Trip Start Dec 11, 2009
10Trip End Jan 26, 2010
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Packed up and before we moved off we needed to book train tickets for our coming journey to Madrid. I’d tried to do it on line but the RENFE (Spanish railway system) booking had been rejected by my credit card (Oh no – it’s not starting again is it?) so we had to drive back into town and go to the station booking office.
Tickets booked, we drove eastwards along the coast on another nice, sunny day and stopped at Nerja, a town we had visited several times (praise be to Jack, who first told us about it), the last time exactly 6 years ago. Yes, it had changed with lots of new building around town but the old centre was still the same, except that they were putting new main sewers straight through it and the place was a building site! Still, we recognized and visited the main points of interest; the large plaza, the ‘Balcon de Europa’, which extends out to the sea and the ‘El Salon’ beach, where we had had some great meals at a little shack (the blues shack – so called because it was run by a Yorkshireman who played great blues music)
We were staying at a new ‘hostal’, a basic Spanish accommodation which was bright, clean and just off the Balcon in a perfect position. Many of the restaurants were closed in the evening, partly due to the off season and partly due to the town centre chaos, so we struggled a bit to find varied menus and settled mostly for pastas. The nights were cold and we were glad of the aircon heating.
Tuesday 15th December
In the next bay some 30kms from Nerja is a small town called ‘La Herradura’, which is more popular with Spanish tourists and at the end of the beach in this horseshoe shaped bay is ‘El Chambao de Joaquim’, a good restaurant which we had visited previously. A salad dinner, sat under the sun shades on the beach whilst the sun rippled on the calm sea, was really quite pleasant and it was some time before we dragged ourselves away, returning to Nerja on the winding coast road along the cliffs overlooking the Med’s ‘Costa del Sol’.
A mobile call requested me to contact my bank
We’re starting to unwind now after a hectic month (year?) or so and were getting quite good nights’ sleep.
Wednesday 16th December.
Awoke to a very dull and cloudy day with a cold wind from the sea.
We had decided to walk along the Nerja sea front to the main tourist beach, ‘Burriana’, which was also the site of another favourite restaurant, ‘Ayo’s’, who used to make a ginormous paella on a great wood fire on Sundays. As we neared the beach it started to drizzle and on reaching Ayo’s we saw a wood fire burning. “Eh up chuck, what’s tha cooking?” says I in my best Spanish. “Paella” comes the magical reply. We found out it would be ready at 1pm (there is a God after all!) and as Arnie says “I’ll be baack”
Whiling away the time over a coffee in a nearby café, we returned at the appointed hour and ordered ‘dos paellas’. “Bebidas?” says the man. Well with paella it’s got to be vino and they had ‘Marques de Caceres’, my favourite rioja. (Listen God, It’s not that I’m ungrateful but there’s only so much a mortal man can cope with at one time). We sat huddled in fleeces, in Ayo’s canopied dining area whilst the stiff sea breeze threw the showers against the fabric and enjoyed our P & MdeC. (Susan Sarandon (my favourite actress)did not join us, so God had obviously decided not to completely overwhelm me this day, although he did let me have a second plate of paella!)
A leisurely saunter back to the hotel for an afternoon’s rest and booking hostals in Madrid and Valencia, as it was coming up to the busy Christmas period. A check on the weather showed that Madrid, right in the centre of Spain, was forecast to be 2 deg during the day and -8 (yes, minus 8) at night by weekend! So maybe I don’t feel so bad in going off and leaving everyoe to the UK weather after all !!!!
We wandered out at night, for just a snack, to another favourite night place (which was shut) and enjoyed a sandwich at a café nearby.