Day 14: Blogging España Style!

Well, it’s time to sign out from Spain. Two weeks is just not enough in this awe-inspiring country but I will return to bring more news next time of the fashion, food, lifestyle, and culture out here.

So, with a heavy heart, I’ll board the aircraft to London soon, hoping it’s not struck by lightning this time!

On a final note, stay tuned to Style Review, as I’ll be reviewing Fast & Furious 6 next week and getting up close and personal with one of the actual cars used in the film (one of the few that survived the crashes I assume).

Hasta la proxima!


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Day 12: Blogging España Style!

Today, under unusually leadened skies and after a strong ‘café con leche’, I took a stroll around the local flea market run by a German chap. The stallholders hailed from diverse backgrounds: local Spanish and Moroccan, plus German and English nationals. There’s a bizarre mix of stuff on offer from some fairly exotic-looking furniture and antiques, to DVDs, bohemian jewellery, books, tools, and television sets. A good place to get a bargain and brush up on the haggling skills.


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Day 11: Blogging España Style!

Today, this rather large American-owned sailing catamaran pulled into the mooring just opposite.  Like a 'lounge on floats', the Lagoon 620 seems to have every luxury imaginable on board.  I personally prefer the handling and look of monohulls, but you have to admire the effort put into the design of this high end yacht.

Price tag?  Take a deep breath... about £1.3m excluding VAT.


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Day 9: Blogging España Style!

This marina is used frequently by research vessels monitoring the health of the seas and also investigating the whale, dolphin, and turtle population of the Alboran sea.

A great organisation called Promar have a strong presence here and are dedicated to the conservation of marine wildlife.

Leaving you with tonight's sunset:


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Day 8: Blogging España Style!

In Spain, be sure to check out 'chiringuitos', beachside bar-restaurant-cafés. These great local places serve up excellent tapas and 'raciones' for good prices and with attentive staff, so you will be served whether there are two clients in the establishment, or hundreds!

Favourite dishes of mine are grilled sardines, chipirones (fried baby squid), and lomo (thinly sliced pork).


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Day 7: Blogging España Style!

It's amazing the wildlife you see in and around a marina.  Yesterday it was a small viper, and swifts darting around, and today a special treat, about 30 Honey Buzzards migrating above our heads from North Africa into Europe.

What will tomorrow bring?


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Day 6: Blogging España Style!

The wine available in the supermarkets here in Spain ranges from 99 cents to 4 euros and above. Generally, I go for a Spanish-produced red in the 1,30 - 2,00 euro bracket, such as the vino tinto Tempranillo pictured.

Now, I can just hear the cries of derision from Brits claiming, "It must be rubbish at that price!” - something I have heard many times before. And therein lies a deep naivety, since the Spanish people do not accept junk. Generally, they have refined pallets, do not overindulge, and certainly know about quality in the food and drink department.

The quality of my ‘budget’ wine is usually far superior to the processed screw-topped equivalents in British supermarkets, off-licences, and certainly wine bars and pubs.

Something to ponder when you're next spending £6, £11, and £20 on your bottle of wine in the UK.

On a final note, please opt for real cork stoppers, since cork production is a sustainable industry and the cork oak forests provide vital habitat for globally endangered species.

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Day 5: Blogging España Style!

The weather's hotting up here in Almerimar and even the morning walks require hats and cream. Just near the marina to the east, there is a nature reserve that is home to flamingos and many species of birds ranging from stilts and avocets to roller birds and bee-eaters.

Our walk this morning was curtailed by some flooding and the threat of mosquitoes, so we did the civilised thing and retired a cafe, leaving a more adventurous trek for when we are better equipped.

Here are some pics:


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Day 4: Blogging España Style!

This photograph is evidence that you can ski in the morning and chill out on the beach in the afternoon here in Andalucía.  The snow capped peaks in the background are part of the Sierra Nevada range.  One of the southernmost in Europe, the ski resort is near the beautiful city of Granada and offers some great conditions, often in the sunshine.

In winter and spring, the windsurfers here in Almerimar sail in the bay whilst looking up at the snow covered mountains above.  It is a great setting, and mostly undiscovered by travellers who dismiss it as a wind-blown desert.

So,that's enough talk, where's my board and sail?


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Day 3: Blogging España Style!

It didn’t take long to get back into Spanish life out here and tuned into life on the marina. I did notice, however, that it seems very quiet for spring - a time when many yachts and motorboats undergo final preparations for the season ahead. There is usually more movement in the ports as vessels position themselves before undertaking a summer tour of the Mediterranean, or heading out of the Strait of Gibraltar for destinations further afield.

The reason for this year’s inactivity is no doubt due to the financial situation worldwide and huge pressure on Spain to resolve its economic crisis. The word on the streets is that there is little or no work about. This factor naturally influences the entire business landscape, including the marine industry. Certainly, there remains a lot of wealth on display - huge motorboats and yachts costing hundreds of thousands or even millions cruising about - but those assets are expensive to moor and maintain, and very difficult to sell or charter in the current climate.

The marinas are feeling the pinch and fees are likely to go up, prompting boat owners to hop from port-to-port looking for the best deal - a fruitless task, since all marinas are facing the same dilemma. The upshot of this is perhaps a gloomy one, especially for those with bigger craft, since mooring fees are proportional to the size of the boat.

There is no immediate solution to the marine crisis, and those who indulged their taste for gin palaces years ago, may now find the extravagance coming back to bite them.


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Day 2: Blogging España Style!

I’d forgotten that May 1st was fiesta time in Spain, so rather than a trip to the supermarket (closed), a visit to a local restaurant was in order. It’s interesting to note the difference in quality and prices from the UK.

Our chosen pizza restaurant is very popular with the local Spanish here in Almerimar - always a good sign - and typical of the standard. The red wine, Rioja, was smooth and the food all freshly cooked and well presented. The service, friendly and quick. Without any doubt, the food and service were superior to Britain’s average standard, but now check out the prices:

Tapas, comprising hams, olives, and bread: free4 Glasses of Rioja: 9,20 euros1 Dish of asparagus and salmon: 8,00 euros1 Seafood pizza: 9,30 euros2 Espresso coffees: 2,20 euros

2 Chupitos (honey and rum shot): free

Total: 28,70 euros

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Day 1: Blogging España Style!

This is Day 1 of my trip to Almería in the Andalucía region of Spain, or more specifically, Puerto Deportivo Almerimar where I'm staying on a yacht.  Almerimar is a marina and golf resort area that you can learn more about in my article on the Travel With Mates website

It all sounds glamorous, but the yacht was built in the 70's and is in dire need of refurbishment, so the living conditions are decidedly basic.  Nevertheless, the weather is generally dry with incredible levels of sunshine and beautiful light, so life on board is very agreeable.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reporting on the lifestyle, food, culture, and fashion out here. Times are economically dire in recession hit Spain, though it is not particularly evident in this area, since the local fruit and vegetable market is thriving. With that in mind, I’ll be taking a close look at the food and drink, comparing prices and quality with the UK market.

Just before signing out for today, I ought to mention that the weather is not always idyllic here. There is furious heat in the summer, high winds, flash floods, and storms - an example being yesterday’s flight when a flash of lightning and a bumpy approach to landing raised my heartbeat to an alarming level, and generated some panicked looks amongst passengers. This made all the worse in my mind by my recent viewing of the air-crash movie, Flight

Hasta Mañana

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