Approaching Christmas.

Hello again. Everyone here now is preparing for Christmas and New year.
Christmas meal is organised at our site restaurant, also New years bash with said band and all comers doing their own thing. Should be a good do and I will report in the new year when we all sober up.
The weather is still very good if a bit windy, but still able to sit outside in the sun most of the day enabling impromptu BBQ's with pals.

The band are getting it together with regular practice sessions and gig's at the local bar, La Aceitera de Trafalgar.
Yesterday saw us there for Sarah's birthday with our pals and ended with her on stage as a backing singer.  New career possibilities ? 


Vejer, pronounced "bayhair" is one of the Pueblo Blanco towns set high on a ridge above the surrounding valley.
We were going to cycle but our pals on the site pointed out that it was about ten miles of uphill getting steeper at the end. Even with the new Electric bike it was not probably a good idea for our first visit. Anyway it was far too hot to cycle. So we persuaded Dave and Liane to join us again on the motorised transport.
The old town is partially walled and in lovely condition, still very much lived in, not just an historical relic.
The main square is delightful with a fountain and cafes and lots of local people just sitting in the shade of the palm trees.
The streets wander up and down the hill side and meander through alley ways. Doors open onto courtyards and private homes. Rooftop terraces abound and it all has a feeling of peaceful life of a time gone by.
Once again, I think we will be spending a lot more time here over the next few months.


Jerez should conjure up thoughts of Sherry and Old World charm and it delivers in Grand fashion. What a splendid day we spent there with our pals from Sicily, Dave and Liane.
They patiently followed us on our scooter with their large Triumph Tiger at around 55 MPH all the way down the motorway for the 50 miles journey into the city. We parked up and had a coffee at the nearest café while our legs and bottoms relaxed. Then we were off to the old centre and the sherry houses. Gonzales Byass, Sandeman, Domecq and others. We chose the guided trip and tasting at Domecq.
 We had a guide who spoke passable English and who made the tour interesting and informative. We learnt about the methods of Sherry making and Brandy also. The vast rooms of barrels in what was once cloisters were amazing. Many casks were signed by celebrities of the past dating back many years.
We then tried a few of the types of Sherry and a Brandy but alas Dave and I were driving so only a sip.
We definitely need to return to the city to do a more in depth exploration of its old buildings and churches.


Baelo Claudia Roman town

Further along the coast past Barbate is the old Roman town of Baelo Claudia. This has been sympathetically, partially restored and gives a good impression of just how grand it must have been in the first century AD. Set right on the beach front it had fish salting tanks and a fish salting factory on a large scale.
 Also the usual temples and baths plus all the living accommodation for rich and poor, a real working town. The beach is beautiful, curving round to a large sand dune reminiscent of Dune du Pilar in France.
 All in all a great day out with a very good museum and all Free to any citizen of Europe just show your passport.


Torre del Tajo

We decided to take a walk through the woods in the direction of Barbate to the Torre del Tajo. This is a 16th century watch tower, designed to keep look out for pirates and is in exceptional condition. The walk is beautiful especially in the wonderful weather we are having. Those among our pals who ask why we choose to winter away from the UK just look at the weather.
This stretch of coast is so different from the Mediterranean, more wild and unspoiled.

On going at Pinar.

Well we have settled in nicely now and lots of friends have been and gone, some are still here thankfully.
Had a great birthday by the beach at San Francisco restaurant at El Palmar  Mid afternoon lunch with three other couples. Good food and good banter.

Went on well into the night. Roger and Julia now on way north and Steve and Jean left today. Who wants to be in UK for winter ?
This area seems to have enough going on to keep us happy at least until the new year so this will be our base. The weather is still very good, we have only had rain showers twice in the last three weeks and the temperature during the day is still in the 20's. There are good beaches all around us

and it is totally different to how we imagined this area to be. Trafalgar lighthouse is within a mile

and there are watchtowers all along the coast from the pirate days of the 16th century.


Barbate and camping Pinar san Jose

We have now arrived at what will probably be our winter base and have started to explore the area to make sure there is enough to do to keep us occupied for the next few months. The site is very good with on pitch facilities throughout. 16 amp electric as well, just the job! We are only one mile along the beach from Trafalgar lighthouse.
We have already made some new pals and some old pals have called in to say hello as well.
Looks like the weather is still remaining warm and sunny even if the last couple of days have been a bit iffy, can't complain as we are still in shorts and t shirts.
We will post any new events as we go but obviously not on such a regular basis. Hello to all our friends out there who keep up with us and we will update the blog when there is something to show.

There was a horse dancing demonstration on the beach at Conil de la Frontera with the men dressed in traditional costume. One was pretending to be a matador with the stallion as the bull. Great show of skill.

Alcala and Parque natural de los Alcornocales

We are still chasing our bird list and the supposed migration route of the large Birds of prey, or Raptors as they are called so we are now in this area to do just that. Our campsite is just outside of Alcala.
It is very nice but barking dogs and flies are a pest so time will be short here
. We set off on a beautiful route around the area on our trusty scooter again. We were soon rewarded with flocks of Griffon vultures circling above our heads. Round the next corner Sarah signalled me to stop quickly with a quick jab to my ribs, as is her usual method. There on a hill side were hundreds of them perched on the ground and others in the air, an amazing site and worth the trip.
 Again some beautiful Dragonflies.


Having given Ronda a big build up to Sarah ever since we first came to Spain, we were both hoping it lived up to its reputation and my memory, which is not always reliable. But it delivered and we both loved it. We walked through the new town to the Bull ring.
Then across the bridge into the Old quarter.
 There were street musicians everywhere playing classical guitar, harp and other instruments.
We visited the Palacio Mondragon, which is now a museum and has original Moorish mosaics and plasterwork.
 We then took a trip down into what they call mines below Casa del Rey Moro. These have 365 steps leading through a rabbit warren of tunnels,but we thought they were just an elaborate way of getting down to the river.
The Town hall or Ayuntamiento has a two-tier arcaded façade with Mudejar ceiling and was remodelled in the 20th century incorporating older buildings.
All in all a very pretty town in a dramatic setting on top of a high ridge,even the new side is very pleasant with all the modern shops.

Quick visit to Gary and Bren's new home

We called in for a few days visit with our old pals Gary, Bren and Val and the dogs to check out their new villa in Albanchez. As usual we were made most welcome and had a guided tour of the area.
 A day trip to Almeria with a nice meal on the front in an Italian Restaurant was delightful and on our final night we ate at a local restaurant with our meat cooked on an open fire. Very nice to see them all again.

Delta de l' Ebre

We dropped further down the Mediterranean coast to the Delta de l'Ebre for a return visit, We were last here for only one night on our way south in 2009 and wanted to spend more time exploring this amazing wetland area.
It is a delta with a prosperous rice growing business, and enclosing a 70 square kilometre nature reserve.
 It is well known for its flocks of wading birds and we spotted some species to ad to growing list. An Osprey was fishing and caught a large fish and flew of to eat it sitting on a post
Also new for us was a flock of Glossy Ibis feeding in the fields. This is just one example.
And a Squacco Heron
 There was also an abundance of Dragonflies.
And the Flamingos were in good colour.
Our campsite was right on the shore in L'Ampola and was a
good base for our visit.