Thursday, February 16, 2012

A day's outing to Benidorm

I have been busy this past week making a set of invitations for Ben, because on May 19th, he and Dave are holding a Civil Partnership Ceremony. We shall be coming over for it, but we can only come together for a week, so this time we will be spending all our time in the Midlands with our boys. There will only be immediate family at the ceremony but they are having a big celebration party in the evening, and that is what the invitations are for. Here is a picture of what I made but for any further information about them you can go to my craft blog which you will find here.

Because of his work, Dave has school holidays off, so this being half-term week, they are back in their favourite Spanish resort of Benidorm. This is just a three hour drive from here, so we decided to go there for a day, spend some time with them, and deliver the invitations by hand, rather than relying on the vagaries of the Spanish Postal system.

We were up just before sunrise and hit the road at 8.00, and we arrived just before 11.00 in time for a coffee while we waited for the other two to find us. It was a lovely day. Despite a fresh breeze, it was warm enough to walk around without a coat, and when we found a sheltered place to sit, it got quite hot. Neither of us had been to Benidorm and it was quite a surprise. The skyline was not like anything we see down near us, with long rows of tall sky-scrapers. In Almeria there are big blocks of flats that rise quite high, but these were individual towers, of all shapes and colours. As we reached the sea front there was a long sandy beach edged by the high-risers, and just around the bend in the opposite direction, there was a small cove and then another long beach with more flats towering above it, and a lovely backdrop of mountains. Although it may not be our choice of holiday resort now, I can quite see why the youngsters like it, and from a distance, at least, it is very attractive. The streets were lined with tourist-type shops, and there were more people milling around than you see on our beach in mid-summer.

We found somewhere that did a very nice lunch, and then they took us up to a large plazza, ideal for enjoying the views in both directions, as well as for resting in the sun. The small cove below us must have been very sheltered because there were lots of folk sunbathing, and even one brave soul swimming in the sea. I took along my camera so I could capture the views and get some pictures of us and the boys. Then they took us down some steps to see a rather remarkable sight. All along both sides of the steps there was a wire rail and it was absolutely loaded with padlocks. Each one had been left there by a couple who had enjoyed their holiday in Benidorm. Some were written on and others were actually engraved with names and dates. Some were quite rusty and had obviously been there for years but others were shiny and new. In fact we saw one couple attaching theirs as we went down. Maybe Ben and Dave will add one next time they come back, but it will be a struggle to find a space. Some couples gave up trying and just wrote their names on the wall, but I dare say the officials will put a stop to that, but the locks have almost become a tourist attraction so I expect they will survive.

I am keen to master taking better wild-life photos with my new camera, and ever since I got it I have been trying to catch a bird in flight, and today I managed it! Just look at the wing span on this gull. I got some quite good photos of a couple of gulls perched on an aerial preening themselves too. And I particularly liked this one because he looks as though as he is whispering a secret to his mate. There were also a lots of white doves around the beach area which made a nice change from the usual pigeons. They look quite tiny next to the gulls which were huge.

We spent the rest of the afternoon on the roof terrace above Ben's hotel. They said it was the warmest they had been since they arrived. We stayed chatting until about 4.30 and then we drove home, so that we could get back before it was too dark. As we drove through Murcia we hit some quite heavy rain, but we drove through it, and it was dry again when we got home. The dogs were excited to see us. We don't often leave them for a full day, and I expect they were wondering whether they were going to get any tea. It is quite nice to get a friendly reception when we arrive. No doubt they will go even more berserk when they have spent a week in kennels in May!

I have used quite small photos on this post so I could get a nice lot in, but don't forget that you can click on them to get a larger image.

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