Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Autumn Crocus

It's a strange plant,  in the spring clumps of dark green leaves grow and gradually die back,  then in the autumn a long dark red stalk grows and one by one, out come the flowers.  Although it's called a crocus, it's not related to the true crocus,  a crocus is a crocus, this is a Colchicum.

It has a fairly short life,  these pictures were taken over a period of a week,  although it still has one flower left the rest have died.

September 17th
September 19th
September 22nd

Friday, 25 September 2015

And finally, part 4

In the evening we walked up Calle Reyes Católicos to Plaza Nueva.  So many bars along there we don't know how they all make a living.  In then to the narrow streets lined with Moroccan tea shops,  bazaars selling clothing, jewellery, lights, plates, pots, cushions - you name it, it's there.

And time for the evening drink,  a gold-fish bowl sized G+T plus my rioja of course.

About this tapa...no you're not seeing things,  we really did get sweets a bit like jelly babies.  It isn't so common but I have read that tapas is usually served with drinks that are considered to go with food, such as beer or wine maybe a soft drink.  But if you order a mixed drink such as vodka tonic or G+T then out come the sweeties!  So the sweets for him and the crisps for me.

Something different for dinner again,  we went to a Chinese this time,  had a wonderful variety of food that would take too long to do just for 2 of us at home.  And how can a restaurant sell a bottle of white wine for just under 5 euros?  Local wine,  from Extremadura.  And delicious too.

One of the many shopping streets between Calle Gran Vía de Colón and our hotel,  beautifully lit up at night.

And that was our time away.  Did we eat breakfast yesterday before leaving?  I hate to admit it but yes we did.  But no lunch and a very small snack last night. 

Granada part 3.

How we managed to eat any breakfast I don't know but warm croissants and danish pastries are just too tempting...I should have been sensible and maybe had fruit and yoghurt but never mind.  At least I didn't eat bacon and egg....

Out for a long morning walk via El Corté Ingles,  which is a big department store close to the hotel,  nice to look but we very rarely buy anything there.  Window shopping as we went,  then  along Paseo Salón and a stroll back through the narrow streets.

Postman delivering by scooter.
And more food!  By now it was lunchtime,  pizzas this time,  one spicy chilli and the other beef. Yes, beer too and a rioja. 

Siesta time now,  a long soak in the bath and  get ready for the evening!

Granada part 2.

Outside the Cathedral are some very large trees with glossy dark green leaves,  and curious looking fruit.  Pale, circular, possibly with prickles, not sure as they are too high up to see clearly.  But when the fruits open they have red seeds,  well we assume they're seeds.

Any ideas what tree it is?

On with our walk,  stopped for a beer and tapas in the shade,  couldn't decide where to eat really.  So many restaurants to choose from but  their menu del dia options were very similar.  And nothing different to what we can cook at home.  The nice thing about being away is to eat foods that are different. Our first tapas was migas.  It means crumbs in English,  traditionally day old bread crumbled and cooked with olive oil,  fried peppers or meat added to it.  A filler-upper  for families but now quite often served in restaurants.  Think cous cous,  the texture is similar.

Calle Navas is advertised on tourist sites as tapas street,  although almost every bar serves tapas with a drink, not just on this street,   maybe just a few nuts or olives but almost always something.  We stopped at one for a tubo and tapas,  this time we were served tortilla Granadina XI.  Think of eggy bread but this was heavy,  not light and crispy at all! 
plus grated carrot - why?
On with our wanderings and looking at menus,  then round the corner and on the plaza opposite our hotel we saw a restaurant serving spicy Turkish food.  Nice and different so we ordered beef doner kebabs,  fries with spicy ketchup and mint yoghurt dressing.  And a beer and a glass of rioja.
If we hadn't stopped twice already we might have managed to eat it all!  Enormous servings!

After a few hours rest,  we ventured out again for a drink then on to dinner. 
The most enormous G+T plus tortilla and my rioja.
Continuing our spicy food day we went to Chile Grande in the evening.

A trip to Granada, part 1.

We have just had a relaxing trip to Granada for 2 nights,  although I think we walked further around the city than we do here taking the dogs out every day!  We walked,  we window-shopped,  we sat in the sun with cold drinks and tapas,  we people watched and we ate too much! 

We stayed here, at the hotel Juan Miguel on  Calle Acera del Darro.  We've been many times before and they gave us a huge room on the first floor,  the one above the front door with a big balcony. 

The hotel looks out onto a plaza, on  the opposite side is Teatro Isabel la Catolica,  a theatre for performing arts.

We went out for a  walk on Tuesday morning.... overlooking Placeta Real de España are these 2 wonderful buildings,

Hotel Victoria   
The Cathedral

Suit of armour outside a spice shop. Why?

This is a  local government building. 

More to come,  food and drink next.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A party and painting.

After the rain went it was a bit cloudy....but just a thin layer drifting along the valley below us.
Then we were back to our usual blue sky.  In August - I'm sure there is a scientific reason for it -   the sky is a much paler almost hazy blue.  Come September and it's back to deep blue.

Last week I met up with a friend while out shopping so we went for a coffee and a chat.  My café con leche,  her tostada with butter and jam,  and a cup of herbal tea.  Each item costs 1 euro,  the juice comes free with the tostada. 

Friday evening our neighbours had a party to celebrate - well, lots of things!  An anniversary,  the pool that went past here on a lorry in July is installed, with  lighting and the pump running, they've put lights in the trees too, there was plenty of food and drink and music later in the evening.    It was a warm evening and some children went in swimming.
the pool is in the background

time for music,  singer and keyboard,  2 guitars and sax.
Monday morning after a double check of the weather forecast,  we started work on the roof.  First a good sweep to get rid of the dust and grit and loose paint.  Grit on the roof?  It comes with the winds that blow down from the north - although the roof is flat it has raised concrete edges with slates on the outside,  the grit doesn't always wash off with the rain.
10.30 Monday morning
By late afternoon we'd painted all the rim and given one coat to the bare patches.  On the terrace in the shade it was 26°,  up here in the sunshine - hot!  I don't like hats,  I always feel hotter wearing one but needed to keep the sun from my head,  so I had a hat on,  plus we had a 1.5 litre bottle of water up with us.
10am Tuesday morning
And ready for a complete coat of paint.  John started painting along one side,  me on the other,  till we reached the far end,  then we worked our way down the middle.  The second coat is easier although as you can see the roof is not smooth.  It's flat and drains well but what with all the lumps and bumps takes a long time to paint.  A roller doesn't get into all the nooks and crannies so it's a long slow job with a big brush.  Another hot hat day!

And it's done!

The temperature guide on the tub says not less than 5°  not more than 40!   I'd hate to try and paint in those extremes of  heat.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The rain in Spain...

The early autumn rains started on Sunday afternoon up here,  gentle drizzle at first then more heavy rain over night but not 'road washing away' rain.  Lots of thunder on Monday plus more heavy drizzle/showers and then late on Monday night there was a lightning storm.

But rain rushes downhill,  into the rivers and 'ramblas' which are road width gullies built round the outside of towns to cope with the  flood water,  sometimes it rushes into the towns and villages and causes problems.

I'm posting this as a link from the local paper as  it contains photos and video footage of the rain going through Malaga and Adra.  It's easier than trying to cut and paste YouTube footage!  

And some photos, but not of rain!

Sunrise shining on the hill,  moon setting

Same hill,  4 days later,  showers and a rainbow.

Today, after the rain,  clear blue sky but a thin cloud below the Contraviesa.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

The circus is in town!

Actually it's in Ugíjar which is about 10 minutes from here,  and the last show is tonight at 9pm - so be quick!

We went shopping yesterday and stopped for lunch at a bar called Pepé Aguados,  a beer and tapas for 2 euros, the same price as we pay in Berja.  We had hamburguesas  and chips,  then for the second tapas,  pinchos, diced marinaded pork cooked on a skewer and served with chips and bread.  Forgot the photos though...

But photos instead of the circus posters,  attached to every lamp post in town, just in case you missed seeing one, although I'm not sure that would be possible as the posters are about  a metre high by a half metre wide.  And very brightly coloured too!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Officially hot!

We knew it'd been hot and here is the confirmation....

from The Seaside Gazette  ....

It’s been a long hot summer, not so much because high temperatures have been reached, but because they have been just so prolonged.
Take July, the hottest one on Spanish records with an average temperature of 26.5C, which easily beats the previous record holder 2003 according to the Agencia Estatal de Meteorología (AEMET).
As the meteorological agency pointed out, there was just one long heatwave, rather than a series of them.
Day and night temperatures; i.e., daily maximums and minimums, have exceeded the previous record by 2.8C – that doesn’t sound much, but try telling that to people who couldn’t sleep because of the heat.
The heatwave began on the 26th of June and it wasn’t until just after the 15th of August that it let up a little with the hottest days being on the 6th and 7th of July where temperatures reached 45C in Western Andalucia and inland Valencia.

A new visitor to Montenegro recently...

For the last few years,  Fernando has grown maize here and harvested it for animal food.  This year instead of cutting it and taking it to the  animals,  the horse came here.  Another  horse arrived a day or so later,  much smaller and very dark brown.  I don't know anything about horses but Shetland pony would be my description of it.  Not a good photo I know but the best I could do....
it is there, in the middle, honestly!