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February 15th 2019
Published: February 15th 2019
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Alhaurin mountainAlhaurin mountainAlhaurin mountain

NB 'La Bola' at the top of the Mountain
19th Jan 2019 – 16thFeb 2019

A short hop to Spain to avoid the harsh and grey winter of the UK! We actually travelled on a Saturday and both Bristol and Malaga airports seemed very quiet. Maybe this shows how times have changed and that people now travel on Sunday eve to Friday eve for work leaving the weekends quieter? Who knows!! Anyway, it was very quiet!

Usual round of walking and socialising – we have three walks to lead this time so quite a few reccys to be done and we were also helping find a route on someone elses walk so my poor knees have taken a bit of a hammering!! We also went to a dog charity (SOS) and were rewarded with four dogs (two puppies and a Mum and daughter) to walk around. It was really nice and the dogs were well behaved – one of them was just a bit scared of cars, bikes… and horses….and well, everything really!!! The Mother dog only had three legs – she had caught one in a trap and chewed it off to free herself….so sad. ☹ We helped out with the dog walking a few times and apart from a huge dog called Lovely and a Pondenco called Reina who were too scared to go walking, the rest of the dogs appreciated their walks – I think!!

Also had a lovely walk around Estepona looking at a lot of the murals. We had not ever been to Estepona before (just driven past it on the way to Gibraltar) and it was a really pleasant surprise. Apart from the murals, which are painted on the side of blocks of flats/apartments, which are quite impressive, the old town is very pretty with lots of pots of different colours and squares, old churches and the ruined 16thC castle walls of San Luis. Also went to the Orchidarium in the central park – pleasant place, with a waterfall to wander around for 3 euros, but only about 10 orchids out, so maybe it was the wrong time of year.

Led a Senderista walk to Puerta de la Encina on the Alhaurin mountain! It was a hard walk from the bottom of the mountain, up the Paloma Gorge and then part of the signposted blue route from the clearing! Stunning views of Malaga Bay and the snow at Granada as well as Alhaurin and the Guadalhorce valley.

Chris had also seen advertised a Horse show and Racing at the Futbol ground in Pizarra at 12.00 so we drove over there and eventually discovered it wasn’t the main futbol ground (where the children were having a football tournament!) but La Vega, which was on the road to Alora! Got there about 1.00ish and there was about 10 people and 3 horses!! Hung around for a few hours and more horses turned up but there was no sign of any racing so gave it up as a bad job!!

Also walked to La Bola!!! At last!! It was long way up but someone had said that there was a service road which wasn’t too steep so off we set 10.00am on a Sunday. Some Spanish walkers showed us the correct road and it must have taken about 3 hrs at a steady pace until we reached the top! Took the zig zag track (very carefully!!) back down to Puerta de la Encina and walked back down to the clearing where we took a different track back to the car at the top of the town. An excellent achievement!!

They are also going to dig our road up and replace the drainage!! Temporary water pipes are draped over all the houses and ‘obras’ are imminent. The day I have been dreading has finally arrived with the workmen drilling continually around the corner and the road closed. A notice has also gone up on the ruin, saying that it is dangerous. Just hoping that it doesn’t take them too long!!

As it was also Valentines day, we went to a hotel in Malaga on the 13th!!! (It was cheaper!!) Went to the Carmen Thyssen museum, an art gallery that also includes some paintings by the Spanish Painter Francisco Iturrino who I had never heard of!! Cant say I thought much of his paintings either but there were some lovely old Spanish paintings on the ground floor, of Fiestas, country scenes and courtyards so it was a worthwhile visit. Had a really nice meal at a restaurant (Buena Vista) near the Glass Museum which has excellent reviews on Trip Advisor and the food was very good – just disappointed that there were no local spanish people! Saw the Malaga carnival lights which were excellent – just a shame that we wont be here for the Carnival as we are back to the UK 16th February for a couple of weeks.

Came back on 5th March and had a few easy walks. around the Malaga wetlands and Mr Hendersons Railway Walk. It was a long drive up to Ronda and the evidence of last Octobers storm was very evident with the road washed away at Benaojan, the start of the walk, and a new river bed had been created by the sheer force of the water from the mountains. We walked to Jimera de Libar where the plan was to get the train back, but as the trains were not running (we can only surmise it was still storm damage) we ended up sending the drivers back in a Taxi to get the cars before driving back and picking us up!!

The roadworks are now in full swing! They work really hard, starting at 8.00am and not finishing until about 19.30pm with just an hour for lunch, but the work seems to consist of digging the road up, laying pipes and filling the holes and trenches in, only to dig it up the next day and lay some more pipes!! Hopefully they know what they are doing!!

Also did the linear walk, that we had reccied a few times, from Benamargosa up to the views of Lake Vinuerla, along the ridge to the old watchtower, and the Stupa, before going down the other side of the mountain!! A long hard walk but fantastic views and very enjoyable.

My sister also visited for a few days – although we spent the first few days in Seville seeing the usual attractions. Had a wander around the Triana district on Sunday evening and went to a Flamenco show ( Casa de la Flamenca) on the Monday evening. It’s also definitely worth seeing the Real Alcazar, the Cathedral and Giralda Tower, the Seta and The Casa des Pilatos! Look out for a picture of the bearded lady (Magdalena Ventura aged 52yrs) and her husband, who is breastfeeding a baby!!! We thought it was a man, but no, apparantly she was married to Felici de Amici and had three children! We also took a horse and Carriage ride down to Plaza de Espana and through the Parque de Maria Luisa in the hot sunshine! We got back to Alhaurin on the Tuesday evening and woke up to rain on the Wednesday! Fortunately, the weather brightened up and we looked at the Stupa in Benalmadena and the Folly dedicated to Christopher Columbus before going to Paloma Park. Thursday was an easy day at the Market and lunch at Finca de la Mota!

There was also a Holi festival in Alhaurin – I think it was mainly for the youngsters to let off steam as there was a lot of paint throwing, very noisy music and a pretext of a ‘race’ up around the roundabout, with more paint throwing and a huge bubble pit as well!

Had a few more walks and because of the rain have been treated to loads of the spring flowers including the wild orchids. The smell of the wild lavender in bloom, mixed with the rosemary and pine – well, most of us were suffering with hay fever!! It was quite a heady scent!

Also had a Field Club Holiday to Aracena, just NW of Seville. We had been to Aracena on May 25th 2010 and eventually found the blog saying that we had been to the Ham Museum before, but it was worth going again!! Also walked up to the castle (now being renovated) again and did walks to Linares de la Sierra and Los Marines, looking at the monument dedicated to the Virgin of Gracia, celebrated on Sept 8th because of two outbreaks of cholera that decimated the population of Los Marines. They are both beautiful, cobbled street, old villages with old wash houses.

The road works finished just as we were about to go home! The road, ( which had been dug up and then the holes filled about six times!) had been duly tarmacked and it was all looking good. Cleaned the front door from all the dirt and dust again,………and then, just as we walked out of our front door to go back to the UK,(11th April 2109) the workmen decided to fix the neighbours tiles , so more dust all over the front of our house again!! Ah well!

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