Friday, 24 March 2017

She sells sea shells

I just can't resist picking up shells when I'm on a beach.  I filled my pockets with them and took them back to add to the collection at Javier's place.

I might just take a few home to put on the rockery.

I am mystified by this fruit in Javier's garden.  Anyone know what it is?

Tomorrow we leave Nerja and head across the Sierra Nevada towards the east coast.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


When we fell out of the restaurant in Frigiliana (Paul was sober because he was driving) we stumbled across a blue painted door advertising peep-shows and a Harem Fantastico.  Paul could not resist and searched his purse for the 50 cent pieces to insert into the various slot machines and peep-holes installed in the door.  Alas he only had 20 cent pieces but they worked just as well!  He had great fun watching El Milagro de La Vida (The Wonder of Life), La Esfera Mágica de Cristal (The Magic Crystal) and La Maravillosa Vista al Mar (The Marvellous Sea View).  He saved the best until last - the Harem Fantastico!

On a more refined note I discovered a small studio and gallery tucked away in the upper part of Frigiliana.  I have huge respect for accomplished water colourists, it’s such a tricky medium to get right.  German artist Klaus Hinkel renovated the ancient building that is now his home and studio some twenty years ago.  He is a successful artist and runs painting courses here twice a year.  After chatting to him and admiring his paintings I was very tempted to sign up for a course, it would be such a joy painting in that tranquil environment.  I bought a calendar featuring his recent works and some postcards; after admiring the donkey painting on display he also kindly gave me a 2016 edition which featured the donkey.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


We nearly didn’t go to Frigiliana.  This white-washed village is one of the prettiest in Spain so we thought it would be packed with tourists.  We arrived early, parked easily and had coffee before exploring the steep, cobbled streets.  There were just a few local people about and very few tourist trash shops.  We climbed higher and higher, stopping every few minutes to take another photo of a pretty door or balcony.  We arrived at the top of the village and I spotted an enticing doorway of a restaurant that led through to a terrace overlooking the valley.

“It’s too early for lunch.”
“We could have a beer, I’m very thirsty after that climb,” I said plaintively.
“It’s too early for beer.”
“It looks very nice inside.”
“No, we can go back down into the village and find somewhere later.”

So we climbed back down to the lower terrace of Frigiliana where we were confronted by tour groups that had just arrived by coach and were massing around the restaurants.  

The climb back to the restaurant was hard work (I was very well behaved and didn’t complain once) but we were rewarded by fantastic seats on the terrace overlooking the roof tops of Frigliana and across the valley.  Lunch was delightful (I probably had too much wine), only two other couples joined us on the terrace and we had the undivided attention of the waiter.  The tour groups clearly didn’t want to make the steep ascent to the top of the village.

my restaurant El Adarve

I don't feel homesick today.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Javier's Place


I didn’t sleep well last night.  The bed has a memory foam mattress (I think it was remembering someone else). I woke up feeling tired, achey and home sick.  I’m not that good at doing holidays, I like to be in my familiar habitat.  When I heard that it was raining in France and foggy in Wiltshire I felt a bit better about things, especially as the sun is shining here.

We are at Javier’s place in Nerja.  Nerja is a busy seaside town seething with elderly ex-pats, parking is almost impossible. Our little Andalusian villa is tucked away in an oasis of palm trees, orange trees and bougainvillea well away from the hubbub and zimmer frames.  We found Los Hamacus through Airbnb and it looked idyllic on the website.  It’s a quirky little place, a bit shabby around the edges and the garden is a jungle but we like it here.  Paul is happy because there’s a donkey in the next door garden. Javier is charming; he was still mopping floors and making beds when we arrived.  

The beach is just across the road but it’s steep and pebbly, not easy for walking.  We are having  a lazy day reading on the sunny verandah and drinking freshly squeezed oranges straight from the tree.  Actually I had the orange juice at breakfast and we’re now on to cold beers. We’re here until Saturday so plenty of time to relax.  I wish Javier would come and cut the grass.

let me out
quirky features

I wish Javier would cut the grass

freshly picked orange and tangerine

Sunday, 19 March 2017


Saturday night and Seville is really buzzing.  Paul and I took a taxi to the El Arenal, a historic 17th century Andalusian building tucked away in a side street to watch some flamenco. This was not touristy, cabaret flamenco.  This was truly authentic flamenco. We had seats right at the edge of the stage and I was just enthralled by it all. The dancing was amazing – so much energy and passion, castanets clicking like a rattlesnake ready to pounce.  

Each dancer came on stage and stood motionless for the first moments absorbing the strums of the guitar, the clapping and the singing before suddenly launching themselves into the dance.  The singer (the cantaor) almost sounds as if he is in pain as he sings.  It was a truly memorable evening.

Afterwards we strolled back alongside the river to our hotel.  All the lights of the city seemed to be reflected in the water, it all looked magnificent.  There were crowds of people milling about but they seemed more like citizens of Seville rather than tourists. We felt very safe. This city is growing on me.

As we walked through the back streets of Triana we suddenly heard the unmistakable sound of clapping, stomping and caterwauling coming from a bar.  I peered through the door but Paul had had enough and dragged me back to the hotel. Bah!

walking back to the hotel, yes that's me dancing in the street

Tomorrow (Sunday) we say goodbye to Seville and head south to the small seaside town of Nerja.

Saturday, 18 March 2017


It’s siesta time and we are back in our hotel room after a morning’s wander around the city.  There is some magnificent architecture, we started off at the palatial buildings of the Plaza de Espana and then drifted through the old streets in the vicinity of Alcazar and the cathedral.  We spent a lot of time dodging tour groups, horse and carriages, Segways and bicycles.  Every street corner had the usual tourist shop where you could buy a plastic fan or a polyester flamenco dress.

we decided not to join the lengthy queue for access to the Alacazar

We eventually managed to find our way off the tourist track and enjoyed a leisurely lunch of vino tinto and tapas in a street cafe. 

Tonight we are going to see some flamenco which I am really looking forward to but I guess you have to spend more than a couple of days in this city to discover the real Seville.

Spanish hen party

some amazing architecture