Day 65-66: Spain, Alhama

Rise and shine, campers, it’s moving day! As we stowed everything away in Kaya and set off for a few days parked up in Irene & Tony’s condo carpark. The sun is shining this morning but it’s been a bit windy overnight. It seems that the cold weather & snow affecting you’all up north and on the mountains in northern Spain are affecting the weather patterns and a cold wind is blowing down to the coast. Jumpers on, too hot, jumpers off, too cold (but that’s relative, of course!!) so finally we resolve to sit in the sun with no jumpers and slip them on in the shade. What to do when walking, cause then you get all hot & sweaty even in the shade? #FirstWorldProblems #NowYouKnowWhatItsLikeToBeMenopausal !

After a quick cortado sitting in the sun with Irene & Tony, we set off for Alhama and a lunch time tapas trail – a bit like a pub crawl but with food at each stop as well! Such a great idea! And another group of friends to pass a really pleasant afternoon with, as we forge our way through a few €3 tapas (mostly including a glass of wine or beer at each stop) but spend much more time chatting than eating.

Hi, Jose & Miriam, hope to see you on the road soon!

I’ve said it before but I am going to say it again, the Mediterraneans certainly know how to live long and enjoyable lives.

Then it was a flying visit at sunset to see the striking Erosions of Bolnuevo on the Mazarron Bay – much larger (behemouth, in fact!) in life than in the pictures.

Then pop into the new Tesco store in Mazarron (yes, my goodness, they have lard, I can make shortcrust pastry again! #FirstWorldProblems and a final stop for a “menu” (menu del dia) at the local Mazarron Asian restaurant to ring the food changes for that day.

Then back to Irene & Tony’s for a brew and to catch up with Gogglebox and finally, after a very full day, in more ways than 1 (thanks, guys, you are awesome!) off to bed for an early start tomorrow.

Day 66

Up at the crack to get off for an early(ish) walk this morning. The wind has been blowing quite a bit during the night and we step out under cloudy skies. It’s a definite day for jumpers even in the sun (when it finally peeps through the clouds) with the cold wind whipping our hair about and catching our clothes.

Our first destination of the day La Batería de Castillitos to let the gorgeous Mr T’s nerd out, because this is right up his street. We reach the guns (now decommissioned) after a careful & winding drive up a very narrow, single lane road up a very steep hill.

The gun emplacement was built in the 1930s to resemble an old, crumbling fort (all the better to fool the invaders, my dear!) on the top of an extremely high hill allowing magnificent views over the Mazarron Bay to one side and Cartagena Bay to the other.

In the wild wind (much, much wilder up here! as in.. don’t stand too near the edge or that wind gonna suck you off!!) which has now dismissed the clouds over us so the sun is shining, it’s a real sight to behold.

The gorgeous Mr T has thoroughly inspected the massive 15″ guns and is now running around (well, actually a more sedate walk, but here I have poetic license!) having a good old time checking out the emplacements and lookouts. We spend some time investigating the underground tunnels that traverse the hill beneath but didn’t manage to find the room directly beneath the main gun to allow us to check out the gun workings.

Despite this, it really is a place to mark for a visit but take your common sense with you. Although there has been some work done to secure the floors and rocks, there’s not a barrier or balustrade in sight (ok, that’s an exaggeration, there’s 1) to secure the very high drop offs but the installation is completely free of charge so, a more than sensible off-set, we think.

Back down the hill and we stop briefly once to take some pictures of the beautiful colours on the hillside – of the purple and lilac (potassium?) minerals leeching from the craggy rocks, offset by the green of the hillside plants, set against the deep blue skies. #GodsOwnCountry

Down the winding narrow road again, as we make our way to a windy but sunny Cartagena and the medieval festival in full swing in town. Not before stopping for a coffee first – no rushing about without a time to relax in Spain! Then on to a walkabout through the stalls, all dressed, including the stall owners, for medieval times – everyone in the spirit and the swing of the festival. A veritable cacophony of sound & colour!

Look, a walking band with ancient instruments playing lilting music, foot (leg!!) pedalled funfair swings (he won’t need to go to gym for a while LOL), juggling minstrels,

ancient herbs to cure all ills,

massive smoking barbecues of pork sausages, shanks & loins swinging above white hot charcoal, whole suckling pigs turning over slightly less intense fires,

sweetcorn stripped of leaves and thrown directly on the coals creating a charred, blackened sweetness slathered with butter and salt (my lunch) (although I had to order 2 because “someone” who shall remain nameless, their “bite” turned into snorting up half!!) and massive potatoes baked in foil in a wood fired oven stuffed with all manner of fresh grated veggies, a little cheese and patatas bravas sauce creating a vegetarian (!!) explosion of flavours for the gorgeous Mr T, Irene & Tony.

We are now fed both literally and metaphorically, we’ve walked almost 8kms, our feet are weary and throbbing ever so slightly, it’s been a fantastic day as we make our way back to the car and head off home for our well-earned afternoon siesta.

But it’s Sunday so the day has not finished yet. We meet up for one last time in the local bar for a massive, hand-poured G&T and a Sunday night chill down at a live jam session.

We’re exhausted but we’ve had a fabulous weekend, thanks to Irene & Tony. It’s time to leave these good people and head off to bed for a Spanish “early” night and head back to Cartagena again tomorrow for a bit more mid-week sightseeing.

It’s definitely worthy of a bit more of our time.

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