Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Easter Bunnies are breeding

Another Easter Bunny hot off the knitting needles.


Sitting the sun together 

Los Nietos to Cartagena

Tuesday was a little overcast so another train adventure was called for. This time we choose to travel on the FEVE train from Los Nietos to Cartagena.
The FEVE is a narrow gauge railway vehicle, Chris called it a bus on wheels, that is State  owned and runs every half hour through scenic and interesting countryside.  We started the journey at the furthermost point of the line, Los Nietos a small coastal town, the ticket office is locked and looks very abandoned , so we assumed we paid on the train.
10.20am the single carriage arrived and Chris was right it did look like a bus on rails, we were the only passengers as we left the station. However it stops about a dozen times before it completes the eleven mile journey and we paid our €1.45 (about a pound) for the most interesting journey through fields of crops, deep canyons and interesting industrial working from long ago. By the time we arrived in Cartagena it was full of people.



Clean and comfy seats that rotate with the use of a foot pedal, so you can always face the way you are going.


Arriving in Cartagena 
Waiting for the  lift to the castle, see a previous post about the scary lift!


Peacocks roam the grounds, and this male posed for a photo, while I on the other hand am falling in love with these tree roots.

The castle and it’s grounds are very impressive, but with a lot of steep walks 
and many many steps it was quite a challenge to keep going with my knees

One of the reasons for the return visit was to see the castle and the amphitheater 
We were not disappointed in either, they are amazing.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Monday

I guess it’s Monday but after two weeks away and no calendar to follow it is hard to keep track of the days.
We plan a busy day tomorrow so today was kept pretty low key. 
We enjoyed dinner the the Penny Farthing restaurant in Alcazares, Chris had chilli and I had a really nice cod salad and chips. 
Although we sat outside to eat the weather was not too hot.

A top up on some grocery shopping and then we spent the rest of the day just chilling out. 
Chris sun bathed for a while and I worked on my knitted Easter Bunny, only the ears left to make.
Eating hot chilli and some of my salad


Easter bunny #1 is getting a new friend with his red trousers on!

Sunday visit to Calasparra

After a very wet night, a glimmer of sun started to show so we decided to visit Calasparra, which lies about an hour inland from where we are staying.
6 km from Calasparra is the Sanctuary of the Virgin de la Esperanza.
We had visited a few years ago during the week when we almost had the place to ourselves, but it was very different on a Sunday and the car parks were very full. Mass was just starting as we arrived and gave the small church a special meaning.

The story of the Sancuary starts in the 16th century, when a shepherd discovered a cave. Inside the cave was an image of the Virgin de la Esperanza, the local town tried to move the small statue but were unable to lift it and decided it should stay in the cave. Over the years the cave which is in a sheer rock face was extended to become a place of reflection and peace. It is an amazing place and you can read more about it on www.murciatoday.com
The entrance the Sanctuary 

Religious mosaics line the walk way


The steps lead into the Sanctuary where Mass was being said.


The sheer rock face is held together with a large ‘hairnet’ of mesh.
It is a very fragile place.

Calasparra is also famous for its rice and it was interesting seeing the paddy fields, although too early in the year for rice to be growing yet.
There are fields as far as the eyes can see of Peach and other fruit trees just starting to flower, a couple more weeks and the air will be filled with their fragrance. A very special day.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Saturday 27th staying local

First thing this morning we went for a walk around the block, which is almost a mile according to FitBit. Stopping at the many bins, where everything except tins is recycled. No idea why they do not recycle tins.
The bins fascinate me ( it doesn’t take much to please me) the shutes go underground, 
I need to see the bin lorry emptying them to know how they work!


Again we passed another pretty piece of landscaping.

Pauline and Brian called in as they were passing to have a look at where we are staying.

After lunch the sun came out although the wind made it feel cooler than the 16-20 degrees gauges.
We decided to drive to the coast for a wander and see the flamingos that love the salt flats.
A restored windmill. There has been a lot of work done to improve this area of the coast.


With salt flats on one side and the Mar Menor on the other this is a popular walk that has seen a lot of improvement.


Flamingos and wildlife love the area.

This is the end of week two and I managed 23854 steps, about 12 miles which is about 2&1/2 less than our first week, but almost twice my average at home. I am feeling it!! But determined to keep going, I’m told it will not wear my two new knees out, but it might wear me out!

Friday, 26 January 2018

Recovery & trips

Chris has not been feeling too well the past few days, so I have been gallivanting off on my own.
This morning, which even though I thought it was the 27th is actually the 26th, I drove to a local market at El Algar. One street was completely blocked off and taken over by stalls selling just about everything you could want.
I have been looking for a new handbag and one stall had just what I wanted in two different colours so I thought I would buy them both. It is normal to haggle the price, which in this case was ten euros each, so I offered fifteen for the two, the guy muttered something in Spanish and seemed to agree so I gave him a €20 note, he wrapped the bags and gave me €10 back in change. 
I am delighted with my bags for only €5 each.
My two bargain bags.

After lunch Chris was feeling a little better and wanted to go out for a short drive. We decided to check out a train station we intend to use next week... more about that later. While in the town of Los Nietos we stopped at the coast for a breathe of air. It was blowing a gale so it was a quick stop before we returned home.
All along the walkway were these beautiful seahorse seats 
All in different colours.



This seat overlooks the members only boat club.

Back in business blogging Friday 27th

The blog app I use is back up and running. The guy who owns it has been most helpful and kept me informed of the problem which was Google’s fault not his. I think a couple of my posts are out of order but I’ll fix that when I get home, don’t want to push my luck now I’m able to post again!

The beach walk

Another nice day so while Chris sunbathed I took off for the shops and then to walk along the beach at Alcazares. Later in the day Chris decided he would also like to see the sea, so we went back again. We had lunch on the patio and the day was pretty lazy.
Alcazares beach area

Calm blue sea of the Mar Menor 

Loved this tree, it looked like a Poinsettia but much too big.

Lunch on the patio

Second visit to the beach for a walk and sit and ponder.

(Backup) Roda restaurant

We arranged to meet our friend Pat, who lives in Spain, for lunch and choose the nearest bar/restaurant at Roda. It was packed with people and we found a table in a little shade as it was again a very hot day.
The menu of the day was Ravioli, which Chris choose but Pat and I had chicken and chips. We started with either a soup or salad followed by the main course and a slice of mousse type cake for dessert all with a large bottle of water for €5 each.
It was so nice catching up on all the news. After the meal Pat followed us back to our holiday home for the afternoon.


The typical Spanish bar/restaurant
Pat and Chris enjoying their meal


The New Church building

Almost within walking distance of where we are staying at Alcazares they are building a new church, this fact alone is amazing as I cannot remember seeing a new church of any denomination being built for years. I was thrilled to learn it is a church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and look forward to attending when it is complete and we are here on holiday.




The church under construction 


Easter Bunny is getting a friend

Fairly early in the morning the mist was hanging over the golf course and it was fairly chilly, so I wrapped up and decided to walk around ‘the block’. I went further than I normally do and came across the beautiful specimen of a cactus/succulent.

I love seeing the different plants and flowers around here.

We postponed our planned train trip and I took to my knitting needles again to make Easter Bunny a friend.


I thought I’d be clever and give him red shoes, black trousers and a white top only to find the black wool I had to buy locally was too thin. A change of plan meant he is getting red shoes and trousers, I need to use the oddments of wool I brought to Spain with me.

Late afternoon the sun appeared again and the temperature reached about 18 degrees, the forecast for the next few days looks to be about the same.


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

In case you are wondering

In case you are wondering where I have gone, the app I use for putting photos on my blog has hiccups and the owner is trying to fix it.
I’ll be back!

Monday, 22 January 2018

Sights and sounds of the market

The wind over night rattled the shutters and although we woke to 17 degree weather the wind made it feel very chilly. We debated on our trip to the market but in the end decided to go. By the time we got there the wind had dropped and as the morning wore on it get hotter and hotter reaching 23/24 degrees.
Open air markets are a way of life here in Spain, and the Sunday market is one of the largest we like to visit. There are lots of places to eat, everything from ‘a full English’ to German and Scandinavian food. We started our visit with the Full English and then wandered the stalls where Chris wanted to buy a jacket. It is normal to haggle a price and the jacket was €40 so he offered  €35 but this particular stall would not accept less so he paid the asking price only to be given the jacket and four euros change to buy himself a coffee!
Buy the length of carpet you need and this guy will sew the edges while you wait

Meat and cheese of every description 

Lots of dried fruits and vegetables 
A basket maker sits in the shade making and selling his wares

Spanish dresses in every size
Wine by the barrel  load! Bring your own container.

Leather handbags, mostly sold by Moroccans.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Lazy Saturday

Today we decided to have a lazy day, the sun was really hot and Chris made the most of it lying on a sun bed in the garden most of the day. I made a quick trip in San Javier to see my friend Pat while she was volunteering at the Charity shop. It was so nice seeing her again.
I also called at Overseas Iceland to pick up essential supplies, actually I’m not sure Greggs sausage rolls are essential, but they sure are nice.

I managed to stuff four knitted Easter eggs made since we arrived. They are in need of steaming but that will have to wait until we get home.
I also started a small X stitch kit given to me by a friend at Christmas, something I haven’t done in a long time.

Easter bunny now has some eggs.

The evening sun set was really pretty, so I took this photo from the balcony upstairs.
View from the balcony across to the golf course

This has been the first week here and I have been keeping a FitBit record of the steps taken.
6196, 3928, 2308, 2557, 2607, 9016, 2339. Total 28951 which is about double my normal weekly stats.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

El Prato, San Miguel

Our friends Pauline and Brian are staying at their sons house a few miles from us. We decided yesterday to visit and go for a meal at one of our favourite places, El Prado in San Miguel. Luckily Pauline had booked a table as the place was packed to bursting. The restaurant has a conservatory attached and we were seated in there. The service was extremely good and a plate of salad was on the table to share as soon as we sat down.
The set menu has a choice of starters, three mains and a whole list of desserts plus a drink (1/2 a bottle of wine or a soft drink) all for €9.5, about £9 each.
Tucked away in a side street in this small town

I choose melon and ham starter, followed by sole, both were delicious 


Pauline and Brian and us enjoying a great meal.
My dessert, yummy


Biopsy, bruises and a block finish

Thursday I went into hospital at 10.30 for my lung biopsy, the staff could not have been nicer and put me at ease. The procedure meant lying...