Since all the terrible events that Michaela wrote about in the book, our lives have been turned upside down – not least as Grandma and I were trapped in England during the first COVID Lock Down – and this led to enough adventures to fill another book (which Michaela is planning for late 2022 – so shh – not allowed to talk about it, yet). It is wonderful to be back in Spain though – now Summer is back 🙂
There is so much going on in the news at the moment across all of Spain, I thought I would concentrate on looking back at happier times. I remember the first time I ever walked in the sunshine alongside the Mediterranean, hot sand underfoot and clear blue horizons ahead.
One of my favourite places to walk has always been down by the roman workings – where, two thousand years ago, the stone from this region was cut from the shores and exported to build palaces across the known world.
No matter what the time of year, or day, there is a calm that soothes my worst moods, when I am next to the sea… Actually, that is not quite right – I am not that keen on standing next to the sea during a Gota Fria Storm – but that still leaves some 357 days when I can enjoy it – and I still do, when I can.
Contrary to most people’s conception of Spain, it isn’t sunny every day. In the winter we have dull days and cold days and high in the mountains we get snow. The most difficult days are the ones where it is sunny and warm outside and cold and shivery inside, as traditionally built properties have thick walls to preserve the cool in Summer and keep the warmth in, in Winter. When the days are warm, but the nights still cold, the houses still need to be warmed, in the evening. That is why, when Spring starts to take hold, it is good to know that the sun is shining as that means that the walls of the older houses are starting to warm up too. The sun’s heat gradually seeps into the thick stone walls that have been taking the brunt of the winds and chills all Winter. It is a lovely time of year. The outside beckons and the garden is full of blossom welcoming the fresh warm days… and insects are still drowsy enough to pose for my camera.
The weather is amazing, it must have been around 23 Degrees Celsius today, which is warm for early Spring. The Mediterranean keeps its deep water temperature constant for most of the year, but the shallow waters are still too cold for me. So, unlike some intrepid souls I saw on the beach, today, I will neither be wading into the sea nor dipping my toes into Pedro’s parents’ swimming pool, even though it is sparkling in the sunshine.
They are lovely though and have invited me round for several events, since Pedro and I first started dating.
I do so love the summers here in Puerto Amarillo or Amarillo Port, as the British call it. Not least as Lola serves a mean ice cream sundae. Served with Café Granizado – black sweet coffee ice – I can’t think of anywhere else I would rather be today!
Plus, afterwards, I can pop into the jewellery shop a couple of doors down and find a nice birthday present for my cousin’s birthday.
He is a funny old stick – hates having his door open, even in the height of summer, so I hope his fans are working today!
Most beaches along the port ban dogs – which, as the sea front fills with young families and children for most of the summer, is fair, probably more hygienic than with them and safer – as a lot of our locals keep hunting podencos, rather than pets.
There are a few, however, that welcome dogs and their owners, providing that they keep the beaches clean, for other walkers – just the same as there are fines in the streets for not removing canine mess. With the strict rules in Spain about photographing people and publishing them, the dog beaches are a photographer’s joy, water, plenty of splashing and a lot of exuberant play, just less humans to object to having their photos taken :).
If you would like to find out more about which beaches in Spain allow dogs there is a map on Google that shows all the beaches below
Actually, more accurately, not the Windsurfer. Lola’s brother dragged me down with my camera to take shots of him and his friends from college, while they windsurfed. It was invigorating to watch and I had been prepared to have a go – until I saw how often they fell off and how rough even the Mediterranean can be on a good surfing day!
Just to prove that there is more than eating and drinking to my life in Spain (when I am not working), I decided to take my camera down to Lola’s garden, the other day. She runs a local café on the seafront and we have become really good friends. She lives on the edge of port, on the same side as her restaurant, and has a lovely small manageable garden, full of flowers and insects.
Best of all, she doesn’t mind me sitting with my camera, while we chat.
I swear, I really am trying to diet, but, what can you do when a typical lunch here is fresh fruit, grapes, cheese and red wine – I am a sucker for cheese and wine, throw in fresh baked bread and Ali-oli and I am completely sunk.
I would like to think that the fresh fruit and salads are good for my diet – but one look at the bread and cheese platter and… well… it saves fridge space and time clearing up – that is all I will say on the matter.
Today I wandered down to the market – so much noise – so many people – just amazing. Impossible to grasp how many people from how many different nationalities merge into the Costa Blanca summers to meet and chat loudly, in more languages than I can recognise.
A lot of the market vendors are Spanish, of course, selling everything from pottery to shoes and fruit to toys. Usually, there is also a sprinkling of leather and artisan sellers from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria and every now and again there will be someone from Holland, the UK or France selling electronics or cheese or silver jewellery – so it is rare not to find something to tempt me.
At this rate we will need a bigger flat.