Spain

Spain archive

So we have a full day to go and we are almost packed – so much so that Jim is painting again and I am writing this. What’s left is a day tomorrow when we might have time to walk one of our favourite walks once more. The mood changed about...

We were out walking again the other day, returning to the Cabo de Gata Parque Natural to hike a new trail. Come lunchtime, we needed somewhere to shelter out of the strong, cool wind, to hunker down and tuck into our cheese and tomato sandwiches. We found a perfect grassy...

Yesterday we met Raoul and he told us about how the land is dying. It seems counter to all that we’ve seen here while we’ve been out walking, the flowers that have captivated us with their abundance, colour and fragrance. But Raoul knows differently and he showed us how to...

If you take the coast road south from Bedar, you pass the tourist playas of Mojacar and then along a road that sweeps like a silver ribbon around the coastal Sierra Cabrera. The A5106 is a feat of engineering – fantastic views out to sea as you round another dramatic...

If you read last year’s blog from Bedar you may recall my surprise at discovering, in this modest little pueblo, a gym packed with exercise machines, weights, punchbags and mirrors, reverberating to the chest-thumping beat of workout music and offering various fitness classes. My blog piece, Bedar Boot Camp (25/1/16),...

Yesterday we went walking. We returned to Los Josefos and Cariatiz where, two years ago, we stayed when we first came to Spain to retreat from winter’s worst. I must admit, though, that this wasn’t the plan when we set out. No, we had planned a new walk to an...

  Bar La Montana (BLM), as its name suggests is up a mountain. Well, up a hill might be more accurate, the hill above Bedar, in fact, where it stands in a tiny pueblo called El Campico, reached by a series of sharp hairpin bends. It looks like a great little...

Natasha has been visiting – so lots of blethering and much less blogging since Thursday. A long weekend was all that could be spared – so now back to the routine. But first, the airport run. She flew home from San Javier airport, on the coast about 25km from Murcia and...

I bring my bread-making things with me to Spain. My sourdough starter, tenderly nurtured over the last couple of years in Teddington, makes the journey, carefully fed before we set out and gently stowed in the boot of the car along with a cast-iron casserole well past its prime but...

It’s been snowing on the sierras. We woke on Thursday morning to a sprinkling of the white stuff on the slopes just above the village. Bedar is at 404 metres above sea level so the snow line is at about 420! Quite a shock, I can tell you, this wreaking...

I changed my mind about Garrucha. I struggled with it last year (see the blogpost of 5 February - Garrucha: one town, two worlds). From the little rented cortijo where we’re staying, we look at it across the scrubby coastal plain, and beyond it the sea. It’s unattractive this land...

There’s a bar on the corner of the seafront in Garrucha. It stands out from the rest of the seafront bars for its air of tradition: wooden shutters, old letters spelling out Meson de Adriana, a dark doorway with intimations of plants and tiles, barrels, lace-edged tablecloths. A taberna in the...

Friends are visiting. Liam and Jilly have dropped in from Hastings for a few days. So we’ve swopped our usual routine of working, walking and reading for a new one of talking, walking and eating. It’s been great! We were headed for Lubrin this lunchtime. Into the hinterland far away from...

Back in Spain. Back on the blog. The third year of taking time out, escaping winter, sloping off to the sierras. It’s Day 3 – still settling in. Jim is into his stride quickly: his easel is up and a canvas is already well worked. In fact, I see he’s leaning...

So we’re getting ready to leave. We just packed up and cleaned the cortijo to a gleaming spotlessness, repositioning bits of furniture we had moved to accommodate our particularities (mainly making space for books), hoping that we’ve returned everything to its rightful place. The diary checking started a few days ago:...

Rambling has another connotation here in Spain – in addition to walking and wittering on (and yes, I agree, I have a capacity and a penchant for both). A Spanish rambla is a ravine or watercourse – although as is obvious from other blog posts, the ‘water’ is a misnomer...

AVE – the Spanish acronym for Alta Velocidad Española – the high speed trains. Of which Spain has the most extensive system in Europe in terms of miles of track laid. ‘Ave’ is also the Spanish for ‘bird’ – so I guess a happy coincidence? The AVE, at least seen from...

So, onto lunch, and one of those eccentricities that travel has a habit of throwing up. Imagine the scene. We’re back in the one-horse pueblo of El Pozo, with its 200 Spanish souls (and that’s a generous guess), its bar on the main street and a tiny foodstore but not much...

So now you’ve met Amaya. We were invited to spend a day with her and her husband, Miguel, last weekend. They live in Almeria but spend the weekends in the house they used to live in and still own in a tiny pueblo about an hour’s drive south from our cortijo. We...

Firstly, apologies for blog blackout in recent days. A mixture of distractions – some work (yes, real work) involving writing several thousand words, which left me speechless, or rather blogless; it seemed to use up all my verbal capacities, and then back they came just in time for the internet...

Sitting outside Casa Enriqueta for a tiny tapas lunch of cheese and bread with some tomatoes on the side unadorned save for the sprinkling of salt and a drizzling of the most delicious olive oil, bright green and full of fruit. Enriqueta served us herself – an enigmatic woman running...

I think I mentioned Garrucha in an earlier post and I think I said I would write more about it by and by. I’ve been struggling a bit with Garrucha; there’s something odd about the place. From our cortijo we look across to it every day so it’s always ‘there’;...

You didn’t misread that – yesterday we walked to Tenerife! At 394 metres (that’s 1292 feet and towering over Box Hill!), Cerro Tenerife (‘Hill’ Tenerife – ‘Mount’ would be overstating it) is the highest point of the Sierra Almagrera, a rocky spur that runs northeast to southwest close enough to the...

We’re more than half way through our time here, which makes me pause for thought. It takes a while to settle into a rhythm in a strange place. It’s not a holiday, but a transfer of life for a few weeks – well part of life at least – and...

I wanted to write about the flora and fauna hereabouts and came up with a witty title for the post – Aloe Aloe! Well, it would appeal to anyone who watched the classic 1980s BBC sitcom with the incomparable Rene, who would, no doubt, have had some risqué things to...

An action-packed few days since my last post. Boy, have I been through my paces! Seemed like a good plan to get some discipline into the routine here and get fitter. So, the training regime has started and my body aches in places I never knew existed – but oh,...

On fiesta day, Lubrin is full of colour. Every first floor balcony is adorned with a flag in either green and white or red and yellow stripes, alternating in perfect harmony along the main streets, displaying a high degree of neighbourliness or an ironfisted local mayor with an eye for design....

Yesterday, what a day! The Berlingo eased through the low gears in the morning, handling the hairpins like a wannabe rally car - what a motor! We were headed into the back country on a spectacular road, high up in the Sierra de los Filabres, destination Lubrin. The journey was...

Sunday morning and we have walked into the village in search of some Spaniards. Beyond the señoras of the supermercado, the panaderia and the peripatetic Postie, sightings have been rare. Not that we’ve been in the least exhaustive in our efforts to locate them. We’ve been reasonably contented on our...

I had a little episode with the postal system, the Correos, last year. I’ve been at it again. I have a parcel to post to Scotland. A long story attaches to the contents of this parcel. In brief, one of my handwoven items, conceived and partly manufactured in Scotland, has come...

Still no luck working out how Filabres might translate into English but I’ll keep trying. Meanwhile, here’s a funny story shared with me by Tom, geologist, artisan bread-maker extraordinaire and now, raconteur. He posted this as a comment to my blog piece on Bedar. Tom recalls: “Sierra de los Filabres...

A couple of chums have commented that I haven’t yet posted anything about the weather. Most un-British - have I gone native? The Spanish, it seems, rarely talk about the weather except, perhaps, to discuss worries about drought, on which there is much, very much to be worried about here...

I can always tell if the Artist has his Muse because of the tuneless humming, occasional whistling (equally tuneless), that starts to accompany his studio sessions. It’s been a bit of a worry. He’s been all listless and doubting, silent and fretful, feeling blue, but in the metaphorical as opposed...

Here I am sitting in the coolth of the living room in Cortijo el Curato. This translates as the Parish Farmhouse - although the Curate's Farmhouse would somehow be more intriguing and suggestive ……. Our cortijo is a modest, squat little house, its stone-clad walls blending quietly into a south-facing hillside....

So we got some sleep, recovered from the journey and in between we unpacked and settled into our cortijo - of which much more soon. We’re staying on the edge of the pueblo of Bedar, up in the hills but in sight of the Med. Whitewashed houses, cobbled streets and terracotta...

It was quite a journey. 1286 miles not counting the bit of cross-channel lurching twixt port and starboard, Portsmouth and Le Havre courtesy of Brittany Ferries and the sea state of La Manche. As the ship and I rolled about this way and that, my mind turned to the huge...

I’m back! Back in Spain’s deep south. Back on the blog. Last year was our first attempt to see out the worst of the winter in sunny Spain. The adventure was cut short by the call back home to nurse my Mum and so, I forsook the sunny sierra for Glasgow’s...

There is so much to say about Candelaria, where it is, what it is, what it meant and all the many trains of thought that it set off in my head. Far too much for a single blogpost, so there will be a few. The communities around Sucre are renowned for...

So, not great being back in Blighty. Glasgow is snowy, windy and bitterly cold. Feels like it doesn’t get fully light. But boy, it's good to be back to the BBC. For all the criticism it gets, some of it justified, it sure beats the hell out of its commercial...

Have you ever done that quaintly British thing whilst on a holiday to the Costa Brava/Blanca or Sol? You know the one where on about your second day you buy the postcards to send home, write them rather wearily towards the end of the holiday and then panic about getting...

Like I said, we came away from our tapas experience pondering what it must be like to live here permanently, inhabiting a strangely hybrid society of disconnected individuals in the corner of a foreign land. Of course, one makes all sorts of possibly scurrilous and certainly baseless assumptions about the lives...

Today was a ‘big walk’ day. This is to distinguish it from the ‘regular walk’ days that are every day – except on the big walk days – OK clear? So the routine is this. Get up in the morning, have breakfast and then head out onto the sierras and up...

Devoted readers will know of my dislike of, nay prejudice against microwaves. Darn things, I can never work out how to set them. Just as I think I’ve got it sorted, all the watts and the times and the little pictures of a trussed chicken or a dead fish are...

So, Almeria. Maybe it’s a city. Not sure. One of those in-between places. Massive port though with all sorts of ships moored alongside regular ferries to Morocco – a crossing that takes anything from 5 to 9 hours – I think that’s more about destination rather than simply that some...

Just an hour down the road – and what a road – is the lovely town of Almeria. But before launching into its delights, I have to tell you about the journey. From Los Josefos the N340a (a road that seems to pop up all over the place) takes you West....

Artist’s impression of where we’re staying is attached to this post (I hope).  Before you get any ideas, we are tucked away at the back. See the stairs going up to the roof terrace? Well our front door is left of those and that’s our wee bit. Attached to the...

So, let’s start with where we are - 1,370 miles from London virtually due south. Three days of driving in the super sexy, deeply dependable, beautiful blue Berlingo brought us here. What a motor! Our village or ‘pueblo’ is called Cariatiz and claims 55 inhabitants (now 57, of course!). Were you...

I'm back! Blogging from Spain's very own Deep South. We've swopped the trains, hostels and cities of southeast Europe for a rural backwater in the driest corner of this amazing continent. 7 weeks here to escape the damp chill of a Blighty winter, another blog is, well, irresistible. So, Tales...