Back in the UK

It’s now Monday 3rd April and we have been back in the UK since Friday.  It’s nice to know that I still know how to drive and to notice the things from home that we should really all appreciate (more of that in a later post…)

It wasn’t rough in the Bay of Biscay but there was a 2m swell and, as I don’t always travel well, this meant I ended up laying down for 14 hours of the trip… (didn’t do my fitbit challenges any good either!)  In this time Calv saw a school of dolphins (on the other side of the ferry to where the Orca watch co-ordinators were leading the search for them..), had some dinner and almost fell asleep in his pint.  At which point he returned to the cabin to go to bed.  At 8pm!!

Since we drove off the ferry we’ve hardly stopped.  Don’t get me wrong it’s lovely to see everybody but we’re exhausted!!  Much as I’m looking forward to seeing people that I haven’t caught up with yet I’m also looking forward, very much, to Thursday when we have no plans 🙂

I do have to catch up with writing up campsite reviews and an overview of our trip so far.  I also have to write up a couple more ‘condensed’ versions (my son’s might read them then!)

Today I have upgraded my computer and we’ve got ourselves mobile internet (which we wish we’d done before we left…).  I’m hoping that this will mean a less frustrating process when I update the blog.

Whilst I’m here can I just say thank you so much for reading and for your interest and support.  As this was started as a way of keeping in touch with family and friends it’s lovely to see that it’s proving interesting to others.  So, welcome to everybody and please feel free to comment on your own experiences on where we’ve visited.

The featured image btw is taken from our pitch at our ‘home’ campsite, Kia Ora in Nutbourne near Chichester.  The view at any time rivals any that we’ve experienced in Spain (except perhaps the last where we could see snow-capped mountains from our pitch).

Kia Ora is a small site in an old nursery.  It’s wonderful to see the daffodils bobbing in the sun and also the owner’s own lovely garden.  We’ll be very comfortable here until we move on to Rye next week for the start of our UK adventures.

Walk to the Miradors – del Cruzo & Macho Montana. Monday 27th Feb 2017

Today was my favourite day so far since we arrived at this location.  The day dawned bright, warm and sunny – perfect for a walk up into the mountains (on the trail that we found a few days ago in the rain).

We booted up, packed a drink, an apple and our wet coats and set off (via the bike shop to try to get a chain for Calv’s bike -no luck unfortunately).

It was busy up the mountain today, unlike last Thursday, because it’s a bank holiday over here.  It started off quite fresh, but we gradually shed our layers as it warmed up.

There are 2 viewpoints to walk to.  The first, del Cruzo, takes you off the main path on a loop (the viewpoint ‘entrance’ is shown in the main photo of this post – sloping steps, my favourite!) Continue reading “Walk to the Miradors – del Cruzo & Macho Montana. Monday 27th Feb 2017”

Thursday 23rd- a rainy day on the Costa del Sol

We knew it was going to rain today and had already decided to visit La Canada, a Centro Commercial near to Marbella.  Not that we’re really into shopping – we just wanted to have a look really.

The centre is situated at the point where the A7 and AP7 converge – you head onto the road towards Ojen and come straight to the entrance.  It’s very impressive, and new, and very much aimed at the British.  Having said that amongst the well known British High Street names there are plenty of Spanish stores.  It is a bit expensive though in some stores.

I did buy a top in H&M and we got a few bits in the, small but perfectly formed, M&S Food ‘Hall’ (Hall is pushing it a bit…)

Calv did have a couple of complaints though.  The workmanship (this is a recurring theme) and the fact that the female cleaner had no qualms about mopping around the urinals whilst they were in use!

We’d also decided to go on a little drive up into the mountains culminating, hopefully, in a visit to Mijas Pueblo, one of the whitewashed villages in the hills above the resorts.

So we headed off towards Ojen on what turned out to be a really good road.  We stopped at a viewpoint above Ojen itself, which afforded rather lovely views, despite the murky conditions.

dsc_0001 Continue reading “Thursday 23rd- a rainy day on the Costa del Sol”

Gibraltar – Tuesday 21st February 2017

I started this post last night while it was still fresh in my mind – unfortunately it had disappeared by the time I came to finish it.  Now I’ve got to remember everything all over again!

First to get us up-to-date.  We arrived here at Cabopino (Calahonda nearer to Marbella than Malaga) on Thursday.  The site is okay and we settled in quite quickly as we’re staying here for 3 weeks – it’s just a shame that it’s directly on the main Costa del Sol road.  Mind you it looks like it’s pretty impossible to avoid that if you want to be located near the beach.

It’s not particularly cycle friendly (mainly because of the location and reliance on the A7) although Calv has been out and about (and managed to snap his chain…)  He’s fixed it, of a fashion, but does need a new one.  He’s also identified some work arounds for cycling, so I will be going out at some point!

We’ve also been out for a couple of long walks.  There’s a boardwalk along the beach here, and also a bit past the port.  The one nearest to us is to protect the dunes mainly, but during the week we will be able to cycle along it.

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However, we quickly realised that in order to really appreciate a bit more of the area we would need a car, so on Monday we picked one up for 10 days.  What a painless process that was!  We were then able to go shopping without having to worry about how much we bought.  But we’re now very much into the habit of not buying what we don’t need, so didn’t spend that much anyway 🙂

In the afternoon we dropped down on the A7 to Marbella.  We tried a couple of times to find a road down to the beach with no luck, so decided to continue onto Puerto Banus.  This wasn’t at all what we were expecting.  As we wandered through the port we were accosted by scores of hawkers wandering around.  Calv’s comment was ‘It’s not Monaco is it?’ We were definitely in the right place as it was lined with designed stores!  I expect it’s different when the sun’s out.

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With the car we were able to go along the coast to visit Gibraltar, which is about 60 miles from where we’re staying.  Calv has never been and I’ve visited once about 10/11 years ago.

We returned to old habits and managed to get lost in the border town, La Linea de la Concepcion, having decided that we wouldn’t take the SatNav as “it couldn’t be that difficult to find”..  Not somewhere you want to get lost…  Anyway we pulled up Google maps and found our way to the big car park by the border.  It costs 1.80 per hour to a maximum of 14.40 per day (Euros that is).

We had no problems going through – this is a busy crossing!  Don’t forget your passports!

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We were inappropriately dress in shorts and t-shirt as the weather we looked at turned out to be lying to us.  Also we didn’t check the wind speed.  We should have checked the wind speed!  It was VERY windy.  Also the clouds, I think they call them the Levant, hung around for most of the day.  Luckily we walked a lot which kept us warm 🙂

So we took the bus over the runway and into the city centre.  After breakfast in ‘Little Rock’  in Casemate Square we wandered the main street of shops (which included M&S, Next, Dorothy Perkins & Monsoon) and saw the government buildings and also the courthouse, where barristers were milling outside and there was a camera crew outside – presumably waiting for a newsworthy verdict to come in.

When we came to the end of the street we turned round with the intention of going off up one of the little side streets, I fancied visiting the Victorian Police Station, but we didn’t actually make it there.

Instead we went up Bombhouse Lane and found the Gibraltar Museum.  We took a while to decide to go on in, because it sort of undersells itself.  There are archaeological remains in there together with some pretty well preserved Turkish Bath remains that existed in the house itself.  It cost just £2 each to visit and was well worth it.  Thoroughly recommend it. (No photography allowed though).

Look out for the red plaques on buildings as they give you historical information.  We then made our way along Lovers Lane and the bastions to find the cable car.  We could see it in the distance so just headed that way!  It costs just over £10 for a one way trip, just over £12 for a return or just over £20 (each) for a one way trip and a ticket to visit the attractions in the nature reserve, which entails walking back down.  We went for the last option.  Once at the top we went out onto the terrace of the café and were very nearly blown away, the wind was vicious up there!  But we saw our 1st macaques of the day 🙂

We then headed off to explore.  We lost our map early on; no idea how but Calv thinks the wind snatched it out of my hand and I was so busy trying to stay on my feet that I didn’t notice!  Anyway this, eventually, meant that we missed St Michael’s Cave as we thought we’d gone the wrong way – as it turned out we were just too impatient!  So we turned back too early and headed on down towards the other side of the rock to see the attractions that I didn’t see the 1st time I visited, namely, The Siege Tunnels, WWII Tunnels and the Moorish Castle.  It’s rather a long walk, even though we shortened it a little by walking down a closed road (our rationale being that it was only closed to cars as it was easy to walk around the barrier).  It did mean we didn’t have to play chicken with the taxis for a while.  Which was nice.. 🙂

We visited both the Siege Tunnels and the Moorish Castle and I was impressed with both.  I didn’t realise how ignorant I was of the history of Gibraltar before coming here today.  I now know, for instance, that Spain itself has only held the Rock for 33 years in the last 800 or so, and the Siege tunnel was built to wait out the 3 year siege laid by the Spanish with French reinforcements.

The tunnels are a mine of information which really brings the history to life.  It’s worth carrying on to the end, even though it’s like walking down a wind tunnel.  Calv thought it would be funny to tell people that there was a nice café at the end…

The inside of the castle was unexpected.  For instance the ceilings inside are domed and I found out that the King had a suite of rooms which included a heated shower!  Whilst interesting there’s little to see in there and so the visit is short, although the top of the tower does provide an excellent viewpoint of the runway to watch take-offs and landings.

On leaving the castle you’re on the last stretch back down to the main drag.  I spotted some ‘Castle Steps’ on the right of the road and persuaded Calv that this was probably a quicker way to go.  He wasn’t too convinced that I wasn’t going to get us lost again but, although there were a lot of steps, it brought us out opposite Peacocks in the Main Street.  We were thinking of stopping somewhere for a cup of tea and a slice of cake but were so tired that we headed straight back to the car.

On leaving the car park we stayed on the coast road and spotted the Aire, that we’d been told about, on the Eastern side of the peninsula.  The wind was still really high and I took this video of the waves – it doesn’t really show just how rough the water was though. (The video is at the beginning of the post as it keeps putting it there and I’m getting cross now…!)

We decided to pay the toll on the way back (a total of 5.10Euros) back to Marbella, but much quicker.  As it was quite late and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast (and had walked about 8 miles since) we ended up in McDonalds.  And we had McFlurrys…  I doubt we’ll be doing that again for a while!

Today (Wednesday) we are both aching all over, so we walked over to the beach and the port to make sure we didn’t seize up completely.  Calv managed to get in a bit of beachcombing as well 🙂  (We also found where we’ll be watching the rugby on Saturday).

Cheers 🙂  See you again soon x

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