Tag Archive | travel

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!

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

Stories From Granada

The Barcelona That Tourists Never See

Sierra Nevada

Selwo Aventura Safari Park

Advertisements

Caves of Nerja

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check up my blog post on the Treasure Cave here.

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

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

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

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

A Treasure Huntin’ We Will Go in The Treasure Cave

Stories From Granada

Chillar River, Río Chillar

Selwo Aventura Safari Park

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

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

La Línea de la Concepción

Hot Hot Hot!

Hot Muggy September Nights

The Barcelona That Tourists Never See

Cordoba

Following last week’s post on the Patios of Cordoba, in this post I’ll put up other things to see and do in Cordoba.

Cordoba Mosque

Of course EVERYONE has heard about the Mosque of Cordoba. It’s right in the centre of town so if you head straight to the centre, you won’t miss it.

Cordoba Mosque

The mosque used to be, well, a mosque! That is, a place where Muslims went to worship, built during the centuries of Moorish rule in Spain. So of course, the architecture is typically Arab, similar to what you can also find in the Alhambra of Granada and other Moorish sites and monuments.

Cordoba Mosque

It was built over several centuries by a bunch of Moorish Caliphs with lovely Arab names but unless you’re really into this, I won’t repeat their names here. You can find their names in the pamphlet that they give you when you go to visit the mosque. Or in Wikipedia.

Cordoba Mosque

After the Reconquista, that is, when the Spanish Christians fought the Moors and regained control of the peninsula, the Mosque of Cordoba was turned into a cathedral. The cathedral itself was actually built inside a small section of the large mosque, respecting the rest of the building and its architecture and designs.

Cordoba Mosque

It’s a historic monument, like a museum, so of course entry is not free. It’s not very expensive although I don’t remember how much exactly. We went to Cordoba with not a lot of money because we went on a tour where everything was paid for (breakfast and lunch as well as, of course, transportation to and from the city, + entrances to all the winning patios from the patio competition I talked about in last week’s post). Even so I had no difficulty paying the entries to the mosque for the three of us.

Cordoba Mosque

This was an attempt to capture the original, old entryway to the mosque (NOT the huge mass entrance through the courtyard where everyone must go now to access the monument, where the ticket office is located) – without capturing the heads of hundreds of tourists walking all around it and posing!

(Okay it’s true, we were tourists too – but we didn’t pose haha!)

Cordoba Mosque

I’m sure the whole world must be familiar with these arch-famous coloured arches, and you’ve probably seen more than a dozen photos of them all over the place. Well here I regale you with a few more!

There’s also a very nice river, with a Roman bridge, that passes through Cordoba. It’s the Guadalquivir, actually. The same river that passes through Sevilla. Anyways, I didn’t remember that the Guadalquivir passes through Cordoba too, but later I remembered it.

Cordoba Roman Bridge

Cordoba is also the city where the movie Carmen with Paz Vega was set. So if you’ve ever seen Carmen…… you’ve seen the city haha! (Okay, not really.)

There’s a synagogue (not a current one in use, the one that used to be used by the Jewish community before the Reconquista) as well, but it was only open in the mornings. So we didn’t get to see it because the visit to the patios was in the morning.

I had lots of photos of typical streets in the winding Arab historic centre, but they were jammed with tourists! This was the only pristine photo I managed to capture.

Cordoba Typical Street

We had time to browse through some souvenir shops and grab an ice-cream. The ice-cream was really necessary as the temperature was over 40 degrees! And it was only the beginning of May.

Although it might seem corny, I do rather like to wander through souvenir shops. I don’t usually buy anything. But I do enjoy seeing what strange and funny relics are available. There’s always something weird or original to catch your eye!

Cordoba Abandoned Building

Okay, clearly this was not taken at a souvenir shop haha!

Finally, you can also listen to Medina Azahara crooning masterfully about Cordoba on YouTube, here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9vE8zFvG78

Have you ever been to Cordoba? What did you do during your visit? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment, I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

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

Stories From Granada

Patios of Cordoba

Marbella, Land of the Jet Set?

What I Do On Weekends

Patios of Cordoba

I thought I’d get this post up before the appropriate time of the year had already passed.

Patios of Cordoba

Every year they have a patio competition in Cordoba, to see which home-owners have the most drop-dead gorgeous, beautifully designed and decorated patios. These patio owners REALLY go all out to get their patios up into tip top shape.

Patios of Cordoba

So these are the patios that won the competition. (Although they’re from last year hehe. I’m a little behind on the posts methinks……)

Patios of Cordoba

I don’t know about you, but I woulda had the most terrible time trying to choose the winner from among all these stunning displays.

Patios of Cordoba

Unfortunately, it was impossible to get away from the swarms of tourists while taking the photos. The patios are only open to the public for a limited number of hours each day, so basically the whole country and much of Europe and North America packs itself into these patios during these few short hours. It’s impossible to catch a pic of these beauties without loads of tourists about – unless you just happen to be a reporter, of course, and you get invited to snap photos for a newspaper or magazine!

Patios of Cordoba

So nuff talking. I’ll just let these wonders speak for themselves.

Patios of Cordoba

On many patios they had these tiles with wise or witty sayings. (Click on the photos to see them close up and if you know Spanish, you can read them!)

As you can see, this is a well. In the “olden days”, before modern plumbing, people relied on these wells for their water supply. So now you know. If the public water supply were ever cut off, these lucky blokes would have no problems.

Check out the eyes painted on the upper blank wall!

Next week I’ll continue some more with our exciting visit to Cordoba. So check it out, if you haven’t already!

What about you? Have you ever been to Cordoba? Did you get a chance to visit the patios? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment. I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

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

Photographs From a Typical Day In a Life

Torre del Mar Curiosities

The Orange Trees

The Blueberry Fiend

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

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

La Línea de la Concepción

Marbella, Land of the Jet Set?

The Barcelona That Tourists Never See

The E-Book You’ve Been Waiting For

The Science Museum of Granada

After our previous very unfortunate and “ill-fated” visit to Granada – ill-fated because after scrimping and saving in order to take my son to the Science Museum of Granada (Parque de las Ciencias) for his birthday – when we finally got to go, since museums here in Spain usually close on Mondays, we very deliberately made sure to go on a Tuesday…… and it was closed! The only week of the year in which the Science Museum opened on Monday in order to close on Tuesday, because it was a holiday, and that was the week we chose to go!

Observatory TowerSo at any rate, as a very belated (as in, one year and one month late) birthday present, we finally managed to get into the museum.

Science Museum GranadaWe’re very hard put to get to Granada, even though it’s not that far from Malaga, only about an hour by car. But if you don’t have a car, it’s a 60€ round trip for three people, and of course, when two of these three people are unemployed minors, guess who has to foot the bill?

We watched a falconry display (actually, more accurately a bird of prey show) featuring an owl, an eagle and a falcon. The falcon took off for a long flight and most spectators got bored waiting for it to return and left. People today have such short attention spans!

The Science Museum also boasts a large Butterfly Zoo with exotic species from around the world. It was supposed to be a “tropical” zoo, but I think it was hotter outside (it was a very hot day, about 36º Celsius) than inside the zoo.

One girl enjoyed the immense good fortune of actually persuading a butterfly to alight in her hand.

Girl Holding ButterflyThis is a machine for creating tornados and hurricanes in the water.

Turbo TubeThe Science Museum has a tall tower with an observatory at the top, which you can reach by going up in a glass elevator. I took photos of the view of Granada from all around the tower, but most of them only came out so-so because Granada doesn’t have a particularly compelling skyline.

Granada Aerial ViewOne thing that was quite strange, however, was that there was still snow on top of Sierra Nevada, now in June, in spite of the most impressive heat that we were experiencing in the city (36º Celsius of pure, cloudless sunshine).

Sierra NevadaYou can choose to walk down by stairs instead of going down in the elevator, if you like. (You can also choose to walk up, but I doubt that that is a choice many would make.) If you choose to walk down, at every landing there is a sign telling you what height you are at, and some object on earth which is the same height.

My sons don’t work as workmen. But there was an activity that let you feel what it would be like to work in that profession.

In The WorkplaceThese odd, irradiant spacemen are not spacemen at all, but rather, my sons on an infrared camera. They had the time of it jumping around in front of the camera!

At the entrance to the museum are some balls that show how planets were originally formed, made with very finely-sifted, coloured sand floating in water, that you can spin around. You can see they also make stupendous carousels for children to ride on.

Riding on the PlanetsMy oldest son, who is a science junkie, couldn’t get enough of the museum, and read every single word on every single information panel. My youngest son, however, was thoroughly bored and tuned out about halfway through the visit. My recommendation if you plan to visit the museum with small children who aren’t particularly crazy about science? I would say to divide the visit over two days, if at all possible.

The museum is usually open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 in the morning till 7 at night, it closes at 3 in the afternoon on Sundays, Mondays closed. But of course, as mentioned above, they are subject to unpredictable variations in their schedule, so if you are planning to go and you don’t live in Granada, check out their website to make sure it is open on the day you want to visit!

Their usual entrance fee is just 6,50 € for adults and 5,50 € for children ages 6 to 16 (wish “children” were considered children at all places, in most places round here “childhood” only lasts till the age of 13! Sigh!) and retired persons. There is also parking (paying, of course). Or you could try parking on the nearby streets for free (just make sure the tow truck doesn’t happen by or it will be far from free!).

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

Stories From Granada

Spain Vs. Canada

A Celebration of Single Motherhood

Happy Giant Cockroach Hunting!