Monday, 25 January 2016

Villaricos

There is a market on every day of the week around this area, the Sunday market is held in Villaricos, up the coast about 20K. The market was the busiest that we have been to so far, coaches were dropping off the locals at the top end by the small harbour to trawl through the many clothing stalls, some selling fake branded products (unless Ralph Lauren & Lacoste do sell jumpers for 12 Euros in Spain) and bric-a-brac stalls. Lower down the street is what we had come for, fresh fruit and veg and especially the sweet juicy oranges. After a stroll around the harbour we sat at the tables of a cafe in the small square and had coffee, plus Churros from a street vendor.







For lunch we headed for 'Irenes' a small establishment with a large walled terrace behind the church at Mojacar Pueblo. Three courses for 8.90 Euros, the food was very good and made a nice change from Sunday roast.



In the afternoon we watched Arsenal v Chelsea in the Irish Pub, we have watched a few of games in the bar in the last couple of weeks, the Guinness is good too.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Granada to Cordobra

Got ourselves away from the coast for a couple of days inland to Granada about a 200k drive. Good and mostly empty roads swept us through mountainous regions. Once through the Spaghetti Western arid desert around Tabernas a million olive trees cling to the lower slopes with a craggy mountain backdrop, as we near Granada some of the peaks are snow covered.

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One of the most visited tourist spots in Granada is the Alhambra Palace, we paid our entrance fees and joined the queue for the 10:00 to 14:00 session. The building is immense, every wall, floor, door, gate and ceiling is decorated with marble, tiles, carvings or ornate plaster work. The towers are high with views over the new and old parts of the city. Water played a big part in the architect's design, fountains, waterfalls, ponds and watercourses flow in and around courtyards and the manicured gardens.






All too soon our session was over and we made our way to Cordoba for an overnight stop, a further 200K inland. The drive through the old part of town was interesting as the satnag took us through narrow streets, the wing mirrors had to be turned in to get past tight spots to the hotel.

The hotel was opposite the Cathedral (aka The Great Mosque) and in the morning we walked through it's huge wooden doors and had a ....I wasn't expecting that.... moment. Both our jaws dropped as we exhaled WOW. It's hard to describe the sheer scale of the place, four premiership football pitches could be swallowed within it's walls. Hundreds of columns and arches hold the roof up. The organ was playing while we visited, all around the inner walls are chapels and vaults adorned with paintings and statues.

The site was  originally Christian converted to Muslim and at one time a shared place of worship. The building as stands was Muslim built in the first century by Moorish architects. After war in 1286 Cordoba returned to Christianity and has remained ever since. Spanish muslims still lobby the Catholic Church to be allowed to pray in the cathedral but the Spanish church and Vatican has denied this on multiple occasions. Sign of the times are the machine gun armed guards in the court yard.



Ancient Roman temple ruins.



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Plaza de la Correderra.

Flamenco museum.

The Guadalquivir river.
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Roman bridge over the river with cathedral behind.
We explored the old town's river, narrow streets and plazas before it was time to head back to Mojacar.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Garrucha fish market.

Watched the fishing fleet unload their catch at Garrucha fish market. A slick operation, the trays of fish come off the boats and into the auction shed at one end of a conveyor, the buyers sit in a tiered stand, they all have an electronic device in their hand and at a press of a button a printer drops a label into the tray they buy which are then iced and loaded onto pallets for despatch.  





To order.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

La Cuenta 4x4

Went for an early morning stroll along a coastal path (which turned into a bit of a hike) to an observation tower built by the Moors in ????. a long time ago.



This chap was going at least 20 knots.

Fortification against invaders.

Torre de Pirulico


View to Mojacar from the Tower of Pirulico.

And to the west. Someone has built a villa atop of the next hill
Spanish wildlife.
Treated ourselves to a dish of paella in the evening at a local restaurant, you have to book in advance, not the table but the paella ... cooked to perfection.

Friday, 15 January 2016

The days so far have ......

.......been warm and sunny while the evenings are cool. Mojacar village is a mile away clinging to a high hill overlooking the valley to the north and Mediterranean to the south. Steep narrow streets wind their way up to the top where a few touristy shops, cafe's/bar's, the Santa Maria church, a tattoo parlour and spectacular views over the valley. 


View over the valley from Mojacar village


Waiting for coffee.


There is a lift to get to the top quickly.


The town of Vera is a 25 minute drive east, on it's outskirts is the Bullring and museum, it is free to enter but a tip is required for the man on the gate before you leave. Built in 1879 and refurbished in 1993 bull fights are still held here.
Vera boasts that it has the best climate in Europe, it also has a water park, a four star naturist hotel with naturist urbanisation's including houses, apartments, villas restaurants bars and leisure facilities. I will try and keep Sue away from there!




Bull ring in Vera.


Pool at the apartment, the water is too cold for a dip.
Sun up this morning.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Spain


We had a very quiet but busy Christmas and New Year. Getting all the chores done that accumulate when you spend  time away from home.


Last Friday we jumped on Easyjet flights to Spain to get some winter sun in Mojacar (Mow-hack-cur). It was 23 degrees when we stepped on to the tarmac at Almeria airport.


Garrucha marina.


Diane & Sue had the beach to themselves.
Mojacar is very quiet at this time of year, there is very little traffic on the roads or promenade and the beaches are deserted, some bars and restaurants have shut for the season, but there are still plenty to choose from.

Prices are very reasonable, in a restaurant overlooking the marina we had beer & wine for 2 Euro a glass with a selection of Tapas for free. A splendid way to spend a lazy lunch in the sun.

Our Mojacar Aussie travel agent mates sorted us out a fabulous apartment overlooking the Mediterranean sea.


Enjoying the sun on the veranda.




Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Iona 1985

Thought I'd share these photo's that I took in 1985. ( photo's of photo's so quality poor)

They show ' Iona' on her inaugural horse drawn trip on the river Wey. 

Originally named 'Bellerophon' she was built in 1935 for the Grand Union Carrying Company.
After finishing cargo duties in 1963 she was used in the film 'The Bargee' and also starred in an episode of Coronation Street before being transformed into a trip boat at Norbury Junction. In 1985 she was moved to Godalming by lorry.