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Winter Sun Pt 5 – Settling in at Castillo de Baños

Winter Sun Pt 5 – Settling in at Castillo de Baños

So what have we been up to since we arrived on Tuesday? Some washing – 2 weeks on the road made quite a pile! Tidying up and cleaning in the van, cleaning the outside of the van – long overdue. Washing the dogs’ bedding by hand as it’s not allowed in the machines. A couple of cycle rides, some grocery shopping, went to a craft morning, meeting new people, reading, pottering. Just mundane stuff, really. Paul has been working very diligently, so I’ve just generally enjoyed entertaining myself and the warmer weather and blue skies. And then along came the weekend! Yay!!

We drove to the nearest big town of Motril on Friday evening and did a grocery shop at the big “Al Campo” to see us through the weekend and beyond. And then we could relax. We spent the evening working on transferring the blog – which has outgrown WordPress- to our new Easyspace home. This takes time – a long time. Too long for my impatient nature! And involves technical things beyond my ken! Friday evening became Saturday morning and still it was not done.

Sat 8th Feb

After a bit of a lie-in and breakfast, we set off along the coast towards Calahonda. We spotted a ruined castle on a promontory and had to pull over for a photo opportunity – it reminded us of Tintagel, somehow?

Tintagelo

We stopped at the pretty little beach at La Chucha to give the boys a run. They had great fun blasting up and down and playing chase and sniffing out all the interesting seaside smells. It was only when we returned to the car that we saw that dogs (perros) were prohibited. Oops! In my defence, I genuinely had looked for a notice at the point we joined the beach, but there had been no sign.

One of the purposes of this drive was to pop in to Decathlon in Motril to buy some heavy duty tent pegs. I had checked and they had them on their website but we drew a blank in store. What a nuisance. We returned home for lunch and to gird up our loins in preparation for erecting our new blow-up awning.

They are not known as a divorce in a bag for nothing!! But – in all honesty – it went up really well, with very little argument. The single strut – which inflates to 7psi makes all that fiddling with poles redundant. We are pretty pleased with it. And it gives us a bit more room for the detritus of everyday life!!

Reading the instructions
The finished article

We also took the opportunity to get out the trusty Cadac and it’s all made it feel a little more like we are established here – not moving on for a while. And our pitch has built in drainage for the washing-up and other stuff – anything that goes down a plug hole (known as “grey waste”) and a tap to supply us with fresh water. Luxury!

A view of the site
Reception
And from the road

I set to, making a Chicken, Pancetta and Mushroom Risotto while Paul worked on transferring the Blog to its new home. It may take a while….

The risotto was delicious and would have fed most of the campsite and Paul spent ALL evening on the techy bits of the Blog transfer. Much muttering of curses and imprecations.

Sunday 9th Feb

We had a leisurely start to the day and eventually decided a trip into the mountains might be nice, so we set off. We plan a trip to the famous Alpujarras – the “White towns” of the high Sierra Nevada – but had left it too late today.

The first town we encountered was Albunol, where we saw a “churreria” that was open, but having just had a good breakfast , we managed to resist. Just… For the uninititaed, churros are often eaten for breakfast in Spain, dipped in gloopy hot chocolate. And to die for!

The town has what looks like a road running through it which is in fact a run off for snow melt and rainwater. We travelled along the A4131 – another amazing road, which twists and turns through the mountains. This is clearly a fruit and nut growing area – there were trees everywhere, all just bursting into blossom. Almonds certainly, but also maybe cherry? We marvelled over the logistics of getting it all picked. Growing amongst the trees were some very pretty yellow flowers that I was not able to identify – anyone? Post publication note: My Andalusian friend Begoña tells me that as a child they called them “vinegretas and used to suck the stems, which had a vinegary flavour. So now we know! Thanks Begoña!

The water run-off or “rambla”
An anonymous yellow flower

The next town that we arrived at was Sorvilán – which immediately reminded us of Blake’s 7. Narrow streets and not at all suitable for cars. We stopped for a bit to let the boys have a run and the breeze blew a constant stream of petals in to the air. It was very pretty.

The road is clearly much loved by motorcyclists, out for a Sunday blow away of the cobwebs. They were certainly out in force today!

We arrived at our nominal destination – the little town of Polopos. It’s another town that clings to the mountainside and not car-friendly. We did see a fair few cars/pick-ups parked with piles of dogs inside – hunting we assumed.

I had noticed – every now and then – a little black and white sign on a stick. As we had 4G pretty much everywhere we went in the mountains, I consulted the mighty Google which told me they are signs which mean “no public hunting”. Well that’s good to know!!

As we dropped down to sea level, we decided to take the boys for a walk on the beach at Castell de Ferro. It was lovely. So nice that we thought we’d stop for a bite to eat. What a great call.

The “Menu del Dia” was €12 for three courses. How could we possibly resist? Even though we had left over risotto to eat up. We figured it would keep. We ordered and sat back in the lovely warm sunshine. When the waitress arrived with our drinks she also bore a plate of tapas to share. It was delicious – calamari and fish in a really yummy batter.

Then our starters arrived – mine a simple dish of sliced tomatoes drizzled wih olive oil and sprinkled with minced garlic, Paul’s his favourite mixed salad. Way too much!

The main course was “Secreto Iberico” – described as pork fillet in the English part of the menu. It was much like belly pork in its texture and fattiness. And not the nicest meat we have ever eaten to be frank. Later research showed that Secreto Ibérico (which translates as Iberian Secret) is a cut of meat, which comes from between the shoulder blade and the loin of the prized Iberian pigs. The reason that the meat tastes so good is that the surface is marbled with fat. Maybe ours was just badly cooked? I’d give it another go to be sure.

We were too full for dessert so had delicious coffees and paid the bill.

The sun was starting to fade as we made our way home. What a lovely day.

We spent the evening doing more work on the blog (Paul) and uploading photos (me) in the hope that we’d be able to post soon.

A scene from our day out

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