Thursday, 1 January 2015

Good-bye 2014 and hello 2015!

What a year! Plenty of the good stuff, including travels near and far, good times with friends old and new, and the positive progression of life, so I will look back fondly on this one. I do know it has been unbearably tragic for some, and I am thinking now of those whose travels ended in terrifying ways and the people who loved them; those who are caught up in seemingly endless conflict; whose lives are turned inside-out by the cruelty of pestilence and more everyday illness and diseases, which are no less devastating. So to them I say, may 2015 be kinder to you and may we all find ways to live beyond the sadness, be strong and live happy.

Not to be all preachy, but I think we may as well enjoy the beauty and opportunities to hold happiness close when we can, because none of us knows when it may be snatched away. And, on that note, it must be time to move on to tales of... Andalucia! Viva España!

Christmas tapas lunch on the terrace
This year's Christmas week was spent in what must be the town of Nerja's most charming house. Apologies for sounding so smug. It looks like the least imposing place on its pedestrianised street: just a door most folks would have to duck a little to get through, a single window above it, the façade as simple and plain as can be. But go inside and it widens out from the point of its front like a triangle, and has three terraces, five bedrooms and – best of all – a garden with fruit trees that runs straight to the sea.

I don't want to give its location away entirely, so will just add that it has strong family connections to Spanish poet and writer Federico Garcia Lorca.

Of course, we all know that much of the southern coast of Spain has seen overdevelopment in the form of not-so-charming holiday home development, but there is still plenty of beauty here and it's worth remembering that there's usually a reason an area becomes a popular holiday destination (ie, year-round warm sunshine, natural beauty, good food, pleasant ambience [can you tell I'm refraining from saying 'friendly, smiling locals'? But there is a general sense that visitors are a welcome addition rather than a curse]).

One of the jolly things to do here is using the cheap and reliable public buses: €1.17 will take you, for instance, to Frigiliana, an archetypal, but no worse for that, white-washed hill town about a 20-minute ride inland. It has a fascinating history as well, filled with trouble and strife, the story told in painted tiles on walls as you walk up. Up being the operative word and, when you get reasonably high, look out for a tapas place offering terrace views.

If you pick up a map from the tourist office, you can follow the trail right out the top of town and up to where there was once a fort. There's no sign of it now – just three more-recent balustrades at strategic points to look out from – but you get the satisfaction of tremendous views, both to the sea and to the Sierra Tejeda, Almijara and Almara Natural Park inland –  and having somehow achieved something.

One small word of warning: there is a notice painted on walls at two stages, one just before the final ascent and another at the top, which shouldn't be ignored. They tell you that the donkeys which graze up here can bite. I don't know about that, but I do know they can charge and, also, quite aggressively try to kick you, so do not be taken in by their seemingly friendly manner if they start to approach. They are definitely not coming to say hello!


  1. Looks like it was really an accomplished year for you. Here's to 2015, and may you be able to engage it with new boats and new rides. Just conquer all frontiers with enthusiasms unbound, because why not, right? Hahaha! Happy new year to you too! All the best!

    Kent Garner @ White Marine Center

  2. Thank you for the comment, Kent! Hope 2015 goes really well for you too!