I used to look down, metaphorically, on Spain, as being overdeveloped for tourism and not very Spanish. I was wrong. OK, I know it’s hard to believe but, yes, I was wrong. Of course, some areas are like that but there are advantages even then. Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Marbella, Fuengirola are all over developed, full of Irish bars, English bars, Scottish bars, Netherlands cafes, German Bier Kellers… it goes on. In Summer you could not pay me to go there. Full of people in football shirts, baseball caps on backwards and bad tattoos. Alright, I’m a snob and prejudiced.
Out of high season, however, it is very different. The cafes and so on are still there, of course, but nobody makes you go in them. And Spain does lurk just below the surface, you only have to look a little harder. Those resorts are good places to stay out of season because they have all the facilities you need and, more to the point, they provide an excellent jumping off point for exploration and the Spanish side of Spain is just around the next bend.
Get a hire car; go up into the mountains to Ronda. The drive is a little hairy in places but the views are stunning. You can stop and listen and there is no music, no traffic noise, no nothing at all.
Not a sound except for the goats and birds of prey overhead.
The birds are overhead, not the goats. It’s wild but not that wild.
There are gentians growing by the roadside, lemons and oranges on the trees and castles straight out of El Cid – you expect Charlton Heston to gallop across your path any minute. The air is clean and there is a scent of herbs on the breeze.
And, in Ronda itself, the town in lovely. Not all of it, of course, what town is? But the centre and the old town are really well worth a visit. And we found this restaurant. Of course we did, we always do. Looks a bit ordinary on the outside but…
and we had the Menu del Dia, can’t remember what it was but all four of us enjoyed it and, much to the loved one’s delight, it wasn’t expensive.
So go to Ronda, it’s worth it for the drive alone but the town is fabulous too. And Spanish!
And then there’s Antiquera, off in the opposite direction, behind Malaga and full of castles and ruins and nice bars. We got lost and spent hours walking in a huge circle but it was worth it.
Ask me how many camera dangling tourists there were – yup, just the two of us.
And we went into Malaga for the day by train. We knew parking would be a nightmare and the fare is less than six Euros return. Another city with an old town and lots to see.
And, everywhere we looked, there were tangle patterns.
There’s a Picasso museum, which we failed to find, to my disgust but, on the other hand, we had real tapas in a real Spanish tapas bar and asked the waitress for help with choosing. She was delighted we were interested and we had a great lunch, just like the locals. (Downside? Bloody flamenco music playing in the background. Am I being punished for something? I must have been VERY naughty.)
And now we are home again, subject to unending drizzle, cloud and chill winds. However, it’s only a few weeks till we go off again in search of the warmth, so I’ll have to get my Christmas shopping done quicksticks.
I did some drawing while we were away. I had a second go at the Huggins/Trio/Xyp tile and liked my second attempt better. Did another left hander too, which was also better in my eyes but pretty kindergarten nonetheless.
And then there’s the new Challenge. I had real fun with tis one. I couldn’t think where to start so went on Tanglepatterns.com and looked up grid patterns. I tried Zonked and Window Grill but couldn’t free them up enough but then I found Snagz. This is a great pattern and I just loved it. So it’s a monotangle. I did use a sort of grid to get me started but rubbed it out quickly, before anyone noticed. So, my thanks to Sandy Hunter for this Challenge. I think I may do more of these.