Tag Archive | life

Cakes

I LOOOVEEE cakes.

And I bet you do too.

Black Forest Cake

But one thing I’ve noticed is it’s not as easy to get cheap cakes here in Spain as it is in Canada. I mean, cheap cakes at the supermarket. If you want a really good cake here you have to go to the bakery and bakery cakes are expensive.

In Canada you could just go to the supermarket and pick up a ready made cake for maybe $2. And there would be a whole huge variety of cakes available. But here even if a large supermarket has cheap cakes they will maybe only have a couple of varieties. The rest are bakery cakes (also available at supermarkets but in a separate section) and they’re more expensive.

Then you just can’t compare the variety that they have in Canada with here. Of course in bakeries here you can get every sort of cake that your heart could desire. But like I said before, bakery cakes are expensive. In Canada you can get every kind of cheap, ready made cake you could possibly want at the supermarket: chocolate, strawberry, Black Forest, caramel……

Now — and I’m just speculating here — I was wondering why is it so hard to get good, cheap cakes round here? And my theory is that maybe it’s just simply because Spanish people don’t seem to have a tradition of eating cakes.

Yep. Might sound weird. But think that in poorer countries cakes aren’t all that easy to come by. (Which is why only Marie Antoinette could have cake but not her poverty-stricken, lowly subjects.)

So traditionally, here in Spain, cakes and pastries were reserved only for special occasions. Reason why all the festivities of the year have their own special pastries, like Roscón de Reyes for The Three Kings holiday or pestiños for All Saints Day.

Then as people got richer ordinary people could have cakes more often. But even so they still tend to reserve cake eating for things like birthdays or family get-togethers. I still have delicious memories of how, when I was still married, my ex (then hubby) would buy pastries every Sunday and we’d have pastries and tea with his family on Sundays.

But maybe in other cultures, like England or Canada, it was more common to eat cake every day. For example, as part of the daily tea.

Well not exactly a transcendental subject and I’m sure these aren’t exactly earth-shattering theories haha. Just one of the many small details where I notice the difference between Spanish and English cultures.

And now that I’ve got your attention, check out my previous post, Walking in the Rain. It’s got more about everyday life here in Spain, and lots of pics (wink, wink).

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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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Hot hot hot!

…And It’s a Rainy Night In Malaga

Midnight… And All Is Well

Recent Reviews for HARROWING

I was sooo excited and chuffed to see my latest thriller novel, HARROWING, featured on a couple of book review blogs!!

S.E. Amadis - HARROWING

The first review is by the lovely Theresa Hetherington of Kindle Bargains UK Book Review Blog.

Annasuya Rose is a temp office worker, she has a son Romeo, her new boyfriend is called Calvin. Things are good, theyre happy and everything is well.

Until Annasuya takes 1 job, it’s in a office, the boss though, Bruno, is not fine! He rapes her and though she escapes, things begin to get scarier. A dark figure following her, complaints about her at work.

This isn’t necessarily an easy book to read. The rape is obviously hard to read. Written well and not dragged out. The topic is a heavy one, but tackled head on and in a way I wanted to keep going, I needed to know they were ok, what was happening next! This book put me in mind of a good old horror & the escapes, with the challenges of Annasuya, how she & others tackled and dealt with everything thrown at them.

You can read the original blog post here:

http://reviewskbuk.blogspot.com.es/2016/07/harrowing-by-se-amadis.html

The next blog review got my friend all excited, because the gorgeous Gemma of Gemma’s Book Reviews compared HARROWING to SAW (the movie)! She told me she’d be uber ecstatic if someone ever likened a book of hers to SAW!

Of course, in my humble opinion, SAW is a masterpiece whereas my book is…… well…… just another thriller. But see for yourself:

Thanks to the author for letting me review her story and TBC. I must be honest and say that at first I wasn’t enjoying it due to personal reasons, but as I continued it got better and I was hooked after the first part which I found hard to read. This is a VERY dark story something close to SAW (the film). It is easy to read and I found after the start I raced through it. The main character is a very unlucky woman and faces the worst fate I could ever imagine. Brilliantly written with a great horror plot throughout. This story will hold your attention throughout. I must also mention with the young boy involved it made the whole situation worse throughout the book, I kept thinking poor little boy but he’s a strong, determined boy. I would recommend this book to you all but with the warning it is a dark story and contains rape, which some readers may find hard to read or cannot read.

This is the ideal story for readers who enjoy a brilliant horror, suspense, thriller and mystery rolled into one spooky plot. Be thankful its not you in this story and that its fiction. Now breathe. I need a lighter read after this one. Enjoy.

Read the original blog post here:

http://gemmasbookreviews.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/harrowing-s-e-amadis-%E2%9C%B6%E2%9C%B6%E2%9C%B6%E2%9C%B6/

Anyways, I couldn’t just stop with blog reviews. I’ve been absolutely BLESSED to receive tons and tons of positive reviews on Amazon as well. Anyways, it’s not my intention to bombard you, so I won’t reproduce them all here. But I’d love to feature two of my fave reviews.

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Can’t recommend this book enough, Superb!!

Format: Kindle Edition

Wow!!! I absolutely loved this book. The pace was breakneck speed, the characters were well rounded – some likeable, others most despicable.

I’ve been trying to grow my nails recently, well this book put a fast stop to that! They were bitten right down so I need to read something now that will give them a chance to grow again!

Just as I got to a few chapters from the end I started to feel calm and at ease – then BAM! Another toe curling, lip chewing few chapters.
I absolutely LOVED Harrowing and I cannot wait to read its sequel.

Many, many Thanks to the author Serena and Helen Boyce at THE Book Club on Facebook for gifting me a copy of this Awesome book in exchange for a fair and honest review. highly recommend this book.

5.0 out of 5 stars This book lives up to its title!

Format: Kindle Edition

This book is awesome. Not only is the story well written, it also keeps your interest from chapter one to the ending page. The attention to detail is amazing! I have read a lot of thrillers and the horror genre and I can honestly say that this book has them beat. The characters are another reason for reading this book. They are not just going through the motions, they portray a lot of emotions which you feel throughout the book. The characters are another reason this book is so wonderful. They are not one dimensional, just going through the motions. You feel what they go through. This book does deal with sensitive subjects so I would recommend it for anyone 18 and above. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this post isn’t just going to abruptly end here. Of course not. I have to include the links so you can get the book for yourself, and see what everyone is talking about. Right? So here are the links:

For Amazon.com
And Amazon.co.uk

Happy reading!

HARROWING – New Thriller Up For Sale on Amazon!

HARROWING. For a limited time at only 99c.

S.E. Amadis - HARROWING

A fast-paced, haunting, action-filled tale of persecution and murder… and what the love of a mother can do.

When Annasuya Rose is raped by her boss, she thinks it’s the most terrible thing that could possibly happen to her.

She has no idea that her nightmare is only just beginning.

When nobody but her boyfriend, Calvin, believes her version of events against the suave and sophisticated businessman, she turns to social media to prevent the same thing happening to somebody else.

But now someone is stalking her in the dark, menacing her with threatening messages and creepy phone calls, breaking into her house late at night. A sadistic killer who exults in killing and mutilating… or worse.

A sadistic killer who will stop at nothing to get her.

When Annasuya’s ten-year-old son disappears, she realizes she must follow the killer down a terrifying and evil path to save her beloved son. A path which leads to danger. Torture. Agony. Even death.

And the most terrible, heart-wrenching a choice a mother could face.

Now available on Amazon, at:

http://www.amazon.com/Harrowing-Fast-Paced-Edge-Psychological-Thriller-ebook/dp/B01I7IGTGU?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Harrowing-Fast-Paced-Edge-Psychological-Thriller-ebook/dp/B01I7IGTGU?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

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.)

May We Be Seven Billion

Candles

I run a professional website, and every time I send out a newsletter against terrorism I get a few unsubscribes. Maybe these ex-subscribers simply wanted to only receive newsletters strictly related to the theme of the website.

Or maybe it’s just coincidence. Although I very rarely get unsubscribes on newsletters with new articles related to the theme of the website haha.

But at any rate, I also feel that, even if perhaps it’s not the safest way to live, we still have to take a stand about things in the world, and stick to our guns about whatever stand we’ve chosen. And not shut up about it.

Someone – I don’t remember who but perhaps it was Winston Churchill? – once said that the only thing that is needed for evil to triumph is if a few good men stand by and do nothing.

I DO believe in peace, and in striving for peace. But I’m also one of those who believes that in the world that we live in, sometimes we have to fight to get that peace. Sitting around and praying alone is not enough (although, of course, it’s also necessary and helps a lot hehe).

On a different subject, I’m very excited because soon I’m about to reveal some news which is very very exciting (at least for ME haha). So stay tuned for that!

So, as I said at the beginning of this post, may we be over seven billion to spread the light of good and peace, kindness, respect and above all, tolerance, around the world and fight back the evil of terrorism.

And also Happy Chanukah!

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Best Friends

Today I was sitting around thinking about my good friend in Madrid, let’s call her Lana (not her real name). For years, when I lived in Madrid, we were inseparable.

Inseparable Friends Peace Sign

Lana and I are still in touch. But it’s not the same anymore.

When I lived in Madrid and she was single, she was a real rebel. Heavy metallist, rebellious, anti-conventionality. It’s ironic that now she follows all the conventions and all the things that people expect of her.

We met in the choir. Both of us sang in a choir. We hit it off right away and soon became fast friends.

We were both wild and rebellious, both of us a lot in character like George of the Famous Five, except we had – and still continue to proudly sport – long hair. The difference between us is that whereas I’m quite shy and diffident around people, especially people I don’t know well, Lana is very talkative.

I thought about all the things we’d done together, so many fun experiences we’d shared. Going home one night after a night out clubbing, at 3 in the morning, we decided to start howling like a bunch of cats in heat, waking up the neighbours.

Going to visit an apiary, that is, a bee farm, with a friend of hers. On a hiking trip to observe vultures. Like me, at that time she was very much into hiking, and we often went on hikes together.

Climbing into a water ride at the amusement park one hot summer day, two mischievous little urchins in the same boat with us thought it would be fun to throw water at us. We threw water back, and soon it was all we were doing the whole ride long. We went on that ride I think it was about eleven times with those same two mischievous urchins and had a blast.

Another time we went to a field that was off limits. One of those private properties where trespassing is forbidden. There was a very high fence around it to prevent people from jumping in. We wanted to play in that field. Not because we especially wanted to play in a field – although we did, and it was a very large field – but mainly because it WAS forbidden. On that occasion we went with our friend, the boy I would one day marry haha.

We were absolutely DETERMINED to get into that field come hell or high water. My boyfriend gave us a boost up onto the top of the wire fence. We reached down and pulled him up. So far, excellent.

The problem came when we went to jump down. The shirt I was wearing got snagged on the fence, ripping off half the hem when I jumped down. Unphased, we continued into the field and carried on playing. I don’t remember what we were playing now. Some kind of ball game, maybe?

When we tired of playing and it was time to climb out, this time it was Lana who got snagged on the sharp, poking-out wires of the fence. In her case, it was her jeans. The wire poked a hole in her jeans. However, jeans are sturdier than shirts, and neither was she able to rip herself off the fence, nor could she disengage herself or unhook her jeans from the wire.

She couldn’t simply jump or pull herself down, because then the wire would have gouged into her skin. In the end, we don’t know what she did, but she had to extricate herself from the wire all by herself because we couldn’t get back up again.

I remember one hiking trip in particular. We planned to go with a good friend of hers, Elena. In those days Lana had the bad habit of always arriving very, very late. This was in those times before mobile phones.

Anyways, we were going to meet up at Chamartin train station. Elena arrived, and we started spinning about the station in search of Lana. Aware of her tendency to arrive late, we didn’t give up when she still hadn’t shown her face after we’d been combing the station for a long time.

At last, we both saw her get off the escalators looking like a scarecrow, with wild eyes and swivelling her head in all directions. It was so late, she was convinced that Elena and I for sure must have taken off without her. Of course, being loyal friends, we hadn’t. We grabbed a train to some mountains north of Madrid, whose name I’ve now forgotten. But they are well-known and people often go hiking there. Gredos, I think.

There were a lot of people on the same trail we were on. We walked to the end of the trail, where lots of people had set things up and were playing, eating and just generally having a good time. I believe there was a lake there as well. All of a sudden it started to rain – one of those unexpected, unpredictable mountain storms. All the people started taking off down the trail.

It was quite a long trail. We were perhaps halfway down the trail, when Lana suddenly realized that she had forgotten something in the clearing where we had been playing. We had to trek all the way back, in the rain, to retrieve the lost object. This time when we turned around to go back, the mountain was completely deserted.

After what seemed a veritable odyssey, we finally straggled back into town. We were starving. We had packed a picnic and we wanted to eat. But of course, there was no way we could have a picnic in the rain. We didn’t know where to go.

At that point, we noticed a building that was in construction. It was halfway built. It had floors and stairways, sustaining columns. And most importantly, it had a roof!! That was all that mattered to us! Within seconds, we were rushing up the stairs to the second floor (for greater privacy haha). We plunked down onto the floor, relieved to finally find shelter from the cold rain after what must have been hours, and enjoyed our picnic with numb, blue fingers. It was just a silly thing, perhaps, but I remember we didn’t stop joking and laughing all the way.

With Lana I travelled to Granada, Cuenca, the Alpujarra, Morocco. We had a blast in Morocco. At that time, her family lived in the compound of the Spanish consulate in Tangiers, and I spent several days there. We also took the train to Larache.

We wanted to go to the beach in Larache. But unlike in Europe, it’s impossible to go to the beach in Morocco and even less so if you are two young girls. In Morocco, just the fact that you have long hair and wear a skirt, and especially if you are unaccompanied by adult males (although the presence of adult males is hardly a deterrent), is enough to draw in all the Moroccan men as if you were, well, some sort of rare prize or something.

So we had to defer on our beach plans. But even so, we had a great time together in Morocco. I remember going to the souk with Lana’s mother, and eating pistachio ice-cream. Mmmhh.

Today Lana is married, with two kids, like me (except I’m not married, of course!), and we live our separate lives in cities more than 500 km apart. We still chat via WhatsApp. She’s no longer a rebel, commutes two hours a day to get to work, gives her kids communions and attends all her and her hubby’s family events: baptisms, weddings, engagement parties……

She no longer goes out hiking or for walks in the country. They very rarely even go on holiday. She never travels, except to the family home on the beach.

I wish she lived here in Malaga, near me.

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Hot Muggy September Nights

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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