Apparently, this coast, before being named “Costa del Sol”, was named “Costa del Viento”, ie the coast of winds. Forecasts for this weekend is a fresh gale. Luckily, we are moored ideally for the expected wind direction, “Poniente” meaning Westerly. Here is a clip of a 2008 violent storm (courtesy Chris Southwood, our neighbour). For comfort and sound sleep we will add a couple of 38 mm Polyprop lines tomorrow before the blow.
Our ambition with todays country side drive was to check out Nijar, a very typical Andalusian mountain village about 80 km from the Marina. By coincidence, it was the Nijar market day, with a lot of tempting produce like local wine, olive oil, homemade chorizo, etc. After some tasting, we ended up buying local wine from Lucar, Almeria. We had some vague information about Lucainena de las Torres. A mountain village further north about 40 mins drive from Nijar. The road was a bit scary with very few fences and a rather steep and narrow cliff road in places. We managed to make it all the way in one piece. On the way we came close to a very impressing solar power plant. It seems Andalusia, with Europes most optimal location re days of sunshine, is a hot spot when it comes to solar power research. We passed several plants of 10-30 MW conventional solar panels arrays and also concentrating solar power systems that demonstrates sophisticated storage of energy in molten salt mixture. Anyway – after a lot of “wow, gosh” etc, we found our nice mountain village. Very beautiful!
Today we made our regular trip to Felix, the mountain village where we get our fresh mountain water from a public well. We were joined by Ann-Sofie and Anders, Swedish marina neighbours. Last night had brought a fresh snow cap covering the mountains down to about 800 meters. We have heard about the Almond trees starting their blossom period in January and today we could see the first trees with white / pink flowers. We have been told that in a couple of weeks, whole valleys will be coated in white / pink as Andalucia is a major region of Almond production in Spain.
Finally done. A project we didn’t look forward to. Since a number of years, in parts of the Med and from this year in Sweden, recreational boats have to be able to retain and dispose of “black water” (toilet waste) at pump out facilities. Certainly I believe this is the way to go, even though I am sceptic to the apparent lack of planning from legislators. Many marinas have in excess of 1000 moorings. Majority of boat use is concentrated to weekends and holiday periods. Imagine 100 boats waiting “in queue” Sunday afternoon. Also, authorities, at least in Baltic waters, appear to exclude cruising ferries from this law, meaning 20 cubic meters of sewage content emptied in these waters, per mega ferry per day. Please correct me if I am wrong! Anyway – project completed. About 20 hours of work, due to changing mounts, through deck fitting, welding hose outlet on top of tank, changing vent pipe, hose etc. The headline refers to the applicable ISO / EN standard. Strangely you have to pay twice to get hold of this ISO Standard, once through paying tax, secondly when you need to get hold of specific standards. Think this is deemed illegal in US, thus free sea charts covering all US waters. Here is a link (sorry in Swedish) covering this standard and different ways to implement.
We got some hints about the festivities of January 5th but we were not fully prepared and didn’t do our homework in advance. The ”Los Reyes Magos” (The three Kings) came to our small village and the streets were filled with excited kids in anticipation of Christmas presents. In Spain, each one of the Magos is supposed to represent one different continent, Europe (Melchior), Asia (Caspar) and Africa (Balthasar).The Cabalgata caravans cruised along the marina roads with the kids throwing candy on the spectators and boat crews.
Now we have passed 2014 and entered 2015. Only local holiday left is Jan 6 which is the time all kids in Spain get their presents. Christmas was enjoyed onboard Tina with a small Christmas table, including Janson’s temptations, gingerbread and a fire burning in the wood stove. New Year ’s Eve was also spent on board with a, for us traditional, Japanese fondue. We then took a stroll ashore and celebrated the change in year at our favourite UK bar together with a lot of Englishmen. They celebrated English new year once again at 1 o’clock to be in sync with UK. December started with nice weather and 20 degrees. Peter has done a lot of jogging (20+ kilometer/week) and I have tried to run at least 2 times per week, also using the outdoor gym (!!) to keep my muscles and knuckles in order. Since my mum has rheumatism I try to prevent that to happen to me. We finally bought new bicycles, this time with bigger wheels, and took them for a nice ride to the Salt water lakes to look for Flamingoes. Of course accompanied by a nice bottle of white wine which we enjoyed looking out over the water. Every 10-th day we drive to Felix (mountain village at 800 meters altitude) to fetch mountain well drinking water. It is so much better than the water in the marina and we get a nice car ride at the same time. Mid December the temperature at night started to go down to +10 degrees. We have therefore had a good use of our wood burner and the water based electrical heatingsystem. Day temperature is still decent 15-20 degrees which means shorts and t-shirt. What is most rewarding for a Swedish soul, used to grey and rainy days in Göteborg, is that the sun is shining at least 13 out of 14 days and mostly from a clear blue sky. No rain. December 13, Lucia came to visit: i.e. our Swedish neighbours AnneSophie and Anders. White clothes, singing, ginger bread and “lussebulle” (a typical Swedish bun made with saffron). Christmas Eve we listened at the new Spanish King’s speech and the speech of the Pope – at least a couple of minutes. We have used the rental car a lot to look at the surroundings:
- El Ejido market: clothes and vegetables/fruit
- Roquetas de Mar. Close to Almerimar with good facilities for shopping DIY’s. Down at the waterside is a nice place for tapas, overlooking the bay.
- Cartagena: we spent two nights there, really enjoying this old city. Remains exist from all different “owners” of Spain. Especially interesting was the roman amphitheater. It was found in the 1990s under some old sheds and houses in the poorer part of the city. It is now a huge museum. Cartagena also has a very sheltered harbor. It is the home for the Spanish Mediterranean naval base as well as 2 big marinas. We will definitely moor there on our way east this spring.
- Mojacar: on our way back to “home” we spent one night here. A very old village situated on a hilltop close to the sea. White houses and narrow streets gave a cosy feeling. We drove along the coastline down to the Cabo de Gata nature Reserve and the road took us through some very scenic places. As always we are struck by how empty Spain is. Except for the small villages here and there it is mostly deserted or farmland.
- Celin: close to Almerimar, a couple of hundred meters up the mountains is a small village with possibilities to walk in yet another nature reserve. Here is also the famous restaurant where they serve “Choto” (baby goats dishes). The restaurant is close to one of the springs with fresh mountain water.
- Berja: another small village close to Almerimar. Last time we visited the nature reserve outside Berja and we have also visited Villavieja, old remains from the Roman empire.
- Our Piri-Piri, Thyme and Oregano are closing down for winter and the Rosemary finally got a “sea burial” this month
- White-headed Duck (Sw. Kopparand)
- Poinsettia (Sw. Julstjärna) are planted everywhere now at Christmas time
- In the harbor we have observed. 2 parrots ( green),one grey heron, some Mallards ( sw. Gräsänder), Black-headed Gull ( sw. Skrattmås). We see few Seagulls (sw. Mås), Crows (sw. Kråkor) or Magpies ( sw. skator), therefore the dustbins are open, compared with Göteborg where those have to be closed to keep them safe from the birds.
- Lamb neck with savoy cabbage: we get better and better at explaining for the butcher what we want. Slow food is still our thing and with the pressure cooker it goes quicker.
- Jansson’s temptation ( Sw. Janssons frestelse) a must at Christmas. Unfortunately the most important ingredient anchovy Swedish style is not to be found in Spain, but we came close with a “anjo picante” somewhat hotter but good enough.
- For tapas Eva is now experimenting with all sorts of beans: you can get white beans, brown beans ( similar to Swedish bruna bönor) or green beans. All with bacon and/or chorizo, slow cooked.
- We have found a Russian shop here in Almerimar, so now we can try pickled cucumber, Swedish style, as well as Kimshi ( sour cabbage Korean style)
Until next time – hasta luego BR Eva, Peter
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
God Jul till er alla
Sedan ett antal år har vi fått personligt skrivna ”Jul brev”. Detta har glatt oss och gjort oss sugna på att göra något liknande. Detta är vårt första försök med ett Julbrev, dvs en personlig sammanfattning av året som gått. ”Vi pröver” som norrmännen säger.
Året startade med att vi bägge tog beslutet att bryta med det invanda och sade upp oss, respektive ansökte om frivillig avgång från våra respektive arbeten. Jag tror alla förstår att detta var ett svårt beslut, vi hade bägge bra tjänster med intressanta arbetsuppgifter och fantastiska kollegor. Samtidigt gnagde i bakhuvudet möjligheten att göra vad vi innerst inne hade hade haft som mål i cirka 10 år, att kasta loss, utan begränsningar i tid, utan ett fixt mål. Vi tog chansen.
Jag, Peter, hamnade först ut i det nya. Den 1 Mars fick jag möjligheten att ”jobba på varv”. Vår båt, Tina Princess, var sedan oktober 2013 i Långedrags Teknik’s vårdnad för osmosbehandling och motorbyte. Under ca 2 månader fick jag en fantastisk möjlighet att jobba med båten, under tak, i värme, och lära mig massor av mycket kunninga proffs på LTAB. I april anslöt Eva och bidrog med avveckling av våra sista landburna ägodelar samt förberedelse av en vernissage av sin hobby, silversmidet. Försäljningen blev en succé med många besökare och slutsålt. Vad gäller prylar, trodde vi att vi hade gjort oss av med det mesta,men det blev många resor till tippen, annonser på blocket och 2 helgers sittande framför diabilder för att rensa.
Några av våra seglarvänner som tidigare lämnat Långedrag för långseglig tipsade oss om att inte ”smyga iväg” när dagen för avsegling kom. Alltså fick vi ca 25 av våra vinterboende kompisar i GKSS att tränga ihop sig i Tina en regning kväll i maj. Jätteroligt och känslomässigt tufft. Vi har bott ganska exakt 18 år i olika båtar i GKSS, året runt, med många minnen av underbara solnedgångar, orkan, bastukvällar, långbord på seglarkrogen osv. Vi saknar denna gemenskap. Ett par dagar senare, den 11:e maj hade vi ”öppen båt” med arbetskamrater, familj, vänner. Jättetrevligt igen med fler trevliga människor. På väg ut ur hamnen blev vi ”påsprutade” av räddningstjänstens brandbåt och avtutade av Muckle Fluggas antika ”foghorn” , fantastiskt minne! Vi gick endast några sjömil första kvallen, för att pusta ut. 12:e maj lämnade vi Vrångö och Sverige, exakt 18 år efter att vi flyttat in i båt 1996.
Seglingen därefter har varit ungefär så underbar som vi räknat med, vädret har varit behagligt under de ca 2700 sjömilen vi seglat. Det tog några dagar tills vi fick fint väder, men sedan har vi haft en bekväm tur ner genom europa. Strålande varmt i Danmark, lite mer blandväder i Tyskland och Holland. Vi hade under planeringen haft ett antal platser vi ville se innan vi lämnade ”kända vatten”, bla a Helgoland och alla Havssulor. Här fick vi till ett fint minne i form av en liten film som ligger på nätet.
Eva hade tidigare önskat säga hej då till kompisar i Belgien, så en tur till Oostende var inplanerad. Vi lyckades fixa detta med en trevlig eftermiddag i glada vänner lag, som resultat. Segling består mycket av att träffa nya människor och senare säga adjö till dessa, för att eventuellt se dem någon annan stans, tid och plats obestämd.
När vi passerat alla kända vatten och angjorde Camaret Sur Mer i Frankrike, kände vi för första gången att vi var ”på väg”. En plats som såg ut som alla andra vi sett på våra resor där vi muttrat – tänk att få angöra med egen båt här – och nu var det sant.
Norra Spanien bev första stället vi tillbringade längre tid i (fantastiskt), Portugals kust passerade vi ganska snabbt och snart var vi i närheten av medelhavet. Vi planerade för vädret (försökte undvika 40 grader i medelhavet) och fick en fin segling till vår tilltänkta vinterplats.
Vi har nu under ca 3 månader bott in oss i Almerimar, en solsäker by i sydöstra Costa del Sol, Andalusien, Spanien. Här anväder vi bil för att bese vårt närområde, Andalusien, vilket är fantastiskt. Vi inser att det är bättre att se ett mindre område ordentligt än att ”bredspackla” så mycket som möjligt. Det kommer förmodligen att bli vårt sätt att resa.
Vad har vi funnit hittills:
- Vi uppskattar att inte behöva använda en massa kläder (det är fortfarande shorts som gäller dagtid)
- Vi träffar en massa roliga människor
- Vi klarar av att lösa problem på språk vi inte kan
- Vi lär oss om natur och länder, något som har varit en av drivkrafterna för detta projekt
- Stopptiden i Almerimar har gett oss tid att växla ner från 5:ans växel till 4:an. Man behöver inte göra saker hela tiden……
- VI kliver upp med solen, vilket betyder 8.30 här nere J
Vår plan för 2015 är att efter lite båtunderhåll i Februari, Mars, segla via Balearerna, Korsika/Sardinien, Italien, Grekland till Turkiet, som förmodligen blir vår nästa vinterbas. Vi kommer att använda lärdomen att stanna längre på en plats och hoppa andra.
Ni som är i medehavet i närheten av var vi befinner oss, hör av er så kanske vi kan träffas. Vi vill gärna hålla kontakten, om det går.
Vi önskar er alla en riktigt god Jul och ett Gott Nytt År
Feliz Navidad y Prospero año Nuevo
Peter & Eva
November is gone! Soon Christmas. The villages around us are starting to fill up with decorations and the gardeners are cutting trees, grass and plants to make nice for the big holidays.
It has been a rather warm month with lot of sunshine. Shorts and t-shirts until last week since when a pair of trousers and a sweater has been needed from time to time. The harbor has been tested for storm and we feel very safe. That’s good! We are checking our mountains the first thing every morning to look at the snow development. Now they are really beautiful, crisp white in the morning sun. Snow cover the mountains down to around 1800 meters.
We have been taking long walks in the “Saltinas”, the lakes close to the sea shore previously used for farming salt. Every time we go in that nature reserve area we see new birds (see under nature below). We got ourselves new bikes this week so now we can take slightly longer trips again.
Beginning of November we took the bus to Malaga to pick up a rental car. (We are paying about 300 euros for 2 months which is a really good deal). The bus ride took 4,5 hour but since we were in no hurry, we could enjoy the views. We booked a hotel for one night instead of driving back directly. As always we chose the hotel via Trivago and decided on a place easy to reach not far from Malaga – we thought….. The hotel was situated on an altitude of 800 meter above the town we had chosen, so it was a looooong journey to get there. It paid off though: nice rural 4 star hotel, Fuente del Sol, with a marvelous view both over the mountains and the Mediterranean sea. On the way back we took small roads, passing almond and olive fields. Looking forward to see them in full bloom this spring.
We have since then taken many small rides to different villages in the area. Some examples:
- Cabo de Gata: a nature reserve with a cape, lighthouse and salt-lakes. Flamingoes of course. There is a small village, San José, that we also looked at for possible anchoring in spring. Maybe…it is difficult with the swell.
- Enix & Felix: two small mountain villages on 800 meters. Felix was more authentic than Enix. Felix also had a well in the center where we collected perfect drinking water. Looks like that is the Sunday routine for Spanish people.
- November 17-19 celebrating 25th wedding anniversary and birthdays, was spent in Nerja, a nice village close to Malaga. We stayed in a very nice hotel overlooking the sea. The weather was warm so we had the possibility (and took it) to take a short swim. Nerja is famous for its caves, found by 2 boys in the 1950s. We made a visit and it was fantastic!! Very large stalactites and stalagmites, one claimed to be the biggest ever found. People have been living there for thousands of years. There are also to be paintings from 25000 years ago, but that area was closed for visitors due to damage risk.
Peter, with some help from me running up and down to fetch things, have been working on the Wi-Fi system, the deck and this last week the water based heating system. For the last part we are not finished yet and it is as always annoying to have the boat interior upside-down for days. (Completed first week in December to get it to work. Yippee). But ….we don’t have to spent our days doing power point presentations, going to meetings etc, so we shouldn’t complain.
We have also tried to extend our Spanish knowledge by shopping at the local butcher. It is difficult, but I found a “butchering picture” showing the different details of cows, pigs and lamb which I think will be useful in all countries. Nothing is better than pointing on a picture (or making sounds like one of our sailing friends did), for explaining when words are not found.
- Our Piri-Piri, Thyme and Oregano are still doing well, but the Rosemary is not happy (on the other hand, that one is growing free everywhere here)
- Still lots of flowers: pictures attached below
- Hoopoe (Sw. Härfågel). Pretty common in south Europe. Looks like it has a bunch of bananas on the head. Was in the old days foretelling of war
- Egyptian Vulture (Sw. Smutsgam). Having its winter berth in e.g. south Spain, thriving in the mountain slopes close to Almerimar.
- Black Wheatear (Sw. Svart Stenskvätta), also living in holes in the cliffs, among stones and the desert like landscape we experience here. Looks like our standard Black Bird with a white tail. Their cry is very special: a tone starting on a high note and ending on a low note
- Olive fields: Spain has the largest area of olive cultivation in the world. 260 different varieties. Gives an interesting pattern to the landscape, especially here in Andalucía. We have read about the flooding in France and Italy and some flies in Italy damaging the crops, but here it seems fine.
- We are still trying to figure out why the mountains have so many different colors and textures. I have included some pictures to show what it looks like. We have read that it has been many volcanos in this area and that might explain the dark purple colors and the many vertical traces we see in the landscape. Some areas are most likely old see floor with imbedded pebbles and sea shells. Dark grey areas are clay slate with flat shimmering pieces.
- Fried Calf liver: mmmm, was that good!
- Korean chicken: we are trying new recipes now when we have time and this one was fabulous!
- Water from high altitude well: perfect for a good coffee
- Fresh almonds and walnuts
We will explore more “slow cooking” now when we have a picture to help our communication with the butcher
Until next time – hasta luego
BR Eva, Peter