Archive for the ‘Costa del Sol’ Category

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.

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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.

September in the sun

As October begins and we begin our preparations to return to the UK, I have to ask: Who knew that September could be such a fabulous month for taking holidays?

Who knew!

As a child, the school’s six-week holiday was always mid/late July and all of August. Depending on the year, we might still be off school for a number of days in September, but not many. Holidays ‘away’ with parents were always limited to two weeks in late July as Huddersfield closed down for the ‘Textiles’ holiday, or in our case the ‘Engineers’ holiday. At least one week of those holidays were invariably spent in Blackpool. We did go to Great Yarmouth when I was 10 and to Weymouth when I was 11, but after that I rarely went with parents, preferring the weeks I spent camping with the scouts, and school trips.

My early working life was pretty much dictated by the same local holiday pattern before my own family life began and that meant that ‘main’ holidays were to be taken, as above, sometime in July/August.

I compounded this then by working in the education sector, where it can be difficult to take any time off work that is different to the students. So, only now that Sharon has divorced herself from ‘Education’ and we are both self-employed (both with ‘online’ work), can we contemplate going on holiday when we like. And we like September.

The very high temperatures we experienced on our journey down became somewhat muted, settling into the mid-high twenties and there were not the crowds I saw in August when I was here with Emma, Charlie and the girls. More and more snowbirds began to arrive as the month progressed and parking was a dream.img_7148

Readers will have noticed that we set off on September 2nd, stopping in Kent for the night before travelling down through France and Spain to our small apartment on the Costa del Sol. Here we were met by friends, who had also taken advantage of being old enough to leave the country in September. We spent some good times walking here and there, eating here and there and simply enjoying the glorious sunshine. For the last two weeks, Sharon and I have been here alone and that has allowed us to complete our work, to read copiously and to ‘scoot’, something we have done most mornings, along the paseo between Torreblanca and Carvajal.

And today, we depart for home. Our journey will take us to Cordoba tonight, then to Avila, where we will meet Tony and Gill who will travel by train from Madrid, where they are staying with Becky, their daughter. Then we will drive up through France staying in Boulogne on Saturday night and home by Sunday teatime.

National Day, Gibraltar

National Day in Gibraltar was good.

This annual celebration is organised by The Self Determination for Gibraltar Group.

“The Group was founded in 1992 to campaign for the recognition of the right of the Gibraltarians to Self-Determination, i.e. to decide our constitutional status, in our only home, Gibraltar”. Read more …

At its core, this is a political day, with on-stage discussions that follow a couple of hours of entertainment in Casemates Square, where a huge stage had been erected for the day (and evening)-long events to take place.

img_7049We’d arrived in Gibraltar early enough on Friday to walk in and have lunch there, before setting off to James and Michelle’s place in La Alcaidesa. After a few evening beers in the square, close to the beach, we returned and had a nice selection of food overlooking the pool (and the sea).

Graham and Sue joined us on Saturday morning and we all went into Gibraltar itself, in James’ mini-bus. The original plan had been to leave the van there and take taxis home, but he and Michelle had some work to do first thing on Sunday, so had to drive home.

James runs a company called Ultimate Rock Adventures [and Facebook]. Check it out.

We left Casemates Square as the political stuff began (today would mostly be about ‘Brexit’ and that would wind me up) and we wound our way to Eastern Beach, where we set out tables and chairs. Others, mainly James and Michelle’s family members, brought along ice, beer, wine, soft drinks and nibbles – Michelle ordered Chinese Food for 20 people to be delivered from La Linea to the border, where she picked it up mid-afternoon.img_7051

So then, much of the rest of the day was spent in the sea, sunbathing, drinking beer and eating Chinese food.  Mustn’t grumble. We were entertained by a small air display with what seemed to be two replica Spitfires, and by British Airways flights coming into land, just a few yards away – BA seemed to be the only company flying today.

A great day. Thank you James and Michelle.

We toodled back up to our place in Fuengirola on Sunday, unpacked the car (which took a while) and began to settle in ready for our trip home, early in October. On that trip we will take in Cordoba, Avila, Hendaye, Vouvray and Boulougne.

http://www.visitgibraltar.gi/event/national-day-2016/569