Sunday, 22 March 2015

Alhambra Palace

After leaving Alison’s we went to Granada to visit The Alhambra Palace. The campsite was ok, but it was no Cabopino; we were certainly spoilt there and all agree it’s the benchmark for all campsites. This one did have a bar on site though and me and Beth decided we were due a night out, which in the event was needed after spending the day at Alhambra Palace with two little ‘bleeders’.

The two little cherubs!!!!!! (Boggers)
The palace itself is in Spain’s top 12 places to visit and it’s easy to see why. The Moorish architecture mixed with Roman design and a splash of well-maintained gardens made for a full day out. Not to mention the views from the top looking over Granada.
Alfie trying his hardest to behave
Sixth attempt at the picture due to misplaced humour
Unfortunately this was all wasted on the kids as they decided it was a day to wind each other up and take absolutely no notice of the sights we were here to see. In the grand rooms, covered in delicate designs and mosaic-ed walls, all that could be heard was “Alfie -  you’re gay!!” and “Thomas – you’re dead!!” In the peaceful serene ‘coliseum style’ outdoor arena, all we could hear were comments like “You’re an idiot” or “I’m gonna kill you” topped off with “I really need a poo”.

Grinning and bearing it
Alfie was particularly disgusted at the fact that from the roof, looking out over the buildings below, there was some bloke doing a workout on his balcony, in the nude! He was obviously very proud of himself and had no problems doing pushups and squats with his dangly bits on display for all to see.

There's just no need for it
After being amused by the exhibitionist, we decided to risk walking through the museum, but all the artefacts were hundreds of years old and all on show, well within reach of young boys fingers. It felt like being back in the glass museum in Gibraltar, so we quickly made our way through this and called it a day.

End of the day, amazingly still alive
Back at the campsite, me and Tom had time to build some Lego before the sun went down. After dinner we tucked the kids into bed and went for that swift half we had promised ourselves. The swift half turned into a full blown session and we both got extremely drunk. A whole night out for the two of us getting plastered and being served three tapas, came to a grand total of 28 euros, bargain.

Totally smashed, we needed this
The following day, with a hangover, we drove through the ‘Sierra Nevada’. Unfortunately it was a misty day so we didn’t get to fully appreciate the scenery, never the less, it was still grand. A good job really as we were driving for four hours to get to a particular campsite with an indoor pool - me and the boys were looking forward to a good swim again.

After finally getting to our destination though we were informed the pool was shut for the day and closed tomorrow! Gutted.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Sierra Blanco

After what has been a lovely long stay at Cabopino, we are now on the move again. We said our goodbyes to the friends we made and drove back to Guaro to ‘our Alison’s’, for a couple of days wild camping again and to say our farewells to her and Steve and little Jacque. But not before a day out walking up a mountain which Steve has arranged with a couple of his mates, Jesper (The Viking) and Uncle James. I love walking round mountains so I was really looking forward to it.

Breakfast in the sun, wild camping in Guaro
Schooling in the great outdoors

Now when I’ve walked up mountains in the past, it has been with people who have researched the area, checked on weather conditions, had a compass and map on hand as well as things like energy drinks and high protein bars.
These guys had a crate of beer!........... This was going to be an interesting day.

After stopping off to get supplies (biscuits, water and BLT’s) we head off to the mountain. Once there we have a beer and make a start. Then we stop for a ‘special break’, then we start again, and stop for a special break again, and start off again, and it goes on like this until we reach the peak. This was a very entertaining way of seeing a mountain range, and a very amusing exercise in human behavior. Steve, Jesper and James have known each other for years, so were very comfortable in each other’s company and had a good few stories to share, as well as their own little language that involved saying “Hurdy-Gurdy” after every three sentences, or if there had been a particular quiet spell. They are very friendly guys and went out of their way to make me feel part of the group and I can honestly say I had a great day, and I really appreciate Steve arranging the trip out and inviting me along.

Jespa the Viking, Steve and Uncle James, time for a beer!

It was a baking hot day and the scenery was stunning. When we reached the peak we could see over Marbella all the way to Puerto Banus; it was breathtaking. After a few celebratory beers we headed off a bit further to explore, then made our way back to the car park. At this point, Steve, Jesper and Uncle James were all in a very peaceful, if not comical, head space.
 It would take a miracle to reach the top!

In many of the walks I have been on, it seems there is a lot of talking on the way up a mountain, but on the way down, it seems a time for quiet reflection after the achievement. This was no different, especially after all the ‘special breaks’ we had. Every so often we would walk by particular plants that gave off the most amazing scents, I could even smell the ferns and the pines. 

The very warm Sierra Blanco mountain range, i could have stayed up here for days. 
The heat of the day seemed to magnify all the individual scents, as well as give off shimmering heatwaves in every direction we looked in. The whole area was covered in small blue and purple flowers and a yellow kind of prickly bush which I think is called broom? I remember seeing this a lot as a kid in the village woods where I grew up, strange how powerful this was, seeing it again made me feel younger. At the times we stopped for a special break, the mountain was deadly quiet, I found this, mixed with the heat and the smells, to be very intoxicating………or could this be the drink I wonder?

The path to the peak
The day was great and the company better; I felt we could have brought tents, made a camp fire and kept going into the following day. The sun was just going down as we got back to the car park, and it was nice to fall into a comfortable seat and relax whilst a taxi drove us home. Just one more stop before we got back, we pulled over in a very typical ‘pueblo blanco’ and had a beer and tapas outside in the evening sun.
As miracles go, we actually made it, with plenty of time to spare.

Hurdy Gurdy!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Hola mis sujetos humanos

As the new owner of the Major Breakers, I thought I would introduce myself and give you an insight into the feline world. According to the humans, my name is Houdini. I’ve had worse names I suppose.

It certainly is a cat’s life here at Cabopino, especially when you are ‘Top Cat’, like me (none of this being more dog bobbins) and have the choice of so many luxurious awnings to slumber in of a chilly Spanish noche. There are plenty of foreign canines tied up for me to irritate and of course the weather is great for those day-long siestas I take.

The Major folk are pretty interesting characters, especially the one who claims not to like us cats. Aside from letting me sit on his lap, he has been showing me some of their human activities. I find these mildly entertaining, if not a little strange, but it takes all sorts I suppose.

Apparently you drink this stuff, but I couldn't fit my head in the cup.

This activity was rather fun, but the red one didn't really want to play.

I couldn't see the point of this game, but he played it for ages.

The short one needed some help with his maths but I preferred sniffing the chair.

After a full day of watching these strange occupations and several hours napping on my favourite seat, it is my custom to have a quick wander around the site to catch up with friends and grab a bite to eat.  One of the humans seems to think that I might like orange peel; she puts out fresh offerings every few days. I prefer the flesh rather than the peel though so I make sure I walk over it several times a day just so she knows that I appreciate the thought. I spray all around her pitch too, just to make she knows I’m still around.

All this for me, that woman sure does love me!

When these Major folk got here they seemed happy enough to have the honour of my esteemed company bestowed upon them by day but were in the habit of turfing me out of an evening. I soon corrected this by jumping on their roof and miaowing loudly through the vents until the door was opened by the tall one who looks after the food. She will even lift me down so I don’t have to bother jumping. I quite like the blanket she crocheted for me too and I sleep on it all night.

 I have my young apprentice to train, so I’ve started bringing him to the van with me in the early evenings. He won’t let the humans touch him and will bat their hands away with his paw when they extend a limb. His theory is to try and extract food using the wide-eyed technique. I’ve tried to tell him that my methods are far superior, I mean, look at the size of him compared to me, but he is young and thinks he knows it all. A few more weeks and I bet the female human would crochet him a blanket too.

Patience, young one. I will show you the ways of the force.

He's watched Shrek 2 too many times.

They tell me they’re leaving next week and will miss me. I am looking forward to the next comfy cushion for nap times and perhaps less of the short humans who will insist on picking me up just when I have got comfy. I am rather fond of the red one though. Although he tried to show me the human way, he has actually emulated my lifestyle while he’s been here, although I haven’t noticed him spraying on the orange peel yet. 

One of my favoured pastimes.

I got the red one to move the bricks so  I could get a better look.

Well, must go now, too much work wears me out. It's hot in Spain y'know. Adios amigos.