On Saturday daughter Jen arrived at Malaga Airport for a week’s stay over the Christmas period. She booked online for an apartment not too far from the site – an apartment which was identical to the one both daughters used three Christmases ago – identical because the two apartments happened to be next door to one another.
Having given her time to get settled, I later returned to her apartment, collected her and we drove into Nerja for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants —The Mirasol. It was good to go there again, and good to see their prices haven’t increased significantly since last year. Two chicken breast fillets, chips and salad with a beer for me, and pork sirloin with chips and vegetables and white wine for her all for around €18.
A beautiful morning on Sunday so Jen walked up to the campsite for coffee, then we took the short drive up the valley into the hills to take a look at Lake Viñuela.
It isn't really a lake but a man-made reservoir formed by the building of a dam across the river. It’s the largest of several reservoirs supplying water to the region. When the reservoir is full it is supposed to hold 170million cubic metres of water but the present estimate is that it’s only a 1/3 full. Each year, the level of the water appears to be lower than when last seen. Maybe that’s due to the fact that the number of giant plastic greenhouses is forever increasing.
Later we drove to the beach at Torre del Mar and set up our sun loungers for a picnic lunch.
We set off from Torrox driving east along the old coast road. As the road snakes its way up and over and around headlands, the new motorway takes a more direct route higher up the hills through cuttings, across viaducts and through tunnels. Where road improvements have been made on the coast road, often the old part of the road has been left as a lay-by. They make great spots to stop to admire the view.
Eventually we arrived at Herradura where we were able to park on the beach and set up our chairs. Herradura beach is situated along the back of a horseshoe-shaped bay.
At the end of the afternoon Jen and I persuaded each other to go out for dinner again so this time we decided on another favourite place, the Bamboo Restaurant.
On Christmas Day I headed off to Jen’s apartment where we opened presents and cards, and did video calls to other family members. We’d decided on an evening dinner in the apartment so a picnic lunch was called for. One of the most picturesque local beaches is at Burriana, so it was to there we went. But so had everyone else! There wasn’t a parking slot to be had anywhere. The crowds weren’t there for the beach itself, but for the bars and restaurants which line both sides of the promenade. A quick change of plan was called for, so we headed round to Playazo beach on the other side of town. Not only could we park on the beach, but we found it almost deserted. Following a picnic lunch and a San Miguel, I dozed away the rest of the afternoon, thinking how lucky I was to be able to relax on a beach at the end of December in the warm sunshine.
They don’t have a Boxing Day in Spain – it’s just another working day. That’s not to say they miss out, because they have the 6th January and also the 6th & 8th of December as Bank Holidays. However, we decided to take a drive along the coast and spend some time on the beach at Salobreña. The old town stands on a rocky prominence with steep, narrow streets leading up to a 10th Century Moorish Castle standing on the highest crag. The flat plains below are filled with sugar-cane fields which during the 19th Century was one of the main industries of the region. In and around Torrox are the ruins of three sugar factories. At the centre of the beaches is El Peñón – a huge rock which divides the beach into two. I have explored both the town and the rock on previous visits. Now, I’m happy just to sit and enjoy the sunshine.
At seven in the evening we thought it would be nice to visit the Bamboo again for dinner but it was not to be! They were full! A table could be kept for us at 8pm so we settled for that and spent the hour by strolling along to the Balcon to see the Christmas lights.
It’s always a sad day when it’s time for going home, so today I was due at the apartment shortly after ten to do the airport run.. It’s a 45 mile drive to the airport, and we like to make time to have a last coffee at the beach at Torremolinos, followed by a short stroll along the prom. And then the drive from the beach to the airport can be done in less than 10 minutes.
As I sat at the beach at Torremolinos I took in the view of the mountains just inland and recalled the journey we did a few years ago to the top of Mount Calamorro. I made up my mind to drive from the airport across to Benalmadena and ride the Teleférico. Having bought my ticket, I queued for a while awaiting my turn for a cabin. Having boarded, the cabin at first rocks and sways, then settles into a smooth ride upwards for the next 15 minutes, up to the terminus at the top of the mountain.
Once there, I headed along to the Falconry centre and was just in time to catch the start of the Birds of Prey show.
Sadly the weather at the mountain top was not the same as it had been at sea level. The views from the top can be fantastic on good days with the shores of north Africa to the front and to the Sierra Nevada to the rear, but on that day it was cloudy and cold.
Once the show was over, I joined some T-shirted and shorts-clad visitors heading downwards to warmer regions.
To see this blog with several more pictures click HERE