Tag Archive | Spain

Quarantine Diaries: Life in Confinement in Spain

Life in Confinement in Spain, or What It’s Like to Live Under Lockdown in Spain.

Includes the popular description of Why I Need to Run Down Alleyways and Hide in Pedestrian Streets Every Time I Go Grocery Shopping.

Todo Saldrá Bien Poster

I’ve heard that many people feel a curiosity to know, or have no idea, what living in quarantine due to the coronavirus was like in Spain. What were the conditions like? What were we allowed to do?

Today we are in the process of coming out of lockdown. That means that little by little we are seeing restrictions to our movements being removed and little by little, they are allowing us to leave our homes.

But during the time of quarantine, coronavirus lockdown in Spain was the strictest in the world.

From March 14 till May 4, 2020, we were in complete lockdown due to the coronavirus emergency. This is what confinement looked like in Spain.

Only the most essential services were open and running. Essential services meant, basically, large food stores, mostly supermarkets. But any establishment that sold food, such as smaller grocery stores and corner shops were allowed to open as well.

Also specialty food shops such as bakeries, greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers could also stay open.

Large department stores similar to Target or Walmart were allowed to open if they offered food or sported a food section. Here in Spain we don’t have Target or Walmart, but we have similar businesses such as Carrefour and Alcampo.

However, these department stores could only open the FOOD section of their stores. Any sections not selling food items, such as household goods sections or clothing sections, were required to remain closed. A simple ribbon cutting these sections off to keep them closed to the public sufficed.

Pharmacies (chemists) and drugstores were the other type of establishment that were allowed to remain open.

In Spain, pharmacies and drugstores are two different types of shops. Pharmacies sell medication, as well as some specialty types of cosmetics (Avène, La Roche Posay, that sort of thing).

Drugstores, on the other hand, are where you go to acquire hygiene products such as bleach, detergent and soap. Fortunately the government considered cleaning products a basic necessity — after all, we needed to disinfect our homes and clothes — and drugstores could remain open.

People were allowed to leave their homes ONLY in order to go shopping at these establishments.

You could also go out for the following reasons:

  • to visit your doctor or any clinic, health care centre or hospital for any medical reason
  • to go to work, if you worked in a sector that was allowed to work and where working from home was not possible
  • to visit a person who was dependent upon your care, such as an elderly relative who was ill or if you were babysitting for a child while their parents worked
  • to return home, for example in the case that the sudden declaration of the state of alarm should have happened to catch you travelling far from home

Going for a walk, to go jogging or bike riding or to practise any form of sport was NOT allowed.

I was amazed when I saw news reports where people in countries under lockdown were calmly strolling through parks, riding bikes down the street or jogging along the seaside. These activities were NOT permitted here in Spain during lockdown.

In fact, parks and beaches were closed during the whole of the quarantine period.

Another activity which I observed a good deal of on TV in other countries was the celebration of protest marches. Protest marches were NOT permitted here in Spain.

However, you were allowed to go to your windows or out on your balconies to protest. Popular forms of protest here in Spain during quarantine included pot-banging on your balconies.

If you violated any of these rules, you could and would expect to be fined. A typical fine could start anywhere from 600€ upwards.

Needless to say, get-togethers and parties were totally forbidden and if you were caught attending one, you would definitely receive a fine.

You couldn’t go to visit your family members or friends. You couldn’t go grocery shopping — which was the only type of shopping permitted — with other people. Grocery shopping had to be carried out singly. So you couldn’t, say, arrange to meet up with your friend at the supermarket.

Another condition which was striking was the prohibition of going grocery shopping far away from your home. In theory, you were limited to doing your shopping at the grocery store or supermarket nearest your home.

So you couldn’t, for example, grab your car to drive to Carrefour (the Spanish version of Target or Walmart) if you already happened to enjoy the presence of a grocery store on the corner of your own street. If caught by the police doing that — and police controls were ubiquitous and frequent — you could and would receive a fine.

In my case, one of my favourite supermarkets is Mercadona. It’s the national supermarket par excellence and just about everyone loves it.

However, in spite of Mercadona sporting a heavy presence in the entire country, the nearest establishment is about 1 km from my house. Whereas on the other hand, there are 2 smaller grocery stores right across the street from me.

So by law, I was only allowed to do my shopping at either one of the 2 grocery stores across the street. I was not supposed to walk 1 km to Mercadona.

But like most people, I like Mercadona. It sports the greatest variety of products and unlike many grocery stores, it also offers non-food items which, since they are mixed in with the food products rather than separated in a separate section of the store, they were allowed to sell these non-food items as well.

With all other non-food shops closed, oftentimes our only option for obtaining non-food items was at Mercadona. So you can understand why we all wanted to go there.

In addition to food, at Mercadona you could buy plastic food containers, cosmetics, personal hygiene items (shampoo, shower gel etc), all products related to your pet needs, ice-cube makers and even candles and incense.

I might add other department stores also sold these items. But in other shops, they would have been displayed in a different section from the food section and therefore unavailable to the public.

But as I mentioned, the nearest Mercadona was 1 km from my home. That meant that every time I wanted to go to this particular supermarket, I had to duck into some narrow alleyways that lead in the general direction towards Mercadona. I also made good use of pedestrian streets as much as I could on my way to this favourite supermarket of mine.

The reason for this was in order to not get caught by the police walking to a supermarket so far away from my home. Since the police patrolled in cars you could sneak down alleyways and pedestrian thoroughfares in order to not get caught.

This turned every mundane, routine grocery shopping trip into an exciting grocery shopping adventure that made me feel like a spy every time I went shopping!

If your nerves are not up to so much excitement and reading a good chiller thriller in the safety of your armchair is more your cup of tea, I’ve got a few I’d lurrve you to check out. You can have a look at them over here in Thrillers by Moi.

So, how have you been enjoying your time in quarantine? What is life under confinement like in your country? Tell tell.

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

The New Mask-Filled World to Come

Back to Granada Again (Because who knows when we will be able to go back to Granada again)

Pies (Because everyone is still at home cooking)

Shikakai: My Recent Experiment

Reminiscing On…… Magno Soap

Magno soap is the famous classic Spanish black soap. It is completely black like our cat haha.

It’s supposed to smell like patchouli although to me it smells more like sulphur haha.

Magno Soap

It was a real revolution when it first came out 100 years ago because in those days, from what I’ve read, patchouli was virtually unknown in Spain. Also making it black really attracted attention. It immediately sold out everywhere. So you can see it is a Spanish classic.

Even though it smells like sulphur (to me, or patchouli, depending on your olfactive preference) the smell really grows on you and when you don’t use it for a time you miss it. I always have a few boxes of it stored around the house, so I never run out.

It always brings me back to big lofty mansion-sized historic apartments in the luxurious central neighbourhoods of Madrid. Around the Paseo del Prado where the apartments are gigantic and sport many wings and the ceilings are high and lofty and made of marble. The walls and furnishings are also made of marble and everything is gold gilded.

Usually elegant elderly people live in these apartments. Everything they use is classic and elegant. They own classic shiny metal soap holders with intricate decorations on them. And they always boast a bar of Magno soap in their powder rooms.

And mmmhh how the scent wafts out of these art-déco powder rooms!

The scent of patchouli (or sulphur, whichever way you prefer to see it hehe).

And now if you find you’ve got more time on your hands than you know what to do with and you’re bored of watching yet another film on TV, yet one more video, why not grab some reading material? I’ve got a neat collection of creepy, scary horror tales for you. Check out my thrillers here: Thrillers by MoiYou can get them for Kindle so they’re not expensive.

What soaps do YOU like? Drop me a note in Comments down below. I LURRRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments.

And as I mentioned earlier, our cat is black. Completely, midnight-shaded black. Just like Magno soap.

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

DIY Catio or Sun Window / Sun Balcony for Cats (Another home DIY project you can nibble on now that you can’t go out)

Walking in the Rain (Now that we can’t go out for walks in the rain or in the sunshine or in anything)

Pies (Because I’ve noticed a huge boom in recipes sites lately, I wonder why……)

Castile Soap and Coconut Milk for Hair

Hiring Expats and Immigrants in Spain

I’ve noticed that there’s a lot more work in Marbella than in Malaga, even though Marbella is much smaller. So of course that set me a-pondering. I wondered why a place that’s a tenth of the size of Malaga would have more work.

And I thought, Marbella is richer than Malaga. It might be small, but it’s where all the rich foreigners settle, bringing with them their money and their boost for the local economy.

And it also made me observe, places that are richer have more jobs. How many jobs there are doesn’t really seem to depend so much on the SIZE of the place as it does how rich the place is.

Which I suppose is one obvious reason why unemployment is so high in Spain, and even more so here in the deep south.

Canada, by contrast, has a prosperous economy. (Okay maybe not so much as the US, it isn’t on the list of the top 10 richest countries in the world but it’s doing well.)

And I personally feel (and keep in mind that these are only my own observations, opinions and experiences, not hard facts) that maybe one of the main reasons why the Canadian economy is doing so much better than the Spanish one, is perhaps because of how Canadian society ALLOWS FOREIGNERS AND IMMIGRANTS TO PARTICIPATE IN SOCIETY.

Here in Spain, the mentality (in my opinion) is just so backwards with regards to how they treat foreigners, expats and immigrants. Here, everyone congregates in little segregated colonies based on their country of origin.

You’ve got little English conclaves. Little German colonies. Moroccan and Arab immigrants only socialize with other Moroccan and Arab immigrants and Chinese immigrants only socialize with other Chinese immigrants. Ditto the Africans. To the point that many members of these groups even refuse to learn Spanish, even though they are living in Spain.

Maybe 100 years ago, Italian immigrants in the US and Canada could ONLY own pizzerias. (Or maybe work in the mafia haha.) Chinese immigrants HAD TO own laundromats or Chinese restaurants. Blacks were only allowed to sing, but no one was willing to hire a Black banker or financier.

Today, fortunately, things are different. But that was the mentality that existed back then. And that is the mentality still here in Spain, today — where things always seem to be about a century behind the rest of the world.

In contrast, in Canada today, immigrants participate fully in the world. Canadian society makes room for them. And most importantly, CANADIAN COMPANIES HIRE IMMIGRANTS!

I think so many people overlook and ignore the fact that IMMIGRANTS ARE PROBABLY ONE OF A COUNTRY’S GREATEST TREASURES.

People from other cultures bring so much knowledge that is unknown in their new country.

And more than anything, immigrants bring the desire to work and contribute to their new society.

Immigrants contribute so much to the companies that are willing to hire them. Proof of this is how in Canada, Canadian companies routinely hire immigrants, and these companies prosper and are doing stupendously.

On the other hand, in Spain, as a general rule Spanish companies never hire immigrants or expats. For a job that requires high-level negotiations with English-speaking Americans or EU companies, they would rather hire a local Spaniard who can barely stutter out “My name is José” rather than an American, Canadian or Brit who would, of course, have no difficulty in carrying out these negotiations in English.

Even for tourism jobs, such as hotel employees in hotels whose clientele are mainly British and American tourists, Spaniards whose knowledge of English is limited to “What is your name?” are preferred over American, Canadian or British job candidates.

(Or perhaps “preferred” is an understatement. Okay, what I mean is that hotels outright WILL NOT hire any American, Canadian or British candidate, no matter what, if there is so much as one Spanish candidate in the line-up, because they simply won’t hire foreigners, period.)

Well, if you were going on holiday abroad, which would you prefer? To stay at a hotel where you can understand the staff and they can understand you, even if the staff consists mainly of immigrants / expats? Or to stay at a hotel where all the employees are local people, but none of them can talk to you?

Well, if I went to Moscow or Athens for my summer holidays, I know what I would prefer. (Taking into account that unfortunately I don’t know a single word of Greek and my knowledge of Russian is limited to “da” hehe.)

Okay, I’m not saying that companies should never hire locals. I’m just suggesting that it’s just as unfair for a company to ignore, exclude, reject and discriminate against a qualified job candidate just because that candidate is foreign-born.

On the other hand, it just makes me so mad when I see people from rich countries going to poor countries and not doing anything to help the locals.

I don’t mean that you have to set up a charity or an NGO. But you could get out there and try to meet local people. If you have a blog, you could feature local businesses that you’ve become familiar with. If you went to a hotel or a restaurant, or hired a service, you could talk about them on your blog.

You could make friends in your new country and talk about them on your blog.

Here in Spain I’ve observed that most British expats ONLY socialize with other British expats. They don’t even try to make friends with Spanish people. They don’t show any interest in learning Spanish, and they only participate in the most stereotypical Spanish events such as going to watch Holy Week processions or frequenting flamenco shows.

Now, I’m not trying to single out British expats and put them down as opposed to expats from other countries. It’s just simply that, at least in my part of the world, British expats are more plentiful than people from other countries.

But as I mentioned earlier, my observation is that immigrants and expats from other countries around here, such as Moroccans, Chinese, Germans and Africans also don’t cultivate the custom of socializing with local Spanish people either.

And in part, I suppose it could be because Spanish people don’t show any particular interest in getting to know the foreigners and immigrants who live in their midst.

But couldn’t it also be because the immigrants and expats themselves also don’t possess even the smallest iota of interest in getting to know the local people in the country that they themselves have chosen to live in?

I mean, you LIVE here now, for crying out loud. You CHOSE to live here. I understand that it’s sometimes hard to make new friends, especially after a certain age.

Marbella Street With Flowers

It’s true that from what I’ve observed, once people finish their schooling, they seem to lose all interest in making new friends. So I suppose it really is a two-way street, and oftentimes adult Spaniards are just about as blasé about making new friends — be it with foreigners or with other Spanish people outside of their extended families — as foreigners and expats are.

But if you’re a foreigner / immigrant and you’re now living in a new country, could it really be that hard for you to go to a language class and pick up a few notions of the local language (which is probably also the official language of your new country, unless you just happen to be living with a small ethnic minority tribe)?

You could chat with shop assistants when you go shopping. Maybe take a course or sign up for something at a cultural association. If you’re not shy, you could even shoot the breeze with the people around you while you’re in a line-up or someplace else waiting for something.

I’m very shy about speaking with strangers, but I know people who aren’t, and they make friends everywhere — with bakers, with the people sitting next to them at restaurants, with other people waiting in line at the bank. I envy them. I’m too shy and bashful to do that sort of thing.

But if you’re not as shy and bashful as me, and you’re an expat living in a country that you weren’t born and raised in, why can’t you make an effort to make friends with the local people around you?

And if you’d like to read some exciting thrillers and recommend them to your friends, not to sound like a sleazy saleslady but I’ve written a few, so if you’re into creepy, scary, suspenseful novels, I’d love it if you’d check them out here: Thrillers by Moi.

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

Rant About How Tough It Is to Make New Friends

Best Friends

How Much Do YOU Value Your Friends?

The Meaning of a Friendship

Rain

I love rain.

Rain

And there is no better time for a night-time walk than when it’s raining.

The streets are sooo quiet. Even on a Friday night there’s room at the bars and restaurants, unlike a normal Friday night, so you don’t have to wait for a table or fight with other hungry people hehe.

Rain

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

…And It’s a Rainy Night In Malaga

Walking in the Rain

A Hike in the Rain in the Montes of Malaga

The Orange Trees

A Hike in the Rain in the Montes of Malaga

A few weeks back I mentioned in a post about rain how sometimes we go for a hike in the rain. So here’s our latest rainy weather adventure.

Montes de Malaga Spain

This is a short and easy walk in the Montes of Malaga that’s accessible to anyone in good walking condition. There are practically no climbs or descents at all. And you don’t need a car to get there. The city bus can take you there.

So since we have no car, the city bus is precisely our only means to reach it. We take the number 2 bus upwards to Ciudad Jardin all the way to the end and get off at the last stop.

Right in front of us, the street veers left and heads out of town towards the countryside. We grab that street. It’s a residential street full of beautiful single family homes.

A lovely place to live, in fact, and so near the countryside—if only it weren’t so d*** far away from everything! Basically, you do need a car if you live here.

We continue walking down the street. It crosses an overpass that goes over some sort of major freeway out of Malaga. You can catch glimpses of the Botanical Garden on the other side.

We still continue walking and it’s not long before urban concrete gives way to countryside and greenery. Here’s a pic from a few years back of this part of the way.

Montes de Malaga Spain

Yes it is foggy there. Don’t ask. Sometimes it’s foggy here. This might be Malaga but sometimes we have fog too. All the same it was 30 degrees that day (Celsius). Doesn’t seem that way but it was.

Soon we reach an intersection. The left turn dives under a tunnel and leads to the door of the Botanical Garden. We don’t want to go to the Botanical Garden, so we veer right.

The right-hand road climbs upwards for a while. But not to worry, it’s not a steep incline. When we get to the top of it we find a cluster of country homes. Just before these houses begin, there’s a fenced-off area. The path to the Roman aqueduct begins just beyond the fence.

Bridge

But please don’t go there or if you do, and you still insist on crossing the Roman aqueduct anyways and you fall off about 10 or 12 4 or 5 storeys to the terrible ground below and break a few bones, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you! (You can see there is no railing, and plenty of vertigo-inducing places.)

Anyways. Long story short. Don’t cross the Roman aqueduct.

Nope. The proper way to get onto the trail is to just keep walking up the road, past all the lovely country homes and haciendas and ranches. (We didn’t know that the first time we went this way so we rather pigheadedly insisted on crossing the Roman aqueduct. Don’t cross the Roman aqueduct!)

Roman Aqueduct Malaga

(The way back, incidentally, that first time, before I learnt about the proper way to access the trail, since I was adamant that we would nevermore cross the Roman aqueduct again, in the end the only means we could find to return to civilization required us to, of all things, plunge our feet into the coldest, iciest, shiveringest water you will ever find and cross a watering canal instead. And, you know, this being Spain and not merry ole England and all that, we don’t go for country walks with wellies.

But I preferred frozen shins to broken bones.)

Well, as I was saying. Soon you’ll come to a gate which indicates that that is where the trail begins. You can follow the indications on the sign at the gate. Or you can just angle downwards towards the stream. There’s a path that’s easy to see, before you enter through the gate.

Once you reach the stream, you can have the time of your life. If you’ve got kids they can go mad jumping in the water and trying to build log bridges and whatever else it is that kiddies do in streams.

Kids Playing in a Stream Malaga Spain

My kids look pretty tame, don’t they?

The first time I went there with the kids that is what they did. But the last time I went, I only managed to drag the eldest, “Ermenegildo”, along. The little one, “Lucrecio”, was convalescent at home.

Convalescent from what, you might be wondering? Well, from his PE teacher’s vain attempt to turn the whole class into parkour ninjas and instead of flying up a wall, Lucrecio crashed down on his ankle instead.

We just followed the stream up a ways as long as the daylight allowed. We’d left home after lunch (we’re not particularly inclined to catching the early worms nor, for that matter, the late worms either, we don’t like worms very much) so that wasn’t a long time.

Even though it was raining (okay sort of raining) it wasn’t the least bit cold. So no raincoats (not that I have any), parkas or anoraks required.

Ermenegildo in the Rainy Forest

We chanced upon a pack of wild dogs so kept a prudent distance from them. Luckily they chose to grapple their way up the mountainside and disappear. Didn’t occur to me to snap a few Polaroids. Dawggonit.

In all reality, the river goes on and on and on, I have no idea how far it reaches but probably too far for anyone except a seasoned hiker (ie. not us) to walk. One day, when we have the whole day free and manage to crawl out of bed before sunset, we might actually decide to tackle it and follow it down a significant length before turning back.

And since I’ve written a few books I’m not going to deny that I’d feel real chuffed if you’d check them out. As someone I know once told me, trying to urge me to check out some books: They’re thrillers! Grab all the deets here.

Rainbow After the Storm

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

Walking in the Rain

Kayaking in a Storm in Nerja

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A Treasure Huntin’ We Will Go

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).

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

The Blueberry Fiend

Pa Amb Tomàquet

Fried Aubergines Lite

The Orange Trees

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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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.)