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.

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Spanish Beaches

Malaga Port

Since it seemed the appropriate time of the year for this, I started a collection of beach photos that I’d made throughout the years. But then I got bored. So these are the photos that I managed to finish editing before I got bored.

Pretty much all of these photos are from around here (Malaga). I really wasn’t much into photography before I came to Malaga, so I have very few (if any) photos of beaches from any other places.

This beach is in La Línea de la Concepción right up against Gibraltar. It’s a very beautiful beach, as are all beaches in Cádiz, with fine white sands and warm Caribbean blue water, mmmhh. Wish the beaches here in Malaga were like that haha!

You can see that hazy blue floaty mass of land across the way. It’s Africa! Yes you can really see Africa from this beach. It looks so close. It looks like you could almost swim across. But the very narrow strait that separates Spain from Africa is deceptively treacherous and full of dangerous undercurrents.

Beach in SpainSpanish Beach

Torremolinos.

Beach in Spain

This was a winter’s day in Chipiona. We went there with an organised group mainly so we could see the sights. Well we did get to see the sights, but most of the group spent most of the time going to visit – Rocío Jurado landmarks! Like her tomb at the local cemetery, her home or a huge statue of her. Rocío Jurado was a very popular, now deceased flamenco singer.

This is in Torremolinos again. Somehow I actually managed to grab these beaches empty! Maybe it was off-season hehe?

And again. But many years ago.

(I think he was crying or about to cry!) (This is the same little guy who is now making pizzas!)

My kids in Maro near Nerja. Check out the people bathing in November!

Maro in November

Although not quite a beach, I couldn’t help including these darkly dramatic winter pics.

Spanish Beach

Beach in Spain

A view from a classic viewpoint of the Port of Malaga.

Malaga Port

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Puerto Banus – Bumping Elbows With The Jet Set

Perhaps not everyone knows, but Puerto Banús, in Marbella, is synonymous with…… jet set, rich Arab and European royalty, Hollywood celebs on holiday, luxury yachts and Lamborghinis, James Bond, maybe? (Well, not yet, at least.)

I’m not too sure how or why this little locality acquired such fame. It’s just another ordinary port on the extensive coastline of southern Spain. So I don’t know how the powers that be saw fit to transform Puerto Banús into the playground of the ultra rich as opposed to, for example, some other port on the same coastline such as Estepona or La Línea de la Concepción.

But be that as it may, very fortunately, taking a stroll in Puerto Banús alongside the super rich and famous is free. Anyone can go there. Happily, there’s no “entrance fee” in order to gain access to the town or port.

You can take a walk there and window shop at the many luxury boutiques that you can find there. You can admire the dozens of luxury yachts all neatly parked in a row (many of which were, nonetheless, up for sale – a testimony, perhaps, to the effects of the times that we are living on the pocketbooks of even the ultra rich?).

Parked Yachts Puerto Banus

It was a very happy day for me that my friend and I took our families out for a walk in Marbella, where we had a fabulous lunch at an incredible local treasure chest of a restaurant – unfortunately I didn’t pay much attention to the name of this restaurant, and I wouldn’t be able to find it again, since I just followed my friend around haha – that served the most amazing Malaga fried fish dishes.

Malaga fried fish is a specialty of this Spanish province, and it has nothing to do with the greasy, pre-packaged fried fish that is so popular in Britain.

(Many apologies to fans of British fried fish, I’m sure there must be tasty fried fish in Britain too, it’s just that, unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to sample any of those kinds of fried fish when I was in London, only the greasy ones……)

I usually take photos when I go out to eat with the kids, but for some reason I wasn’t in the mood the other day. So I’ve got no photos of our famous dish.

Here’s a photo of my kids devouring similar fare, however, on a beach in the city of Malaga.

Pescaito Frito

After our meal we decided to spirit ourselves over to Puerto Banús. I’d never been to Puerto Banús, although I’ve gone several times to visit in Marbella.

Playa de Puerto BanusThis is a weird statue, commissioned for a huge sum from a Russian sculptor. We thought it was weird since it reminded us of the statue of Columbus that points out to sea in Barcelona.

Statue Puerto Banus

This is the statue of Columbus in Barcelona.

Colon Barcelona Columbus Statue

Sunset in Puerto BanusIt’s hard to see them, but if you squint a little bit you can see the itty bitty (and not so itty bitty) fishies in the water here.

Fish Puerto Banus

Little fish, big fish, swimming in the water
Come back here, man, gimme my daughter!

PJ Harvey

Imagine being the owner of one of these!

Yachts Parked in a Row Puerto Banus

 Lighthouse Puerto Banus

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Grey Skies: Ces Jours Si Tristes, Si Gris, Profonds, Estos Días Tristes y Grises, Profundos, Just a Little Piece of Sky

Ces jours tristes, profonds, sans fin et sans espoir, quand les rêves deviennent gris et plus lointains que jamais et le ciel pleure incessant, grisâtre et sans repos.

Just waxing dreary and drab on a drab and dreary winter’s day in southern Spain. Even if we’re really lucky and we never get snow or ice, we do get grey skies. I love the rain. But life can seem dreary and hopeless when this is the only piece of sky you can get from the window of the tiny one-bedroom-with-a-walk-in-closet-as-the-second-bedroom in da inna big city where we live.

Grey SkiesOn a brighter note, this is the Med in January. You can see it is raining somewhere around Torremolinos (where all the grey lines are slashing down) and out at sea. But you can still appreciate the brilliant sunset.

Med In JanuaryJust daily life here in a warm country in winter. It’s great to be in a place where it never snows, but on the other hand, daily life can still drag you down, especially if the economy is bad and you have to work ten hours every day just to make ends meet and pay the bills. There’s no time to even go out for a walk to enjoy the brilliant weather that we have the privilege of, well, enjoying! This photo was snapped as I got off the bus and dashed off to trudge away yet a few more hours at one of the companies where I work. I like the company but the hours are long. Not at this particular company, in case they happen to be reading this hehe, but all together at the three companies together, the hours are long.

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La Línea de la Concepción

Well the time has come for a new travel post! This time we’ll visit a little corner where tourists never go.

Yes I know I said that about Barcelona, and then ended up still putting up photos of touristy places anyways. Well what can I do? Pretty much ALL Barcelona is quite touristy and there is something worth seeing in just about every corner of that enchanting city.

However this time round we WILL indeed go someplace a little off the beaten track. So I thought we’d go to La Línea de la Concepción.

The Rock of Gibraltar

So, where in the world is that, you might be saying. So yes, that is how far off the beaten track it is.

No tourists, no tourist attractions. Just a tiny, humble little fishing village. Well a fishing village with a MAJOR petroleum refinery, perhaps.

Even so, you may have passed through La Linea at some point in your life. If you’ve ever been to Gibraltar, then unless you arrived winging over by plane from the UK, you’ve been to La Linea.

Gibraltar The Rock

La Linea earned this name by being the borderline: the border between Spain and Gibraltar.

For a long time ancestral rivalries between Spain and England kept this borderline closed. You couldn’t enter Gibraltar by land. The Spanish government re-opened its access to this rock in 1985 as part of its measures for gaining entry into the European Union.

Gibraltar CannonGibraltar Coat of Arms

 

 

 

 

 

Gibraltar is a fully sovereign, self-governing British overseas territory, which means that its citizens, in addition to being Gibraltarian, of course, are also British nationals. All of its internal affairs are locally governed, but the British government oversees everything and the Queen of England is its head of state.

Gibraltar Garden

However, this is not a post about Gibraltar, which, being strong, famous and a popular tourist destination, can pretty much hold its own in the world.

Today it was my intention to speak, rather, about La Linea.

A good percentage of the population of La Linea depends on Gibraltar to bring bread into the household. This is the case of my friend in La Linea too, who works cleaning homes and yachts on the rock.

Nonetheless you will still see a good many fishermen casting out their lines on the beaches, especially at dusk, or taking out to the seas in their little boats.

La Linea and Africa
You can see how close Africa is in this photo. That long strip of mountainous land across the way there is Africa. Looks like you could just swim right out there, right?

Unfortunately for hundreds of thousands of aspiring African immigrants, it isn’t that easy. There are very treacherous undercurrents in that little strait!

Unlike Malaga, La Linea is small and quiet. Most of Malaga is filled with tall buildings. Most of the homes in La Linea, by contrast, are small one- or two-storey houses built the traditional way, square-shaped and without a sloping roof, with an interior patio.

This makes it a very hot place in the summer, because there is no shade!

There isn’t that much to do in La Linea, I found. Unlike Malaga, it isn’t bustling with a lot of exciting places to visit.

La Linea Beach

There are a few parks. One of the really nice ones is the one inside the City Hall grounds. It’s enormous, with different sections including, of course, a large playground for kids. Which is pretty much the only thing you will notice if you travel with kids.

This time we didn’t enter Gibraltar, although we visited it few years ago. So if you are on the look-out for these 2 little mites that you can see in these photos, running around somewhere on the streets in your visit to Malaga, rest assured that they are hardly little mites anymore!

They still play in playgrounds though, and very happy to do so I can assure you!

In the summer it is almost impossible to do anything during the day in La Linea. Except move around on the beach.

At night is when most of the action takes place.

La Linea Nightlife

I personally would not like to live in La Linea. The people aren’t particularly friendly. I took my friend’s gigantic dog for a walk – to give you an idea of just how gigantic it is, when it stands on two paws, which it does quite frequently (it probably thinks it’s a baby) it’s as tall as I am – and as I approached a little shop for a bottle of water the owner exclaimed irascibly: “That thing isn’t entering my shop!”

So it was my son who entered the shop for water instead. (Yes, he’s hardly a little mite anymore. Even sports a moustache now!)

There are many thieves in La Linea. And a lot of drugs too. So not a good place to raise kids, especially teenaged ones. Even my friend has sent her teenaged children to Marbella to receive an education, so that they can move around in peace and avoid the harassment of La Linea bullies and drug traffickers right at the doors of their high schools.

Well I suppose I should like to end on a more positive note about this little town.

La Linea Ornate Door by Night

You can observe a feeble attempt at nocturnal photography here. I don’t really have the equipment for that, though. Here this was an attempt to portray one of those typical, stately, larger colonial-style homes that grace many parts of town. However at night without proper lighting I’m afraid its majesty is all lost in the shadows.

In spite of some local tiff-taff because of the drug dealing, for the most part it is a nice, humble, peaceful place to live, where the residents mind their own business and don’t get into a lot of hot water (except on the beach, of course, with its balmy waves). You won’t see lots of protest marches on its streets the way you would in larger metropoles.

There are also no major gangs wreaking havoc. Not a lot of street violence. You can walk around town at any hour of the day or night and expect to be left in peace.

Gibraltar Sitting on the Cannon

Hot Muggy September Nights

Tonight was just one of those lovely hot muggy late summer nights here on Spain’s sunny southern Costa del Sol. At midnight we were still enjoying temps of around 30ºC. (that’s 90ºF. guys). So we went out for a midnight stroll by the sea, stopped for some frozen yogurt (it was definitely NOT frozen!) and kids spent a whole hour dashing about the park. How kids can run for one hour non-stop and still be fresh as roses is one of life’s grand mysteries.
Red Roses

We returned home along the seaside promenade. Beach restaurants offering typical fried fish and wood-baked sardines on a stick – a Malaga specialty – at discount prices now that it’s September. But there was no one about to take advantage of this bargain. It was Sunday night, girls and guys gotta go to work, kids have school. So no late nights anymore. Not even when it’s hot and muggy and lazy.

We watched a pussy cat playing with its dinner, a poor little freaked-out, death-pale lizard. A glowing cruise ship or ferryboat took off for Africa on the other side of the darkness. And that was it.

So this is my life, fellas. No bells or whistles. No Indiana Jones exploits on a daily basis. Just a pleasant walk in the “cool” night breeze and school runs in the early morning.

Beach Bucket