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April 20th 2018
Published: April 21st 2018
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We few back from Tenerife to Malaga on 12th February 2018 and sat on the porch and felt warm for the first time in two weeks! I think we had just been very unlucky with the weather in Tenerife – they couldn’t remember it ever being so cold in Tenerife and there was even snow in Morocco!!

Did a Valentines walk to see the almond blossom at Tolox with the Field Club, as well as a Senderista walk. With good views of Alora, even though there was a ‘bit?’ of vertigo around the goat track, and the track over the top of the mountain, had been ploughed up, so the track non-existent!!! Had an excellent lunch at Kens of Irish Stew (also helped ourselves to his oranges and lemons!) before completing the walk!

My favourite walk was up at Teba, which involved clambering over rocks and the river, past the derelict Anis mill, before emerging at the top of the gorge where it was relatively flat and covered with wild, purple iris! Teba is a fairly interesting place with its imposing castle and it is also the place where, in 1330, James Douglas, who was on a crusade, travelling to the Holy Land with Robert the Bruce’ heart, got involved in a battle against the Moors and was killed. A plaque is in the Plaza de Espana commemorating James Douglas’ death and every year on Aug. 25, the village celebrates the day of El Douglas. A pipe band from Scotland performs and there is a ceremony between the important villagers and the visitors from Scotland. The square is also known as the Plaza Douglas.

We also saw the Carnival procession at Alhaurin el Grande! Lovely atmosphere with the whole town buzzing and all the children dressed up watching the very professional singers parade the streets, singing their satirical songs! The carnival ends with the burning of the sardine, which was supposed to be at 10.00pm but was at 8.00pm and we missed it!!

The freesias are just beginning to flower, - I am hoping I don’t miss them all flowering when we are back in the UK for 2 weeks!! (20th Feb – 10th March 2018!)

We flew back on 10th March 2018 after a previous 2 days of emails from the next-door neighbours in Spain. There had been high winds and rain in Spain and our rusty pole that held the Spanish TV aerial aloft had blown down and the TV aerial was hanging precariously over our roof. The Police had cordoned it off because it was dangerous! Anyhow, the neighbour fixed it by jumping over onto our roof and laying the rusty pole and TV aerial on the roof terrace, which is how it was when we returned!! Anyway, Chris now has it all fixed with the help of Gwen and David’s drill. And all the freesias were still in full bloom – a mass of yellow, pink and red! And the cactus has a ring of pink buds on it as well as all its little sucklings! Bonus!!

My bruised ribs (caused by slipping on wet shower floor on last day in Spain on 20th Feb) are healing nicely – after 2 weeks of agony they are just now ‘sore’ so hoping that disappears over time as well (Lesson to self: Don’t wash bath mat and hang outside to dry, on last day, and then have a shower!!)

There has also been a lot of activity at the back of the orchard! The plans were always to build a new road and roundabout, as well as a new block of flats, and we have had diggers out there excavating soil and digging drainage trenches for ‘something’!! The orchard has now been effectively cut in half and they just have a small back garden – I don’t think it will affect the house as we have a high wall blocking all views of traffic from the porch – not sure about the roof or how private that will be…watch this space!

The Ayuntamiento have also been cleaning all the graffiti from the parks above the bus station, which looks a lot better now. Unfortunately, there is a glass wall and we have noticed that a couple of sparrows have flown into it – maybe the graffiti helped?! It could just be the disruption of their habitat – ie orchard disappearing and the trees in the town, where they used to roost, have all been cut back.

Some friends, Frank and Lesley visited us over Easter and we saw the Palm Sunday Processions in Malaga as well as visiting Marbella and Mijas. Also saw the Easter Procession in Alhaurin on Thursday evening which was very good and a lot ‘tidier’ and taken more seriously than Malaga – or so it seemed. There was the Procession of the Green church that started at 6.30pm with its Legionaires and rifle displays and even a baby goat in training!, a Passion play at 9.30pm by the Purple Church, followed by the purple Church procession at 10.30pm. Interspersed with drinks and tapas it made for a pleasant evenings entertainment!

After a visit to the lakes and Teba, we saw the Malaga Processions in the evening, with 8 rows of men supporting the largest tronos. Quite magnificent! Processioned out, we caught the train back to Plaza Major and got back to Alhaurin about 1.30am (the trains from Malaga to Plaza Major run until 4.30am!)

We watched the Easter Day processions at Alhaurin on our own, as Lesley and Frank had gone back to their village (via the Passion Play at Riogordo on Saturday) to catch the local procession on Saturday night. The Sunday started at about 10.30am with the usual rockets and we wandered up to the town about 11.30 where there was a service being held outside the purple church. Not a lot really happened until about 1.00pm when there was a Procession from the Purple church that included magnificent rifle displays (such co-ordination!) the usual Nazarenes, lots of little children with flowers and ended with the trono that did a little detour in the square to the Blue Church, raising the trono high above their heads! Brought a tear to my eye!

The largest cruise ship in the world, Symphony of the Seas, (carries nearly 9000 passengers and crew, 362 metres long, weighs 228,000 tons, has 18 decks, 2759 cabins,19 swimming pools, 26 bars, zip wire, ice rink etc!) was also inaugurated in Malaga, where it had travelled from the shipyards in France where it was built! Quite a festive atmosphere, with live music on board and on the quayside and many extra visitors to Malaga.

The Field Club holiday this spring was in Cazalla de la Sierra and back to a hotel that we had been to before, so we knew that the food would be excellent – and it was!! Had some good walks, the first walk by a lake with plenty of wild orchids and azure winged magpies flying about, the next day we walked down into a valley and followed the river before walking back to the village for drinks and the quiz! The final long walk was to the highest point in the National Park - La Capitana – with 360 degree views then back to Cazalla for a visit to the Anis factory and a wander, looking at all the storks nesting on the church roofs and a sun corona. Our last day we travelled past the only Solar powered electricity station in the world, to the outskirts of Ecija, where we caught the Little Train into the centre and then had a good wander around, looking at all the magnificent balconies, courtyards, towers and churches. Bought some cake at one of the monasteries Santa Florentina from one of the Nuns! It was a weird system!! First of all you go down a side alley, in through a door and ring the bell. Eventually a Nun appears behind a grill on a sort of large Lazy Susan affair (we learnt later that the money and cakes were exchanged via this, so that you never saw anyone!) and then opens the door where a Nun serves you cake from behind a grill. Its not cheap cake either!!

My sister visited on the three wettest, coldest days we had in Spain over the winter! It was touch and go whether she came or not as she was suffering with sinusitis but she arrived on April 10th and we had a walk and lunch at Kens on the Wednesday, with a walk along the boardwalk at La Cala – in the dry, but cold (12c)!!! The forecast on Thursday was for rain all day but we trekked around Malaga in the dry and visited the Glass Museum before it started raining at about 3.00pm! The Glass Museum was very interesting as its housed in an 18thC house with a courtyard and we had Professor Ian Phillips (one of the owners we think!) as a guide. He made the tour very personal (half of the exhibits belonged to him I think!!) and he was absolutely very knowledgeable about all the different aspects, dates, types, methods of making – well everything to with glass!! On Friday we drove to Gibraltar in heavy rain, got absolutely drenched and windswept walking across the runway, before the sun eventually came out for the afternoon on our taxi ‘Tour of the Rock’ (32 Euros each!) A beautiful sunny day on Saturday (still cold though and the bad weather had dumped a lot of snow on top of Torrecillas} and a visit to Mijas and Torremolinos before dropping my sister back at the airport.

Sunday was hot and sunny ☹ - did a wonderful walk past Gerrard Brennan’s house, up the Paloma Gorge (7.36km) which took us onto the track near the Casa Forestal with loads of different wild orchids! There was a bike race through the woods on the mountains, that we encountered a few times, leaders and back markers and Chris went to a Flamenco show in the Plaza de la Legion in the afternoon! (He has videos!!)

This trip, for me, will be remembered for the bee-eater birds! They are nesting in holes, about 1 metre long, in a sandy bank near Alhaurin, and although they fly off as soon as you go anywhere near them, we were treated to a wonderful flying display with florescent coppery wings, and the vivid blue/ green colours. And we did manage to get some reasonable photos when they pitched on the fence or wires. An amazing experience, just before we went back to UK on 19th April– well, if you like birds, that is!!

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