Spain

Deep in the old town of Almeria, down the narrow Calle Real, you’ll find Casa Puga. A tapas bar claiming to be one of the oldest in the province, it’s a regular in any Google search of the top ten things to do in the city. We fell upon it a few years ago because it’s just up the road from the language school where I took some classes. We return each year, a kind of ritual that makes us feel that we're part of it all for a while. Casa Puga is an institution here – and it sort of...

We drove on up beyond the village this morning towards Lubrin, another small town high up on the sierra where olives are pressed into oil and rendered into smoothly sublime soap at the Almazara Fabrica on the edge of the pueblo. Lubrin is where the utterly raucous annual Fiesta de Pan takes place, ostensibly celebrating (if that’s the right word) St Sebastian (twice slain, poor chap), but actually an excuse to throw a lot of bread around, eat, drink and be exceedingly merry. We went a couple of years ago and a post about the fiesta is in the Spain...

Being here for a few weeks, it becomes a sort of temporary home. The duration, 7 weeks, doesn’t feel like a holiday and we bring our life and work with us. So, we’re busy, just in a different place with the same, very small amount of idling time. The place isn’t ours; it’s just a small rental but the same one each year means you get to know its foibles. You become familiar with the one tall glass in the cupboard that’s rough around the rim, the clock that never works, the dodgy boiler, the enveloping presence of IKEA. You’re...

There’s a canopy that runs right across the front of the cortijo. That’s the place to enjoy the views, shelter from the breezes and catch the maximum heat available from the winter sun. Today, however, the wind is more easterly than usual so, I’m sitting on an old wooden bench up against the west-facing wall of the wee house, shielding me perfectly from the cool air wafting off the sea a few miles away. I don’t often sit here and I’m struck by the completely different soundscape just a few feet from the main terrace. The small paved area in front...