I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Sunday 19 March 2023

Spain 2023 - March 16th to 18th

Thursday 16th March

I managed to catch a sunrise this morning.  I hadn’t slept properly all night as I was watching the clock.  I had read that sunrise was 07.16 and it was spot on! 

We had been promising ourselves for a few years to go to Nijar.  I love all the colourful pottery that is sold locally, and I understood that Nijar was full of pottery shops.  So off we set.  There are two ways to get to Nijar, one is on the motorway which is 41 miles and takes an hour and the other is via Carboneras which is 28 miles and takes 55 minutes.  The route via Carboneras is along the twisty coast road which, though lovely, is a nightmare!  Needless to say, we took the longer route.

I had imagined Nijar as being an old village full of small white houses with pots outside.  I was very disappointed!  This is the main street. 

We could see that there should be a good many shops, but they were all closed, it is winter after all, even though we are having a bit of a heat wave.  There were only three pot shops open but they were stocked from floor to ceiling with pots. 

I managed to get a couple of wall pots that I had wanted, however I was also looking for a couple of things for Victoria and James, but there wasn’t the exact thing.  I will have to look in Mojacar for them.

We then walked up the main street and came across a much older part of Nijar, but it wasn’t very big at all.  Still, we found a café and sat and had lunch.  

From Nijar we went to San Jose on the coast.  We found a car park where we could walk to the beach, but there was a car park attendant who demanded (well not really) money!  We only wanted a look!  We drove to the south side of the town where we got quite a good view of San Jose. 

The whole point of going to the area was to visit Genoveses Beach.  It was quite a long unmade road but worth it when we got there to see the small sand dunes and the beautiful sandy beach.  The only people on the beach were wind and kite surfers. 

Muffin found a small log to play with, it looks heavy but I think it might have been bamboo as there was no middle to it. 

Playa de los Genoveses is in the 7th beach out of 84 beaches in the Almeria region.  In the summer private car access is restricted to a few vehicles per day, once the cars reach the quota you can only reach the beach by public transport or by walking.  The beach got its name from the landing of the Genevan fleet in 1147 that came to support the Spanish troops in order to conquer Almeria, which belonged to the Muslim kingdom of Granada.  I found the last sentence on the internet and am intrigued as Genevan seems to relate to someone from Geneva. Did landlocked Geneva have a fleet back in 12th century?

When we got back to the villa I thought I ought to ring my medical practice back in the UK and find out how I can send my blood test results to my doctor.  I was caller number 6 in the queue.  90 minutes later I got through.  Is that a record???

Friday 17th March

We needed to go to Turre market this morning to get a jumper for my brother-in-law.  My sister got one last year and it has worn very well.  I found the same stall and got a similar jumper – I just hope it fits.

In the fields next to the where we were parked in Turre were four sheep and one lamb.  However it did look as if there would probably be more lambs soon as the other three ewes were quite fat!

We stopped at Thomas’s for a few things which included wine.  I have a big birthday coming up (no it’s not 60 – I wish - and don’t you dare say 80!!) so we have been stocking up on wine to take home.  We can take 24 bottles each, so we will be OK, I think the stash is up to 12 now, so 36 to go, well perhaps not that many!

The wind really got up when we got back to the villa.  I had washing to put out and I just hoped that none of it would blow away. (It didn’t!).

Apparently yesterday was the Day of the Old Lady!  A festival that is only celebrated in Almeria.  The traditional thing is to go to the countryside, or the beach, and eat things such as broad beans, potato tortillas, sausages, biscuits and homemade desserts. There is also hornazo which is a kind of long sweet bread, filled with hard-boiled eggs, Iberian sausage, ham and marinated pork, which many bakeries make exclusively for the day.  For children (and some older ones) an old woman is made, a kind of piñata that hides sweets and even toys inside. Her body is a cross of reeds or wooden sticks and her dress is made of brightly coloured tissue paper. 

When we were here in 2019 Mojacar there was a plague of processionary caterpillars.  Thank goodness it is nowhere near as bad this year though we have seen a few. The Pine Processionary (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) is a moth of the Thaumetopoeidae family. It is one of the most destructive species to pines and cedars in Central Asia, North Africa and the countries of southern Europe. The urticating (irritating) hairs of the caterpillar larvae cause harmful reactions in humans and other mammals. The species is notable for the behaviour of its caterpillars, which overwinter in tent-like nests high in pine trees, and which proceed through the woods in nose-to-tail columns, protected by their severely irritating hairs. 

Saturday 18th March

We planned to go to Victor’s at Buganvillas this morning on our way to my favourite supermarket – Consum in Vera.  However, it seems that Victors is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.  What a shame as it serves lovely coffee.  So, it was straight to Consum.  One of the things on my list were oven chips, but Consum only sell frozen chips for deep frying.  I do find that strange.

I had a video call with Victoria who was watering my houseplants, one has died   She said that she had a cold and felt rotten.  She took a Covid test when she got home, and it was positive.  James is flying to South Africa for work on April 3rd, I just hope he doesn’t get it from her.  I must comment on James, he is leaving the UK for 10 weeks on the day we return to the UK.  I do think that going to South Africa is a rather drastic way of not seeing your mother-in-law 😊

These two little birds were waiting for us to finish our lunch. I’m sure they knew that I was about to give them some crumbs! 

It rained in the afternoon 😊  Not heavy and for only about 40 minutes.  Once the rain cloud had gone over we were able to sit out again.  In fact, we watched the rain cloud moving east and as it did it dissipated, until this was all that was left.

A friend of mine is retiring soon from a stressful and all consuming job.  She asked me what I do with my time now I am retired.  I had to think really hard about it.  I realised last night that I had spent the afternoon at my laptop, but what had I been doing?  I can’t answer that as I really don’t know.  I know I was looking on the Lufthansa website, we are flying with them to New Zealand and I no doubt did a bit on the blog, but that couldn’t have taken all afternoon! 

When we were on our way to the mountains the other day, we spotted a huge solar farm on the road out of near Tabernas. It turns out that it is the Solar Platform of Almería which is the largest concentrated solar technology research, development and test centre in Europe.  There are over 20,000 square metres of mirrors which are installed on a 99 acre site.  I have “borrowed” the photo from Wikipedia as I wanted you to see how strange the mirrors are, they are nothing like a normal solar panel. 

Strangely enough just before we got into Tabernas, we passed a brand new HUGE solar farm and I mean huge – 265 acres of it!  It will be capable of generating more than 104 GWh per year, enough to meet the annual consumption of 10,000 local homes and offset more than 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

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