“The Rain In Spain…

…. stays mainly … away.” Spain is enjoying a scorcher of a summer, one I can vouch for as Bunny and I, along with my two sisters, enjoyed ten marvellously hot days there at the beginning of last month;  temperatures in the mid 30s. We were in Nerja, about an hour’s drive east of Malaga town, in a lovely hotel on the seafront. Our room was huge, each having our own proper bed ­­– no put-u-ups or settee-beds here! – and two vast double wardrobes. The only thing missing was a decent fridge, having to make do with the tiny mini-bar to store our aftersun creams and odd bottle of gin or two. Oh, and no coffee making facility either; a good job we  packed a travel kettle.

Wally-Nov12thThe past few years our holidays have consisted of just lazing around the pool the whole time. As we didn’t know the region, we decided we’d do what we always used to on holidays: every other day site-seeing, days in-between chilling out doing nothing. The first evening, we took the local road train. These trains seem unique to Spain and the Balearics; they might seem very touristy but we always have a ride on one to get our bearings. They are great fun. The one in Nerja gives a running commentary on the area, including a lot about its history.

100_6919Up in the mountains behind Nerja is a typical whitewashed Spanish village: Frigiliana. Lo and behold when we arrived, there was a road train. Needless to say, we got on. Frigiliana has very narrow,  pretty cobbled streets that are steep and with lots of sharp bends. There were times I didn’t think it would make it up the steep climbs, but it did. The driver regaled us the town’s history, particularly about the war with Napoleon, and the Spanish Civil War. We later took a walk around the village, stopped for a cooling drink, continued on, and became lost. Siesta time: no one about to ask for directions, but eventually found our way back to the taxi rank and a waiting taxi.

100_6941A two-hour drive by coach inland from Nerja is the historic city of Cordoba. We entered on foot across the vast Roman bridge, noting the nearby medieval wooden waterwheel, the oldest in Spain. The historic quarter is small enough to explore in a day but our day was hot. Far too hot with temperatures hitting the 40s to do much walking. Cordoba is renowned for three things especially: its heat, its patio and flower festival, and the Mosque Cathedral.

100_6944It was a day of learning. Any word or place name in Spanish that begins “Al” is of Moorish origin – I never knew that. Also, what we Brits call patios – the paved area outside our houses for sitting and eating etc ­– is, in fact, the wrong term. Patio is an old Spanish word for an enclosed courtyard; Cordoba is full of them. Every year in May these patios are filled with pots of flowers and plants and opened to the public, they are judged (something like our Britain in Bloom contest), and plaques award. Streets are also hung with colourful arrangements. This takes place each May; we were there the last day of June.  Most flowers had withered, but many patios were still open with their welcoming shade and bubbling fountains on show.

100_6946The Mosque Cathedral should be classed as a Wonder of the World, not just a World Heritage Site. It is vast, it is unique, and it is awe-inspiring. When you first enter the building, it takes your breath away, the feeling it evokes over-whelming, one I can’t explain, such is the history, colour, and majesty of the place. The original site of a basilica, it was destroyed in 785 by the Moors, who replaced it with a huge mosque, the most important sanctuary of Western Islam. Extended many times, including the building of a minaret, it wasn’t until 1236 King Ferdinand III100_6950 reconquered the city for Spain and, not wanting such a beautiful building destroyed, ordered the cathedral be constructed inside it. And here it still stands in its fully glory, complete with main and side chapels, transept, choir, organ, treasury – the works. Well worth visiting, and apologies for my photos not doing it justice.

However, despite all the glorious things we saw and learnt during our holiday, the highlight for all three of us was the day we to Malaga city; the whole reason why we went to mainland Spain this year. It was to spend time with our brother who lives east of the city, about half an hour’s train ride away for him. With no train from Nerja to Malaga, we had to travel there bus, a lovely 90 minute ride along the coast road. It’d been 4 years since we’d last seen him, although we do speak often. We’d hoped to see a bit more of the city too but it was again far too hot to walk about much. We found a lovely restaurant, and over several cold beers and paella, caught up on all the news and gossip. Wonderful. Our waiter took a photograph of the four of us, one we wanted for our mum, and one we know she’ll love. Sadly, time went far to quickly and soon we had to make our way back to the bus station to catch the last one to Nerja at 5:00 pm.

For Mum

It all seems so long ago now. It’s amazing how soon life gets back to normal again. But not for long. Yesterday, we booked another little trip. We’re off to Rhodes in September with my niece. Yippee! So keep on shining, sun.

10 responses to ““The Rain In Spain…

  1. What a wonderful trip. And, to get to do it with your sisters and see your brother. You couldn’t bring anything back to your mother that would mean more than the picture of the four of you.

    Hot seems to be the ‘word’ this year. Our usual moderate Pacific NW temps seem to have taken a vacation this year. Sounds like it wasn’t to Spain. Being so close to the sea, did you get ocean breezes?

    Switching from on day sightseeing and then lazing around is what we do. Or least when we take adult vacations. Disney is an everyday go.

    Rhodes next month? Sounds good to me. We just booked a trip to Jamaica for January. Seems like a long ways off.

    • No sea breezes, Lavada, but lots of shady trees. Plenty breezes in UK – have made a mess of garden this year. And little sun here so am looking forward to another week on the Med next month. Most of that will be lazy although we do plan to “do” Rhodes town and see a little of the island whilst we’re there.

      Haven’t been to Jamaica. Am sure you will enjoy it. Time will soon come around and at least it gives you something to look forward to. 🙂

  2. You make me want to hop a plane, Kit. Wow. This area looks awesome and I’d love to visit it someday. And capping it off with a brotherly visit just cemented the all around perfectness, I imagine. Congrats for designing such a wonderful holiday!

    • It’s a trip we plan to do again some time, but when the weather is a lot cooler. There were lots of places we wanted to see more of and, of course, spent more time with our Bob. If ever you get the opportunity do visit southern Spain, it’s full of charm, character, warmth and great food, although I much prefer Greek cuisine. 🙂

  3. What a fabulous, and interesting, holiday you’ve had, Kit. A perfect mix of plenty to see and lots of relaxing. Great photos. Those little trains look fab! And how great that you met up with your brother for the day. Well done on getting the September trip in the bag too. 🙂

    • Ten days was certainly better than a week, Tricia, although it would have been good to spend more days with Bob. Will have to see what we can arrange for next year, perhaps a long weekend with him and our s-i-l. As to September trip, it’s to help my niece celebrate after passing her nursing degree with 1st class honours and landing a post at the Radcliffe hospital in Oxford. She’s earned a holiday and wants her mum and two favourite aunts to join her. We always have a lot of laughs and fun together so am looking forward to it.

      Hope Vivvy’s settled in well and enjoying her new life. 🙂

  4. thanks for sharing the photos and details. What a wonderful vacation and fun time with family. I know you had to have had a blast. AND another fun trip in the making. You’re my kind of gal! No moss growing under your feet. Jillian

    • Life’s too short to less the moss grow, Jillian. And whilst we’re still fit and able and can afford it, the more trips the merrier. We’re already discussing next year’s vacation, would you believe! 🙂

  5. Valerie J. Patterson

    Kit! Enjoyed your story and your photos! Great snap of the 4 of you, and I’m sure your mum loved that keepsake, too. I think I would really like the cathedral. It looks impressive and wondrous. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and who better to enjoy it with than family! 😛

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