Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

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.

New Year – 2016

So, another week has gone by and I’m sat on the beach again. I shouldn’t grumble, but it’s been gorgeously sunny all day while I’ve been busy working, but now at 3:00pm, when I down tools and come down here to the beach , the sun has gone behind a huge black cloud.

There are about 10 other people on the beach, including me, for as far as I can see in both directions. I see the harbor wall at Fuengirola as I look west and the breakwater separating Torreblanca from Carvajal in the other; possibly 3-4k? It’s a bank holiday here, but obviously not a beach one, unlike New Year’s Day when the promenade was heaving with families and groups strolling along. The beach was also well occupied.

Betony and Josh left today, I dropped them at the station off this morning. I’m not sure what they thought of the place though. When they went to Malaga on Monday, ostensibly to see the Christmas lights, they were back early – tired from walking.

 

When we’d been to see the lights, with Tony and Gill it was a fabulous day out. We strolled through the park alongside the marina and then, whilst I sat and watched the world go around, the other explored the marina itself, before we set off into the city to find somewhere to wait for it to get dark and the lights be switched on. We had a couple of drinks, some small tapas and then walked around the corner to see the wonderful display they have put on here this year. Well done Malaga.

We all spent New Years Eve downstairs at Montemare and had a great time. there were several more people there this year than the last two years and although the music was – well, poor – it was a lovely atmosphere and great food. Betony had a vegetable lasagne and the rest of us had steaks! Great.

Last night, the three of us (Sharon returned home on Monday because she had to work) went down to Los Boliches to see the 3 Kings’ parade – Día De Los Reyes Magos. But we missed it! Apparently, this is the first year that the parade has set off from Fuengirola and arrived in Los Boliches long after we’d given up and come back to the apartment. Hey ho.

So I’m all alone now, until Friday when Sharon returns (we thought it’d be fun when we booked it) and there’s plenty to do – workwise. I still want to walk in the mountains, explore the coastline on a bike etc. etc. but not this time. Apparently I have an appointment with a podiatrist later in the month. That’ll be fun.

Christmas 2015

Well, as I start this post, Sharon is off rollerblading up the promenade between Torreblanca and Los Boliches.  I am sat here on the beach, in the mid-afternoon sunshine, wishing I’d been able to find a bike I liked before Christmas; then I could have accompanied her.

I have developed plantar fasciitis, for which there seems to only one real cure – time! I first experienced it back in November and it seems to have got steadily worse. The pain when walking for extended periods is excruciating, hence my unsuccessful search for a bike and me sitting on the beach. Just to point out, it is still December.

We’ve just said goodbye to Tony and Gill who have been with us since the day before Christmas Eve. I cooked Beef Bourguignonne for us all that first night and we spent Christmas Eve itself downstairs at Marlene and Rene’s place.  On Christmas Day, Tony and Gill made their way up and across the hill/mountain behind us to Mijas – something I’d also wanted to do this visit as the weather was perfect.  We picked them up mid-afternoon and after a coffee in Mijas itself, we set off for an hour on the beach. Gill and I went in the sea!

me and Gill swimming in the Med. 251215

 

We actually swam for a few minutes – it was cold but not so cold that we couldn’t celebrate Christmas Day with a dip in the Mediterranean!

For Christmas dinner I started us off with tapas as the sun went down about 6:00pm (patatas bravas, new potato and chorizo sticks, sliced cheese, dried (jerky?) tuna and roast red peppers are what I can remember).  We then took our time with poached hake on French peas, roast pork and all the trimmings, a Sharon-cooked cherry clafoutis and some Betty’s Christmas cake with crumbly Lancashire cheese! A toast at midnight and we were done.

 

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Days 4 and 5.

Today was a better day weather-wise, not much – but better. And, it was the first real day of our holiday, with only a little traveling involved – just enough to take us from Veitshöchheim to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, only around 50 miles on the motorway. But we detoured.

After breakfast we drove into Wurzburg for a few hours ‘looking around’. It was in the car park that we first encountered the Wurzburg ‘personality’ (or possibly the second, if the woman who said we were speaking too loudly in last night’s restaurant was a local). There was lots of standing around and shaking of heads and tutting. “Just think – an English car is trying to park in a German car park”. Tut tut.

Sadly, Mike had woken today with a debilitating back pain – so we explored the town as best we could while checking out a few Apothekes. It is probably worth spending more time exploring this city and maybe we will on another day, on another trip, but for now we had to get under way to see other places along our route. Next stop was Weikersheim.

This is a pretty little village just south of Wurzburg. We parked outside the town and followed a sculpture trail around the edge to get in from the top of town. All of the exhibits are by Gunter Stilling – see: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunther_Stilling and made (mostly? All?) of bronze. And mainly body parts!

We stayed in Rothenberg ODT for two nights.

Rothenburg city wallsThe first evening was spent in the delightful company of our friends Christoph and Edith, who live quite nearby. We’d arranged to meet them in one of the town’s hotels for a drink and to then drive out to a local restaurant they knew, just a small way back up towards Wurzburg. However, because Mike was still ill and had decided to stay in, we were all able to go in Christoph’s car. The food, the drink and the camaraderie was wonderful. Because it was a known venue, and we were with locals, we had the best advice for both food and for drink. I tried two Frankish beers; dark beers, which were delightful, and a local wine – Bacchus (halbtrocken).

 Sharon had Calves cheeks braised in beer, with potato dumplings, Jo had a trout dish that looked lovely and I had a HUGE pork chop with Spätzle and cauliflower. We had such a fabulous evening – thank you Christoph and Edith.

We spent the entire second day walking around the town walls (covered walls), drinking coffee and eventually, beer; and shopping. The town is ‘oldie worldlie’ quaint, but that disguises a keen eye for the tourist $$. The town was heaving with far eastern (Japanese? Chinese? Korean? Other?) and American tourists – all with full shopping bags and selfie-sticks. There are Christmas shops, open all the year round and who export to all parts of the world. Similarly, there are numerous toy and teddy-bear shops stocking all variety of old fashioned and new toys. I saw some really unusual and strange Steiff bears. I even bought a couple 🙂

On Christoph’s recommendation we ate that night at Hell. http://www.hoell.rothenburg.de/ Sharon had a schnitzel, whilst Mike and I had a special chanterelle dish with flour dumplings and meat (I chose bratwurst, but cannot remember what Mike or Jo had). Another great night with great, local, beer and wine.