A Fan … (or a stalker!!)

My first impressions of Roses were that it was a little disappointing and I have to admit that I’ve seen many places that are cuter, more picturesque, less concrete touristy and to be frank, just plain better. But there really is something about this place that has got to me. Some of that is undoubtedly the convivial company, I’ve new pals in John, Iris and Graham. And then there is Sue; Sue is one of my regular readers and, bless her, followed my route from Mirepoix, via Argeles to Roses just to come spend a couple of nights here and meet me. She even took the twisty windy route. How fabulous is that? I’ve got a fan …  (or a stalker!!) Safe journey home Sue, see you in Yorkshire!

I think one of Roses (pronounced Rosas locally) charms is that it remains a working fishing port and town; it therefore has a heart, unlike Argeles Plage which is pure tourist spot/marina. Roses has a lot of history; its first invaders, long after the Stone Age peoples left their hill-top settlement, were the Greeks. They left their mark with the first harbour. After them it was quiet hereabouts for a few hundred years until the Romans turned up (as they did, everywhere) and built on top of the Greek ruins. All went quiet again for a few more hundred years after the Roman Empire collapsed, until the Moors arrived. The Moors got overthrown by the Christians after another few hundred years. Things then went relatively quiet again for yet another few hundred years and Roses became a quiet, backwater fishing village … until the tourist hordes “discovered” it.

Doing the mending

Backdrop Pyrenees

The “quiet” season

I’m having a good time, thanks to having a social life, my three night stop is turning into three weeks. Current (and as usual, flexible) plan is to stay for a bit longer before heading down towards Barça. I can’t believe it’s only three weeks til the descendants arrive …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Holá Roses

There are three choices of road to take from Argeles-sur-Mer to get into Spain. First route, the A9, the toll road, is the fastest. Second route is the 900 which runs close to the A9 but is non-motorway, non-toll and a bit slower. Third route is the coastal route, slowest of the three BUT the most spectacular (and one of my favourites). It twists round the cliffs, not often terribly steeply but drops down into coastal villages and then back up the cliffs again about seven times. The twists are frequently 180° and the last time I drove it there were a lot of places where there were no crash barriers on the cliff edge; the road surface was appalling and the camber not so great at times. Definitely not the road of choice for wet and/or windy days as its not overly wide either.

So on Saturday it was great to wake up to bright sun, cloudless sky and no wind. I’ll say no more, you know which road I chose don’t you, dear Regular Reader? I’ve never before thought of the French as spoilers of fun, but they have and still are taking some of the  scary out of the route. It’s being widened, resurfaced, re-cambered with concrete barriers being installed to save the unwary from driving off into the Mediterranean. Needless to say French car drivers are increasing their speed accordingly and very annoyed by the drivers of 3.5 ton trucks holding them up! (I did pull over in the villages to let the not-very-long queues pass me.) I grinned maniacally all the way and admired the views as much as one dares on hairpin bends!

I was reminded again, as I passed another memorial just over the border in Spain, of the Basque refugees coming over these passes 80 years ago to escape Franco’s troops. They didn’t have the modern day choices of route to follow or the time to pick decent weather to traverse them, and I bet they weren’t that impressed by the views either.

It’s been difficult to realise that Roses is in Spain, French motorhomers having the vast majority of the pitches here. It’s a nice enough place but without much character as the cute fishing village it once was is now a concrete “paradise” of hotels and apartment blocks. There are still a lot of working boats in the port which is quite distinct from the marina. There’s a nice long promenade for strolling, dog walking, cycling, roller blading, and skateboarding, whichever is your bag, and once again the bar, restaurant and shop owners are making preparations for the tourist onslaught.

Roses fishing port and the marina

Sunday early evening stroll and teensy little aperitif

(LWD was miffed I didn’t share the peanuts)

The cultural diversion inland starts tomorrow, how long it lasts will depend entirely on nighttime temperatures. I admit to being a wuss – at my age I’m entitled!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Soggy Córdoba

With the arrangement to meet up at the Aire in Córdoba vaguely set for “lunchtime”, Jo and I arrived from opposite directions within minutes of one another and had no problems parking side by side. An auspicious start to our few days stay. Unfortunately the weather continued as it has for most of the winter, very inclement and disappointingly unconducive for photography in a very photographic location.

Umbrella’d we explored the streets and monuments of the city …

The christian cathedral was built within the vast moorish mosque

The roman bridge and the decorative plinth to a monument

Jo was very taken with an artist’s studio and waterboarded him for details of his techniques …

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Wall art

We both enjoyed the many patios, indoor courtyards, some of which you could visit gratis, others in cafe’s costa cuppa coffee – but we were too mean to splash out for the “tour” …

Patios

Our evening of dinner with entertainment thankfully, did not force liquidation of our assets. Remembering the size of Spanish starters, we shared one (pumpkin soup) and also dessert (chocolate gateaux). Jo had a salmon main course and I, a lamb timbale. All in all an excellent meal – but the exhibition of Flamenco dancing that followed was beyond excellent, aside from the fact that as a Flamenco “virgin” I was totally awestruck, I was informed by a Spanish fellow diner that the Troupe was one of the best she’s seen.

Flamenco

We stayed for 3 nights and but for the unrelenting wetness would’ve stayed longer; still always leave with a reason to return, and there was still plenty left to see next time …

🙂 🙂 🙂

International Womens’ Day 08/03/18

I celebrated with my Spanish sisters in Merida!

 

There was a wonderful energising atmosphere in the Plaza d’España as women and quite a few men gathered. A super exhibition of photos of Spanish women posing as famous feminists was tucked under cover in an arcade but the rain wasn’t dampening anyone’s spirits and the turnout for such a small city was impressive. The question that was asked on the tablecloth was – What does feminism mean to you? My answer is, unsurprisingly, the one in English!

I felt a truly international woman …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Spanish (and UK) New Year

Despite the site being at almost 100% pitch occupancy, I woke this morning at 9 a.m. to absolute silence and stillness. Hardly surprising considering that as I was giving LWD her final walk of yesterday/first of today at nearly 3 a.m., the site was still full of revellers returning to their places of rest.

New Years Eve was an Event here at Pinar San José. LWD and I wandered to the beach late morning, not our first expedition of the day. On the tide line was a busted dinghy with contents all strewn around. The general opinion was that all was abandoned by illegal immigrants who did not dare to stop and pick up their scattered possessions. The presence of the Guardia parked in a 4×4 overlooking the spot seemed to back up the supposition. Here’s hoping the occupants are safe and well.

I met up with Penny, David and Ghandi the Dog (campals) on the beach and we had a coffee before returning to site to ready ourselves for the festivities.

Said festivities commenced at 2.30 p.m. when a bunch of about 30 of us (mixed nationalities, no Brexit here) gathered in the bar/restaurant for the three course “menu del dia”, excellent meal for €11. Then after another “let’s tire out the dogs walk” with Dean, Rob and Sarah – Daize and Peaches did their mad chasing each other around in circles whilst labradors Star and Molly looked disdainfully on – back to respective mohos to rest up before the main attraction. I tarted up, even managed to find a pair of heels and wear them despite knowing my feet would regret the choice, which they did!

At about 9 p.m. I returned to the bar to suffer an evening of live music, disco, friendly banter (and some deep and meaningful discussion), drinking and dancing with our multi-national community. At midnight we celebrated the New Year with hugs, kisses and white grapes (Spanish tradition) then we danced some more; at 1 a.m. CET we celebrated New Year with the UK and had our English traditional songs for the sake of whomever with the Dutch and Germans, whilst the Spanish watched (and filmed) with a certain amount of bemusement. It was a fabulous day/night made all the better for its international flavour.

One moment really stood out for me; one of our own Jo, who happens to be gay, grabbed a chair plonked it down in front of a Spanish lad with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair, she sat down and proceeded to dance with him – he loved it and his smiling, spasming face was a joy to behold. It was a day of human behaviour at it’s best; age, nationality, disability, sexual preference all ignored.

I can only hope that these sort of moments happen more frequently in my life and in yours, dear reader, and wish you many moments of joy in 2018.

St Lucian sunset
Sunset in St. Lucia 2004

🙂 🙂 🙂

Cracking up …

I left Bolnuevo a week ago and motored the short drive to Lorca for a stay with my friends. Not only did my patient survive my nursing she has recovered incredibly well, yesterday we were crossing the road together and she almost ran across – it was raining, and we’d just come out of the hairdresser’s – fastest she’s moved since the accident she informed me!

Having a cracking time here, we’ve been out and about quite a bit, meal with some of R&J’s friends, local market, food shop and other jaunts. Last night we went to  the cinema to see Murder on the Orient Express (cracking film) and LWD had the devil in her and refused to come inside the house before we left. She wasn’t terribly impressed with being left outside in the dark and cold for two and a half hours; we thoroughly enjoyed the film tho’ . More trips out planned for this coming week and then I’m off to Granada to see the sights.

Just before I left the UK my windscreen collided with a stone. I was in Halfords for something else and asked if they knew where Autoglass was, cashier told me that Halfords now repair windscreen chips. To save time I had it repaired there and was assured the repair was solid as a rock. And so it was – for seven weeks. The morning I was off to Lorca I drew back the windscreen curtains to see a curly crack descending from the “repair”. Insurance company put my call straight through to Autoglass who faxed the details through to their Spanish colleagues and within the hour I had a date for the replacement windscreen. Unfortunately that appointment had to be postponed because of a weather forecast of heavy rain for the appointed day.

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Cracking windscreen

Today, however, was sunny (but cold) and R0X1 is now resplendent with shiny new windscreen.

🙂 🙂 🙂