Phew!………………….What a busy eight days that’s been. On the 19th Dec, I drove over to Malaga Airport to collect my two girls and grandson off an Easyjet flight from Gatwick. No sooner had they got themselves installed in their rented villa two or three miles along the road from my site,
than they were congratulating themselves on their choice of travel date, for that same evening, Gatwick Airport closed down for 36 hours because of the drone trouble. Once they had settled in and sorted their bedrooms, we drove into Nerja to have dinner at Mirasol, one of our favourite restaurants.
On their second day we drove only a short distance inland, and up the hills to Frigiliana which is the local ‘postcard’ village.
Parts of the village were built during the Moorish period so as it’s built on a hillside, many of the streets are not only steep, but they are stepped as well which makes work difficult for builders and other maintenance workers. As I walked through the streets, one builder was having his bags of sand and cement delivered by donkey.
The tiny main plaza is dominated by the 16th Century church. Even the main street through the village is narrow with sharp bends so vehicle traffic is restricted to residents. The top of the hill was once dominated by a Moorish castle, now virtually just a pile of rubble. From Frigiliana, we drove down to Burianna, where we enjoyed a packed lunch and a beer on the beach.
Next day after meeting up we took a quick sprint along the A7 to Velez-Malaga, then turned inland where the road follows the valley bottom through plantations of avocado, olive and palm tree nurseries. After six or seven miles the road suddenly rises and we arrived at Viñuela which although it’s referred to as a lake, is a reservoir with a dam built at one end. I drove first to the eastern side because in the mornings that is where the view is seen at its best.
Comparing the water levels with those of ten or so years ago, the level is very low. Having said that, the present level is slightly higher than last year, thanks no doubt to that week of torrential rain we had just after my arrival at El Pino. After a short stroll along the bank, we returned to the car and drove down into the valley and up the next range to Alcaucin – another hill village dating from Moorish times. One of the features of Alcausin is its restored Moorish water supply. Five fountains run continuously even during the driest dry spell. The water has been declared “potable” so local people arrive with trolleys and cars to fill numerous 5-litre containers with the water. There is a local legend which promises that any ‘unattached’ person who drinks from the centre fountain, will marry someone from the village within the year. Grandson, Sam was taking no chances since he chose spout number four to drink from!
This village also has a tiny plaza where one side is taken up with the 17th Century church.
We returned to the lake in time for a packed lunch. Part of the surrounding woodland has been laid out with twenty or so picnic tables and seating. Adjacent to every table has been built a concrete barbecue hearth. Being Saturday, many of the barbecues were in use. During the afternoon we took a walk along the dirt road through the woodland surrounding the lake. We later met up for dinner at the Bamboo, another of our favourite restaurants where we’d booked a table.
On Sunday we turned east and drove along the old coast road for twelve miles to Marina del Este. Where the road has been improved along some of the headlands, the old road has been left as lay-bys. From the cliff tops, there are some fantastic views.
At Marina del Este, a large rock close to the shoreline has been ingeniously changed by adding a breakwater at one end, thus forming a marina where some very expensive looking craft are tied up. Around the hillsides are tiers of apartments and villas.
Some apartments were bought ‘off plan’ - ie: purchase agreed and paid for before they were finished. Unfortunately, before even the new owners were able to take possession, building faults became apparent which made them uninhabitable. With the builders bankrupt and long since vanished, the owners were left with a problem – which still continues. We later drove over the headland and into the next bay at Herradura. Here a horseshoe-shaped bay is backed with a gently sloping beach.
It was an ideal spot for our packed lunch. In the evening we had wanted to visit La Paloma Blanca on Torrox prom for dinner. After admiring and photographing the ‘Christmas Tree’ erected at end of the prom, we were disappointed to find La Paloma closed. We returned to the car and drove to Nerja where we visited Mirasol again. Later in the evening, we walked through Nerja to see the Christmas lights at the Balcon.
On Sunday we decided to do our Christmas Day shopping so we went to the local Lidl. In none of the supermarkets do you see any Christmas turkeys. Instead, hundreds of hams are on display.
Christmas Day’s weather was similar to the previous few weeks; clear blue skies, lots of sunshine and temperatures around 20C by mid-day. After coffee and an exchange of Christmas presents, we sat out on the balcony until after lunch.
During the afternoon the family took a walk along Playazo Beach; then it was time to return to the villa for the girls to start preparing dinner.
Boxing Day is not celebrated in Spain. The 26th Dec is a normal working day so shops are open and most people are back at work. We drove westward along the coast road as far as Torre del Mar. There we found a quiet section of the beach for sitting out and having lunch. During the afternoon my girls and grandson walked the four miles along beach and promenade to our rendezvous point further along the coast. In the evening we returned to the Bamboo for dinner.
Sadly, today was all bustle and hurry. By ten thirty villa door keys were handed back and we were on our way to Malaga. It’s a 40-mile drive to the airport but even so, we had time to stop at Torremolinos beach for a coffee and for daughters to have a final look at the sea before completing the five-minute drive to the airport. Some reluctant farewells and all that was left for me to do was drive back to the site for a late lunch.
To read this blog with extra pictures see:- https://jondogoescaravanning. com/spain-nov-2018-feb-2019/