Nerja – Torrenueva
It’s Monday… Nerja is lovely, but this dustbowl parking isn’t! We’re off today. Nick was surprised by his Irish drinking partner from Almayate this morning – pulling up in a car just by the front of the bus. Had a wee natter and then offski! We had toast and coffee and a brief dogwalk later and we’re off again with no fixed destination. We pulled off the road to see about a lunch stop somewhere, drove up a road that looked as though it ended at a beach, and were signalled by a young lady who, although she didn’t speak English, explained that there was nowhere for us to turn round and that the road we were on was a) private and b) a no-through road!
She moved her car so we could turn round in the space, and then signalled us to follow her… she showed us exactly where to park – what a lovely lady!
Ended up at or near Torrenueva right on the beach! Woohoo!
The sun is out and we’re doing the real Brit Abroad day today – the windbreak is out, beach chairs, the lot!
Nick fetched lunch and we ate on the beach. Bert had an encounter with a goat (nose to nose – goat won!) when a herd of them passed through,
and the sunset is beautiful.
Now reading before a steak pie supper and lots of that luvverly vino!
Torrenueva – Roquetas de Mar
OMG…. between Torrenueva and Carchura lie acre upon acre of plastic – I’ve never seen anything like it before! from the mountains all the way down to the coastline – Mental! I can understand in the winter the need for small, starter polytunnels – but these are acre upon acre of unbelievably scruffy, disintegrating plastic greenhouses…. with scarcely enough room to squeeze between them. Our need for year round fruits and vegetables has scarred this part of the world.
Got ourselves in a pickle on the A7…we meant to take the Costa road – not the A7 – so we took the first available exit to La Rabita, and followed the signs – only to realise I’ve directed us to the WRONG side of a huge storm channel, or rambla…. other vehicles seemed to be negotiating it so we go for it – only to find a very tight chicane in front of us that we have NO chance to negotiate!
I leap out and direct Blobbybus backwards to the first available roundabout, where we do a quick U-y! Good job too!
We’d have NEVER made that chicane to cut across the rambla…. made it back with a grin!
We took on supplies in Adra, and back on the coast road proper to Roquetas de Mar.
We arrived to find ourselves at Serena Playa Golf in Roquetas… met fellow Brits Judy and Peter and Phil and Kay. We’re also parked next to Kevin who’s from Liverpool, apparently! We’re going to take Bert along the prom and see what we can see!
Well, we saw dogs – nice clean beaches – nice dogs – palm trees – more f**king dogs – and high kerbs, and a U turn that I didn’t quite pull off – resulting in a bruised cut knee, a bruised toe and an extremely bruised ego! Iodine and plasters applied – gin and strange tonic water (flavoured with black and pink peppercorns and mandarin) later – I’m feeling slightly better.
Then I do a barkworthy quote myself “I haven’t got a Mestle and Portar”… Nick wets himself. I’ve only had one gin too – oh… and a medicinal brandy… for shock, you understand!
Walking was a little bit difficult so we opt for a quiet night of Scrabble… I made 4 individual Lemon Meringue Tarts tonight because Nick had been craving cake….
He stuck one in my face because I beat him at Scrabble – I wouldn’t have minded if it had been HIS pie to stick – but it was MINE!
Second game of Scrabble I lost… look at my opening tiles… not surprising really!
lovely sunsets too…..
Roquetas de Mar – Serena Beach
It’s a lovely morning, we need to get our washing done again – and we’ve been told there is a lavanderia in the town – straight down the beach and turn left at the Gorilla …. (?) It turned out to be a slide in an amusement park and we cycle all along the beach in search of it… we run out of prom, and turn left – Nick saw it – I didn’t!” How I missed it I don’t know – it was about 30-35ft tall!
Laundry loaded, 2 of the 3 loads we had to do, we head back to the bars for coffee and cake – well, someone’s got to do it – it may as well be us!
Thrilled that I also remembered how to ask for some water for Bertie in Spanish – little things, little things! Nick pops back to put the 3rd load on whilst Bertie and I listen to a barefoot beardy American singing and playing guitar – at least he does that for a while – then starts insulting people as they walk by – quite amusing! We searched for a working cash machine and more cycling, then beer and tapas mixta – YUM! Back to collect our now-dried washing and chill out by the beach for a while. Nick bathed Bertie and I groomed him to death! He looks and feels lovely now! Washing is put away and we have a tidy up and ponder what to do now. We invite 2 new pals over for snacks and drinks – Paul and Anita have been out since 25th November. They’re more sailors that have opted for a camping car lifestyle… we enjoyed swapping stories and glugging a few litres of tinto! We actually ran out of tinto! Lovely waffle – lots of sailor’s yarns and a vicious case of hiccups!
Roquetas de Mar – Macenas – Mojacar
Leaving our little ray of sunshine oasis in a sea of plastic today! But we’re having some of the produce – Strawberries and yoghurt for breakfast…. I offered Nick some honey to drizzle over it, but he said it was “bearable”!!! Nice comment Nick!
Our Cap’n still had to pull off the end of the loaf and fill it with peanut butter though!
My ‘hug quota’ for the last 3 days has never exceeded 3…. I’m clearly on survival rations and I think I’ll probably die! Nick doesn’t get it….. his only comment “it’s another grumble day…. grumble grumble grumble!”
One of the ‘pluses’ of being here in Roquetas is the newspaper delivery service…. when we arrive back from our walks, an anonymous benefactor has left us a copy of the Daily Mail! Unfortunately they’ve already completed the crossword!!! But how lovely is that!
It’s a warm one today – 26 degrees in the sun, 16 out of it.
Our first stop is at Carboneras – the site is now closed…
We pulled off the road at the edge of the Nijar/Cabo de Gata national park at Macenas Beach, just outside of Mojacar, for lunch and a snooze.
A local fisherman approached us and asked if we could charge his i-phone. Of course we obliged! Took some nice pictures
Nick snored until about 4pm….
The road through the hills to Mojacar was spectacular… now we know what Danny was raving about after riding this road last August!
We were admiring the mountains and the ‘wildness’ of it all when I suddenly noticed the impact of man on the landscape high up in the hills – a straight line – and as we neared it Nick said “I think we’re about to see your straight line close up”…
Arrived in Mojacar by the square tower, a parking spot known as Tony’s Bar – parked facing the sea about 40ft away….Lovely!
Bumped into another
couple we had met at Almayate. They thought they recognised the Blobbybus – but they DEFINITELY recognised Bertie!
We had a G & T in the sunshine and came back to cook supper – Pork shoulder with some buttered courgettes and peas… delish.
Later noticed that we had left the sunshade pulled over our bedroom vent, and the whole damn thing had been sucked up into the vent and pulled out of all the runners. I spent a while fiddling all the folds back into the runners (phew!) Groomed the beautiful Bertie. Watched “12 Monkeys” and went to bed, with the sound of the waves to lull us to sleep!
Mojacar (Antonio’s Bar) – Camping Cantal Mojacar
Well, here we are!
Nick cooked breakfast and we’re off to explore the far tower on our bikes. Cycled off with Bertie – arrived at the tower and climbed to the top.
The stairs are pretty steep but worth it. Inside on the second level were interior steps leading up to the very top. The view was quite spectacular!
It’s the last tower of it’s kind in an unbroken chain of lookout towers between Adra and Mojacar, according to the information sign – built in the XII-XIII Century and used again in the 16th… this one was restored in 2009. Built from natural uncut rock and limestone mortar.
We’d arranged to meet Dave and Alison and she had kindly booked me in to a peluqueria (hairdressers) to sort out my barnet! I’ve been booked in for 12 o’clock… we arrnaged to meet Dave in Mojacar at 11.30, but the Lidl store we went to in ~Garrucha was a bit further out than we thought!
We were a little bit late arriving but Dave and Alison were there to greet us…. AND we had a lovely surprise because Wendy (Dave’s Mum and a LOVELY LADY) was there too!!! She flew in yesterday with Dave for a 25 day holiday – it was lovely to see them all!
Ali whisked me off to Pascals (PLUG) and into the tender mercies of Claire, who was going to sort out the birdsnest that I wore on my head… while the others went off to enjoy a cooked brunch. Highlighting, cutting and blowdrying (OH – A REAL HAIRDRYER!!!) followed, Wendy came to keep me company while Ali went back to work, and the boys re-sited the Blobbybus on a campsite at the other end of Mojacar, much closer than our wildcamping site at Macenas!
After 2 hours of primping I felt like a million dollars. Time to hit the bar and catch up with the boys – who had cycled back from the site with Bertie. Dave looked a bit dodgy on my girly bike!
A couple of beers later and we were joined by Jude and Pete! Oddly enough, Pete had spotted Wendy earlier; but hadn’t said a word because he had sunk a few beers already and thought he might be seeing things!!! We had a little Elmer reunion on the beach at Levante bar!
Jude had come bearing gifts – spares and liquid for my E-cig, but most importantly a mobile wifi for the Blobbybus, which should solve some of our connection problems! THANKS HUNNY!
After a few drinks Jude and Pete returned to El Marchal up in the hills and we went back to Dave and Alison’s lovely apartment – literally one road back from the front – and from Alison’s salon!
We had a coffee and Bertie made himself comfortable on the terrace – cheeky boy!
We all went for supper at the Mediterrano and had a fab 3 course menu del dia for under 13 euros – crab stuffed with seafood and lobster, I had sirloin with roquefort sauce and Nick ate barbecue ribs, and a delish crema catalana for dessert! With the prospect of cycling back to the campsite looming, we didn’t want to push it by having any more booze… and at 9.30pm (lightweights) we bade farewell to Dave, Alison and the lovely Wendy and began our cycle home. Feeling completely stuffed!
Wanting sleep more than anything, but had to set up the MIFI – which worked perfectly! Long may it continue! Nick sat up for hours waffling to Danny on the internet – bet he didn’t ask Danny about any of my web-related questions though!
Mojacar (Camping Cantal de Mojacar Playa) – El Marchal
This campsite is ridiculously expensive! 25 euros! We’ll get out of here as soon as poss!
The plan for today is to catch up with Jude and Pete and heading up into the hills to check out El Marchal and Viv and Wayne’s bar El Paniajo… got a text from Jude – we’re here – where are you? Made coffee and cleared the inside of Blobby while Nick washed the outside – just a quick brushup while we have the opportunity!
I jumped in the car with Jude and Bert, whilst Pete and Nick brought the Blobbybus to the main road, parked Blobby and jumped in the car (a little Fiat Panda with four of us AND the dog!) and headed for Nijar.
En route we decided to explore a building that Jude had often thought was connected to the mines that are in this area….
Curiosity satisfied, we headed off for Nijar…. Parked the car first and then the boys second (at a bar) and Jude and I went shopping. The very first shop yielded a rather nice shirt-dress, and the second a nice rug for the bathroom!
Nijar is famous for rugs and for pottery – some of the little studios have some beautiful work….
Then right down to the bottom of the hill to the Ceramica Official where I bought a little pot as a souvenir.
Then off to a sunny bar for beer and tapas, Pasty Runners on Tour!
Saw a rather strange, fluffy beetle!
We made our way back to the car…. Nijar is very pretty!
I travelled with Jude and got some nice pics of Blobby coming up the mountain!
We arrived at El Marchal, a charming, tiny little village where some other Elmerites have taken over a bar….
and came to the rambla which was the only realistic place for us to park… We were met by Viv and Wayne, and we’d arrived just as a local feud was proper kicking off!
Someone had whacked someone else round the head with an iron bar – happy days! An ambulance had been called, and sure enough a battered chap was delivered to the bus stop by his loudly complaining partner… and gathered up by the ambulance crew – who actually dropped him back off at the bar after his treatment!!! Some Service!!! Nice, quiet little Spanish village lol – needless to say the feuders were English – and old enough to know better tbh!
Went for a stroll in the village where Bertie met some locals…
Had some AMAZING tapas cooked by Viv (the chorizo in sherry is to die for – YUM!) and a couple of drinks. Met some other Brits – Frank and Rosie (must checkout Frank’s book – A bike ride through my life?), Jerry, Judy and James, and met Senor Marchal (a lovely, ever smiling Spanish local) Lovely folks!
Ate a huge jacket potato with chilli – YUM and watched England win the rugby! yay!
El Marchal – El Paniajo Bar
Slept well… Jude and Pete left the car here last night and went back with Viv and Wayne. They arrived this morning and piled into Blobby where Nick cooked us all a breakfast of Bockwurst, Bacon, Tortilla and Tomato Frito!
Sustained, we all jumped into the car again, this time bound for Mojacar Old Town and a spot of shoe-shopping! I’d regretted not buying a pair last August and hoped the shop would be open…. We went up in the lift, and then noticed the “No Perro” signs… oops! Once at the top we stopped for coffee and spotted Dave, Alison, Wendy, Mike and his wife!
We had just missed the Palm Sunday church service, with the donkey, and all the local children were in their Sunday best carrying their woven palm fronds… Strolling through town -unfortunately the shoe shop was closed 🙁
I bought a little indalo man souvenir for the bus.
The ‘Indalo Man’ is the symbol of the whole province of Almeria, and is reputed to bring good luck to those who wear it. It’s from a cave painting dating from the 4th millenium BC, and was found in a cave “Los Letreros” in Velez Blanco. It was called Indalo after a Saint Indalecio (in Iberian, Indal Eccus) meaning “messenger of the gods”.
Jude and Pete had booked a table at Shea’s Restaurant up at La Parata (where Jude & Pete holiday at least once every year, and where we stayed last Summer after the Triumph Tour of Spain on the bikes). Shea is a great cook and we were looking forward to his food – but I was still stuffed from breakfast!
After a great welcome we settled down to eat and were a weeny bit disappointed that the Sunday Lunch menu is just that – Sunday lunch is what it is – and we were sad not to have Shea’s famous lamb shanks!!!
We settled for starters of chicken liver pate, mushrooms stuffed with goat’s cheese, Roast Sirloin of Beef, and Shea’s equally famous cheesecake…. this time, an After Eight version! We’d all loved his cheesecakes last year, when Crunchie, Baileys, Malteser, Twix, and Mars Bar versions had all been on the menu!
We barely had time to digest anything when we were off again, to the Cuevas de Almazoras cave houses in the sandstone cliffs
The pace Jude is setting is exhausting!!! The caves are a spooky place, and Pete called it “the prettiest ghetto” he’d ever seen.
Spooky though… all the time we were walking along, you could hear people talking… not knowing where the hell they were!
Bert’s presence set off all the local dogs barking – a cacophony of noise – and we couldn’t find anywhere to park because of the many road closures ready for Easter parades.
I was fascinated by these plants that just broke straight out of the rock:
We stopped at a bar for a natural break, and a quick drink to wash the dust away…. and this appeared: apparently it would be topped with a statue or relic and paraded through the town next weekend…. I was amused by the fact it was driven by a little man underneath…. a real ‘flintstone’ moment!
The sun was dropping quite low in the sky, and we headed back to El Marchal still feeling so stuffed that food of any kind was out of the question!
Back at the bar, we were joined by Laura and Dave from the Earth Ship… and I almost adopted another doggy….. but that’s another story, for another day!
Met a beautiful GSD cross at the bar – she was such a fabulous looking dog… we don’t know what she is crossed with, but she is sooooooo sweeet!!!!!
At about 9.30pm the subject of chorizo in sherry came up… perhaps just one little tapa? Viv said “sure – as long as you cook it yourself!” – so Jude and I went to the tiny kitchen for a tapa tutorial! Six double servings made – I couldn’t finish my little tapa dish and had to give it to Nick!
We ended the evening with a brandy and headed back to the Blobbybus in the rambla, bed has never called me so hard! It’s exhausting all this eating!
Pete and Jude took their car back to Viv and Wayne’s house, as they didn’t fancy the 8.30am start that was proposed….! We agree to meet at about 11 tomorrow morning.
Another week gone – and Nick and I realise that we are now halfway through our tour…. we’ll be departing for pastures new tomorrow afternoon, off to who knows where again!