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Winter Sun Pt 7 – Week 3 at Castillo de Banos

Winter Sun Pt 7 – Week 3 at Castillo de Banos

As Paul is working every day throughout the week, they tend to be pretty mundane affairs for me. So a quick run through of the week looks like this:

Monday – attended coffee morning and the weekly Brits €11 dinner. Both are a nice opportunity to meet new people and chat. Our dinner partners this week were a couple from the Lake District. Much of the chat was on making economies and saving the cents while we are away in the sun.

Tuesday – I went on an organised trip to Motril, where we were dropped at the big Al Campo hypermarket. I had a proper look round – normally it’s a flying visit because of the boys. And then I sat in the sun and had several cups of delicious coffee and read.

On Wednesday it’s craft morning and that day I learned to make a string bag. A useful skill in these days of shunning the plastic. Although the fact is, my string bag is actually made of nylon and will definitely outlast me! I shall have to bequeath it to some deserving soul. It will be re-used time and again for my fruit and veg at the supermarket.

After lunch, a beach clean was scheduled and I thoroughly enjoyed scrabbling around in my Marigolds, finding all the man-made rubbish that had been washed up. It was mainly polystyrene – apparently a by-product of the fishing industry. There were smoothed chunks – like pebbles – of the extruded foam that is used for insulation, a fair few placcy bottles (or parts thereof) and a large number of fag butts. We worked for just over an hour and gathered 6 of those large gardening bin-liners full of rubbish. And of course, each time I walk on the beach now, I can see that it’s definitely cleaner, but I still spot and retrieve any little bits we missed. Afterwards there was tea and buns and another opportunity to chat. It’s a hard life!

The beach clean-up team in action

And then, in the evening, it was quiz night. We had arranged to partner John & Christine from Wigan again and it was another really good quiz. And reader – we won!!! We were jolly chuffed!

Thursday brought washing and cleaning mainly and Friday was a bit of a washout. No – not rain, but quite gray and a chilly breeze off the sea. Not at all what we are used to! I spent some of the time finalising our homeward route, which can be seen below. The purple pins show the return leg.

But the one good thing about grey Friday? It ushered in the weekend and two whole days in which to do whatever we pleased!

Sat 22nd

We had a relaxed start to the day and eventually toddled off towards Motril to buy some cheap diesel. It works out at 95p per litre – why in EARTH do we willingly pay so much more in the UK?

As it was a designated exploration kind of a day, we went to have a look at “Motril the resort”, rather than “Motril the ferry port” or, indeed, “Motril the place to buy cheap fuel and victuals”. It was much like a resort, really?

Our nominal destination was the resort of Nerja. We had elected to take the coastal road, rather than the more zippy Autovía. It was a good decision.

We called in on Salobreña – with its imposing castle, high on a rock. The site was originally built on by the Phoenicians and later by the Moors – around the same time as the famous Alhambra in Granada.

Castillo de Salobreña

Our next stop was in the resort of Almuñecar, where we took the boys for a walk on the beach followed by coffee on the prom. It was a beautiful day and it was nice to see a child’s birthday party being held on the beach. Complete with piñata.

Almuñecar Beach
Castillo de Almuñecar
The party

We finally arrived in Nerja by about 3pm and our first priority was lunch. We seem to have slipped into Spanish time since we have been here. They tend to have their lunch between 2-4 pm.

We chose a “paella mixto” to share. It took about 40 minutes to arrive. We were glad because it was an indication of authenticity. It was both massive and entirely delicious, containing seafood ( mussels, squid, clams, prawns) and chicken and pork. It beat us to be frank. But we enjoyed every last mouthful. Including the peppers. Yes. I know. Peppers.

Our paella

We had parked on a large parking lot and, just as we were leaving, we spotted our Monday night dinner companions from the Lakes. Doing a spot of “wild camping” (for which read free) in a dusty parking lot with views of nothing but the backs of buildings for a whole week. We mused that it seemed mildly odd to have travelled all this way from the beauty of the Lakes to hang out in the arse end of town in a car park, just because it was free. I totally get wild camping but not this kind. It’s not for me but we are all different.

After lunch we drove up to the famous little mountainside town of Frigiliana – ummagahd! I have to say that its location is incredibly beautiful. Indeed the mountains all along the coast make your heart soar with their beauty. I’m a sucker for a mountain view. We took the longer route (of course we did!) back down the mountain, via Torrox. And then we hit the Autovia and sped back to Motril – groceries and pet shop, before returning home to relax after another lovely day. And, by the way, the Autovia is a pretty spiffing road, too.

A Frigiliana street
“My house” in Frigiliana

Sunday 23rd

A lazy day today. For me anyway! Paul got up and walked the furry ones. We had been told about a walk up and over the big hill behind the campsite and Paul had decided that today was the day to find it.

He set off and – following the directions he’d been given – found the track up to the top, via a winding path and was soon afforded a fine view of the town campsite (our van is bang in the middle of the pic) and coastline.

The hill
The site from the hill

On his return we had a rather nice breakfast of blueberry pancakes. It’s quite breezy today which makes it feel a bit chilly in the sun.

Breakfast

We decided we would pack lunch stuff and take the boys out on the bikes to a beach on the way to La Manila, just by the short tunnel. We stopped off at the little village supermarket for some bread and drinks and then cycled off.

The boys seem to have finally got the hang of the backpacks and were very well behaved. We arrived at the beach and found a nice rock to rest our backs against and spread the trusty old picnic blanket – a freebie from Sainsburys that has done us proud for many years – along with its matching cool bag. There is a great story about that cool bag and a pong. It’s a yarn that has afforded us many laughs over the years. Remind me to tell you some time?

We settled on the beach and the boys enjoyed themselves pottering while we (semi) relaxed. I say semi because the sea was quite rough, with biggish waves and it would be very easy for them to be dragged out to sea by that 7th wave. The cove where we had settled, though, was sheltered by the headland and was absolutely lovely. We stayed for a couple of hours, having our rather rudimentary but tasty lunch, which we had to share as we had forgotten to take the boys’ lunch-time Bonios. Terrible parents!

We returned home and spent the remainder of the day in a persistent relaxed state.

Octopus roundabout – lmuñecar

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