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September 20th 2010
Published: September 24th 2010
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This entry is lifted directly from my journal - sorry if there is too much detail. In re-reading this it sounds like all we do is eat, but I know we have been doing much more! We do not have internet access where we are staying but have found an internet café. No photos on this one, but hopefully some soon. I'll put a couple on facebook if you have that access....

September 17, 2010
We are in Calabardina near Aguilas. Yesterday we left Sierra y Mar after breakfast - hugs and kisses from Sepp and Inger and we invited them to stay with us if they are ever in Oregon.

The drive out of the Alpujarras was not bad - there were a couple busses, but nothing too traumatic. It was a cloudy day and we easily made our way to Motril, on the coast, and then turned east. The drive along the coast is winding and varies between highway and small roads with stop lights. When we made this drive two years ago it was pouring rain and windy and very challenging - this was much better.

At Mojacar we exited the A-7 and found our way along the coast on a quiet two lane road. There are developments along the way that appear to have had grand ambitions before the economy tanked. Now they are either partially completed, or finished but boarded up. But we also saw some of what seems to be the only undeveloped coast line left in Spain.

It was a challenge to find our B&B - Casa Roja. The directions are clear: turn left on the dirt road before the tomato barn and follow along past a house that is set back from the road and at the red wall take the track up the hill. The challenge was that there had been a recent record-setting rain storm here and the road had washed out so there had been an attempt to re-hab the road which amounted to churning up the dirt and rock leaving large sections of silt and other surfaces that were not great for driving. Sam kept questioning my choice of accommodations! But when we arrived Robert and Eva came out to meet us, offered us beer and made us feel at home. We visited for awhile and learned that Robert is from Philadelphia and Eva from Poland but they met in California. Our room is delightful - a sitting room, large bedroom and lovely bathroom. All very tastefully decorated. There is a kettle with coffee and tea and a tin of oreos and shortbread dipped in chocolate.

We contacted Rob and Donna and arranged to meet them at their house in Calabardina. Robert directed us onto a different dirt road that had not suffered as much damage from the rain and it took about 20 minutes to get to Rob and Donna. We enjoyed visiting over wine and olives and nuts and then we all drove back to Casa Roja for dinner. Robert is a chef and he served a fabulous meal of hake, veggies, potatoes, salad, bread, tapenade and almond cake with sliced peaches on top smothered in cream. It was delicious. He and Eva were busy cooking for a wedding that they are catering today. Their friend Barry, a Brit had come to help them as well.

We slept well and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of bread and marmalade and jam, muesli, fruit, yogurt and coffee. The sun was shining so we packed up and headed to the beach. Robert directed us to a private cove and we found it (take the dirt road between the two tomato barns and then turn left on the asphalt road and continue on past where it says the road is closed - turn right on another dirt road and park at the ruins.) The cove was deserted and to get there we climbed over a plateau that is spotted with caves and caverns where birds nest.

As soon as we spread our things out on the sand it started to rain! I sat in the sea for a bit, but soon it was clear that the storm was not going to blow over before soaking us and all of our belongings. We packed up, hiked back to the car and made our way back to our room.

As I write this, the sun has come out again. We are going to head into town and see how it goes!

September 19, 2010
The trip into Aguilas after my last posting was pleasant. We found a bar in the square and had cervezas and boccadillos. The square has four huge rubber trees, one on each corner and it is a lovely spot. There were many pigeons that wanted our food and I took pity on one white pigeon with deformed feet - he had only two toes on one foot and on the other his middle toe was curled up and mangled looking.

We walked along the waterfront and then headed back to Casa Roja. The sky was finally clearing and soon we had full sun and it was hot. We changed into our bathing suits and headed out to the pool. We were afraid that if we tried the beach again the weather would change before we got there. The pool was refreshing and we enjoyed reading our books in the sunshine. Eva brought out iced limoncello for us to drink and it was an excellent treat. We got cleaned up and then Eva brought us a tray of cheese and bread and olives and a bottle of chilled white wine. We ate it all and no longer felt the need for dinner, but Rob and Donna had invited us to join them for dinner at their place in Calabardina. We arrived about 8:30 and their daughter Verity and her new husband, Pete, had just returned from a short honeymoon in Granada. We really enjoyed visiting with all four of them. Donna’s mother was also there from England, having come for the wedding, but she had gone to bed early with a cold. Donna made a delicious dinner and we had the best time talking and laughing and taking photos and eating. We had many hugs good-bye and promises of seeing each other again. They are such nice people and we are really pleased that it worked out to see them on this trip. We were not back to our room until after midnight.

Yesterday we were up and had breakfast at 9:00. We took our time packing and Eva and Robert and Barry all visited with us before we left for the villa. Eva was especially sad to see us go - I think she is hungry for friends and we really enjoyed each other. I left her my just-read copy of “Eat, Pray, Love,” and in exchange I took a romance novel that she had read.

Our drive to Moraira didn’t take too long. We enjoyed our views of the coastline and we took a detour to Elche. Our directions to the villa were clear and we are in an amazing spot. We are on a hillside looking out over the rock at Calpe. This piece of coastline used to be covered with grapes, but this section has been developed and taken over by wealthy retired ex-pats. Graham, a neighbor, let us into the villa and got us oriented to the area. He serves as the handy man and takes care of cleaning between guests. We have our own pool and after a trip to the market for groceries, we were soon enjoying the refreshing water. We also did two loads of laundry and it is so nice to have clean clothes after a week of everything smelling like sweat. We spent a quiet evening reading and snacking and enjoying this luxury.

Today we got up and enjoyed a lazy morning. It was nice to be free of the expectations of others. We drank coffee and ate muesli and read our books all morning. Finally about noon we showered and headed out to explore the coast. We found a parking lot on the coast just outside Moraira center and spent some time on the beach. The water is warm and we went in a couple times, but the sun is strong and we don’t want to get fried on the first day. Most of the people on the beach were older than we are and were busy scalding their pale northern European skin.

We walked into town and had lunch at “Jimmy’s” a German bar. I had a salad with shrimp and Sam had an omelet and both dishes came with the requisite pile of fries. We walked around the town and there are many nice restaurants and shops. We will enjoy our week here but there is nothing about it that feels like Spain - we decided that we could be in Hawaii or Florida or any number of seaside locations where wealthy retirees spend time. But for a week in the middle of a month of many “typical Spanish” experiences, it is an easy break.

We went back to the villa and Sam did one of his workouts while I enjoyed the pool and reading in the sun.

The owners had left a bottle of champagne for us so we enjoyed that with our daily cheese and bread and tonight we also had gazpacho. The store sells cartons of gazpacho and I added some fresh diced cucumber. We have spent the rest of the evening reading. It is lovely to have time to just do whatever we want - Sam is nearly finished his third book since we arrived in Spain and at home he never feels like he can just sit and read.
Life is good.


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