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|
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!