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February 16th 2015
Published: February 16th 2015
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We arrived in Spain on Friday 16thJanuary to wonderfully warm, sunny weather – that lasted until the Sunday when it rained all day and the temperature dropped down to 10c through the days and 4c at night! Cold!!! The rain also brought snow to a lot of Spain and when the good weather returned on the following Wednesday we were treated to beautiful clear views of the valley, ringed with the snow topped mountains!

Lots of good walks planned and Chris did a 17km walk up to Pico Alcaparain @ (1293 metres (approx. 4,000’). Plenty of scary, vertigo moments on the walk apparently, so glad I didn’t do it!! There was also a walk (in the misty rain!!) at the Montes de Malaga so unfortunately there weren’t many views but a fantastic meal afterwards at the Venta Carlos el Mirador (just past the Caren Centro Geriatrico!), with huge salads, pollo, rosada and home made postres, free samples of cheese and olives and as we departed, we were given a complimentary bottle of wine!

We did our own walk in La Cala, along the new boardwalk which stretches nearly along to Calahonda. The plan is eventually to be able to walk along the coastline from Gibraltar to Nerja and as each section of the walk is completed, it is opened! It’s a little bit sketchy at the moment, but we have been told that you can also walk from Puerto Banus to San Pedro so we may try that next. I have nick-named the new boardwalk ‘The Queens Walk’ as it seems a little bit less adventurous than ‘The Kings Walk’, which is due to open at El Chorro on 29th March 2015 and is now listed as the 4th best new attraction to be opened this year – in the World!!

Richard and Laura arrived on Thursday 5th Feb, the same day as we had a walk in the hills above Rincon de la Victoria. A beautiful, if not cold and windy, sunny day and the walk was fantastic with lots of spring flowers and blossom, along with orange and lemon trees laden with fruit, and made all the more pleasant by being led by a friendly dog who accompanied us for about 12kms! We were assured that he knew his way home as he had done the same thing on the last walk!

February is also Carnival time in Andalusia! It’s the last celebration before Lent and the run up to Easter so they indulge in processions and frivolity for a week in most of the towns and villages! We were all lucky enough to see the Malaga Procession – lots of highly decorated feather ‘floats’ - pulled by one person! The procession started with the adult ‘floats ‘ and then the floats gradually got smaller as they were pulled by the children! Interspersed with bands and dancing it was highly entertaining!

Eventually got to San Pedro on our last day, a beautifully hot sunny day of 21c and had a walk along the newly completed Boulevard – its been done really well with lots of childrens playgrounds, interspersed with Zen gardens and fountains, infinity pools and a very architectural bridge! Headed towards the beach and walked along the new board walk to Puerto Banus where we had some tapas and then walked back!

The weather in general has been a lot colder this year and we have had to have the gas fire on most evenings! Its hot when the sun is out – but the air has been really cold, sometimes as low as 6c! Hoping for warmer weather throughout March after our 2 week visit back to the UK!

We came back on 2nd March – flew in over the magnificently clear lakes and El Chorro gorge!

As we had a reasonably free three weeks we spent the time painting and tidying up the house and trying to arrange for someone to paint the outside of the house! We enlisted the help of the dutch ladies daughters who arranged for someone to visit us at 17.00pm on Saturday! He duly turned up predictably late and after a frantic spanish conversation, with a lot of huffing and puffing, it transpired he was ‘just’ a painter and unable to ‘espuma’ the side of the house! However, somehow, we think it will get sorted as he has a ‘friend’ who may be able to visit on Sunday…………watch this space!

Jose turned up again on Sunday, with his 6year old daughter and the ‘espuma’ man and after various confusing texts and telephone calls, the house was painted on the following Thursday, the ‘espuma’ man turning up at 5.30pm and the job was completed. Well, except that Jose was going to finish some painting on Saturday but was unable to make it….watch this space!!!

We then had a series of texts:- “I cannot get close today home to paint the foam that I have in mind and not worry that I paint a greeting and good afternoon” and a few days later “Good morning I am Joseph painter does not create you that I forgot what dela foam paint just that as its raining I could not do it” I think I must improve my English!!!

The weather is considerably warmer, although still chilly on an evening. Good walking weather and had a good 13km walk from Yunquera to Tolox and also the ‘Three Villages’ walk – a superb (if not knackering!!) walk near Ronda, starting from Cartajima and walking through the chestnut trees and across the river to Paratuta with good views of Igualeja. We also led a short walk (9km) at El Forestal that was enjoyed by 36 people, 16 of them also joining us for a superb lunch at Finca La Mota!

The flowers on the patio are in full bloom now, with freesias, geraniums, petunias, tulips in bud and various other flowering cactus. Its about the best we have ever had it, I think! The town stays basically the same with most of the bars and restaurants surviving the recession, Bar El Timon has revamped his menu so no more 1Euro bacalou – its now a hamburger, pizza and crepe bar!! Should work well with the Plaza de la Legion that is also being totally revamped.

All this good weather was never going to last and the rain set in for 5 days with forecasts of thunder, lightning and heavy rain! We survived – just!! And the weather improved just in time for our walking holiday with the Club at Subbetica National Park. Our hotel ( Huerta de las Palomas) just outside Priego de Cordoba was superb – lovely big room with en-suite shower and a bath. Food was excellent if not a little different sometimes ie orange salad with oranges, figs, hard boiled eggs and onion! We had a short 5km walk above Rute, with views of the Iznajar Lake, on the way to the hotel and Chris managed to buy some more 55% Anis that he had been hankering after for a while, as the coach stop was in the town!!

Next day, our first main walk started near the Ermita de la Virgin de la Sierra. There was a bitterly cold wind across the plains of La Nava for the first hour, but then we walked across the streams to the waterfall, where it warmed up a bit, before descending down though the gorge to Zuheros. (15kms)

The following day, our second walk was a fairly steady uphill climb , on a wide track for 8kms (climbing over 600 metres) to the Puerto Del Cerezo with fine views of the Pico de Bermejo and La Tinosa. We then followed a goat track across to another Puerto before descending again on a fairly wide track to Los Villares. (17kms) The views and scenery were just amazing as we could see the snow on the Sierra Nevada and the Iznajar Lake as well! In the evening, a Spanish duo entertained us with both Spanish songs and popular dance songs, so a good evening was had by all.

On our last day it was a short walk, very steep, up to the mirador (climbing from 800m to 1085m) at Santa Rita and a wooded walk through the botanical gardens, (4.5kms) a quick peer in the visitors centre, before a lunch in a beautiful courtyard at Hotel Caserio at Iznajar.

Ok…so we missed Easter in Andalucia! The biggest celebration of the year with bands and ‘trono’s and processions – a sight to behold- but we had a short trip back to the UK to touch base with everyone! We did manage to catch the local Alhaurin Passion Play on the Wednesday at 21.00hrs at the Green Church before we left and saw a bit of the procession on Thursday before we had to leave for our evening flight..................

We arrived back late on the 13th April ready for our walk on the Caminito del Rey on the 16th April! I had mixed thoughts on this walk as its been promoted as one of the worlds scariest walks, and as it’s a boardwalk that juts out of a cliff, AND I suffer from vertigo….I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out!! We had arranged to go with a couple of friends so duly met up at 8.45am for the drive to The Mirador at the lakes and the walk down to the start of the Caminito del Rey at 10.30am!!

Donned our hard hats, and after the obligatory photo, made our way to the start of the gorge! Whew what a relief!! A wide boardwalk with a secure metal fence and I loved every second! It’s a walk that everyone should do as the scenery is absolutely amazing……………..A wide boardwalk took us to the centre of the gorge and a gentle walk through the middle section of the gorge! The end bit included the glass floor (not obligatory and wooden walkway bypasses it!) and the boardwalk gets slightly narrower and then you come to ‘The Bridge’! I wasn’t happy at this point as I could see that the floor was made of metal grid sections that you could see through, and that the bridge moved as you walked across it! However….focused on a point beyond, I managed to get across……ok…so I was slightly wailing! But I did it!! The boardwalk to the next sentry point was quite narrow, with steps, but all do-able………and no vertigo at all!! Whew! Half an hour later I wanted to walk it again!! So fantastic is the scenery….I definitely have to do it again at some time!

Chris’s sister, Jenny was visiting for a few days, so we had a lovely relaxing time with her, visiting Mijas, La Cala, and the lakes and having some good walks and meals. The only downside was that somehow Chris managed to fall over on the boardwalk at La Cala and bashed his face and ended up at the Medico Centre in Alhaurin where he had to have three stitches in his chin! An eventful end to our trip…….but one that will be remembered more for the beautiful walks, fantastic scenery and carpets of masses of different sorts of spring flowers.

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