shopped and returned to the supermarket.  Here, we had our, by now late, lunch in the supermarket café – we shared a salmon sandwich and a scone.  Then, we packed up the car, filled it with lead-free (£1.01 per litre) and set off to join the queue to get out of Gib!  Just 20 minutes this time though – six columns of traffic being allowed out two at a time (those two merging in to one at the gate). This might have been slightly quicker, but traffic was held up in La Linea. Where we would normally turn right to drive around the coast, everyone had to turn left due to the feria set up just outside the border.  We spent that night reading.

On Wednesday morning, we set off for a walk down to the beach about 09:00am.  At one point we were escorted off the golf course, because we had strayed too far – lol.  We strolled along the beach and then back for a coffee in ‘The Square’.  After walking back up the hill, I went for a swim in the pool before it got too busy – because it does get (and has been) busy.  We didn’t do an awful lot more that afternoon, simply read and relaxed.

On Thursday, we drove up to Jerez for the night.  However, Jerez, deserves a post of its own, see it here: https://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2019/07/22/jerez-de-la-frontera/

We got back on Friday after detouring along the way to go around some lakes. But that diversion wasn’t too successful. There were lakes, but they were pretty inaccessible; there were also miles and miles of heavy-duty roadworks for us to shake, rattle and roll along.  We called in to Gibraltar, to refill the car (£1.01 per litre) and then spent an hour getting out of Gib and back in to Spain. Getting in was easy at this tme (16:00pm) but getting out was ‘something else’.  Hey ho.

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That evening we ate at La Finca, just up the road from where we were staying.  Michelle and James had been delayed en route back from the UK, so didn’t join us there as originally planned.  We began with a couple of nice starters.  One was lettuce leaves with a tasty, sharp/sweet topping and the other was an empanadilla of feta cheese and caramelised onion both of which were delightful. We then shared Massaman curry and Hoi Sin Noodles. Neither were easy to share, but both were really tasty – we took at least half back for the Gracias.  The pudding was weird. It was like they had put the weirdest flavours of ice cream into some Durex, shaped these into balls and then re-froze. Truly unpleasant.

After a nice breakfast in The Square with Michelle (James and Ewan had gone surfing) we came back to base in Torreblanca, where Billy and Angela were waiting to greet us.

Worth a read.

https://drinksint.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/8026/Sherry:_Needs_a_new_course.html

Early July – ’19

IMG_1739We don’t usually bother with Spain in July or August as the heat can be oppressive.

However, due to the building repair works required towards the end of our last visit, we had to leave the apartment in some disarray.  With Billy and Angela due (according to both our diaries) on the 14th July, we have come out to put the place right and to enjoy some time with Carol and Mick who are staying elsewhere in Edeficio Alessandra and for us to have a short stay at James and Michelle’s place near Gibraltar.

We arrived late on the Thursday evening, having caught the 16:30pm (ish) Ryanair flight to Malaga.  Leeds-Bradford was chaos this time, absolute bedlam!  There were lots of Jet2 flights leaving mid-afternoon and it being just before the school holidays, they were jam packed.  However, our plane left on time and although it was still light when we arrived, we had plenty of time to unpack before going down for the take-away pizza we’d ordered for 22:00pm.  Carol and Mick joined us for a drink (and to watch us eat our pizza) when they came back up from Los Boliches. We spent pretty much all of the Friday rearranging and cleaning the apartment.

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Everything had had to be removed from our terrace and was scattered around the apartment, mainly in the spare bedroom. So there was much cleaning and vacuuming to be done too.  What’s more, because all of the roads around our block are being dug up and repaired, we had to clean the car as well – it was impossible to see out of the windows and some scallywags had written all over it. It’s only been a couple of months!

We met Carol and Mick that evening for a few drinks in Los Boliches and eventually, a meal at Mason Salvador.  I had Abanico Iberico, another new cut for me to remember alongside Secreto and Pluma, other non-prime, but delicious cuts of pork. Splendid.  88639969-7a77-45a6-8058-593233046071

On Saturday, Michelle had arranged to come up with James and see her mum.  We eventually joined them on the beach and after a while had a delicious (late) lunch at the Chiringuito Andalucia Playa. That evening, because we had had a late and filling lunch, Carol and Mick joined us for some cheese, some nibbles and some drinks on the terrace.

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Fuente de Niña

On Sunday, we drove up to Mijas, again with Carol and Mick and strolled around there for a while.  After ice-cream and coffee, we drove over to Benalmádena Pueblo for another stroll and a light lunch opposite the Fuente de Niña.  As we had thought that Billy and Angela were arriving today, we had booked a meal for that evening at Restaurante Montemare, so despite being down to four, we ate there anyway.  Billy and Angela are in fact coming next week, so we will still see them, but not today.

We spent quite a lot of Monday on the beach with Carol and Mick before having some apple pie and coffee at Granier in Los Boliches and catching the first bus back up the hill.  Later we ate at Bar Casa Pepe, re-opened just this year.  Now called William’s Casa Pepe, the menu has changed completely. There are now dishes on there, from around the world and we were none of us stuck with what to order.

Carol and Mick flew home on Tuesday and we drove down to James and Michelle’s place, that morning. More soon.

A short trip

This has been another unusual visit.

Unusual inasmuch as we’re only away for a few days, rather than moving our lives out here for several weeks – which would be more usual.

As I’d said in a previous post (The ides of March), Sharon had fallen ill early in in her March visit and for reasons too lengthy to go into here, we came home early to get her checked out. That done (not overly successfully), we have returned to Spain for about 10 days.17362447_222205938258175_5676946301729226254_n

David and Gail are out here at the same time, so we have had lots of company, which has also made it feel more like a holiday than usual. We joined them at Marleen’s the first evening we were here and they joined us on a trip to Barra de Zappata, in Malaga, where Sharon and I visited in December, 2017 (see that post). We caught the 16:04 train from Torreblanca and took them to the Alcazaba first, as soon as we arrived in Malaga. I’ve never seen it so busy – it must have been the time of day. After a walk around the city and a couple of drinks we went for our meal.

This consisted of …

Three Tapas: Russian Salad (like we’ve never had before), Morcilla, Chistorra,
A Salad: Cruchy chicken salad
and a ‘champion’ dishPulpo.
(My apologies – I cannot find a copy of the menu online anywhere – so no ‘real’ menu names.)

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Sharon’s strength is improving day by day and we’ve had a few walks. Unfortunately, the first one we had to take was ‘up the hill’ from the train station on the night that we arrived as there were no taxis and we’d missed the last bus.  There were no taxis because the Feria de los Pueblos was opening that night and it appeared that the queue at the taxi rank outside Hotel Fuengirola had been waiting ages. Hey ho.  

Another walk was along the front and into Fuengirola for lunch at Café Costa Del Sol and yet another was down the hill to the Anchor Bar, close to the Maxi Mart, where we’d gone to buy milk for the weekend. The Anchor bar is a nice oasis – not especially sunny in the evening but welcoming.  We only had two drinks (Sharon just had sin-alcohol, I had normal sized cañas) but the nibbles were great. We were even given a tapa of bruschetta. Tapas are unheard of down here on this part of the coast, unless you buy them separately.

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Anchor Bar

We also walked down on our first full day to meet David and Gail in Los Boliches, to watch the procession for the Feria de los Puebos. This procession took quite a long time to pass and was supported by maybe a hundred thousand people – it certainly looked like Wembley Way after a big match. We sampled some of the food (all of which looked magnificent) but were not over impressed with the bits we ate. Again; hey ho.

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Another day, we took a walk up in the hills behind us and had a picnic outside the old house at Alcaparra.  We begin by walking up towards Rancho La Paz, passing Cortijo Alegria on our left and then turning right back down towards the coast. The old house is about 150 metres on the right. It has stunning views, but sadly it has, over the years become more and more dilapidated. Part of the back wall has now fallen, so how long it will be here, I cannot say. The grassy lawn is more overgrown that it was last year and the year before (obviously), but not in a nice way.  This time of year usually brings a big show of colour from the wild flowers but we didn’t see much evidence on this walk. Nevertheless, despite Sharon’s reduced choices of food, we still had a nice salad with egg and tuna.

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We arranged to meet Michelle and James for lunch in Benahavis. David and Gail joined us and we met them at the market ground car park, south of the town and walked up. It was a lovely hot day and we had a nice time chatting with each other as we walked. We had lunch at Los Abanicos. We shared a good few dishes but for me, the two stand-out dishes were the Carrillada (which was well cooked, well sauced and succulent) and the Solomillo de Cerdo; a whole pork fillet, perfectly cooked and served covered with a delicious cream and garlic sauce. Sharon’s salad seemed to be a hurried affair – not cared for the as much as our other main dishes. All in all, a very nice meal.

And soon, we will be on our way home.

The apartment is in some disarray however due to repair works on the outside wall of the building. We had been told that the repair men might need to check/repair bits of the inside wall too, so as advised, we have moved everything out of the terrace and into – well, everywhere else – including the spare bedroom. With Billy and Angela due to visit in July, we have had to book another trip out here to put it right (hopefully, they will have finished the repair work by then). See you in July.