Friday, December 30, 2016

Rocking Your World 2016: Week 53

Yes this is a rare year when we have 53 Fridays, so this  time I am writing a post for Week 53. Starting off with a big smile from my gorgeous great-grandson Alfie who was two this week. Here he is enjoying a birthday ice-cream.

But let's backtrack to the start of the week, when we all, (well mostly anyway), celebrated Christmas, and the birth of our Saviour, Jesus.
After a somewhat dubious week weather wise, it was lovely to wake on Christmas Day to bright sunshine and a clear blue sky. Mikey, our grandson,  helped us take our annual photo when we raise a glass to family and friends, both near and far. We have posted one like this each year since we came out here.

He then tried to take one with the dogs in it, but they weren't very co-operative this year.           Then Mikey came in with us and even 'grumpy cat' managed to be included, while we took a selfie.
Our Christmas day was relatively quiet, as we were at home all day. We were fairly late having dinner but even so, it was warm enough to eat it outside. I was pleased with that. We don't do much alfresco eating in December as a rule.

Just behind the parasol post, you can glimpse my bottle of blue wine. Someone asked me about it after my post last week. Well you can see here that it really is blue, and beautifully clear. It is 17% proof, so not too strong, and has just enough fizz to make it interesting. It says on the label it has added natural flavours and aromas of lemon, lime and green apples, and it is the apples that you can really taste. I am sure a wine aficionado would not be too impressed, but I like my drinks to be on the sweet side, and this suited me because it was light and easy to drink.

There was a short praise service up at our little church as it was also Sunday, but I had said we would not be driving over for it. But my friend sent me this photo taken from the patio outside of the church. Isn't it lovely?

In Spain they do not celebrate Boxing Day, but as Christmas Day fell on a Sunday, they did have Monday as a holiday too, though on Tuesday everything was back to normal. So on Monday morning we decided to walk off our big Sunday dinner, and we went to the long promenade that runs the length of Garrucha Playa. There were quite a few people around, all out to enjoy the sunshine. Garrucha is very proud of the balustrade that lines the promenade, as it is made from local white marble, quarried at Macael, near Albox. We leaned against it to watch the passers by and soak up some rays.
There are strong currents in the sea all along our coast, and at Garrucha these are broken up by lines of rocks just off the shore. These have become a resting place for numerous sea birds. It is like a drop-in centre for them where they can sit and chatter with their friends, preen themselves, and spread their wings to dry.
We walked as far as the new marina where the water was full of shoals of fish, swimming high. I assume they like the sun warmed water.
One thing I have not seen there before was that some of these fish continually jumped right out of the water, and fell back in. You could hear the splashes they made. I tried to catch one on camera, but I was not very good at it. This was the best one I managed. I don't know what that was all about. Maybe they were just having some fun in the sun!

Although the days have been so lovely this week, the evenings are getting cold, and we have been glad to sit by the fire and watch TV, or chat while I have managed to get quite a bit more of my crocheted blanket done. The dogs don't like the fire very much, but we always let them come in with us if they want to. Kim usually tries to sit on me, but as my hands were busy crocheting he decided to try it on Mikey this week. I am sure he thinks he is still a lap dog. He nearly smothered Mikey, but he loves the dogs, and didn't mind.

His holiday is nearly at an end, and we wanted to give him a good day out before he goes, so yesterday we decided to show him a very different side of Spain, and we took him up to see the snow at Sierra Nevada. It is about a three hour drive from here, so we made a fairly early start, and hit the road by 8.00. When we were about half way we started to see the snow-covered mountains on our left, and up ahead.
Our forecast locally was not too good, but it was better for Granada, (Sierra Nevada is on the mountains that rise up behind the city of Granada), so we thought we might be alright. However, there were some dark clouds gathering on the horizon, and we suddenly found ourselves driving into fog.
It rapidly got thicker and there was no view at all, but in the distance there was a narrow line of light above the mountains, so we kept going in the hope it would clear.
Then as we drove around Granada and started the climb up to the Sierra, the sun shone clear and bright again, turning the surrounding hills to mirrors of brightness. It is so beautiful.
But there was a problem! As we entered the tunnel at the bottom of the mountain there was an overhead sign warning that the car park at the ski resort was full! This was at 11.00 in the morning, and we realised that holiday week is not the best time to go. But like most other drivers, we continued on up to the top, where sure enough, the local police were directing everyone to keep going, and were only letting in the people with a week's pass for parking and skiing. So we drove on a bit further hoping to find a roadside space, but this too was impossible. Then we came to an area of rough ground where we pulled in to consider. It was too far to walk back to the resort, and we didn't know what was ahead. So we got out and took a few photos. Mikey took us and we took him, just in case we had to go back down without seeing any more.

Then we continued up the mountain but it soon became clear that the next resort was overflowing too and there was a long tail back of cars waiting to get there. We asked a police man if we could turn around and go back down, and he made sure the road was clear for us while we did this. When we got back to our original destination we decided to drive on down and if we saw a gap between the cars parked along the road, then we would stop. Otherwise we would cut our losses and go back down to Granada.
Well we were lucky. We saw a gap and just managed to grab it quick. It was a bit of an uphill walk to get back to the ski resort, but at least it was downhill when we were tired and going home. 
We didn't go there to ski. Neither Chris nor I have ever done this, and we are a bit to decrepit to be learning now, and Mikey suffers from Raynaud's syndrome and can't afford to get too wet and cold, so we were all happy to sit in the sun and watch others enjoying the slopes.
Although we up over 2000 metres, it was really warm if we stayed in the sun. Walking into a shaded area was like stepping into a fridge, but we found a sunny terrace to sit on, and have a cup of coffee.

It soon got busier, so we walked around the terraces, which are full of restaurants, small shops and ski hire and other equipment outlets. Then we found a table on another patio to have some lunch. We could just see the toboggan run where families can go with children to have some fun. We also watched the skiers choosing which slope to come down, and admiring their skill.

There was more than enough snow to make everywhere look lovely, but there was actually less than we have seen there on previous Christmas visits. Sometimes all the patios are covered as well. But it was a new experience for Mikey and he really enjoyed it. After a day of full sunshine, some of the ice and snow was melting fast, and we could hear it running in little rivers down the hillside. As we were walking back down to the car I saw this valley which clearly shows how the snow remains on the shady side but melts on the side that sees the sun.

We wanted to get as much of the journey home done in daylight as we could, so mid-afternoon we started back. At the bottom of the mountain road there is a brief glimpse of Granada city through the trees. Being much higher up than us, they do have quite a number of deciduous trees, and these were still wearing their autumn colours.

The road from Granada to Almeria crosses the edge of Taberna, the only official dessert in Europe. As well as red and orange rock formations that remind me of a holiday I spent in Arazona, there are wide open plains and these are home to vast armies of wind-turbines. I actually like these. They are quite majestic, and out in the desert there are few inhabitants to be disturbed by them. I could only catch a few of them on camera as we drove passed, but there are many, many more. We drove through them in the dark once, and each one had a twinkling light on it. It left quite an impression on me.

Well that is about it for this week. Tomorrow we have another early start to take Mikey to the airport. He will be home in time to celebrate New Year's Eve with his friends. I expect we will be home together. We don't often go out for it now.
I hope you will all with be loved ones, and I wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Peaceful new Year.

I will leave you with one more smile - my grumpy cat, just loving the sun on his belly after a week of wet and cold days. He rolled over and tucked his paws in and just laid there.

And now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and I'll see you all Next Year!!


  1. What a lovely week with your visitor Kate. Family times are so precious aren't they? Thanks for your lovely comments and for linking up as always.
    Here's to many more smiles to share in 2017.
    Annie x

  2. Another fabulous week in paradise Kate, and shared with family made it more special I am sure! That snow on one side of the hill is common here too, in early winter and again as it warms in spring - like you we have to travel towards the mountains in the central high country (North Island) to see it though :-)

    May 2017 be one of blessings for you

  3. Lovely photos of the snowy mountains and the sunshine which looks to have returned. It looks as if Mikey has enjoyed his stay with you.
    The blue wine looks interesting and fun.
    Happy New Year to you and Chris
    Jean x

  4. Ah that's a fabulous post, it looks like you managed some great fun family times with your grandson, I loved the fact you were sat outside on Christmas day - fantastic and wow that really was blue - blue blue and a bit more blue! Loving the snow as well and the fact you could sit out and enjoy it - crazy stuff. Your weather looks like it has been much more settled.

    Hope you have a beautiful and blessed New Year and see you in 2017!

    Much love


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