Archive for the ‘Costa del Sol’ Category

New Year 2018

Tony and Gill joined us here for a week just after Christmas.  They arrived safely on the 29th December, after being stuck on the runway at Leeds/Bradford Airport for over three hours due to a heavy snowfall.

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We went to Marleen’s for tea, as I hadn’t cooked anything due to their delay. The food was fine, but neither Tony nor Gill enjoyed their salads as they were not exactly what we English expect a salad to be. Having said that, I enjoy eating René’s pretty much lettuce-free salads.

Tony and GillThe next day, we walked up to Mijas, had lunch at Bar Alarcon and walked back down, via the Bar: Peña Caballista La Retama De Mijas. The weather was fabulously warm and sunny and I think that we all felt the heat that day.  We Drove down to Los Boliches for supper and after finding Bar Pepe closed, we ate at the busy, very Spanish, bar on Avenue de Los Boliches, that appears to have no name.  We had two delicious tapas each and seven drinks between us there, all for less than €12!!!.

On New Year’s Eve, we drove down to Gibraltar where accommodation had been arranged for us by Michelle and James. Carol joined us there and in the evening, we all went to Grand Battery House for a family and friends (of Michelle and James) party. Everyone brought food; my contribution was a couple of dozen corned beef, potato and onion Empanadas and six cheese, potato and onion ones. I’m not sure the fillings were as traditional as might have been expected – but they were delicious.

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Just before midnight we went outside, where we could see and hear what was going on in Casemates Square. At midnight, all hell broke loose, with an ‘official’ firework celebration from the square taking the best part of 20 minutes to complete. ‘Unofficial’ firework celebrations continued for at least another 40 minutes, with huge explosions and bright coloured fireworks erupting all over the rock and the housing complexes.  Magnificent.

On New Year’s Day Tony and Gill set off to explore the rock a little more than they had time to do the day before. Sharon, Carol and I walked up to and across the fairly new Windsor Suspension Bridge. The weather was gorgeous so we continued on and down to the town, where most places were closed but where we were able to grab some lunch at Jury’s on the end of Main Street. Tony and Gill joined us towards the end of our meal.

CarajillaAnisThat evening we were joined by Michelle and James and had a variety of tapas and raciones at Casa Puri in La Linea before moving on to Café Modelo for drinks and cake.

It is worth a visit to this café just for the old style décor – but the coffees are good too. It was here that I was first introduced to carajillo con anis.

Tony and Gill left us on Thursday last and since then the weather hasn’t been so good. As I write this the weather is foul, with thunder, lightening, heavy rain and snow showing on the mountains over towards Alhaurin el Grande. 

Brrrr.

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Christmas 2017

Since my last post, Christmas has been and gone and we’re currently waiting for Tony and Gill to join us here in Spain for a week.  Whilst they are with us, we plan to spend a few days, including New Year’s Eve, in Gibraltar with Carol, Michelle and James (and James’s wider family and friends – at Grand Battery House).

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Both Sharon and I have had bits of work to do (online) while we’re here, but have also found plenty of time to take a few walks and one day (so far), to go scootering.  We walked up to Mijas on Friday last, which took us about two and a half hours, including Sharon’s fruit picking exploits. We had lunch at Bar Alarcon before heading back down to Fuengirola on the bus.

We went to Restaurante Montemare for Christmas Eve dinner and had:

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  • A starter of fruit and Feta Cheese
  • A soup made from two different pepper soup recipes and served with smoked salmon
  • A tasty turkey leg
  • Tiramisu
  • (and lots of inbetween bits of alcohol)

On Christmas Day, although we’d planned to have a walk in the morning, followed by brunch on the beach, the weather defeated us. It was cloudy and raining – so we pretty much stayed in all day.  Which was just as well, as I was still feeling a little delicate after last night at the restaurant.

Our Christmas Day meal was a long, drawn out, affair with several courses:

  • IMG_9407Scrambled Eggs and Smoked Salmon in a Pastry Case,
  • French Onion Soup (with traditional cheese croute),
  • Baked Cod with Pesto Crust, served on Cauliflower Rice – we threw this away the cod was awful. Not sure why but it was nasty,
  • Turkey Fillet wrapped in Serrano Ham, served with piperrada. I’d marinaded the tukey in herbs, oil and garlic for 24 hours, before wrapping it in the ham, pan frying it and finishing in the oven. The piperrada was lacking the green pepper but hey, it’s my kitchen 🙂
  • Mince Pie and Yoghurt. We’d tried for crème fraiche but misinterpreted the Spanish – buying some claggy, soggy confection by mistake 😦

We’d bought some cheese to finish with, but we were finished anyway.

Tasty, but filling. Took 4+ hours.

Boxing Day was another soggy day but saw us take a trip to the Fuengirola Market and then on to El Corte Inglés to find a table cloth and some table mats.

All done. We’re ready for the next week now.

Ending 2017

We’re back in Spain for Christmas and the New Year (our fifth New Year here I think).

ViewFromLaGranierWe’re been here a week already and the weather has been fabulous.

We left Manchester last Saturday (-3°C) just in time to miss the massive snow storms that affected the UK.  We’ve had some cool nights but the days have mostly been great.  The one day that promised to be dodgy we chose to collect our car-papers from MálagaCar and spend the day visiting Ardales and the surrounding countryside.

CarajillaAnisAs a treat for my birthday, Sharon booked us a two-night stay in Málaga.  We stayed with Lodgingmalaga in the Plaza de la Constitucion, Málaga’s main square.  The apartment was comfortable, clean and well positioned.

Whilst there we had lunch out twice (just a few tapas), a fabulous evening meal out, and a self-catered ‘picnic’ meal in the apartment, whilst watching everything going on in the square.  Both nights were finished with carajillo con anis, from across the square at Café Central.

Our fabulous evening meal was at La Barra de Zapata – see TripAdvisor.

PatatasBravasOne of our tapas lunches was just around the corner at Kortxo (again – see TripAdvisor) which was very nice but also featured an unusually psychedelic patatas bravas.

We visited the Museo de Málaga; a first for us as we are not big museum visitors (Note – FREE to EU visitors).  However, it was an interesting hour or so and provided us with some context for and reason to visit the Alcazaba.

The Alcazaba is around the back of the museum and below the Castillo de Gibralfaro that towers above the city.  We’d always wondered whether it was worth paying this lower fortification a visit and encouraged by our museum visit we did so. We thoroughly enjoyed it.  The Alcazaba has more nooks and crannies than the upper castle and an interesting system of waterways.  Well worth the €0.60c it cost me (€2.20 for Sharon)

 

 

Back in Spain

We’re been here in Torreblanca for just over a week now and will be here for another four weeks – almost.  Because we liked our trip to Spain so much last September, we thought we’d book to come again this year – this time without the long drive. And here we are.IMG_8880

Michelle came up to from Gibraltar stay with us last weekend and on Saturday we drove up to Mijas, which was busy, and parked along the bottom hillside road. We walked up to the Ermita del Calvario. Although it was a cooler, cloudier day, we could still see for miles. We then walked out of the touristy area of Mijas and had a delicious lunch at Bar Alarcon, before slowly working our way back home. We walked down to Los Boliches later that evening and ate some more lovely food at Mason Salvador.

On Sunday morning, we breakfasted on the front and explored the newly revealed (newly made?) path [Sendero Las Presas] that winds its way up alongside the Arroyo Las Presas, and up the Torreblanca Hillside. David and Gail arrived late, as we were eating at Marlene’s – they are here for about 10 days. On Monday evening, they joined us for dinner Casa Sugden. We also met them from time to time during the week – they visited Michelle, Friday/Saturday.

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On Friday, we had to visit out bank, in Marbella, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to explore Marbella’s old town, which is an awful lot prettier than the main town. We ate at a small, family bar/restaurant here, outside, in the shade..

From time to time during the week, Sharon and I visited various car showrooms, but none seemed to have anything at a price we could afford. We eventually test drove two at MalagaCar.Com and hope to see/test drive our chosen car next week.  Finger’s crossed.

Easter 2017

This is not our first visit to this region at Easter. IMG_3809I know that we have been here at this time for the last two years, but it might be three – probably six times in all.  We like the weather here and the chance to get out and do ‘something’.

The weather at home, being what it is, means that doing ‘something’ is less likely to happen than it is when we’re here.

We’ve been here about ten days now and we will have been a month by the time we fly back.  We’ve already had a couple of good walks and explorations up in the hills behind us. We’ve had a picnic up there too.  A picnic! – I can’t remember when we managed to have one of those at home. We caught the bus up to Mijas one day and then walked back down the track via the wild-west Cabalista bar, where we ate jamón y queso. We’ve also been scootering a couple of times and we’ve been to Montemar (on the train) near Torremolinos so we could explore the park there and then walk back to Benalmadena.

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Apart from today (our second Saturday) we’ve been out and done ‘something’ every day.

Today, we’re resting before setting off for a few days to visit the Costa Tropical. This part of Spain is where the Sierra Nevada mountains come down to the sea and is about 130km away, about 90 minute’s drive.

More on this later (maybe)

Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

We’ve just spent our fourth New Year’s Eve here in Torreblanca. That means we must have been coming out here at various times for about five years.

We like it.img_7595

Last new year, we’d hoped to explore the mountain walks (caminos), behind us, but were prevented by me having plantar fasciitis.  This year however, apart from aging knees and creaky bones, we have no such restriction.

We’ve already walked up to Mijas once this time, just before Christmas when we followed the trail we took with John and Carol in September and our first-time last April. The route is a tiring, nearly all uphill, walk that zigzags up the hill to eventually join the A-368 from Benalmádena to Mijas.

So – we’ve done that route three times now. [Update: I later went up again with John T and David T – and then YET again with Tony]

Today however, we set off to explore some of the different routes that might achieve the same end – i.e. get to Mijas.  So, as we didn’t intend to go all the way – just look along other roads and tracks, we took much more interest in the surrounding flora and fauna.

For a start, we found cattle grazing up there today. We often see sheep and goats being herded up and down the hillsides but have never before seen cattle.  It looked like they were being moved from one side of the river head to another but, what made me look twice was that they were being followed by several small white birds. I thought ‘little egrets’ but the pictures don’t look quite right. Certainly an egret of some kind, but I’m not sure which.

We’d always noted Rosemary in great amounts, huge bushes of the stuff, but today we saw bush after bush of Sage too! All these years and we’ve not seen sage before – we haven’t been able to see the wood for the trees!  Last year, I had to ask Rene at Montemare to get me some sage for something I was cooking as I couldn’t find any in the shops.  We also saw Thyme today, not huge amounts – but it’s out there.route_map

We can now walk from our apartment, under the motorway and up the hill side and over towards Carvajal. Then walk back down towards Torreblanca under the motorway again – by a different route.

Winter 2016/17

Well, we’re here in Spain again.  This will be our third Christmas (fourth New Year) out here – and our longest stay.

The attraction I have for Spain at this time of year is the extra hours of daylight and the warmth, although this year, this week has been the coldest we’ve had so far. At home, the day is disappearing by 3:45pm and is completely dark by 4:15pm whereas here I could still read a book outside at 6:00pm.  The sun has almost gone down by then but it doesn’t go properly dark until after 6:15pm. Although I say it’s the coldest so far, it is still far from unpleasant.  When the sun does come out and stays out it can easily get into the mid-twenties (24c-26c) but until today (21st December) it’s been fairly cloudy.

The Costa del Sol has had its share of winter weather this year, with floods all the way from Malaga to Gibraltar. goo.gl/8i7Zin. Now we’re here, we can see some of the after effects of those floods – they have done a tremendous job of clearing up, but on Tuesday last when we arrived here, there were still piles of debris all along the beach From Torreblanca to Fuengirola. By Thursday, they were removing those piles too, with truck after truck lining up to take it away.

Well done Ayuntamiento Fuengirola.