Sunday, 14 January 2018

My Week in Review to the 14th January

This week has mostly been about the walking. We returned to the coastal town of Bolnuevo, very near to our Isla Plana campsite and also the site of our first Spanish trip some eight years ago now. We parked up by these eerie eroded rocks which are the iconic sight in Bolnuevo. Both of us thought they had eroded much more since our last visit. Our walk took us out from the end of town which has extended further into the countryside, but still isn't too drastically developed. We went off into the hills a little way before turning back seawards and eating our picnic lunch on a secluded pebble beach. We then popped into the Oasis Bar which used to be a ramshackle place at the very end of the seafront. It's now more hemmed in by villas and apartments and has seriously smartened up. We can both recommend their Baileys coffee with leche condensada (condensed milk). It's a drinkable dessert!

On another day, we wandered the streets of Mazarron. Whereas Bolnuevo and Puerto De Mazarron are all about the seaside and leisure, Mazarron itself is a working town with bizarre juxtapositions of expensive looking houses and business premises occupying the same streets as apparently derelict buildings or waste ground plots. It's like there has been a big influx of regeneration cash, but spent in a very haphazard way! We admired some of the older architecture, especially impressively huge wooden doors, before seating ourselves in the place which was the real purpose of our trip: Calle Delicias! After having sampled an Austrian coffee shop in Xabia, we treated ourselves to this Belgian teashop in Mazarron. I liked the Almond and Cinnamon Tea although Dave was underwhelmed by his Peach blend. He struck lucky with his cake though - the last slice of Galete Du Roi which is a special almond confection traditionally made in Belgium for Three Kings Day on the 6th of January. Delicious!

Friday was bright and sunny so we decided a hill walk was a good option. Suitably equipped with water and a picnic lunch, we expected to be out about two hours or so. The hike ended up being the best part of four hours! The PR-MU-6 is a recognised local circular route which starts only about a ten minute drive from Los Madriles campsite. It's an uphill slog for the first half an hour, but with spectacular views from the top. We also discovered shafts and tunnel entrances to long abandoned mines. The dark purple rock colours in the slag heaps were eye-catching in the sunshine. We didn't venture into any of the tunnels although there was nothing to stop us. Mining various minerals has been important to the economy of this area since pre-Roman times. I think this mine was probably for iron. 


Initially the PR route was not obviously marked although there wasn't much opportunity to deviate from the obvious path anyway. Once past the main mine entrance, a reinforced path - possibly a donkey route to take out the ore? - wound its way around the hillsides until we were level with our start point and could just identify our car on the roadside way below. We spotted several more small mine tunnels, all beautifully carved out of the rock. The whole route is a loop and our turn back was marked with small cairns and, suddenly, a profusion of yellow and white stripe markers. We began to descend on a scree surface which was a little tricky, but nothing compared to the problem we encountered when our path unexpectedly petered out a while later! We hardly had any of the circuit left to walk, but what we did have was a hundred yards or so of steep scrub slope down to the road. What on earth?! Gaps between the scrub gave the impression of maybe a continuing path so we started to scramble down, although with hindsight it would have been far safer to turn around and walk all the way back around. As it was, we did both safely reach the bottom with no more than scratches and a small tear in my trousers after probably half an hour of tense scrambling and sliding. Phew! I'm a bit off hill walking again in the near future. If only we could do the ridge walks with their views, but without the corresponding up and down climbs and scrambles!




 

Artisan Rainbow

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Currently reading

Waiting for the Barbarians
tagged: currently-reading, fiction-africa, and charity-shop-find

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Saturday, 13 January 2018

Top Ten Etsy Finds - Valentine Cards

Pop Up Bridge Card
A fun Top Etsy Finds post to curate this month because I have been searching out my favourite Valentine Cards on Etsy. There are humorous cards, elegant cards and romantic cards a-plenty but these are the ones which particularly caught my eye. Valentine's Day will be upon us in just a month and a day ... time to get soppy!

All links are affiliate links so if you were to make a purchase, I would receive a small commission - meaning that I would love you too! Click on the images or the linked text to visit each card's Etsy page.

Above Right: Pop Up Bridge card by Grand Gift Cards, £5.

You Make Miso Happy card
by Studio Boketto, £2.55.

Virginia Woolf Quote card
by Literary Emporium, £2.50.

Barn Owls Linoprint card
Handmade By Haggy, £3.

King Of My Heart Letterpress card
by PRINT for LOVE of WOOD, £2.75.

by Lanther Black, £2.99.

by Love Crafty Carole, £2.35.

by Hide And Seek Card Co, £3.75.

by Mollycat Craft Co, £3.50.

by Charlies Crazy Couture, £3.50.

I hope you have enjoyed looking through these cards as much as I enjoyed finding them. Perhaps one is even perfect for your Significant Other!

For Etsy fans, if you haven't already done so, pop over to my Artisan Rainbow blog and enter the Etsy Gift Card Giveaway. The first was such a success that I am running another one! You've got until the 6th of February to get your entries in and there is a daily entry option so the sooner you get started, the more chances you will have to win! Good luck!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

My Week in Review to 7th January

A good start to this first week of the first month of a new year: I baked delicious soda bread rolls to accompany homemade hummus! I'd actually woken up too late to bake a fresh batch of my usual Slow Cooker Wholemeal Bread, but was saved by remembering we'd bought more yoghurt than we needed for making curry. I mixed up a batch of this easy soda bread recipe which I've used before, but instead of baking it as one loaf, I cut it into quarters for rolls. They baked up in the oven in about 15 minutes at 200c.

The hummus is also super easy and so tasty (and cheap) that I don't think I'll ever go back to shop bought. Purists will probably be horrified at the lack of tahini, but I didn't have any and wasn't going out searching for it! I put about 250-300g of cooked chickpeas into a bowl with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground cumin and 1/4 cup olive oil. I also added 1 tsp of tamarind paste for the citrus flavour in lieu of lemon juice. Then I just blitzed the lot together with my hand blender until it made a (mostly) smooth paste. Simples! Makes enough for 4 lunches.

We are settled in at a new campsite now: Los Madriles at Isla Plana which is just outside Puerto De Mazarron. The little town of Bolnuevo, a few miles down the road, is the first place I visited in Spain and that was nearly a decade ago. We thought probably in 2005 or 2006 - before I started blogging anyway so I couldn't quickly click back through posts and check but Dave found pictures in his Truprint account!

Los Madriles is a little more expensive than Los Pinos at Denia or Camping Monmar in Moncofa. With our ACSI card it is €19 per night here including 4kw hours of electricity per day and a fairly large gravelled pitch. If we stay more than 25 days (which we are certainly planning to do) this drops to €17 per night and if we could stay more than 50 days (which we can't as we are already booked elsewhere) this would fall to a very reasonable €14 per night. The campsite is terraced on a hillside with mountains behind us and sea views in front. The facilities here are excellent - clean and warm sanitary blocks, a little shop and bar both of which are actually open! Petanque courts, table tennis tables, a large library of swappable books and, best of all, two swimming pools filled with lovely warm thermal spring water. We've already been swimming on two afternoons and you can see me swimming away from the camera in this photograph above!

We haven't cycled yet, but have taken some nice walks from the campsite. An offroad track leads from opposite the entrance down to the beach where we first turned right into Isla Plana. We were surprised to discover a fourteenth century bath house and Roman house foundations right beside the promenade! In the other direction, La Azohia is a little over 5km away with an easily walkable or cyclable path all the way. Originally a fishing village, it does still have a few working boats and also several freeloader carparks for overwintering motorhomers!

Roman foundations 

Bath house 

Los Madriles from the coast path 


 

Artisan Rainbow

Literary Flits

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Currently reading

Waiting for the Barbarians
tagged: currently-reading, fiction-africa, and charity-shop-find

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