Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i have a cold now... hrrrrph! this photo tony took of me says it all i think!

me in la mancha restaurante last thursday evening, i had had two glasses of red wine, and i even look blurred from the outside point of view!

i have started with my spanish lessons again... although i think i read somewhere you shouldnt tell people you are learning a language because of theyre expections of you speaking it all the sooner!

but seeing as i live here it surely must go without saying learning español really is the thing to do!

i have these tapes, have had them for some years i am ashamed to say, i have listened to them alot over the years, and not usually reached the 10th tape, i spent a long time going to bed with a head set firmly attached to my head so i could go to sleep listening to them... this is supposed to work too?!? so we will see, just listening to them gives me a bit more confidence and was speaking spanish all over the place today!!!

ok foggy head so thats it for me today...

(not sure how much i like paulo's quote for today, but its next in my book so here it is!)

Few take up the burden of their own victory;
most give up their dreams
when they become impossible.
The Pilgrimage


Monday, January 28, 2008

this is a strange bird is it not! a white peacock as seen at tivoli world in torremolinos the sunday before last....

beautiful isnt it...

well here i am back already from my fast trip to england... my trip over was strange too, i had planned it would be fast and easy with my pre printed boarding card, no baggage... well the world conspired against me alright!

friends dropped my off and in i went into the always crowded departures area, but me i went straight through, after removing coat boots etc! but then i was through and after my usual quick run round duty free where i met some friends from town! i was off for coffee and then i went downstairs to check out my flight, it was going to be an hour late leaving!

it was... and then once on the flight we had to wait a further 15 minutes for a slot to fly off in! the hold up had been an air traffic strike by the french and the "russians playing soldiers in the atlantic" pilots words not mine!

on this flight it was only not being able to fly over france that held us up on our way to england.

then.... a woman in the front row was taken ill, and on landing we had to wait for the paramedics to board and sort her out, but we couldnt leave from the front doors in the end and had to dis embark from the rear doors... i had sat very near the front to make my hasty exit from the plane, and with no baggage the airport too!

so i was almost the last off and by the time i had changed euros to pounds the first off with baggage had got them and were off like a shot!

then it was bus and train to tonys... via a short nip around the shops and then a couple of coffee's near his place while i waited for him to get home...

mom was still none the wiser of my arrival and tony called her to arrange the time, then i called... from spain... not, and tony and i left to collect her! she was surprised of that there was no doubt, her face was a real picture... of happiness!!

we went for a quick drink in the local george and dragon pub and then went to a nice restaurant called la mancha in berkhamsted, sounds spanish but the owner and all the staff i think were italian, i kept forgetting where i was a speaking in spanish! janette and lenny were there when we arrived, another surprise for mom and the five of us had a wonderful evening.

the meal was lovley calamari for starters, pasta and scallops for main course and banoffee pie for desert! phew.....

stayed the night at moms, and in the morning we went over to aylesbury, where we had a look around the shops and then met sarah and callum in costa coffee, then steph in the shopping centre and it was back to moms to drop her off and then steph and i drove to the airport... we stopped for lunch in a nice bar/restaurant on the way, then she was gone.. no i was gone i mean!

and it was straight up stairs off with coat and boots again! and a short sit down before the gate was announced and i was on the plane... again!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

well they have ripped out another house now, next door to the one that came out last week! all those years there, lived in with all that life and now .. phffffff.... gone!

and opposite those houses, the shoe shop closed at the weekend and up for rent, today the clothes shop next door is having a sale to clear... for closure! dont believe it, whats happening round here.

and tomorrow i am off to england.... for my moms birthday, its a surprise, not her birthday obviously, but that i am coming to see her of course! its her 80th, i cant believe it, seems impossible... i guess more for her really eh!

no luggage as its just an overnight stopover, and i have my boarding tickets printed and can go straight up to the departures at malaga tomorrow, i cant stand all that standing for ages to get the boarding cards and get rid of my suitcase... which i could travel like this all the time.

ok amigos,

Loneliness is the worst of all tortures,
the worst of all sufferings.
Eleven Minutes


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Barranco Blanca

these are some of the photos i took the other weekend when we went for a walk down and around the barranco blanco area...

here and there the road was tarmac, but then it was just rough in places, but good idea, keeps the unwanted out!?!

the beautiful lake down there, i think next time we will drive all the way down... and then get a better look up close and not have the walk up hill back!

here in alhaurín this week there has been lots of talk of all the robberies in the area of late, in the campo houses and here in town with the guy who broke in and out of mercadona with the two jamons!!!

a lady told me also of shopping in the coín branch of lidl this week having her hand bag stolen there and then in the supermarket!

seems some of the thieves have moved inland now, with all the extra police down there... theyre after action here instead.... well move on and move out!

its been so lovely and warm the last couple of afternoons, its says 19º in the paper but feels lots warmer than that in the sun.... beautiful, although sitting here now inside with all the windows open feels a bit chilly... as usual get more on... in!

Faith parries all blows.
Faith transforms poison into pure water.
Manual of the Warrior of Light


Thursday, January 17, 2008

now one of my posh shots... this one taken in one of bathrooms looking in the mirror at the reflection of the window!

and so above... the reflection again in the other bathroom mirror into the kitchen!

and two shots of the lovely big kitchen... above at the door out to the courtyard...

and here a view towards the sink and in the back there a walkin larder area, this had the old chimney to the right in there... all blocked off now! as it would go straight up and into the owners house above!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

few photo's of the cave house before we end the album, although as you can guess i took over 200 photos, thats the thing with the digital camera, you keep on snapping away....

so above view of the lounge, two bedrooms to the right and a bathroom on the left, also a front door with a window giving as you can see, plenty of light in here.

this is one of the bedrooms, pippa at home, as you can see!

view in dining room, what a fire place eh!

there are three areas inside there, i guess in the past for heating food... the one you can see in the middle and one either side up underneath the mantel...


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

stunning view from where we were staying at Fuente Vera, look at that....

and this one above, see the house down there on that track? but there are lots of others in this photo... hard to see...

and here is pippa with harry and chico!


saturday afternoon walking home from town a house in c/cruz had a area around to stop you walking on the path, a couple of bits of wood had been placed that looked like supports.... monday coming back past.... it was gone! just like a tooth... pulled out from between the houses either side and looking bleak! you could see the black stains from where the fires had burned, the chimney buttresses and that was it.... gone... nothing left at all!

today sunshine again, washing drying on line... but as usual at this time of the year colder in than out, sitting outside a bar in town today with friends you could have got a sun tan it was warm.... really!

went into the new german bakers also, and i can vouch for their apple strudels so far, very yummy, and strangely made up for going to sleep thinking of those peach turnovers i used to eat many moons ago back in england, bit odd that i dont usually dream of food! although i had been thinking of records for tim to play on ace.fm and sugar something or other was a title i had been thinking of.... so maybe....!

A faithless fan
can make a team lose a game they have won.
The Prilgrimage


Monday, January 14, 2008

Benamaurel... this town in on the way to Fuente Vera, on the main road from Baza, we actually didnt go into it until the last day before leaving!

the town in based on the side of hillside mainly on the right hand side of the road is the old town, with some newer houses in an urbanisation on the left, this was ok... we did a little drive round the day we went into the town as we missed the road we wanted....!

there are some very very old arabic houses, i have just read a little of what the mayor of the town says in the link above about being enchanted by the place... this is where i spent almost an hour in their spar shop and franco thought i had been swallowed up!

but here above a cave plus a bit on its way to becomming one, but for tractor use just now!


today heard news of two people who have passed over in the last few days... one expected one most definately not... a young bloke of only 40, so say a prayer for him tonight please...

today... also, lots of rain again on way into town, was like a river running down by our street, a small boat would have been better or just up turned my umbreller and jumped in that!

another chance of finding friends dog also, wasted paco, but at least people are still looking out for him, did you know in spain it is illegal for under 18 year old to walk a dog?

Our selfishness
will condemn us to the worst suffering
that we have invented for ourselves
- loneliness.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

this was back on to level ground between the hillside we had just climbed down on the opposite side of the valley we needed to get back up to! so it was a nice few minutes of level ground, a river and some trees, all looking bit cold and dry are they not! and just to the right of here a wonderful old run down house...

to the right a new'ish section maybe 50 or 60 years old, not sure, but the bit smaller to the left above was very very old, such a wonderful house, huge...

this old tree was still alive despite, or in spite should i say of it being torn by lightening maybe at one time...


Friday, January 11, 2008

just another couple of cave houses down this little track!
pippa there having a good look inside!

this a view from the doorway of a huge house, in need of a little reform.... a big house already with four or five good sized rooms down stairs and two up....

large area infront and stunning views.... this had no cave bits at all that we could see.

back to the here and now though, we have just chased up the street a bunch of little idiots who thought it would be great fun to throw a bag of rubbish over our back wall! what they dont know is we have it all on the video camera!

they have recently pulled up all the lovely flowers infront of the vera cruz church and the graffiti is everywhere again... then a bunch of girls ran up the street ringing door bells.... all with their hoodies on... brave girls them!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cave Houses

this was a hard climb up to this old ruin of a cave house, lots above ground and lots under too, not this is where i took the low road and franco took the high, with pippa running back and forth between us in fear of one of us dissapearing!

this old place had two beautiful fireplaces bit hard to see from here, but this place must have a stunning home... how did it fall into this disrepair? maybe belongs to too many children to split, or too much money to pay on inheritance tax? who knows, but what a place this would make, of course, no road to it, no path way, in fact no level land near it, how on earth did they manage....

this is another cave house, its for sale but i think the goats are using it for now!


Wednesday, January 09, 2008


another couple of photo's of Galera, we were stood on the roof of the house on the left here only moments before! ooops!

looking back at these it looks so cold to me, or maybe its remembering how cold it was that does it!

this tree above is just one of many in the valley, or actually nearly at the top of the other side to where we were staying!


Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Galera... this is a beautiful town not far from Huescar, a huge part built into the moutains, everywhere you look houses with fronts and chimneys in the ground above, some with houses above also!

as above, we were standing on their roof! this tiling was only part of the top of their property, the chimney was behind me!

this photo, we were standing in a cave house ruin waiting for new owners, to rebuild and love this spectacular view.... as you can see its a bit higher than the house in the photo above.


today in alhaurín el grande we have cloud... its low and its wet, it made its way over the sierra de mijas and has stayed in town all day!

Fine words lack all meaning
when we are confronted by real suffering.
The Fifth Mountain


Monday, January 07, 2008

Dia de los Tres Reyes...

today, monday lots of the shops are closed in lieu of yesterdays holiday... three kings day.

the kings were out in the streets on saturday evening sending sweets a flying into the waiting arms... bags upturned umbrellas and boxes that welcomed them!

this morning we went out for a short drive and then a long walk with pippa, she must be really missing all the land she had to run around in up in Fuente Vera... we parked up just past the water tower and walked down into the valley... and then had to walk back up!

there were men there from the malaga forestry cutting trimming and burning the clippings, it looked like they were clearing a strip in case of summer fires... the whole valley was in a mist of smoke and smelled like the wood burning in the fire place, the smell of the cut grass was wonderful, we got hot walking, you think january, you feel cold in the house, then out you come into the sun shine the blue sky above, and you roast in too many warm layers!

should have taken our sticks, maybe leaving them in the car would help instead of in the house!

i meant to say, but too much of other stuff.... a couple of days before we left for our holidays there was a unusual rock placed in a door way of a house down our street where i knew the owners were away, there is no way said rock could have got there by itself, and reminded me of what goes, or at least used to go on up the coast a ways, people leaving a rock on a wall of a house known to be empty to tell others it was a break in oportunity, i really hope this was not the case here.... yes of course i moved the rock away!

as usual my new years resolutions are no resolutions!

Sorrows do not last for ever
when we are journeying towards the thing
we have always wanted.
The Fifth Mountain


Hot Baths

these beautiful baths at Orce are just out in the middle of nowhere it seems, on the orad out of town, and there is this swimming pool... a car park and a (closed this day) restaurant!

the water temperature was nice as you can see from the steam rising above here, would have been warmer in than it was out forsure!

and this photo above gives a whole new meaning of sleeping with the fishes if you laid back and closed your eyes in here.

this is the small waterfall where the bath water leave and continue on their way back into another stream, still warm and still steaming!!


Sunday, January 06, 2008


what a lovely looking church here in Orce...

this is the castle in Orce... a very beautiful town

another view of the church, this one looking a bit like a town in england... somewhere?

this day it was freezing outside, and we went into a quiet modern looking bar and they let pippa come in too! so we could defrost!

i suppose as suggested by friends we could have thawed out in the spa baths this day!


Friday, January 04, 2008

La Teja.. a flight of steps straight up from the street to someones home... quirky dont you think!

this is taken from Lake Negratin, hard to make out proportions... the lake has a 30 kilometre beach, and the blue bit is a long walk way out for swimmers... to help with perspective!

another photo of negratin taken from a short distance away on the road back to the town of cuevas del campo...

Holidays part 3

Thursday December 27th... already seems like ages ago and its only Friday now! Campocámara, Cuevas del Campo, Embalse del Negratin, and through numerous other small pueblos... we came across another hotel complex of cave houses, this one lead us up the garden path so to speak! We were following signs for what looked like a town with food and bars etc, but it turned out to be the resort and a small village closed... well just quiet really, not a soul about, houses that looked un lived in had red peppers hanging from up stairs windows and the use of oil drums for chimneys!

I did take a photo of a great staircase here though...

In the town of Campocámara, we tried to buy potatoes, the first stall although having on offer said patatas told us they were sold 'vendido' and to try next stall, his fathers, and on so doing was told again that he also had no patatas! Very strange eh!

I guess there was a good reason... we had lunch in a good restaurant with an outside veranda near the dam on the edge of the large lake Negratin... luckily the sun has been out, or it would have been freezing! Today there was ice on the car again and when we got in it registered only 6º, but once out in the sun it rose to 8! although sitting outside in the sun just now with our hosts it felt warmer... they have some friends over who also have a dog, so Pippa and 4 boy dogs! She was running round like a crazy thing!

ok its monday now news years eve and i cant remember what we did when since last writing... let me think... this morning, easy, went to Benamaurel the town on the way here between ... here... and Baza, its quite a large town built half way up a mountain side with many many cave houses and magnificent views all round, we, sorry i popped into the local Spar shop for pollo, chicken, i walked the few feet into the two aisle store to the counter at the back which was the meat counter, and the vegetable counter, and the fish counter, oh sorry and the cakes and sweets.... phew, which meant although there was only two ladies in front of me i was there for about an hour! Well no it was probably only 15 minutes or so, and then the man behind me was que jumped by a woman who came in after him! She then tried to que jump me at the one till, where i had then stood for another whole hour! Sorry again was only about quarter of an hour, but a lady ahead of me in both meat and now till line let me go ahead of her!

Phew, franco and Pippa thought i had either left by the back door or in the ambulance which had left earlier...

on our way back home we took a road left just before our turn, we drove and followed the steep turns and bends and then kept a steady line not wishing to drop the many feet on either side into deep ravines and valleys.... to find we had been there before and had to turn and come back up it again!

Another hard frost on the car again, and was 0º when we left the house, got up to about 8º in the sun, which is bright and beautiful with these wonderful blue blue skys... the sierra nevada is covered in snow, and looks stunning.

Sunday... yesterday we walked only... walked only sounds a small thing to do, not sure how i am even managing all this walking down steep tracks and hard mud up hills... we walked down to the valley here again, but this time made for some cave houses we can see up on the other side of us... we went by track this time though, no dodgy downhill escapades and crossed over a river, by bridge, and then took a new path up wards on the castril side of the valley, there we did have to do a bit of our own navigating with no real track and jumping deep fissures, so many, it looks like the ground here is just opening up all over the place.

We were walking for a lot longer than the last walk... maybe four hours, but this time we took provisions. Coffee, water for pip, and some food for us. We stopped twice for this, the first time half way up, or down, the other side of the valley near a ruin of a cave house, under a tree for shade, although in the shade its much cooler, and by the end of this walk i ended up with two sticks not one, i collected one along the way! Some of these caves are huge, ten twenty rooms some of some of them, beautiful ornate chimneys in some, it seems though that the goats have taken residence in lots of them.

Everywhere we have walked either in town village or track we have walked on black olives... today our last day we will eat black olives...

it is so time to go home now, this time tomorrow we will be, its so quite here at night, still the only thing i can hear is the rushing in my own ears... we also seem to have chimney lung going on, both of us have acquired a bit of a chesty cough thing and Pippa has a cold in one of her eyes... from hanging her head out of car window for so long facing into the cold wind, so the last couple of trips out she has not been able to have the window open, but she doesn't know why not!

Well i am not sure if all this will be blogged such a lot to rewrite or maybe i can lift the whole lot in one go... so i shall end this with a Happy New Year to all and each of you... and the wise wise words of my Uncle Dave who said when i told a story.... i built a clock to do so!

Well i have just read this and seem to have missed out the bit where we came off road between Galera and Orce, a beautiful little town with a castle and a church, we visited the hot spa baths where fishes were swimming, give a whole new meaning now to swimming with fishes doesn't it!!! after the hot baths, which i should mention are about 20º all year round due to the thermals there... and after leaving there we followed a road leading up to a cave house...but on the way... we came across a big car park and a gravel walk leading upwards, so we parked and followed the signs, we came up to an archaeological dig where they are uncovering huge amounts of cook ware etc, we were on a huge burial ground too! It was another long walk where you followed the red arrows and had to keep on going... we did get to see the cave houses up on the hill afterwards and ran out of road...



Thursday, January 03, 2008

above is the metal (bouncy) bridge... i was going to put one taken with me on it... but i look slightly ill at ease walking over it, goodness knows why the walk over the river at el chorro has no hand rails, is three times the length and is a helluva drop down between the two mountains it joins together... bit like the walk around here....

this is the recently updated walk around and over the rio castril at castril...

hopefully one day they will up date the walk at el chorro like this, although not sure if i will be brave enough to walk that one!

so therefore this is much better.... more accessible more user friendly and so much safer!


Holidays part 2


Now... tuesday... Christmas day... just small strolls out and about here around the house and up the track, Harry the mastiff came with us and when we turned back home called him and he came too. Chico the little dog comes into the house and up on to my lap, Pippa just loves that! Not! But he is so cute and loves his tummy to be rubbed.

Today... Wednesday we went back to Castil and did the walk there... around the rocks on a rickety walkway a bit like the one at el choro but no where near as far a drop to the river below, and this one has been recently fixed and is safe... didn't stop me feeling a bit dizzy though! Ugh! And then a bridge to get over the other side... the bridge was made of metal, but was designed just like an old fashioned rope bridge.... arh!!

Then it was through a tunnel and out and down to the old mill house, we walked on that side for some time and then had to do a return trip back to car, back through the tunnels and over the bridge and back along that awful wooden walkway!

We went into the town and had a coffee... yes a bar with tables and chairs outside! From there back to the car, oh bought coffee, seem to have gone through several jars already?!

From Castril we went to Huescar... now this town has lots of shops and is more like Alhaurín and Coín, but.... not a single bar with outside seating, so back in the car... and drove up out of town to some cave houses we could see from where we parked the car, stopped there and took a walk, took lots of photos there, back in the car and a short drive up into an urbanization full of cave houses! The area itself looked a bit run down, but i think anyone buying now and doing up the houses, will have a little gold mine of a cave house, if you excuse the pun!

ok.... phew, so next... we took the road for Castillejar from Huescar... sounds simple doesn't it! Well it would have been only as we drove we stopped a few times, for more Kodak moments... and after entering the small pueblo of El Cura. we stopped and turned back taking a track that had a beautiful cave house at the entrance, so then we kept on going, at one point we started to do a turn to go back then decided we might just as well keep on going, now this road is only just wide enough for one car, and no passing places... the sides of the road where strewn with rock and sand was everywhere... but we saw some spectacular homes built from and into the rock wall, cave houses for kings, now we didn't know it at the time but we were coming into a town called Galera which is an ancient cave town where the first european inhabitants were. This we found after a long and twisting journey, we did come across a couple of cars but luckily at points where the road had a drive or wide corner.

So back onto a proper road and i led us back to the main road again, and again after a few minutes we once more entered the pueblo of El Cura passing the track we had earlier turned round to go down! Then we came across a view of these amazing cave houses up on our right and Franco did a quick stop and turned up the track towards them.... the road became tar mac and it turned out to be a hotel of cave houses with tennis courts etc beyond, after another turn and a trip further up and further in we came once more back to the main road and one more we entered the pueblo El Cura... the final time! Well for today! Back towards our main road and then home... as we arrived into fuente vera a herd of goats was ahead so we waited for them to go off down a track as started off again, suddenly Franco said he thought we were in the wrong road and was going to turn round there and then down the narrow road, we decided to drive a bit further to wider stretch where it would only take a ten point turn when i recognized the houses and we found we were on the right road any way, i think with all the turning and driving and houses Franco got a bit confused and needed a coffee!!

ok, done for now, photos loaded into picasa and three pages here done and dusted... adios amigos.

to be continued...