Late April, Blue went to Sue's again just overnight so we could go to Tarifa. Days are getting hotter now, he's happy and cool there, must be better than being dragged around old towns and city walls.
Tarifa is full of Moroccan and Phoenician influences. The walls around the old city are structurally sound in the main, so safe to walk the top of, the views beautiful, especially of the point where the Med meets the Atlantic Ocean, at the tiny Island Nature Reserve. On the west side of the relatively new causeway across, surfers claim their territory, supposed to be one of the best venues in Europe. On the east side, the still calm sea was tropical, beautiful colours and crystal clear; here, divers were in their element, there must have been around a hundred, either in or out of the water, arriving or departing in all sorts of vehicles including minibuses. Again a noted spot for the sport.
There was a bustling street market, but by no means for bargain hunters, although colourful and aromatic with a huge variation of handmade crafts, it was lovely to experience. The streets as we've come to expect, narrow, closing in to the sky with balconies almost touching by the third storey, twisting and turning with cafes and tiny shops tucked away in corners. It was Communion Day, and as we sat at a cafe on the main thoroughfare, a brass band slowly assembled opposite us. After lunch, which was so simple but perfect, (fresh herb omelette with a cream cheese and a tomato salad side, sliced orange and crusty bread), they took place in front of the church. We expected a Salvation Army type performance, but oh no, this was real Spanish music, castinets included, with huge crescendoes and dramatic silences, gathering momentum every few minutes, having us believe something really exciting was about to happen. Not. We sat watching & listening for nearly an hour expecting the massive wooden doors of the ancient church to be flung open and a procession emerge. In the end we went exploring, found some peaceful spots, more towers, which this time I declined, I'm not particularly good with heights, and really bad on open metal staircases and I'd been brave enough all morning. So I sat in a lovely open area and had a few thoughts to myself whilst Roy climbed up to photograph the view from the tops. Then we walked to the beach, had a cold drink sitting on the deck of the beach bar before returning home to pick up Blue, who didn't really seem bothered at first, but when he saw the car he was straight in...
The next two weeks nothing special to report, weather varied day to day, but always warm. Our friend Karen has returned to the UK to start her own business, so I will miss her very much and our market fun.
Last week in May.
Weather glorious now, only a couple of days have been cloudy. Last weekend, Blue went off happily to Su's again and we had a lovely evening out on Friday, Duquesa is buzzing now, all restaurants and bars busy. We met a lovely young couple with a small baby and whilst sitting chatting to them in the evening sunshine, another couple came and sat next to us. The youngsters left to go eat, and the other couple moved around and got chatting to us, after a while we discovered they were the same couple that Liz and Geoff rented their apartment from....How weird is that, they only come over from Ireland for a week in May, plus other weeks in the summer, just happened to be in the same village, in the same bar, out of at least 30, and just happened to get talking to us....eventually, 2 hours later than anticipated, we went for our meal!
Saturday, we went high class shopping in Estepona, I needed new shoes! We really enjoyed looking around the immense Asian Bazaar without having to worry about Blue getting too hot in the car, spent a good couple of hours there, and our total bill came to just £42 for: 4 pairs shoes for me, 1 for Roy, Pyrex jug, a gorgeous sun hat,kitchen-y bits, new wine glasses and tumblers, plus some hooks and hardware bits for my bit-box.. Another lovely meal in the evening, sitting with the same young couple we met the previous evening.
Sunday we drove to Jimena, to board the train to Ronda. Enjoyed a look at the ancient castle at Jimena (will have to go back there for a longer visit) before going to the station cafe, which was amazing,a treasure trove of handmade crafts inside a tiny lounge with sofas and coffee tables, dimly lit, and so cool and pretty. The train journey was lovely, the scenery completely different from the route we take by car.
We got there in time for a late lunch on the tiered terrace of the restaurant I'd fancied on our last visit,lovely,looking up at the bridge with people milling around, and down on the ledges on rock where coughs were looking after their young. Back to the station after the fabulous experience of a festival market in the park, wonderful costumes written by the locals, a fabulous display of colour and wow, the market stalls were just amazing, the NON fast foods, being cooked traditionally mixed with all sorts of other stalls, music, children having a great time, it was packed. Great fun, back on the train for a peaceful hour, then a short drive home.
Next day we opted for a very (for me) demanding walk near Casares. Started off in the village, climbing over 1100 feet steadily, well slowly! - on a nice concrete track. Then at the top of the hill we turned to go thru pine woods, onto a narrow path. We were really high now, on level with the vultures and saw 2 peregrine youngsters practising their skills and shouting at each other, we felt very privileged. Along the flat, pine woods below us, wild flower meadow above with bare rock hanging over us, we came to refuge hut, where we sat fur a couple of minutes. Then the descent, which was horrifying for me, loose stone and very narrow, often on cliff edge and I do not like heights! My walking pole was essential, but I'd left it in the car! Roy made me a replacement out of a long sturdy branch, which sufficed, but there were lots of places where he had to help me down. Nonetheless we managed without incident, being really careful, but my knees were very wobbly and we stopped lots of times for a few seconds. The walk was lovely but next time I'd do it the other way round, I'd rather go up a path like that and keep stopping, far easier on the knees, and come down the gentle way. We got to the road into Casares and then had to walk a VERY long way all uphill, back to the car. A total of over 8 miles, so I think we did ok.
We almost ran, almost, but didn't have any energy left so I think staggered is nearer, into an inviting restaurant called Casa Curro, with locals sitting outside and in, pleasant aromas and cool dark bar.
Menu was easy to understand. Any 2 courses €10. Roy had melon and Parma ham, with Spanish omelette to follow, I had local veg stew, then lamb chops, veg and a few chips. Gallons of water and a diet coke. Superb.
There'll be lots of pics this time! There are more photos from this entry on the next page....had a problem with the website...