Archive for the ‘tourism’ Category
Very roughly the image describes our planned route – from the Northeast, stopping over at a friend’s place, 24 hour ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao, then a couple of hours drive before another stopover before heading down to Galera.
Quite a trip armed with three cats and a car-full of “stuff”. But we’ve done it before so it’s not entirely new. With rain and 13c max temperatures forecast for Hexham area for the coming week now is a great time to clear off. Galera on the other hand is forecast to have a constant 26c max for the coming week – that will do us just fine – great weather for fixing hosepipes and upgrading the solar panel.
Had a great winter here in the UK thanks to our friends – without which it would have been pretty miserable (the weather in the Northeast is always miserable) – looking forward to getting together with our friends in Spain for a great summer.
Lots to do, people to see, places to go. By the time we leave I’ll have had my share of Indian food to make up for the coming lack of it!!
I wish I’d taken a photo… yesterday as well as many other places, we visited a little area call San Juan. I was going to do a little map but for the life of me, though there are several San Juan on Google Maps – Eventually I discovered “San Juan de los Terreros!
Anyway, if you find yourself there, don’t go in the water. Between plastic bags and assorted rubbish – I’ve never seen such a mess. Somewhere around there is a nudist beach – Maureen freaked out – so we didn’t hang around there for long.
All of this was part of our big Saturday outing. We set off sharp in the morning from Galera, via Cullar and Puerto Lumbreras down to Vera – where they have what has to be the largest market I’ve seen in recent times – certainly within day-driving distance. Blows away the Huescar Thursday market.
I think we arrived in Vera around 11am and after (with difficulty) parking the car did our best to cover the market in the remainder of the morning, stopping only briefly in the town centre for coffee.
We had a nice time though it was very hot down there, marred somewhat by the news that our pal has had a heart attack and is in hospital (and of course I’d formatted my phone and so had no contact info in there but eventually we got him on the phone to chat to).
Meanwhile just outside of Vera we found a very nice – and cheap garden centre – so now Maureen has new (bright purple) plants for our place – and I have some new watering kit – just waiting for it to cool off a little.
Being a Saturday night, by 9pm we were not hopeful but as it turns out there were places still open at Parque Almenara in Lorca – the huge Chinese store – Corte Asia for example until 10pm (apparently 6 days a week, closed all day Sunday). W
Our trip which started in Galera, via Cullar, Puerto Lumbras down to Vera, took us along the coast (on and off) to Playas de Vera, Vlillaricos, San Juan, Aquilas and several other spots I can’t remember the names of…. and ended up late in the evening at Lorca and then we took the back route home via Velez Rubio, Velez Blanco and Maria, arriving home quiet late. It was a very clear night – we turned the lights out and sat for an hour or so counting satellites (about 20 in all and a couple of meteorites) before retiring from a very eventful day.
Yesterday was a good day, despite our friends Aidan and Helen having now gone back to the UK. Sunday night I took another half-decent moon pic as you can see on the right (click any of these and other images on the blog to see larger versions).
Monday, despite being a holiday here and despite constant predictions I was wasting my time, once again the couriers delivered gadgetry to the door, on time – this one was a microprocessor board I’m writing a review on this week and as they’re launching the product this coming Friday, that was good timing.
The rest of the morning was spent working on new and significant Raspberry Pi updates and blogging some of the more complex programming aspects of the unit – as well as staring at intermittent clouds hoping they’d disappear in time for our BBQ and indeed they did – by mid-day things were warming up and by the time we got the BBQ going out in the beautiful countryside near Maria, the sunshine was out and eight of us (and 3 dogs) had a great time in an area kitted out for BBQs with dedicated stone BBQ units way out in the wilds.
A huge zoo-full of school-kids turned up and of course being from the UK I was expecting someone to cause trouble – instead – they were really good – they wanted to speak English, take photos and learn about us – quite refreshing.
Ultimately I needed a break from the constant chatter of kids and took the opportunity to go walkabouts for a while, followed most of the way by Debbie and John’s very friendly (and quiet) dogs – and got some great shots of the surrounding area.
Around this area you can only have BBQs until sometime in June from which point they are rightfully banned as it gets very dry and hot so we’re taking advantage of the opportunity while we can. No doubt it won’t be the last.
We all had a great time and four of us ended the evening watching “The Hateful Eight” which despite having blood and guts as the central theme as with all of his movies, turned out to be yet another Tarrantino work of art and a great laugh.
This morning (Tuesday) my long awaited displays turned up together with some other new bits and pieces the Chinese want me to take a look at – more tech blogging this morning then possibly a grocery shop. Time for a quiet spell before the heat starts in earnest later this week – wonderful.
After a day that saw temperatures as high as 36c, the evening was marvellous as you’ll see from the night shot. Clear skies and easily warm enough to sit outside past midnight.
And so it was that some of us ended up at La Posa restaurant and bar and after some excruciating singing from some of the guys, Simon and I ended up agreeing to a charity shave – except the charity bit never took off, probably due to alcohol. We did try to enlist others but with Simon bursting out into singing mode every now and then I think people were too busy laughing to take anything we said seriously.
I’m writing this first thing and I’ve just posted the pic on Facebook to ensure that Simon holds to his end of the bargain. I’ve had the beard and moustache ever since someone pointed out to me that I bore a slight resemblance to the crook in the excellent 2011 “TinTin” movie from which point on I made sure the beard exactly matched the cartoon character!
But that is all history now, for a few days at least, it’s back to basics! My right ribs are aching again this morning - no doubt from lifting stuff I should not – and up to now It looks like I’m the only one up and about.
Been catching up with emails and now the sun is up, a spot of breakfast in the Pergola before checking out Huelva for our short trip next week.
From Galera it’s somewhat under a 3-hour trip – and Maureen and I watched as the weather went from partially sunny, through heavy rain and back to full, glorious sunshine.
I’m not sure I’d want to spend any amount of time in Alicante in the summer when it’s heaving with tourists but we had a very pleasant few hours there yesterday including stopping right at the coast for a late lunch at Rudy’s Pizzeria. REALLY nice pizza.
We made the sensible move, given the choice of small, medium or large, of sharing the medium – I’m convinced we could not have managed the large version – the waiter was kind enough to warn us beforehand.
This is the first time we’ve done any more than touch the surface of Alicante and while much of it seems to have been put together in the 60’s it certainly beats the hell out of watching the snow fall in the Northeast of England this time of year.
The beach was superb – almost no-one there due to it being the end of the UK school holiday week and the temperatures were no more than 18c but the sun was blasting and that made up for everything.
We took a good walk around to minimise the effects of lunch before heading off to the airport. A pretty eventless flight. Last night in Edinburgh was AWFUL, after some confusion over the name of the bus company taking us to our car which meant we spent half an hour standing outside waiting, the trip back down the A68 took place in blizzards. This morning – it’s snow here in Wark.
I’m sure there is some saving grace to being back here, but I can’t think of anything off-hand apart from the ready availability of half-decent bread for my bacon sandwich.
Don’t forget – you can click on any of these photos to see a larger version.
Well this certainly has been an interesting holiday…
Tuesday morning we set off in two cars with our friends Karen and Dave and Karen’s parents Shirley and Cyril, on a journey to Marbella (313km). The flu has come back to me with a vengeance and so we filled the our car with loo rolls as the other four headed off in their own car. Around teatime we arrived at the Refugio De Juanar, a really nice secluded little place up in the mountains, in Ojen – just inland from Marbella, on Tuesday evening. By then the weather was not that good – it was getting cool and raining. We got ourselves settled into the hotel and had a light snack.
That evening the plan was for the 6 of us to visit our ex-neighbours, Kristine and Richard who now run a bar in Marbella itself – the “K Lounge”. It would not have surprised me if we’d had issues with our car after the last time but it was an absolute star throughout the trip – sadly Dave’s car was not quite so helpful and as we readied ourselves to head down to Marbella, it promptly gave up the ghost, the gearstick refusing to connect to anything.
Cyril and Shirley stayed at the hotel as Karen, Dave, Maureen and I went off down to make the best of things – keeping our appointment down at the coast. We had a good night, Richard is obviously enjoying his job as bar owner and we ordered an Indian meal in from one of the many nearby restaurants. Excellent despite the continued rain. Good food, drink and company.
Wednesday morning was different again – the weather was really great for the time of year. 9am on the spot a particularly miserable pickup-truck driver turned up to take their car down to the nearest garage on the coast. The trip to the coast was no more than 14km downhill and so with 4 people crammed into the back of our car we followed the rather speed-crazed driver down less than ideal roads to the dealer.
At that time, first thing in the morning the dealer had no idea how long it would take to fix the car and of course we were worried in case it was going to take all week. Cramming everyone back into our car, we headed off to a sizeable shopping centre in Marbella where we spent much of the day.
We separated up and Maureen and I had a nice relaxing lunch at a German cafe within the shopping centre, outdoors as by then the temperature was around 20c and sunny. Dave and I both agreed the centre was mainly oriented toward women – the best we could manage was an Apple store and there was nothing new in there, not even the iPad mini which clearly has not been introduced to Spain yet.
To clear up a mis-understanding about Spain – it is NOT cheap. Fuel is approaching the price we pay in the UK and anything that smacks of electrical is HORRENDOUSLY overpriced, especially when compared to the (understandably numerous) Chinese stores. In the shopping centre was a large electrical discount store – I guess the equivalent of our B&Q – I went off to look at solid-state lighting and was so horrified by the pricing I took some pics. On the left you see the price of a simple transformer – 240v mains to 12v 1amp to drive LED strip. Yes, that’s 23 Euros each. Typically on EBay you’ll see these for around £3 or so. Worse, the strip itself, which can now be found on EBay even from UK suppliers at around £10 for 5 metres (300 LEDS) was sold double-spaced – hence 300 LEDS taking up 10 metres, priced at a stunning 103 Euros – I had to take a pic to make sure my flu-infested eyes were no deceiving me. All of this leaves one wondering about the clientele of the shopping centre – which certainly would not include the 40% unemployed. Dave and I came away empty-handed but of course the women went shopping, as they do.
I spent most of the day wishing I could sleep despite excellent weather, clear blue skies and good company and by mid-afternoon we knew that Dave and Karen’s car would be fixed and ready to go at teatime at a not-unreasonable cost. 5pm we crammed back into our car and headed off to the dealer before starting off on the long trip back to Galera, arriving back here around 10.30pm, stopping on the way for dinner.
We no doubt will have another trip to see Richard and Kristine in the summer sometime, hopefully without car troubles and maybe fitting in a trip to Tangiers while we’re on. Marbella is massive and we saw only the smallest part of it.
Click on any of the pictures here to see a larger version. The panorama below was taken most likely of Ojen during one of our trips up and down.