I am hoping this will be a fairly short post, but a photo heavy one. First here is my smile. I smiled when I walked into my sitting room and found these two little monkeys (Paco and Luna), curled up together on our glass-topped table. They don´t often cuddle up, so it was nice to see, even though they are not supposed to be on the table!
As you may remember, when I wrote my post last week, our son Tom had just arrived for a twelve day stay. So this post is mostly the things we have done.
Friday night we went down to Garrucha harbour, and strolled the length of the promenade to the port. The summer night market was still running, so there was plenty to look at. It was a 'soft', warm night and when we got to the port we were in need of a cold drink. It was busy but we managed to find a table. I love the lights in the bar behind us.
For the first few days, Tom mostly wanted to soak up some sun, and dip in and out of the pool to cool down, but sometimes he also took himself off in his hire car to explore. On Tuesday night he drove us to Almeria airport for my husband, Chris, to get his late flight to Dublin, and then on to UK. He went over for his mate's funeral the next day.
I was also busy on Tuesday because I took my Spanish friend Cati to a hostal/restaurant near Turre to meet the members of an English group who meet there weekly to play boules. They pay a subscription each week and from this they gave Cati a generous donation for ASADIS, her charity to support disabled children in our village and surrounding area. Cati does not speak any English, and the group did not have a fluent Spanish speaker, so I was asked to go along to help with translation, and between us, we managed very well. In this photo, Myra, on the left, is the lady who contacted me and asked me to arrange to bring Cati, who is seated between us. As you can see she was very happy and grateful for the donation.
On Wednesday morning we had to stay in because we were having a sofa-bed delivered and assembled in what used to be our dining room. We never use it for that purpose so we decided to have an extra bed, ready for the few occasions when we have two lots of visitors at the same time. (We do have a nice spare bedroom for most of our visitors). The bed arrived on time, and it fitted nicely into the space we had made for it.
So then Tom and I went down to the beach at Mojacar. It was the first time I have been in the sea this year. It was lovely, and rather surprisingly it was considerably warmer than our pool! We were eating out that night so we just wanted a snack at lunchtime, so we sat in Tom´s favourite bar, right on the beach. I had cheese-stuffed jalopeños with chili dip, and they were yummy. (I had to cut them open because the cheese was so hot it burnt my mouth).
In the evening it was our first choir practice since the summer break so Tom came with me and waited in the bar while we sang. Then we went to the Chinese restaurant next-door for a lovely meal.
Yesterday we decided to have a proper day out, and we both fancied going to Cabo de Gata, which is the national park that covers all the bottom 'corner' of Andalucia, from just outside Mojacar and as far as Almeria city.We took the motorway and drove to the furthest point first, which is the little town of Cabo de Gata. We stopped to look at the sea which was wild and noisy, just how we like it, with stripes of blue from turquoise through to navy.
From there we took the road out towards Las Salinas salt lakes which are surrounded by fairly barren campo land. We stopped to take in the view both ways. It was sunny but very windy, and the long dusty road was nearly deserted, though there were a few parked cars, and brave souls walking along the wild and rugged coast.
Back in the car we drove on to El Faro - the lighthouse which is at the point closest to Africa. I am told you can just see Africa on a clear day, but not yesterday. The road to the lighthouse is steep and fairly narrow. We stopped at a viewpoint on the way up and took turns to pose next to the rocks. The view from up there was amazing.
The lighthouse is at the top of a cliff, and down below is a group of pointed, dangerous rocks known as Arrecife de las Sirenas or The Sirens Reef. I could stand and listen to the waves and watch them break over the rocks for hours.
Half way up the steps to the view-point, I stopped and sat on a bowl of stones, to look back at the bay we had driven round to get here.
It was time to move on, but as we drove back towards Cabo de Gata, to find the turning to San José, we stopped at the observatory next to Las Salinas, the salt lake that is known for the variety of water fowl that visit it, and in particular for the flamingos. I have never seen any of these there and was keen to spot some. So we sat in the hide and watched the water, and soon a few came walking into view. The birds were too far away to see clearly, but using the zoom on my camera, I did manage to see them.
As we left Las Salinas we spotted these flowers growing up out of hot gravel and sand. I have googled them, and the nearest thing I have found is narcissus cantabricus. Apparently they are quite common in Southern Spain, but they have bright yellow stamens, and these are white. So if any of you folk out there have a better idea, please do tell me. They looked much too delicate for such a barrn stretch of land.
Next we drove on to San José which is one of the prettiest villages and beaches around there. The main town and beach is almost a ghost town during the Winter, but in Summer it is a hive of activity. Although the main holiday period, at least for the Spanish folk, ended last weekend, there were still a lot of people around, and before we hunted for an empty parking space, we decided to drive back over the hill to a well known beach called Los Genoveres. This was new territory for both of us. The beach was a cove of golden sand surrounded by sand dunes dotted with the tall 'trees' that are the flowers of the agave or century cacti. The beach was approached via a private road that was really only a dirt track, and there were no facilities there at all, so if you were going for the day you would need to take food and drinks. At the entrance to the road we were stopped by a Spanish man who warned us that the beach has dangerous currents and strong waves, especially on such a windy day, but despite that, there were plenty of people there, enjoying it.
We had a swim and the water was lovely. Again we were surprised at how warm it was. We were getting hungry by then so we moved on to the actual town of San José. Here we walked along the beach until we found a restaurant we liked and had a lovely late dinner, and then sat on the beach, had another swim, and relaxed for a while. To our left we could see the rows of white flats that are built up the side of the hills, and a small stone harbour wall where several fishing boats were moored. To our left the little white houses spilled down almost to the water´s edge. Again there were plenty of people, enjoying the sun, sea and lovely surroundings.
All too soon it was time to head for home, but we still had one or two places to see, so we took the scenic route that followed the coastline, and stopped briefly at another beach called Las Negras. This was a tiny hamlet the first time I went there, but it has more than tripled in size now, but it is still a jumble of small houses, some flats and a fair few holiday lets. We walked along the beach and Tom took this photo to show me how my back had caught the sun. In just a week he is browner than I am though, because I normally stay in the shade. One of the things I like about the beach at Las Negras, is the line of cliffs to the right of the bay. You guessed it - I can see two clear faces in the rocks. can you?
By this time, the battery in my good camera had run out, so I was down to using my phone. I am not always happy with the photos I take with it, but in good daylight, they are not too bad. Tom has a different phone from me, and I think he takes better photos, so some of these are his.
We didn´t linger at this beach, and were soon back in the car, but we did make one more stop at Agua Amarga (Bitter water). This is another bay with cliffs all around it, and it is a lively place with football and volleyball nets set up on the beach, boats for hire, and little cafés right on the sand. By the time we got here the light was fading. We watched the sun set behind the cliffs, which cast a lovely pearly colour over the sea, and was reflected in the little wavelets breaking on the sand. It was very pretty.
From there, we drove through Carboneras, over the high cliff road, and down into Mojacar. Then there was just the short run to home. We got back to three anxious dogs who were beginning to think they weren't going to get fed - though that has never happened so far, they know they are safe really. Once I had sorted them out, we jumped in the pool to wash away the salt and sand, and although we were both tired after our excursion, we ended up sitting in the garden until 4.00 in the morning, just chatting, and reminiscing about childhood events. We hadn't realised how late it was, so we were both a bit 'zombiefied' this morning, but we soon recovered. It is not something we can do very often so it was good to just relax and chat together. It is catching up with me now though, so I think I ought to go to bed!
I had a couple of garden photos for you but I think I'll save those for next week.
Tonight Chris flew home, this time to Murcia airport, so Tom and I drove over to collect him. As we were going there , we saw a beautiful sunset, and we took this photo from the car.
How lovely is that! Now I will link up with Annie´s Friday Smiles and Rocking your World at Celtic House. Thanks for sticking with me through all my ramblings. I do appreciate it when you take time to leave me comments. Tom is with us until Tuesday, so it may be a few days before I get back to you all, but I´ll do my best.