Walking in the Rain

Rainy Day in Malaga ForestI LOOVEEE to walk in the rain.

If you’re British you probably think I’ve gone off my rockers and I’m totally bonkers and I need to see my psychiatrist PRONTO!

But do understand, I’ve gone from a land that is buried in 3 feet of snow during 8 months of the year to an absolute desert. So where in this formula does rain factor in at some point?

 

 

The saddest life is one that is lived from cradle to grave without any rain, methinks.
(Tweet that, as someone I Follow likes to say.)

I talk to my friends in Canada right now and ask them about the rain and they say: What do you expect? Snow snow and more snow! Snow up to our eyebrows. When was the last time we saw rain?

And here in Malaga it’s two thirds of the same. Except here we’re not up to our eyebrows in snow, of course, but rather in endless blue skies.

When I first arrived in Spain I thought: oh wow, sun! It’s hot and sunny every single day!

A few weeks later I started to wonder: oh, so when does it rain here?

Well to the land’s credit, we do have 3 months of drought every summer. And we’d arrived just before summer. So it was fairly normal that we didn’t see rain for a while.

But at the time we arrived here, I didn’t know that.

Normally the storm clouds finally, thankfully, roll in come September and we finally get some relief from the endless scorching and searing and sunburning.

Now, for those of you who hate rain, I must ask you: If there were no rain, what would we drink? How would plants be able to live?

THIS is what the world would look like if there were never any rain. Day after day after day after day the whole year round:

Desert at Almeria

Okay okay, I realize that’s not quite fair. I realize that’s a beach, not a desert. But that’s still what the world would look like if there were no rain. It’s great for a week. For a month. For 3 months. But for a whole year, year after year after year?

And it is the desert: that’s Almeria, which is almost a desert. Do you happen to notice any greenery in there?

So, *ahem*, as I was saying, that, friends, is why we need rain.

Which takes me back to the (almost forgotten) original subject of this post: walking in the rain.

As I just mentioned, I love to walk in the rain. And I also love to take photos.

So when I walk in the rain I take photos.

So this is a collection of photos that I’ve taken, on different days, at different occasions, as I walked in the rain.

I love the beach in the rain because it’s completely deserted.

Beach in the Rain Malaga

In fact, for that matter, the beach when it’s raining is absolutely, scrumptiously INCREDIBLE! There’s no one there. When else on the entire Costa del Sol could you ever expect to find the beach so empty?

I often go to the beach when it’s raining, so I have quite a few photos to fill up quite a few galleries. Here’s just a short selection of them (because it takes me so &$/*^# long to edit them, d*** blast it!).

Rainy Beach Malaga

Paseo Maritimo in the Rain Malaga

There’s nothing I love more than to leave work and be greeted by a sudden rain shower or rather, a torrential downpour that lasts for about 4 hours. Because that’s how it rains here: no rain for 30 days, then suddenly we get half a year’s worth of rain in one evening.

Malaga Neighbourhood in the Rain

But that’s what I love.

Walking in a drizzle (which I also do) is a bit boring, actually.

No. I much prefer wild, out-of-control, inundating tropical madness. The kind that makes your eyes sting and fills your mouth with sweet water.

The kind where the rain hits you so hard you feel like you’re drowning.

The kind where you can walk around and no one knows you’re crying hehe.

Sometimes we go out hiking or for woody walks in the rain as well. I love hiking in the rain, there’s no one else about and we get the whole countryside all to ourselves.

Rainy Walk in the Woods

Roman Aqueduct MalagaThis aqueduct is AMAZING. I have no idea how it got there, when it dates from and most of all, why it’s so abandoned all alone out there!! What a way to treat ancient Roman monuments (if indeed it is Roman).

We’ve crossed on it a couple of times but I wouldn’t recommend it and most especially not with kids. It’s very high up and there are no railings or any sort of security at all. In fact, now it’s fenced off. But since we discovered it before it got fenced off, we knew how to wind our way through the woods to find it again. (Pic below taken on a different day hence why it’s so sunny.)

Roman Aqueduct Andalucia

Path in the Woods SpainWe don’t know what this is and speculation runs wild between my son and me. “Maybe it’s to hide from the rain,” suggests “Ermenegildo” as he glares balefully at the chubby raindrops pelting against him.

“Try hiding in it,” was my response. A bit too small for him I do believe. “For hunters,” Ermenegildo concluded.

Who’s right? Well, we’ll leave it up to you to decide.

Walk in the Woods Spain

Just a tiny pic of Ermenegildo. He hates me putting up his pics. So here you can’t see him very well.

People ask me if I don’t get frozen in the rain. I never wear a raincoat — in fact, don’t even own one for that matter. So since I’m also quite anti-umbrella (for my use, not for my kids’ use haha!) I suppose it would stand to reason that I could get rather cold and miserable.

But then again, this is southern Spain! Not northern Scotland. It’s warm all year round.

So the rain is usually warm and toasty too. And who doesn’t enjoy a toasty warm sprinkling?

Rainbow After the Storm

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Kayaking in a Storm in Nerja

Well we have had such a hectic summer that I don’t even know where to begin talking about it! Well let’s begin with the most torturous, nerve-racking event of the season: KAYAKING IN A STORM!

The promotional photos show a bunch of very happy people swimming about in a lagoon with perfectly still waters. The water is crystal clear and deep green. There’s not a ripple on the surface of the water. In the background you can see a waterfall.

In real life? Ah yes in real life!

Before Rowing at Nerja

Ah yes how happy and totally unsuspecting was my son. Upon arrival at Nerja. You can see a few storm clouds gathering in the distance but meh, nothing to worry about. Right? (Sorry I fuzzed out his photo but he’s still underage!)

At first when we arrived, it all looked pretty neat and normal. The instructor taught us how to handle a kayak and oars. Easy peasy. We put on our lovely crimson life jackets. Pay attention to those life jackets, in a storm they can save your life haha.

Before Group Photo

Don’t we look happy in this happy Before photo? I always say, I’m the pasty white shortie at the end next to “Ermenegildo”, the one all dressed in white. I don’t think I’d qualify for Baywatch. Now, those tall, shapely, tanned things in bikini on the other side, on the other hand……..

Well at any rate there is no way I would ever jump into a kayak in the middle of the sea without a life jacket.

As we pushed out into the ocean, the water was a bit rough, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Waves kept crashing over the kayak and submerging it under the water. I was terrified!

But we soon discovered that kayaks are built to be practically unsinkable. No matter how enormous the waves or how many crashed over the kayak, the kayak always comes floating back up again. And it won’t capsize either. So you can ride out tranquilly.

Kayaking

You can see the storm clouds starting to gather in the corner.

We began the route but the sea just got rougher and rougher. A tour through some underground caverns underneath the Caves of Nerja is usually included in this route, but the day we went, the sea was so enraged we couldn’t enter the caverns, because the waves were too strong and big and high.

Calm Swimming

We did make it to some sort of sheltered enclosure where we could jump out of the kayaks and swim around a bit. After that the monitor guided us on a fun obstacle course where we had to manoeuvre our way through some very narrow channels between tall rocks. That was easy and a lot of fun. The sea there was calm, and there was no hurry.

(Although the instructor took a photo of us doing this, I didn’t include it here because I think I look like a fat frog.)

At this point, however, a rollicking storm rolled in and we were forced to head back without finishing the route. It was a good thing we didn’t continue, because we had our hands full then trying to avoid getting dragged across the strait to Africa!

No more photos from here on, of course. The instructor had his hands full just trying to prevent us all from getting dragged to Africa!

So huge enormous waves were crashing all over the kayak all the time. The sea kept trying to pull us towards Africa and we had to row very very fast just to avoid getting dragged out to the open sea. No matter how fast we rowed, the kayak kept getting tossed about where we didn’t want to go. This was NOT what we’d bargained for when we signed up! Where was the calm lagoon and the crystal clear water? All we had were deep dark turbulent waves!

After about five hours of arduous rowing we finally made it back to the beach. As if we weren’t already exhausted enough, the instructor then made us jump out of the kayak a certain distance from the shore, because they couldn’t drag the kayak to shore with us in it!

I leapt out and immediately got pushed under the water, because the water was sooo deep I couldn’t touch the bottom! Good thing I had the life jacket on. Although on the other hand there was no way I was going to jump into deep, rough waves without a life jacket I can assure you!

After we swam to shore, if it had been up to me I would’ve just hurled myself down onto the sand and lain there for three years! However, since no one else did that and everyone else had the stamina to finish the activity with dignity, I wasn’t going to be any less than anyone else haha!

But as soon as we returned the oars and life jackets, I grabbed my son “Ermenegildo” and dove onto a beach wall and vegged out there for about half an hour, because my head kept spinning round and round.

When I’d recovered enough to walk around without falling down, we went to pick up the photos from the instructor. Then we ate the sandwiches I’d brought with us.

Then, unbelievable though it might seem, given that it was still cold and stormy (highly unusual weather in the middle of a southern Spanish summer) and a strong wind was still blowing and we were freezing to death since we were all wet because I hadn’t brought a change of clothing (I thought it was going to be hot and sunny and we’d dry right off), in spite of that we had an ice cream! Yes we are crazy!

Then we had a beautiful relaxed stroll back along the seaside promenade. My son bought some souvenirs (ie. had me buy him some souvenirs). Well Nerja’s pretty famous. It’s a lovely town and well worth the bother of visiting it. And of course, you can get souvenirs there.

Storm Clouds Over Nerja

Nothing spectacular about this anodyne photo. Just wanted to show the highly unusual view of storm clouds over Nerja, something you would probably not often get a chance to behold.

After that, idling our way back up towards the historic town, we lucked upon THE MOST DELICIOUS, DELECTABLE Indian restaurant I have ever visited. It’s called Masala House, if you happen to be in Nerja and you would like to try it out. Best prices I have ever seen here in the south of Spain!

You can find it on the winding road that winds down to Playa Burriana.

We picked our way back up to the historic centre and from there to the highway to take the bus back to Malaga. The bus driver had the great good fortune to count on air conditioning in the bus and he turned it up to Super High, and we were still wet, so we had a miserable, freezing cold ride back to Malaga.

Fortunately, we had a hot shower waiting for us back home haha.

We went on the kayak tour with Educare Aventura (no affiliate link and this is not a sponsored post), 600.62.00.54, www.educareaventura.com (where you will see the happy photos of happy shining people swimming in lagoons as still as a millpond). The kayaking activity costs 20 euros per person (children pay less but I assure you, a child will not be able to carry out the activity in a storm!). They have several outings a day during the summer, both morning and afternoon. Less in the winter.

Their office is located at the far end of Playa Burriana, if you are walking to the beach from the centre of Nerja. Just keep crossing the beach all the way to the end. You’ll recognize them because they have some sails out front.

They have lockers for you to leave your bags so you don’t have to bring them on the kayaks. You can also leave your valuables with the wonderful girls at the desk. There’s a changing room too. Of course, since I didn’t bring a change of clothes, we didn’t avail of it. I’d recommend you bring a change of clothes if you are expecting a storm haha. (If you are not you can just dry yourselves in the sun.)

Kayaking photo credits to Marcel, our instructor at Educare Aventura. The rest of the photos are, as usual, mine.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

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Malaga in Winter: Mexican Flame Vines

Well, as I’d said in the previous post, I haven’t got much time for thumping away on the blog. So I’ll just leave you with a few photos.

Is there a better way to celebrate Leap Day than with Mexican Flame Vines?

Can’t believe I actually got in 5 photos of these lovely Mexican Flame Vines. These colourful flowers brighten up the cold, dark and dreary winter months here. Not that winters are ever unusually cold or dark around here haha. But still…… they are a real splash of colour on the streets in January and February.

Mexican Flame Vine

They can only grow in frost-free areas, which means you won’t see them in too many places in Europe or North America. Are we ever lucky!

Well since I haven’t got time to go about giving long explanations for every photo, I’ll just plunk all the photos down here.

Other post(s) in this series:

Malaga in Winter: Malaga Eye

More posts to come in this series! So stay tuned! In the meantime have a browse through the rest of this blog……

Malaga in Winter: Malaga Eye

I’d been wanting to do a post for a long while now about Malaga in winter. But I realize I will never ever ever get around to it. I just have too much work to do!

So I thought I’d just go about putting up a photo here or there whenever I only have a minute. This is the first one. It’s not a real spazzy or professional quality photo. These are just going to be photos I take with the phone as I go about town, and the phone doesn’t take really good quality pics. (Ie. it’s not a Samsung haha.)

Malaga Eye

This is the new Malaga Eye. It’s down at the port. We haven’t been on it yet. Just as well though. With those stormy clouds I doubt we’d see much haha.

Anyways the reason I’m so busy is because, on the one hand, I’m running a professional website, which takes up a bit of time. And on the other hand, I’m writing thriller novels. Which I love to do more than anything!

You can read more about my thrillers here: www.SEAmadis.com/books/

Hope you check them out and let me know what you think! (Wink wink.)

Back to Granada Again

We had such a jolly day in Granada. Well let me tell you from the start. I was so excited and longing to tell someone about it, so I ran off to write this blog post. My son did too, as soon as we got home he grabbed his WhatsApp and was WhatsApping all his classmates about his trip. He asked me for photos to send to his mates but they were all in the camera which doesn’t have any connection to internet.

Alhambra Granada

I didn’t feel like figuring out where to intersperse pics with text so I just lumped all the photos at the end of this post.

Anyways I got off on the wrong foot to begin the trip. Having to jump out of bed always does that to me, and we had to jump out of bed early. The first thing that went wrong was since we arrived so late at the bus station (we literally had less than FIVE MINUTES by the time we reached the ticket window, because there’s always a queue a mile long) I couldn’t get a ticket on the cheap bus and we had to take the expensive one (10 euros more for the 3 of us combined).

I was real p***d off about it. But at the end of the day, I realized we were real lucky.

Because the expensive bus was a luxury bus. I’d never gone on the luxury bus before and on the return trip home, when we got the ordinary bus, I realized how luxurious the luxury bus was. And how lucky we were to have got the chance to try out the luxury bus at least once. I would never have tried it out for myself, since it’s more expensive. In fact I didn’t even know it existed.

The luxury bus. Well the first thing is that it’s the same width as all buses. But inside there are only 3 seats in a row instead of 4. That means that each seat is wider. And 1 of every 3 people gets a seat all to themselves and doesn’t have to share with anyone. That is perfect for people who are travelling alone or for threesomes (like us). So my kids sat together and I sat alone on the other side of the aisle from them. A single seat is veeeeeery comfy and luxurious!

A wider seat is also more comfy. Then it was all covered in leather and it was very soft! Well I’m not crazy about the leather, but the soft part really appealed to me haha! The ordinary buses are covered with fabric but they could’ve used a softer fabric. Instead they used this very coarse, rough fabric that felt like old canvas. Dunno why they do that.

When we got to Granada I discovered that they had changed the bus system. So it was impossible to figure out which bus to take. The bus routes used to just have numbers. Now they had combinations of numbers and letters in different colours. (Well the colours didn’t have any significance, they were just to make it prettier.)

Anyways my friend later explained that the different letters tell us what kind of bus it is. Slow buses have one letter, fast buses (that come often) have another letter and circular routes have a different letter. Then the numbers are the route numbers.

We just grabbed the first bus that came along. It didn’t quite go to the centre but I lived a few years in Granada. So wherever it dropped us off at, I knew how to get from there to the centre.

Anyways, if you’re interested, planning on visiting Granada soon and you’d like some info on how to get into the city centre from the bus station, I’ll tell you that the bus we grabbed was called the SN-something, I don’t quite remember but perhaps SN1? It went close to the centre. It turned at Fuente Nueva, a park that’s just opposite the Pyramid building near Triunfo, and from there it makes its way to Camino de Ronda.

We jumped out at Fuente Nueva which is next to the city centre and walked around from there.

However, according to my friend, the correct way to go about it, if you want to ride directly into the heart of the city – let’s say you’ve got loads of luggage, for example, and your hotel or hostel is in the centre and you are NOT up to long walks with all those bags – then the correct route to take is this:

You would take the N4 bus which stops right at the bus station and get off at La Caleta. (Ask the bus driver.) (Or if you’re good at sighting sites on the fly, when the bus turns and you see a large open plaza with a very long fountain, where lots of kids are playing, that is La Caleta. Well come to think of it better you ask the driver haha.)

At La Caleta, at the same bus stop, you would then hop onto the LAC. The LAC is the circular bus that goes all around the centre. It’s fast and it’s coming all the time.

We spent a good few hours meandering around Granada and I showed the kiddies some more sights. They’ve already been there twice, my oldest son has been there more because one summer he spent a month with his papi who was living in Granada at that time, in a natural cave. (Not a rehabilitated one that has been conditioned for use as a residence, which there are a lot of in Granada, on the Sacromonte, and some very beautiful ones.) It was just a natural cave, that existed on the mountainside. But that’s for another story……

We had lunch in a place that I love. Oh and all the stores that I love that used to be in Granada had all closed and disappeared. There was practically nothing left in Granada. Only souvenir shops and lots of eateries for tourists. The city was practically a desert with streets all lined with closed-up shops that said For Sale or For Rent on them. I know in the summer some businesses go on holiday. But these were all empty shops, because they all had For Sale and For Rent signs on them.

So my fav stores include The Body Shop, which of course you must know as it’s a famous shop. Well they didn’t have one in Granada anymore. They used to. I later discovered that they had removed all their stores in southern Spain but increased the number of their shops in the rest of the country. Just to give an idea of what southern Spain is like. EVERYONE knows there is NO MONEY in southern Spain and the people of this region are as poor as dormice and have no money to buy anything.

Anyways I was telling about lunch. There was this buffet that we discovered in Barcelona which is a semi-vegetarian buffet. They have branches in many cities (but not in Malaga). They have one chicken dish and one fish dish and all the rest of their food is vegetarian. I love that buffet. Imagine a buffet full of vegetarian dishes!

I was sure they’d be closed too but lo and behold! there it was! So we had lunch there.

It’s called FresCo, if you’d like to patronise it. Gran Vía de Colón, 28. If you’re on the Gran Via and you just left the cathedral and you’re looking towards the Albaycin, it’s on the same street towards the left, on the opposite sidewalk.

The streets had been full of tourists and every tourist eatery had been full to the brim. So I was more than just mildly surprised to see that there were NO tourists in this buffet! Actually, I couldn’t believe that there was an eatery free of tourists in the centre of Granada in the summertime!

I guess vegetarian fare just simply isn’t on the lists of tourists haha.

Instead, the place was mostly full of families with kids. My kids fit in perfectly.

I was a bit miffed that my youngest son had to pay the adult rate because the kiddie rate is only to 10 years, and he’s 11. My youngest son hardly eats anything. I could’ve lied but you know, bad karma and all that……

But my oldest son and I ate sooo much I guess we ate my youngest son’s portion of food that he didn’t eat haha. My oldest son pretty much sampled every single dish that they had. I didn’t try out every dish, but I had a lot of chicken. It was really tasty! Now I’m in the mood for making the same chicken dish here at home.

After lunch we went out and you could really notice the steep rise in temperatures. Well we started the day off at 30 degrees in the early morning even in Malaga, so what did you expect in Granada? Every day at this time of the year the temps in Granada are in the low to mid 40s.

We walked around the Albayzin, the Moorish neighbourhood. It was as dirty and dusty and run-down as it has ever been. When I lived there they were starting this campaign that they would subsidize renovations to the Arab neighbourhood so home-owners there could modernize and restore their historic Arab houses. But as far as I could see no one had received any money for this project and no house was reformed or restored.

Granada is on a mountainside. In fact it is actually at an elevation of 1000 m. or 1 km. up, so it is very cold and even snows in the winter. That is why they have the ski resort, Sierra Nevada, there. But it is also closer to the sun and at this latitude. So that is why the temperature is extremely hot in the summer.

In fact my friend posted on Facebook the other day that they had soared up to the comfortable temperature of 47 degrees, complete with a photo of a thermometer.

But since it’s on a mountainside, you have to do a lot of climbing to walk around Granada, especially the Albayzin which is built on the mountainside. (The rest of the city is built on the lower plain at the foot of the mountain.)

Yes Heidi I am not. I’m not a mountain person. Give me low, flat coasts any day of the year haha!

My friend has the good fortune to live at the top of the mountain, at the border between the Albayzin and the Sacromonte. So we had to climb up there to meet her.

(There is a bus but I wanted to walk to show the kiddies the sights. It’s a mini bus, it’s called C or Circular and you can catch it at the bus stop in Plaza Nueva. It circles the Albayzin and goes up to the Sacromonte.)

My youngest son turned very very very red. I was alarmed!

Of course, climbing up a mountain at 43 degrees would make you red!

When we got to the plaza where I was going to meet my friend…… a miracle! There was a water fountain. Not a fountain of the kind that is for decoration and has water spraying up. It was a fountain which is a water tap, which is fairly common in historic areas of Spanish cities because in the past before running water that was where everyone went to get their water.

In fact when I was in Morocco, apparently a lot of people there don’t have running water in their homes because we passed by one of these fountains and a lot of people were there filling up their jugs. I don’t remember where that was and that was over 20 years ago (disclaimer in case some indignant reader should ever feel like writing in and insisting that that is simply not true, every single home in Morocco enjoys running water). But back to Granada.

As I said, there was a water fountain! Of course I POUNCED on it and started pouring water over my red son. I invited my oldest son to take a dive too but he sat demurely on a bench and refused. Something about how he’s in a teenage phase of wanting to look elegant or something……

Well I am not in a teenage phase of wanting to look elegant so I did go quite mad with the fountain. My youngest son and I started pouring water on each other. It was so hot that almost as soon as the water hit you, it was gone already! I did get good and wet but it was so hot by the time my friends arrived you couldn’t even tell haha.

But at least my son turned a more normal colour haha.

My friends live in an apartment at the top of the mountain. I asked my friend why they live up so high and she said they couldn’t find anyplace else to live. Yeah I guess it makes sense no one wants to live at the top of a mountain.

My friend designs websites for a living, so if you know anyone who wants a website designed and they speak Spanish, tell them about my friend!

Or rather, let ME know about it. Leave me a comment and I will get you in touch with my friend.

This is the Monastery of San Jerónimo. Even though I lived in Granada for a few years I’d never been here. We wandered into the gardens for a break from the searing sun and discovered the monastery.

This is the Plaza de la Trinidad. I used to go there to run around with the stroller and try and make my baby go to sleep. (Didn’t work too often, he’s hyperactive.)

This is the Puerta de Elvira, one of the original entryways into Granada from Moorish times. It’s not particularly well cared for considering it dates from Moorish times and is therefore a few centuries old. You can see bars where people rollick all around it and traffic rolls in underneath it.

Puerta de Elvira Granada

I had always been struck by this “cage” at the top of this monastery (yes it is a monastery!), but it had never occurred to me to take photos of it. A friend of mine was an art historian and she had been hired by the people of that very same monastery to go in and restore all the art work in there. She invited me to have a look around once.

Albayzin Granada

You just can’t imagine the AMAZE art treasures that are hidden away inside those very modest, even run-down looking outer walls. The monastery isn’t open to the public, so most people will never get to admire these treasures. Don’t know why they hide them away……

Scenes from the Albayzin and Sacromonte.

Check out this mill stone with baby shoes. I asked my son if those were his shoes, since he was a baby in Granada. (He said of course not!)

Millstone With Baby Shoes

I used to have a much better view of the Alhambra from our rooftop terrace. But I wasn’t happy when I lived in Granada.

Alhambra Granada

What makes you happy is to live in a place that you love and to be surrounded by people that you love, I think.

Alhambra Granada

Well that’s pretty much it about our trip to Granada. As I said, if you’re looking for someone to design a website for you and you speak Spanish, leave me a comment and I will let my friend know.

And if you are NOT looking for someone to design a website, leave me a comment anyways haha! I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

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The Carratraca Trail And a Water Party

We just had the most HYSTERICAL day ever!!!!!!! I had SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much fun!!!!!!!!!!! It was AMAZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Carratraca

My kids don’t quite agree, especially my youngest son who even had a temper tantrum, and he’s 11.

We went out hiking with a hiking group in Carratraca. We had a greeeeeeeaaaaaaat time. (Pics at end of post.)

However my youngest son isn’t used to walking anywhere at all, and he wailed and complained and I majorly worried he’d just sit right down on the path and pout and refuse to continue! Or his little legs would get so weary they’d just rubber out on him.

Fortunately even though he had a couple of meltdown moments, in the end he still gamely went on till the end. Which is a good thing cuz we didn’t have any willing males to carry him on his shoulders like some of the other kiddies did.

Carratraca is a tiny village in the interior of Malaga province near Álora, Tolox (which is also famous for its spa) and Alhaurín El Grande. It’s only got one main street and a couple of smaller lanes. It’s one of those typical whitewashed villages that are scorching hot in the summer and probably quite chilly in the winter. It doesn’t look like there’s much to do there or many things to see or places to visit, except for walking around the countryside.

After the long walk we enjoyed the highlight of the day: a feast with a WATER PARTY!!

The feast was okay. The food wasn’t that great although there was plenty of it and you could eat and drink as much as you wanted. They had sangría, and I had that of course. The kiddies had soft drinks. They put out apéritifs that they said there would be deli meats but there was only potato chips, bread sticks and olives. But the sangria was far out!

The route wasn’t really that long or bad, it was only 4 km. But you have to take into account what is the height as well, because it’s not the same to walk 4 km. but climb 2 km. haha as it is to walk 4 km. and only climb 100 m.

The walk was up to the top of a mountain and then walking all the way around the mountain. It was quite pleasant and not very difficult, but the main problem was having to carry my youngest son’s bag with its 1,5 litres of water and tons of food!

Anyways after that they served 2 humungous paellas. There was plenty of food and we were full, but in my opinion the paella wasn’t all that tasty. I guess they were counting on that we’d all be starved and we wouldn’t notice the less than ideal flavour haha!

My son loved it though.

After that they turned on the water hoses and you can NOT avoid them. They said the party was at this place called the bullring so I thought it was the local bullring. But turns out it was a very large open air bar CALLED The Bullring.

Anyways so since it was outdoors there were lots of water hoses and lots of fun with them. My oldest son used to enjoy doing silly things like this but now that he is going through a teenage phase of wanting to look elegant all the time (he told me he wanted a pretty sun hat this morning, not a plain, ordinary kiddy sun hat but a really fashionable one) he didn’t volunteer for much running around underneath the hoses. Didn’t matter, if you didn’t go to the hoses the hoses went to YOU.

My youngest son sat and sulked in a corner cuz he doesn’t like anything exciting. He even hates the amusement park. Didn’t matter, the hoses went for him too haha.

In Spain since it’s so hugely hot in the summer (temps over 40 every day) lots of water activities are scheduled haha.

I didn’t take any photos of this section of the day, I put the phone away in a safe, dry place and let the guy with the HD underwater camera do all the honours.

One thing I really love about Spain and Spanish culture is that people aren’t going to go, ew we don’t want you you can’t take part cuz we don’t know you. In Spain people go, come on the more the merrier. So you don’t have to feel like you don’t belong and can’t take part in activities. I’m usually a lurker and an onlooker, but it looked like soooooooooooooo much fun that I tried to get in and everyone was so nice and amazing. They had all sorts of silly games and activities (underneath water hoses of course hehe). They even had skip rope.

After that there were door prizes. I was so excited, we won a prize!!!!!!! My son’s wishes came true and we won a sun hat with the name of the hiking group emblazoned all around it. I gave it to my son of course.

When we came home there wasn’t much to eat in the house: a pack of eggs, some grains like pasta, couscous and rice and flour and an aubergine. I was too tired to make fried aubergine. Then I had an inspiration! I made garlic soup.

Garlic soup is the fastest and easiest thing in the world if ever you’re pressed on time, you have an empty house and you’re tired. Here’s the very easy recipe:

Fry a bit of garlic in oil at the bottom of a large pot. Then fill the pot with water and put in chicken stock, salt and pepper. When it boils throw in some small kind of pasta (like not large pasta like macarroni or spaghetti, something small like alphabet letters). When the pasta is ready (always keeping lots of water in relation to the pasta, or it wouldn’t be a SOUP haha) carefully upend an egg into it. The egg will cook and the yolk will be a nice round raw yolk. Serve a bowlful with the yolk. Then put in another egg for the next eater etc.

My kids fell like stones into bed.

We went to a shrine, a religious Catholic shrine, at the top of the mountain. They say the villagers wanted a shrine so they built it. On the very day it was supposed to be inaugurated a bolt of lightning arched clear out of the clear blue sky and struck directly onto the shrine and burnt it up. No more obvious indication from the heavens that G-d did NOT want a shrine built there. So they didn’t rebuild it.

This little village (with only 1 main street) apparently was some sort of spa and lots of manors sprang up to handle all the health tourism. We actually peeked in at one of the spas, it sure looked luxurious inside. Anyways the biggest manor of them all has been converted into the Town Hall.

Just a coupla landscape pics.

Carratraca

These really large eolic things were all over the place. In the photo they look so tiny but in real life they are really humungous and impressive towering over ya.

Carratraca Molino Eolico

Coupla pics bout town.

Dunno why the last photo came out so fuzzy. Maybe it’s heat waves haha.

I’m only putting up one photo of the water party because they were taken with an HD waterproof camera and they are not mine.

Carratraca

Photo credit: Las Rutitas De Los Domingos

I just had to laugh thinking about some elderly people who came to the water party. Water parties round here are NOT a spectator sport haha. These weren’t members of the hiking group, they were I guess just villagers who decided they’d drop in and have a look round. They thought they could just sort of hide in the corners and observe. Well as for observing – no way! The water hoses attacked them just the same. The fact that they were elderly didn’t in any way provide them with immunity haha.

One couple just decided that what the…… Since they were there they might as well join in the fun. The other couple, they were so funny. They didn’t like getting attacked by water hoses and just sat in a corner and SULKED. They just happened to end up sitting next to my youngest son who was also SULKING haha.

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Caves of Nerja

Well, looks like it’s time for another sightseeing / travel post.

I promised my son I would take him to the Caves of Nerja for his birthday. His birthday was at the end of last year, so you can see I’m not very current with posts haha!

If you live around here or have ever come for a visit, you are probably familiar with the Caves of Nerja and you have probably dropped by to discover them. They are very well known and most tourists do try to make an effort to stop by and visit them.

The Caves of Nerja were formed millions of years ago during prehistoric times by rainwater filtering through the porous rock and slowly gouging out cavities and openings underground. They were almost continuously inhabited by cavemen, who left several paintings depicting everyday life in their times. These cave paintings aren’t open to the public, in order to preserve them.

Even though they are so famous today, no one knew about these caves in modern times until they were discovered in 1959.

Now, it’s very common for caves to be discovered while public works are taking place excavating tunnels for highways, parking lots or other things that are habitually built underground. But that wasn’t how the Caves of Nerja were discovered.

A group of five boys from the nearby village of Maro liked to wander around in the fields and go bat hunting. They were aware that there were some holes where literally hundreds and thousands of bats would fly out from at dusk, and they liked to go chasing these bats.

One day, they thought they would explore more deeply into the holes where these bats flew out from. They tried to drop down into one of these holes, and soon found out that it wasn’t exactly just a tiny little rabbit warren haha!

It was, in fact, an enormous, immense, gigantic cavern. When they dropped down into the cavern, they discovered skeletons lying around.

They were very excited and were soon sharing their findings with friends, neighbours and teachers. Word spread, and it wasn’t long before scientists and experts started swinging around to check out this new finding.

Very soon they realized the immensity and significance of this discovery. Archaeological research began on this site, and the following year the caves were opened to the public.

The five lucky lads who discovered the caves weren’t forgotten. They are immortalized in a statue that you can see in the town of Nerja.

The Caves themselves are divided into three galleries, only one of which is open to tourists. The two deeper galleries, the Upper Gallery and the New Gallery, can only be visited in special, pre-arranged tours.

A series of pathways cuts through several halls and leads you in the end to the main showcase of the Caves: the Hall of the Cataclysm.

This is the famous hall where you can see the super gigantic column in the centre. This is the largest naturally-occurring cave column in the world. It reaches from the top of the hall into depths so profound that you can’t really see the bottom of it all. The column is 32 metres high and occupies a space of 3000 m3.

We went in the afternoon so we could see the guided tour, but I’m not too sure it is really worth the bother of having to jostle with all the crowds. If we ever go back again we will probably go in the morning, when you don’t have to go in a group and you can wander about freely.

We got assigned to a tour guide who pretty much didn’t say a word to us, other than telling us which direction to go in the labyrinthine trails which appear to wander about in all directions. Fortunately, we hung behind, and we were able to catch other tour guides who were a little less laconic.

I’m not too sure about how much information you can garner from the explanations of the tour guides, all the same. We listened to one explain how the Hall of the Cataclysm was formed:

“This hall is known as the Hall of the Cataclysm. The reason it received this name is because during the time this cave was formed, there were lots and lots of major cataclysms on earth. Severe earthquakes, which really shook up the earth a lot and made a lot of the blocks inside this cave fall down all over the place into haphazard shapes, which is what you can see now.”

You can see from this natural cave design where the Moors got their inspiration for their incredible artwork and architecture that you can admire in places like the Alhambra of Granada.

The pamphlet that they give you when you enter into the Caves provides you with the same explanation, in slightly clearer language:

“At the bottom of the cavern you can observe piles of enormous stone blocks. These are stalactites and stalagmites piled one atop the other without any logical order. This chaos resulted from a colossal earthquake which took place 800,000 years ago.”

There is a vast space which is usually filled with seats, where concerts and dance shows take place during the summer. These concerts take advantage of the incredible and formidable natural acoustics in this area. You can hear these acoustics if you scream in the hall (when no one is around, of course): you will hear your voice echo all around you. The sound is just amazing.

Of course, if you go with a super-responsible, old-before-his-time child with adult behaviour, he will say something like, “Mami, stop screaming! You shouldn’t scream in public places!”

Outside the Caves, you can wander around and enjoy the Hispano-Arab garden, which is a small pool of water covered with beautiful tiles. There are also playgrounds and cool paths with benches to stroll about or to sit and rest.

There is a cafeteria-restaurant where they serve drinks at a most reasonable price, where you can freshen up before the long ride home or grab a bite to eat.

All in all, this is a really great site for a day trip. You can just come to enjoy the caves, or you can combine it with a trip to the town of Nerja. We have been to Nerja a few times and if I ever feel up to it, I might zip up another blog post dedicated just to the town of Nerja.

The Caves of Nerja are open from 10 am. to 1 pm. in the mornings for unsupervised visits. At 1 o’clock the first guided tour begins. After that the Caves close for lunch, and re-open at 4 in the afternoon. From 4 to 5:30 there are guided tours every half hour.

There is a special schedule during the summer months, so if you are planning a visit in the summer, check their new opening hours for that period.

They also offer special visits (with different prices) which must be reserved beforehand. These visits can be reserved through internet.

The visit costs the same regardless of whether you go alone or with a guide. The price of the ticket is 9 euros for adults and 5 euros for children up to 12 years old. Children under 6 can enter for free. (As of 2015.)

I do like the Caves of Nerja, and I consider it a must to visit them if you are in Malaga on holiday. However, I feel that in matters of cave exploration, the best kept secret in the region is definitely the Treasure Cave.

Check up my blog post on the Treasure Cave here.

I personally prefer the Treasure Cave over the Caves of Nerja for a number of reasons:

  • the Treasure Cave has a greater variety of shapes, caverns and hallways
  • there are rock formations with more interesting shapes in the Treasure Cave
  • the Treasure Cave has a lot of historical significance, and it was used as a centre for cult and deity worship during prehistoric times
  • you get to see the cavern dedicated to the worship of the prehistoric deity Noctiluca, really quite incredible
  • there are never a lot of tourists jostling around in the Treasure Cave, so you can have a relaxed, leisurely tour at any time of the year
  • it’s a “wet” cave, so you can see basins filled with water and you can even dip your fingers into the water and rub it on your face (the water is naturally clean and clear, it’s rainwater that has filtered in through the porous rocks). I would be careful which basins you dip your fingers into, though, since some of these basins were used for animal sacrifice!
  • there are three underground lakes, beautiful and spectacular! You won’t find that at the Caves of Nerja
  • the entrance fare is cheaper than at the Caves of Nerja, and if your kids are members of “La Banda” they get to go in for free
  • there is an archaeological park at the Treasure Cave that you can visit for free, and it gives you archaeological and scientific information. You can also see reproductions of some prehistoric cave paintings in this park. Children will probably be bored there, however. I speak from experience!

I saved these two photos for last because they seemed rather special. I thought that both these photos looked sort of like the book cover for some Lord of The Rings-like novel. Of course they are not as good quality as a real, true, bona-fide professional book cover, they’re grainy. But I thought they still rather looked like something out of The Lord of The Rings.

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