New Year in Andalusia

 
I hope you have had a good start to 2016. We headed a few kilometres along the coast from Gibraltar into Andalusia for New Year. We were blessed with beautiful weather as you can see from the pictures, and it is a really beautiful place. The above photo was taken at Nueva Andalucía on New Year’s Eve.    The two big (and rather obvious) differences between Gibraltar and it’s closest neighbour are space and greenery. When 30,000 people live in such a confined strip of land it can get quite intense sometimes. I do love Gibraltar but having grown up a few miles from rolling countryside and with a front and (small) back garden, I find I need to get away every now and then.  

 
We stayed in an apartment in the hills above the bustling town of Puerto Banús. The seaside town is famous for being a millionaires’ playground with it’s marina full of posh boats and posh cars. Apart from a meal at the Hard Rock Café and a quick look at the shops we stayed away from the razzmatazz though and did our own thing. We woke on New Year’s Day to the most glorious weather and decided to get a bit of fresh air and walk along the coastal path towards Marbella.  

 We weren’t the only ones who chose to stretch our legs that afternoon. There were people walking, scootering, roller-skating, cycling and Segway-ing along the wide promenade.  

 I was happy on foot but our two youngest sped off on their scooters to burn off a bit of energy. Their destination was this bridge across the Rio Verde. The summit in the background wearing a cloudy hat is Sierra Blanca. 

It’s a great bridge, perfect for scootering. It’s wide and smooth so you can go fast, is made of wooden planks so it makes a great noise as you fly across it and has a great slope to zoom on giving your Mum palpitations as there’s a flight of stairs at the end! 

 It’s set in great surroundings, the Rio Verde on one side. Where sea birds were enjoying the calm waters. 
 And the sea on the other side. 

 Beyond the river the beach stretches on towards Marbella. Even though it was the first of January there were some people basking in the winter sunshine.

 Our walk ended here as hungry children demanded food so we turned around and headed back towards town. We have promised ourselves we will return and walk further next time. 

  

January 2nd brought with it rain and cloud – we were so glad we’d made the effort to have our walk in the sunshine when we did. We explored a market which appears in the streets around here each Saturday.  We have managed to get caught up in the market by accident a few times in the past when trying to drive through these roads. This time though, we were on foot and ready for a mooch about.  

 Apart from some nice plant stalls and a few artisan craft stalls in the grounds of the bullring we were a bit disappointed with what was on offer. 

 There were thousands of fake designer handbags and sunglasses to choose from as well as cheap toys and a few electronics. I’m afraid it wasn’t at all what we had hoped for. 

 After the anti-climax of the street market we decided to regroup and try an alternative outing so we hopped into the car and headed east along the coast to Benalmádena and the Butterfly Park there.    Standing high on a hill and in the shadow of a stunning Buddhist Temple, we found the Butterfly Park. It didn’t disappoint.  

 From the moment we arrived we spotted them. Bigger than the palm of your hand and in every colour of the rainbow. I’ll let the photos tell the story here…    

      We listened to a talk by a member of staff who told us about the life cycle of the butterflies and moths there and showed us the most amazing array of cocoons and newly hatched butterflies.       Then came the fun part… Firstly our littlest got to feel a cocoon (and it’s metamorphosising inhabitant moving). Then he got to have a sleeping moth on his hand…  …then we all did. That was a big step for me as,although I love the beauty of these creatures, the idea of having one on my skin was erm not really my cup of tea. But I couldn’t leave being the only one not brave enough to try it – so I did. Yay me!  

 There were other creatures there too, this big lizard and a wallaby, both of which wander freely about inside with the visitors. We really enjoyed our trip and would recommend it, although for a family of five it cost €42 so it wasn’t cheap. It was a lovely tranquil place. 

 Once our visit was over we couldn’t help but go across the road to admire the amazing view west over Fuengirola.  Today we packed up and headed home, we were given a pretty send off with a rainbow by the side of the motorway.  And we were soon home… Ah there she is! Our lovely Rock.  Until next time, thanks for stopping by 😊. Thanks also for all the likes and lovely comments, it’s great to hear from you.
  

Sunday Sevens #12 3.1.16

Moody weather

 At the start of the week, as we watched news coverage of the terrible flooding across the north of England we were still basking in pretty mild but cloudy weather. My heart goes out to those affected, with family and friends in Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire I have followed the news and hoped that all of their homes have stayed flood free. So far, I’m pleased to say they have, although one friend went 36 hours without power and the flood waters came into her cul-de-sac but stopped before reaching her place. How awful for those who didn’t escape the effects. The above photo features a Royal Navy ship leaving Gibraltar during a rather oddly coloured sunset on Monday. 
Rain comes to Gibraltar   
Back in October we had a pretty wet spell ourselves which brought with it a rather dramatic landslide  this post has the details. Back then I discovered my wellies had perished and sprung a leak over the summer so I ended up wearing flip-flops with my waterproofs. I got one or two odd looks and comments that it was obvious I must be English (not local) as I’m a bit mad. After a week or so of splashing about in flip-flops I went crazy and bought some posh wellies – to much ridicule from Mr Postcard along the lines of  ‘this is Gibraltar not Glastonbury’. Then the rain stopped, for two months, until Tuesday. I unwrapped my new wellies with relish and jumped in a few puddles (you’re never to old for that I reckon!).

Commonwealth Park looking festive  I was lucky enough to be able to sneak out one evening and watch the new Star Wars film. I can’t do it justice, so won’t give a review – I liked it, a lot. En-route to the cinema I took a stroll through Commonwealth Park. I’ve driven past at night and seen the lights but this was the first time I’d seen it up close. I thought it looked fab.

Hard Rock Café, Puerto Banús  
We escaped and dashed along the coast for a few days over New Year.  First night found us at the Hard Rock Café where the kids were bemused at the old fashioned rock music playing on the screens. No 1 son asked whether Oasis had been in the charts when I was growing up! The previous night he had watched a TV programme about the 1950s and thought the music in that was from my youth… not much difference between that and Oasis. How do their brains work when it comes to recent history?!

Year’s end in Nueva Andalucía 

  We were blessed with beautiful weather over new year, and found a peaceful spot little to recharge our batteries. Well, it was peaceful before we arrived ;-).

New Year’s Day walk 

 The glorious weather continued into January and on New Year’s Day we went for a lovely walk along the beach footpath from Puerto Banús towards Marbella. We had long sleeves on but there were some people in trunks etc sunbathing on the beach… on January 1st… in the northern hemisphere, can’t get my head round that!

I was so brave!!! 

 After the entire Postcard clan had posed for photos ‘wearing’ moths at the Benalmádena Butterfly Park, it looked as though I had to overcome my reservations and have a go too. I’m not great with creepy crawlies in general and while I loved watching the butterflies fliting about us on our visit, the thought of having one ON me was a big deal! I’ll have many more photos about this in my next post…

Sunday Sevens is a blog series featuring seven photos from the past seven days. It was created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins pop along to her blog to find out more. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 and Happy New Year!