Saturday, August 4, 2018

My 70th Birthday celebration

Although my birthday is on 3rd August, we decided to have the celebration on Saturday 4th to make it easier for our friends to attend.

25 of our friends were able to attend the celebration meal which was held in the village restaurant.

The meal went down really well and everyone enjoyed it.

The photos were taken by José Antonio and the video by Juan - both worked relentlessly and captured every moment.

After the meal it was time for more fun so we had the "1948 quiz",...

... a very important year as that was when I was born.

 Margaret asked me 3 questions and I got them correct - my prize was a bow tie!

After that, I asked the remaining 26 questions and each person had the answer to 1 of those questions on their place card in front of them - everyone got a prize...

...which was delivered to the recipients by our 2 excellent helpers, Ariadna and Claudia.

Everyone wore their "prizes" for these photos.

Some had won ties, braces, hats,...

...garlands, necklaces, clip-on head wear and comic sunglasses.

After the meal we all came back to the bodega in our house for the birthday cake. As you can see from the photo above, I'm not 70, I'm 35,... each leg...

...and more toasts and well wishes with more cava!

Everyone was extremely generous with their presents and after the presentations, it was time for a group photo outside in the cooler early evening.

Finally, supper for friends who had stayed on to help clear everything away!

What a celebration! Well, you only have a 70th birthday once!

To see the slideshow of the photos click HERE

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Our 47th wedding anniversary

To celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary we booked lunch at one of our favourite restaurants, Meseguer, in Alcañiz

For the first course, Margaret had the salad and I had entremeses, Meseguer do a really good plate of entremeses.

For the 2nd course I had sepia and Margaret the merluza, both delicious.

After lunch we had a drive up to the Parador La Concordia for coffee.

They say that the 47th wedding anniversary is not so important but we believe they are all very important!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Doña Lola

On Thursday 24th May we headed south on our way for our annual timeshare week at Doña Lola

For that night I had booked us in at Hotel Bodega La Venta which had been established as a bodega in the 18th century.

The buildings were spread over a vast area, very clean and in the traditional style throughout.

The restaurant looked superb - the only thing wrong was our evening meal was served just off the bar so we didn't get the chance to eat in it.

The furnishings were extremely comfortable - this place was easily up to the standard of a Parador but at a more realistic price.

The meal was also to a very high standard and the local wine was excellent.

The bar was tastefully modern but it fitted in well with the traditional style.

I have no idea how that pot got itself in there. There were no doors large enough for it to pass through. They must have constructed the building around it!

The following day, Friday, we drove further south to stay the night at the Hotel Sierra de Araceli which is situated just outside the town of Lucena. The hotel is also half way up the road to the Sierra de Aras which is now a museum, formerly the Santuario Virgen de Araceli.

That evening we had a very pleasant meal in the restaurant...

...and the breakfast there the following morning was excellent too. 

On Saturday morning we drove the relatively short distance to meet our friend Alan who showed us around the Museo de Belenes in Mollina.

Although a visit to a Museum of Nativity Scenes does not sound that interesting...

 ...the models on display were fascinating.

There are over 60 scenes involving over 1,000 figures...

...and these have been created by national and international artists. 

The scenes form a collection from all over the world.

In a separate room there is a very large display depicting scenes taken from the Bible...

...which deals with both the old and the new testaments...

...where every scene recreates a story that is familiar to the visitor.

In every scene throughout the museum there is such attention to detail,... 

...the characters wear sandals and even their toe nails are shown.

The faces of the characters are individual and express their emotions.

The animals play an important part whether they are horses, sheep, hens or pigeons.

Although the museum has been open for less than 1 year it is fast becoming a place which must be seen and will undoubtedly become internationally famous in the future.

After our visit we had our usual lunch in the nearby Olympic Chinese Restaurant with Alan.

After lunch we drove down to Calahonda and finally arrived at our apartment in Doña Lola.

This year the work on the construction of the boardwalk past the resort had started a few weeks ago. 

We had been offered alternative accommodation but had decided to use our usual apartment.

As you can see from the photos, the swimming pools had been drained and the works have taken a substantial amount of sun lounge area from the side nearest the sea.

With the main pool being out of action, the smaller pool, which is usually reserved for adults, was open to all, and very crowded it was too!

This was our annual opportunity to sample traditional English food so Sunday lunch was roast beef and Yorkshire pudding...

...and brunch on Monday morning was the traditional full English breakfast...

...which we enjoyed on our return from a very pleasant group walk along the boardwalk to Cabopino, around 3.5 km to the west.

The following day we enjoyed another special English dish of fish'n'chips with mushy peas of course.

Above is the annual photo of "Margaret in the window" which I have taken every year we have visited our apartment. This year, the fig tree, which can normally be seen, had been severely pruned - it may make an appearance in a couple of years time.

As the main swimming pool is closed, the restaurant there is closed too. However, the same food is served in the bar. We started our meal that evening with the salad in the photo above - absolutely wonderful.

Along with great food is the entertainment - tonight we had a very good ABBA tribute band.

The next day, we joined the group walk along the boardwalk to La Cala, around 4 km to the east, had a coffee and then walked back.

Before the construction of the boardwalk, we did this walk along the beach - it's much easier now!

According to my plant identifier app this plant is a Pelargonium - great colouring.

Evening meal was at another favourite, The Spice Lounge Indian restaurant.

Coffee, the following morning, was over the very busy N340/A7 in the small shopping centre...

...where the sound and bustle of the road is a distant memory in this oasis of calm.

Saturday morning when we leave comes too soon and we dropped into a garden centre near Malaga en route to see these very happy plants and buy a couple of others to bring home with us.

Our overnight stop was half way up the country at the Hospedería Santa Elena at San Carlos de Valle in the heart of the Valdepeñas wine region. We started our evening meal with their exquisite salad in the photo above.

The decorations were modern and fitted in well to the very traditional style of the building.

Outside was the beautiful Plaza Mayor which was for pedestrians only...

...with some delightful buildings...

...and of course the town church, built between 1613 and 1729.

From there we drove to Paterna near Valencia to the Valencia Congress Hotel - ...

...very modern with very comfortable rooms with both a bath and a separate shower room with thermostatic taps.

The reason we had gone there was to visit a showroom located quite nearby to see a spa enclosure on the Monday morning. After that, we drove down to Alicante to see another spa enclosure which we really liked. We are due to have it installed before the end of July.

What a holiday!