For one of this band of two this week, and it has meant that we have seen friends of old and more lately new ones for the week, and as is the case still in Spain, we have been able to eat and drink out.
It’s also been a big celebration here in Spain itself, as Wednesday was Three Kings Day. The Feast of Epiphany is traditionally Spain’s main festive holiday, when children receive their presents brought not by Santa, but by the Three Kings. (Some of you might have to think back to RE lessons at school, or remember the full Christmas ‘blog’) On the evening of January 5th Spanish towns and cities are given over to colourful parades, with real life versions of the Kings played by local celebs or members of the local council, and from the parades sweets are hurled at the children running behind the floats. It’s a huge thing here and we were fortunate to witness and join in one such parade on our last jaunt in an Elddis motorhome in January 2017.
In fact, I think we still bear some of the scars from the missiles hurled from the floats, or it might have been from the tussles of David with the Spanish children fighting over who could catch the sweets. But like everything, this year the parades were cancelled. However, the family celebrations and exchanging of gifts did still occur and we bore witness to this in Corte Ingles (a huge Spanish department store) as the crowds all fought over last minute desperate purchases. Thankfully for us two, none of that, in fact we have had no last minute present buying either for Christmas or Three Kings Day. There is after all only so much we need and so much we can fit in the van, and after nearly a year on the road a lot of the nooks and crannies that are so usefully available are now near to full!.
But back to reality and Monday saw us leave Torrox and head towards Malaga, but we were desperate to get some washing done, and with the weather not being that conducive to drying we had to head away from any campsite washing facilities and to a launderette. Of course, in our UK world, a launderette would be in the town, so hard to park a lovely big Elddis Encore 250 nearby. But have no fear or worries, here in Europe a lot of garages either on motorways or on the outskirts of town have them, and so it was to one of them we headed and after just over the hour we had lovely clean dry bedding, towels and our clothes pile was back up to normal levels. Slightly dearer perhaps than a campsite machine, but definitely a better wash and so much quicker.
It was then to a lovely small well run private Aire in Rincon de Victoria, about 17k’s outside of Malaga. We arrived not only after a big wash, but a big shop in time for a beach stroll and a last pre 6pm curfew drink. There are two ways into the Aire, one involves very narrow lanes, low hung ‘sticky’ out window ledges and very bazaar twists in the road. The other way in is marginally better, but nevertheless a two way street. No one need to comment as to which one we ending up taking, but we are now very friendly with a few local home dwellers! The next day, which was the said Three Kings Eve, we cycled the 17k’s into the main town.
Most of the cycle is along the coast and seafront, and of course as you proceed the scenery changes to that of a huge city. We have not been to any large towns or cities for some time (at least not out of quarantine) and we were slightly dubious about venturing into Malaga, especially as it also holds bad memories for us from the last trip, when my lovely E-bike was stolen, whilst chained up from outside the main tourist and police office. However, we decided that we can’t keep ourselves wrapped up completely in cotton wool and numbers for Covid in Malaga are low. So, taking all the proper and usual precautions we headed in, and made our very small, but very necessary purchase in Corte Ingles, bikes chained up outside with the three different styles of lock. It was still a relief when we got outside to find both bikes still as they were and without further ado, we headed back along the coastal bike path to Buster, for a lovely in house dinner of lamb chops, roasties and veg.
Wednesday, Three Kings Day begun with grey skies and then proceeded to pee rain as we drove to Cabopino and New Life in the Sun, or should we say Bargain Brits Abroad friends, Darren and Jonny. To get us starting on any celebrating front, we after parking Buster up on a nearby campsite headed out to have afternoon drinks with music at one of their local fav spots. The enforced afternoon curfew did us good, before we headed out again for dinner at again another fav, and one we had been to with them before on our visit. It’s a Japanese style restaurant and like all things Japanese it’s about the theatre of it all, as well as decent food.
We left the Bargain Brits Abroad the next day, on rather a sadder note, although we tried to make it a celebration as well. Another close friend from home, had sadly passed away a week or so ago, from the other longer term illness, not the new kid on the block C word. The funeral was at 9.30am Spanish time and so the four of us raised a glass of his favourite drink- lager top in a very, wet and cold Cabopino harbour- thankfully the cold and wet kept most people away, so we only had a few worrying looks. Cheers Johnny.
Estepona, saw another quick pitstop, but also a very lovely lunch in a hilltop restaurant just outside Estepona. David’s close friend Peter from Shooters Hill Golf Club, now also has a New Life in the Sun, but for us as we now wanted to get back further west before any restrictions came in it was only a pitstop, but yet again, we and David especially had a lovely celebration lunch.
So, that evening Buster happily rolled back into Camping Pinar San Jose, our recent home for seven weeks and where Pino the cat had adopted us. We left, three weeks ago from site, after having tried hard to get Pino the cat taken in or adopted but to no avail and so we had no choice, having fed him up but to pull away and leave him. We had partly done the decent thing, and had the young lad neutered and wormed before leaving him to his own devices. It was dark, and wet as we parked on our exact previous spot, all but one away from another UK van. Both our hearts were heavy as to what might have happened to him, fearing the worst. With the engine turned off and awning light on, it was seconds before the familiar meow and the white bolt of lightning run towards us crying “where do you think you’ve been?” Judy and Alan, our neighbours had oddly arrived the day we left, and after a brief interlude, where he had conned a Swiss couple to feed him, had been looking after him…phew.
The week has come to a close, with more celebrating in its own new Covid form, but again thankfully for us, we were able to mark this big celebration with lunch out again on the Friday and a very nice, well travelled bottle of champagne that evening. Pino, had some very special tuna as well, so as not to be left out, and a bit of kefir in his milk, to mark the occasion even more.
David would have course, have loved to celebrate his 60th birthday with more family and friends, just like so many others for whatever reasons over the last year, but that of course for the moment is not to be. But for the two of us, armed with cards brought from home, some very nice financial surprise’s and one actual present, plus those few other lovely pre-birthday outings, David has all in all had a lovely 60th celebration.
Pino, is celebrating too, because we’re back and we’re suckers. What are we to do with him now? We need to move on, and the likelihood of any more UK arriving to feed him are slim. Adoption here remains a No, and his hunting skills are minimal. Taking him in the van is a No as well on a long term basis, and so Cat Rescue begins and the week of celebrations for Spain and David ends.