Wednesday, 17 September 2008

A catch up on our trip to Spain.

Sorry about such a long posting, I will add pictures later once time allows, you know how busy it gets once you get back off your hol's.

Saturday 30th of August 2008

Norma, Sheila and me up at 3:00 AM quick wash and brush up for the taxi at 4:00 AM, what a surprise the Taxi arrived early by a few minutes, now that is a first. No problems at the airport. Sheila is a nervous flyer and even she had a good flight. We travel with and have never had any issue, you can board on line book your specific seats etc all helps to ease the passage.
Few hours later we arrive in Malaga airport, we are met by the rep who gets us on to the pick up coach for a two minute journey to the garage, a bit of paper work and 10 minutes later we are on the road, Norma driving me navigator, down the coast to Gibraltar.
It took about 20 minutes to get over the border, not a big deal just volume of traffic going in, we shopped at Morrison's for some essentials and filled up then car with petrol at 89.9 pence per litre, diesel was about 82p a litre.
Back over the border and up to Cortes de la Frontera, Nefeica was waiting on the steps with the key, we all had a glass of Gin and Tonic and settled in.
We then had a stroll down into the village eating at Diego's Super Pizza and having a drink in Thoma's bar.

Sunday 31st of August 2008

We all had a stroll around the village on Sunday, not a lot going on anywhere, we lazed on the terrace most of the day later while in a bar down the road we noticed the locals carrying white plastic bags with containers in them and we could smell food, so we took a stroll and found a half built house where the garage is being used as a chicken cooking shop, so it was chicken and chips for dinner and very nice it was too, the place is called “Casa Berlin”.

Monday the 1st of September 2008

A day not doing much, just sitting on the terrace taking the sun. Later we strolled down to Diago's for a Pizza and a burger and the normal Gin and Tonics,

Tuesday the 2nd of September 2008

Up early for our first big adventure of the holiday, down to Estation de Cortes to catch the 8:15 train to Granada, train about on time, long journey of over 3 hours wonderful scenery though arriving in Granada came as a bit of a shock after spending time in the quiet of a village, it is a big city with about 300,000 residents and many visitors, we jumped into a taxi which got us to near our hotel, you cannot drive up to the hotel as it is in the old Arab quarter, which is a bit of a maze of lanes. We found our hotel no problem and a wonderful hotel it is too, excellent service throughout.
Norma and I had just started to notice that Sheila is shouting at people in very clear but slow English, just so they understand this is accompanied with hand gestures.
We get out and about quickly to make good use of our short time in Granada. We have found that one of the best ways to get your barrings in a City is to jump on an open topped tour bus, so this we did, I must add here that the one in Granada is not that good, other than the first part that takes you up to the Alhambra Palace, the rest of the tour is a bit of here is a hospital, here is the City Hall blah blah blah.
Well it was hot on the top of the bus and Norma was getting grumpy as the driver kept having breaks. It was up at the Alhambra that I said shall we jump off and collect our pre-booked and paid for tickets for the 5:30 PM tour of the Palace, you have to book well in advance to ensure you get in. Norma being a bit 'over tired' said “I AM NOT GETTING OF THIS BUS IN A BLOODY CAR PARK” so Sheila and I shut up and kept our heads down. We then stayed on the bus and took in the sights of Granada.
It was getting on and we thought lets nip back to the Hotel for a wash before heading back up to the Alhambra.
Sheila was shouting at the Lady in reception God only knows why as the Lady in reception spoke perfectly good English, explaining how we are going to see the Palace, the lady pointed out that we have to pick up our tickets an hour in advance, we now have about 30 minutes to shower and get a bus up to the Alhambra, which we just about manage courtesy of the local 32 bus for a Euro each a lot cheaper than the open top bus which we have use of for 48 hours.
This could have been avoided if NORMA had got OFF THE BUS in the BLOODY CAR PARK.
We arrived with minutes to spare our paper receipts to go to the machines and enter in our order numbers, only to find that NORMA has decided not to put her purse containing my credit card into her bag, NORMA never ever leaves home without MY credit and debit cards. Well you need the credit card to validate the ticket so that cannot be done, we get assistance from one of the Alhambra staff, who are really good, they ask no problem can we see your passport, NORMA had left this back in the hotel room also another thing that NORMA never does.
So we have to pay a second time 13 Euro each, for an earlier time slot, we have a nice walk through the gardens to a building that we were ushered to by members of staff, a nice Lady would not let us in as our tickets said 5:00PM and it was about 4:45PM so we lat in the shade and took in the sights, at 5:00PM we approached the lady again who then informed us that we where in the wrong place, this was not the Palace, our time slot closes in 15 minutes and we have to get right across the grounds to the other side to get in the Palace, well we were the last 3 in, nice place and very well worth the effort. IT MAY HAVE BEEN BETTER THOUGH IF NORMA HAD GOT OFF THE BUS IN THE BLOODY CAR PARK first time around, together with the credit card that was in her handbag at that time.
Back into Granada and a bit of a drink (G&T) Norma decides to by a fan and the Lady in the shop says that there are nice restaurant's up a way, so I set off leaving the Ladies to shop and find this nice area, cannot find the place she was talking about but the area looked nice, it looks up at the Alhambra, so I report back and we decide to eat in the area that evening, well the meal was very fatty NORMA'S was nice though, Sheila and I got the bad deal again.

Wednesday the 3rd of September 2008

After a good nights sleep and an excellent breakfast in the hotel we wandered about the shops.
Sheila and Norma spotted a Zara and I said I will just walk down to the corner and wait, as I do not like shops at the best of times. AN HOUR LATER after they must have tried everything in the shop on they came out,
I was by this time suffering from dehydration and famine and in dire need of a toilet from the previous evenings meal. I just made it into the Corte de Inglais in time.
We had a nice trip home to Corte on the train, no upsets, the car just where we had left it a the station, we nipped down to a hotel in Estation de Cortes, The El Gecko Hotel for a drink and a chat with Sarah, someone we met many years ago who has taken over the hotel and sat out the back overlooking the river, which had a few guys out fishing, they caught some barbel and a fresh water turtle while we were there, all of which went back in the river. We plan to have my 55th birthday bash here and a new chief called Robert has just joined Sarah and her team and we have had good reports.
Back up the hill to Corte and later we strolled into the village for a burger being that we were to tired for much else.

Thursday the 4th of September 2008

Woke up to find I was 55 years old, by a previous arrangement made in Barbados in 2003 it is also our Wedding Anniversary, I of course had forgotten to get anything for Norma, never mind she has me. I had planned to buy something but she never allows me any money.
We just hung around the house on Thursday, catching our breath, did a bit of cleaning etc.
Later on Nefeica picked us up with her partner Rob and youngest and drove us down to El Gecko where they were meeting up with Robs parents, it comes to light that Rob was born in the Jane Crookall Maternity Hospital, Douglas, Isle of Man, So is Manx by birth although only lived their a very short time, his Mother and Father informed me that they travelled a lot at that time and Robs Mother travelled to the Island, to be with her Mother for the birth. I must try to get some stuff together and send out to Rob to build up his knowledge of his birthplace.
I have added this link which is a Bee Gee's history site to show Rob that he moves in some fine circles of society.
The meal was fantastic the best by far that we have had since arriving in Spain, I for example started with a Thai Chicken Salad, followed by Steak and all the trimmings, Crème Brulee all washed down with wine and G&T's Robert the Chef is not only a good cook but fun as well he originates from Brighouse in Yorkshire and has a very dry sense of humour, he will do well with Sarah and we wish them every success.
Quick trip up the hill in the taxi afterwards then off to bed.

Friday the 5th of September 2008.

We drove up to Ronda knowing that the big Bullfighting festival was taking place this week, very few shops open and Ronda had turned into a bit of a holiday resort, it was nice to see Spanish people on holiday, just taking in the sights etc.
We had a couple of drinks and a wander about, the people of Ronda are very proud of their links to the Bandit's that roamed the area and they dress up and parade in national Costume, see the pictures if I have attached them.
On the way home we decided to make a de-tour and found a Venta. A venta is a bit of a roadhouse restaurant / pub. We ordered some food and drinks it all turned out OK with BBQ roast pork and chicken.

Saturday 6th of September 2008

Up early for a drive down to Gibraltar, we get down for about 11:00AM breakfast at Morrison's a walk up to the cable car which was too busy due to a cruise ship full of Americans being tied up, we still managed a bit of duty free 50 large cigars £16.50p, normally back in the UK I would pay in the region of £200.00 for the same, how much does the government make, Sheila bought 2 sleeves of Lambert & Butlers that is 400 gigs for £20.40. Larios Gin which is a very good Gin 3 litre bottles cost £14.25 that is £4.75 a litre for gin that is better than Bombay Sapphire.
Hardly any delays any delays at the crossing and a nice beer in Casement's Square.
Back home we ate in Meson Los Rosales (Next door) very nice but not a scratch on El Gecko. It was a bit noisy.

Sunday 7th of September 2008

In Spain not a lot goes on, it is a family day or a day of rest. A few bars open so it is a day you stay local, relaxing in the sun, even Casa Berlin is closed today as are a few of the bars for the start of the owners holidays.
We sat in the sun most of the day and later had a meal in Meson Los Rosales

Monday 8th of September 2008

Today was a bit of an adventure, we had noticed that a noise was coming from the engine, Norma took the car down to the garage and after a bit of messing the nice garage mechanic by the name of Ray spoke on our behalf with who asked if we could take it back to Malaga, they also offered in fairness to send a pick up and we get a taxi that they would pay for. (Ray is an ace bloke).
We decided to take the car back ourselves it is about 3 hours each way and over a 200 mile round trip.
After the car was inspected we got what we can only say is a free up-grade, we never asked it is just the excellent customer service we get from So from Ford Focus to Honda Civic, Norma turns into Girl Racer.
After picking up the car we decide to make a day of it we first visit the sea side area of La Calla, this is a place there Helen, Tony and the Grandchildren lived for a while when they moved out to Spain, we enjoy going to a little patisserie which serves lovely cakes and nice Coffee.
After a walk around we start driving up towards Ronda for a second visit, the town has reverted back to the place we know well, the shops have re-opened and the Ladies had a bit of retail therapy.

Tuesday 9th of September 2008

Arcos de la Frontera is a place we really enjoy, it is a bit of a tough drive especially through the village of Ubrique and we would advise everyone to avoid driving through here outside of siesta time, narrow streets, high pavements, bad drivers.
Anyway once you arrive in Arcos, it is a bit of a hilly village and if you are not to good on your feet try the little bus, at the top you will find the Town Hall Square, from here you will get one of the best views of the Campo of Andalucia.
The Village is full of little streets it reminds me of Peel in the Isle of Man, around every corner a new picture prospect will arise.
Arcos can be very hot, that is due to the narrow streets and whitewash walls, so carry a drink but there are lots of little bars and seating area's to rest up at.
A nice thing happened in Arcos Town hall Square, I picked up a purse, it had about 70 euros in it but no one about, I stood for a while with the purse in clear view but it drew no attention, so I thought if I see a Police man or Official I will hand it in, that would not have been very likely as they all drive around in cars. We were walking down one on the lanes heading for a Church or Fort and notices this couple, franticly looking through rucksacks etc. Norma approached them and asked if they had lost a purse of which they had, we then gave them it back, it was a pleasure to see the relief on their faces, no reward was accepted and we soon saw them having a drink in a bar that they would not have been able to have without the money. A good day.
We drove home back through Ubrique, it was siesta time, so it was a lot less painless.
Carry out Pizza from Diego s for dinner and a night in watching TV.

Wednesday 10th of September 2008

Today Norma and I had a walk around the village, more scouting out where we are looking to set up home, as yet we have had many idea's but the right place has not jumped out at us yet, we have looked at other villages but Corte keeps drawing us back.
We did a bit of shopping in the village then collected Sheila and set off to a nearby village called Benarraba.
We have visited Benarraba before and use the hotel swimming pool and it is very nice for a Lunch.
I kept an eye out for Geoff & Jane, some people who I have never personally met but visit their sites ( )
I think we all got a bit more of a tan than we expected, due to having a swim and drying off, usual thing did we put the suntan cream on early enough.
On the way back, we stopped off at El Gecko for a drink on the way past and have a chat with Sarah and Robert, sort out a table for Friday night, Robert has promised to make us Thai Fish Cakes as a starter, we are looking forward to them.
We had a nice talk with Sarah who was rather surprised just how many people in the area I have contact with, via various sites on the internet, people like Geoff & Jane, Bandy, Trooperman etc, also how you can see a lot of local events from Car Hill Climbs to local Rugby on it is a wonderful place the internet.
We have decided to stay in tonight and eat Spanish omelette, fried potatoes and left over pizza. Watch a bit of Emmerdale & Coronation Street and then who knows.
I have also spent a bit of today back tracking the blog as you may be able to tell as this has a bit more detail to it today. Tomorrow we plan to use the pool at El Gecko and I have spoken with Sarah about helping her set up a web page on to help promote her establishment, we talked over some ideas and I hope I can get everything up and running for her.

Thursday the 11th of September 2008

Today brings back memories of being in Las Vagas, 7 years ago and waking up to the news that the Twin Towers in New York had been hit by two planes that the Pentagon had been hit and that a forth plane at the time was missing, Norma and I were heading down the strip in Las Vagas and the police were closing the road behind us as we headed for the airport to get our car serviced. One of those times like when J.F. Kennedy or John Lennon was shot if you were born you knew where you were when you heard the news.
So back to the Spanish trip;
Today we sat about till about lunch, just lazed in the sun. We then drove down to the Hotel El Gecko to use their pool which Sarah allows us to use for free, this is not for all but I am sure that if you ask, for a small fee and allowing for the fact that priority must be given to guests of the hotel you may be allowed access.
It was nice sitting by the river watching the duck's with Lime and Pomegranate trees around you, we sat on the terrace and had a lunch of DONNA KABAB and CHIPS, yes Robert had made donna kabab and chips for a lunch time special it was really good, lovely dips and a nice fresh salad. To be honest after lunch I ate nothing else but a biscuit all day.
I showed Sarah a couple of sites on the internet, that will help build up a site for her, photobucket etc.
A couple of walkers came in for lunch, not sure what nationality possibly Scandinavian, nice couple, good English and we had a chat, they are well travelled walkers.
They mentioned about a holiday that they had done around the ring of Kerry where they would walk to the next B&B and their luggage would be transported for them. Seems a good idea and Sarah says that they can arrange also this, not that Norma and I would be interested but for keen walkers who knows. I must mention this to Norma's sister Janet who is a keen walker. The couple we met had walked for 5 hours and were waiting to catch the train back to their car. They ate a hearty meal and the Lady was very pleased with the apple pie and cream, neither of the couple had any weight problems, must be something in this walking lark.
Norma, Sheila and I had a very good siesta on arrival home, it was disturbed by a knock on the door, someone trying to buy the place. We have noticed a lot of activity in people trying to buy in the area, mostly Spaniards, we think looking for a second home as they are mostly middle aged couples.
Something we have noticed on this stay that after 15 months away the village appears to be growing in population, it is keeping the young ones, before they would move and stay away but know there is a noticeable positive mix of all ages.
On our way down to the Hotel El Gecko earlier in the day, we stopped off at the open market, that is once a fortnight we think and a good lively mix of people was clear to see, lots of babies in prams everywhere in the village. We have also noticed a few new shops opening.
There is not a lot for the young ones to do in the village, they drive their cars and scooters etc and are keen on sport but no picture house or bowling alley sort of thing, I believe at one time there were a number of places to see a film now mostly turned into bars, bit like Britain I suppose. I thought with all the free area's around a go-cart track and skateboard park may go down well, skateboards and in line skates are popular in the village.
We ended our day at Super Pizza with Diego. Argentina drew with Peru in the world cup qualifiers, Diego was not happy. The girls ate Burgers I just kept to the G&T as I was still full from my lunch.
Tomorrow is our last full day in the village and we will be doing a bit of tidying up at La Pina, bit of light mopping and dusting as we are our for a meal later in the day, we plan an early start on Saturday morning as we transfer over to Malaga City for a day and night.

Friday the 12th of September to Sunday the 14th of September 2008 inclusive.

It all finished so fast, as holidays do.
Friday we spent some time cleaning the apartment, having a final walk around the village, lounging on the terrace at 'La Pina'. Later on we travelled down to Estation de Cortes, to have a meal at The El Gecko Hotel, Sara, Nafeica, Rob, Domingo, Chief Robert, Aussie Phil were there for a drink and the place was very busy. We had an excellent meal, Robert must put Thai Fish cakes on the menu he made us a batch up special and they were delicious.
The restaurant and hotel, we noticed is attracting a lot of attention from all types of dinners, walkers, trekkers, rail enthusiasts, pet owners, bird watchers, nature lovers etc, a very varied crowd.
Contact me if you want details. I will also try to add links to their site once it is fully up and running, bit of a technical glitch at the moment but that will soon be fixed.
On Saturday we moved on into Malaga City leaving the peace and quiet of Cortes de la Frontera far behind us.
We booked into the Molina Lario a hotel we have stayed in many times before, to be honest, the best hotel I have stayed in, anywhere. On the occasion we had been up-graded to one of the best rooms in the house, a junior suit, Sheila just had an ordinary room but she loved it, very grand.
Malaga gave the ladies a bit of time for retail therapy, they enjoyed C&A but felt that Zara was bit of a let down. We ate well, tapas, steak etc but missed the El Gecko.
Oh we witnessed a demonstration in Malaga, it was funny to see a swastika flying.
Sunday we flew home with and that was the end of the holiday.

Traa dy liooar.

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