Breakfast like a king…..

When in Spain, do as the Spaniards do….

Every time we come to Spain, we know we could easily buy a carton of orange juice, a pack of coffee, a box of cereal and some milk and make our own breakfast. But where’s the fun in that?

No, when in Spain we do as Miquel does. We do as so many Spanish do. On our way out to begin the day, we call in at a local bar or bakery-with-café attached.

We sit down, maybe glance at one of the newspapers lying around, and order a coffee and a pastry and enjoy a few quiet moments before launching into action.

Our breakfast of choice includes a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice – such a treat. We may choose a wholemeal croissant: I promise you, they’re delicious. Or even better, pan tostada con tomate. Chased down with a café solo, and a few minutes of people-watching, there’s no better start to the day.

A Weekend of Simple Pleasures

Three days. Three days to build memories and new connections. Ellie’s partner Ed has three children, and the two youngest made an instant Gang of Three with William, sharing a bedroom and every waking moment together. Adults and older children mucked in and just had fun.

There was a snag, and it was a big one. Poor Ben woke up on Friday with tonsillitis, had to see s doctor for drugs and advice, and vanished to his room to feel rotten for two whole days. Day three had him making up for lost time.

We spent lots of time sharing meals.

Aside from that there were praying mantises to admire…

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Praying mantis

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….. new foods to discover…

…. traditional Catalan dancing to enjoy…..

….. and charming mediaeval townships to mooch through….


It was a fine weekend.

A Surprise in Spain

We’re in Spain. Emily and Miquel had invited us to celebrate her 30th birthday with them, so off we went to Barcelona on Thursday. Where they immediately announced ‘Some friends have lent us their holiday home near the coast for the weekend. Don’t unpack. We’re off in an hour.’

The sun was setting as we arrived at a village, somewhere near Girona. As we arrived, I was sure it must be the wrong place – there were cars in the drive, and this was no small holiday cottage. We got out anyway…. and a line of people appeared on the balcony singing ‘Happy Birthday’…. to me.

It was my family. My whole family. My three children, their partners and children, who had all secretly plotted and contrived to come here for a long-delayed 70th birthday celebration, just for me, here, this weekend. And I hadn’t suspected a thing.

On the actual day, two years ago, Ellie was in the middle of chemotherapy and celebrations were in short supply.

So here we are, all 15 of us, all in the same place at the same time – something that almost never happens. For a whole long weekend of glorious weather, spending our days playing with the children on the beach, and our evenings on the terrace outside eating, drinking and talking, always talking…..

Lunch by the beach

Emily’s birthday hasn’t even had a mention yet. That’s on Monday. We’ll celebrate that then, back in Barcelona.

Phone photos are hard to come by in bright sunshine. Here’s some fun in the pool at our weekend home.

Ragtag Saturday: Rus in urbe in Andalucia

Rus in urbe.  Signs of the countryside in town.  We spent a lot of our time in Andalucia, particularly in Córdoba and Málaga, hanging over river bridges staring at bird life, or gawping into trees to see what we could see.  Here’s a bit of a rogues’ gallery….

Cormorants on the river Guadalquivir…

Egrets, ditto.

Herons – or perhaps always just the same heron?  Fishing, always fishing.

A poor swallow (Was it a swallow?  Help me, someone) trapped in the synagogue in Córdoba, endlessly flying impotently towards the light, the incontestably glazed windows.

Then it was parakeets.  We’ve moved to Málaga now.  We could hear them all the time, squawking in the palm trees.  But this pair had time to bill, coo and preen.

La Concepción Botanical Gardens were at the edge of town.  But still definitively Málaga.  I offer you turtles…..

…. toads…

and – not from the Botanical Gardens – the inevitable herring gull.

 

And if it’s red squirrels you’re after, you’ll just have to read my last post.

As usual, click on any photo to view full size.  This is my entry for today’s Ragtag Challenge: rus in urbe.

Thursday Doors visits Córdoba

Here’s my contribution to Thursday Doors. Follow the link to see pictures of humble doors, magnificent doors, old doors, new doors, village doors, town doors … all sorts of doors from around the world.

As usual, click on any image to view it full size.

Squirreling a snack

We’re back in England now, back to temperatures of under six degrees when we’d got used to nearer twenty in Spain.  Back to rain and wind instead of sunny breeze.  Still, I can sit and sort my photos out.

The view up – looking towards the Alcazaba: the adjoining castle to Gibralfro.

Here are some from the day we slogged up the 240′ to Castillo Gibralfro in Málaga. Part way up, we came upon this enchanting scene.

I know the arguments about the potential dangers to both humans and wildlife from too-close contact.  But these two Spanish children are not likely to forget, or be unaffected by this chance encounter with this little squirrel: or to resent the fact that he charmed the greater part of their mid-morning snack from them.

 

And here’s the view coming down.

Click on any image to view full size.