Thursday, 23 April 2015

Day 2 of the Journey to UK

After breakfast at the hotel we decided to take a long walk around the beautifully landscaped area that lies in the centre of the technologies park here in Zaragoza..

They have made a wonderful job of landscaping the area with mazes, lakes, walkways, cycle tracks, cafes and striking monuments that you can climb or walk round. The grasses, poppies and wild flowers were in abundance as we took the walk to the nearby airport...

Once we reached the airport (after dodging the cars in the dual carriageway!) we stopped for coffee. We then set off for the journey back...all in all a great walk of approx 4 miles..just what we needed to walk off the breakfast!

Once packed up we then set off onwards to Santander to catch the ferry at 21:15 that evening...

Along the way we stopped for lunch at the Restaurante Hernani 2 at Alfaro..which is situated just over the border of the two regions of Navarre & La Rioja..

From the outside the restaurant didn't look that big but once inside it was just like Dr Who's Tardis...and at the back was a huge dining room filled with the usual lorry drivers...a great sign that a good Menu del Dia was to come! €10.90 and they weren't wrong!

Once filled to burst we set off again and opted not to go on the toll roads but to take our time on what we consider 'B' Spain they are the 'N' roads..

You see the most spectacular scenery, buildings and everyday life by travelling on these back roads and we highly recommend these IF you have the time!

After a few hours we enter the Santander city know you're near the port as all the roundabouts have lighthouses on them!

It wasn't long before we hit the front road that leads you straight into the Brittany Ferries check in area...once they had checked our passports and handed over the necessary documents we were directed to lane 13 to wait our turn to board...then the heavens opened!

Sad faces all round that the trip was coming to a close...and so we enter the mouth of the beast!!! Pont Aven...

Once onboard and settled in it was off to the public areas where you are treated to Free wifi..

If I said the connection was slow I'm exaggerating!!! It is quite painful in this day and age that Internet speeds cannot be faster..but hey ho it is what it is..

The restaurant areas are very nice and spotlessly kept..Brittany Ferries do keep a tidy ship even if their internet speed is rubbish!!

The overnight crossing was a calm as a millpond...just what we like..cabins small but ok and the beds were sort of comfortable. The pillows on the other hand were like sleeping on a brick!!

Once refreshed we woke to sunshine and headed down to our buffet breakfast..and afterwards a walk around deck..windy but sunny..

A quick scan around the kiosk we happened upon a great travel guide..just what we had been looking for. A guide that breaks down each region and tells you what is interesting and typical for that it's by Dorling Kindersley which always indictates great pictorial content!

So whilst I've been sat here with my free wifi code typing up this draft...John's been off larking around onboard with the Brittany Ferries mascot....

Kids.......who'd have them!!!!????

Till next time..xx


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Happy Birthday to me!....

Not only is it the Queen of England's birthday's mine too!...

So today we shut up shop in Mojacar to head on back to the UK for a wedding on the 3rd May..The terrace was cleared and swept...It looks sad when it's empty!!

We left early to give us a good start on the long journey up through Spain to our overnight stop in Zaragoza....

We chose a slightly different route this time that took us from Mojacar up to Murcia then off to Albacete. There we headed Northwest to Turuel. This route takes you through quite a few provinces and regions of Spain...mainly Andalucia...Murcia...Albacete, Castilla La Mancha, Valencia & Zaragoza itself...
The area around Castilla La Mancha is packed with Bodegas and fields & fields of planted grape the colour of the soil is amazing!...
We decided to stop for lunch along the way and did so at a Restaurante called Meson Asador La Montana... Well....made a bit of a bo-bo BIG time!!! We opted for the Menu Del Dia which was fantastic value at €10 each for 3 courses plus bread, drinks and coffee..
1st course great...soup...2nd course OMG........
I thought we had ordered roast lamb chops......OH was the HEAD of the lamb complete with brains, eyes & teeth..!!!!!!
We ate The vegetables that were surrounding it and managed to extract a teeny bit of meat from the said head....we didn't make a fuss or a scene...we didn't want to give the waiter the pleasure of seeing this silly British couple squirm in disgust!! You can just imagine the owners in the kitchen saying 'watch their faces when they see this plate of food...I don't think they realised what they have ordered!'...
The rest of the meal was fine, especially the postre (sweet)...
Once back on the road, and trying desperately not to dwell on what had just occurred (where are you Bridget when I need you most for translation!!??), we headed further Northwest to Zaragoza..
Shepherds herding their sheep...a pretty coffee stop by a babbling stream...
Magnificent rock formations and unusual motorway art!
The miles sped by and before we knew it there were only 79kms to go...
We checked into our hotel..the Eurostar Rey Fernando 2 hotel (4*) where we always stay on our way to Santander or Bilbao.
It's approx 7hrs from Mojacar and it's very close to two massive shopping malls plus plenty of restaurants too. Last December on our way down to Mojacar we stayed a few days and explored Zaragoza centre by bus which stops right outside the hotel. It only costs about €3.50 each way and takes you right into the beautiful heart of the historic centre of Zaragoza..well worth a trip!
We always book a Junior Suite which has a small kitchen, lounge area, bedroom and bathroom.
Once unpacked and settled in we decided to drive up to the Plaza Shopping Centre to check out a few shops before our evening meal.
We ate in a restaurant called Muerde La Pasta which is basically an all you can eat Buffet style restaurant and is great value for money at approx €11.00 per head...
Of course I treated myself to a teeny ice cream for my sweet.....

Well it is my birthday after all!!.....
Next instalment of the journey home soon.xx

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Benidorm Part 2...The End!

As promised I've now found the time to write up the latter part of the Hen Party Trip to Benidorm! here goes.....

Sat 11th April..

This morning John & I decided to take the long hike up through the hills to the illuminated cross that stands overlooking Benidorm bay...

Although the weather wasn't brilliant I wish I'd left my jacket behind once I got started! There were a few spits of rain, but they didn't last long..

As you meander up the long quite steep and winding road (sounds like a song!?) you do get some quite spectacular views..

Shame the sun wasn't shining but you get the picture...

Once at the top you are treated to lovely panoramic views..

I will confess to being a little disappointed as it was quite 'grubby' up there..a bit of graffiti and people had just thrown rubbish down on the floor, why can't people take it with them??!!!.. Baffles me...

Anyway I took a photo looking back as we headed back down, and that way I couldn't see either the graffiti or the rubbish!

I read in the paper later that they had just run a campaign of cleaning up the area plus painting over all the graffiti and removing banners/photos etc, so it must be difficult to keep the area spotless as so many people make the journey up there...

We received a text message to tell us that the bride to be was in a bar all dressed up as 'Madge' from the TV series Benidorm...complete with mobility scooter!..

The girls had done a great job dressing her up complete with fake tan!!

On the evening we had arranged to meet in the centre of Benidorm for drinks etc and this time they had dressed Ella in a full wedding dress!

After we went to quite a few bars/clubs along the infamous Calle Girona..

We left the Hen Party at just gone 1pm to carry on the night along clubland!!

Sun 12th April

This morning we promised ourselves a return trip to the Rastros at La Nucia & Polop..

They sell just about everything....and I mean everything!..we didn't find any bargains today but it was certainly fun browsing, plus the excercise was needed!..

We then headed back into Benidorm to the Sunday Market which is huge but full of the same items that I can buy at our local we didn't stay long..

That evening we were taking a long walk along the Levante beach to the Old Town end as the group wanted to have a quieter evening as they were heading home the next day.

We opted for a pizza/pasta restaurant which suited everyone..

As the girls were leaving early the next morning we waved them goodbye and wished them a safe journey home..we're glad we came and that they had such a great time!

Mon 13th April

Today we decided to try our hand at travelling on the Alsa buses. The Alsa buses are equivalent to our National Express and cover the whole of Spain.

As our hotel was literally built above the bus station it was easy to take the escalator down to the booking office and get our tickets to board..

We opted for Villajoyosa which is only approx 3kms outside of Benidorm and is famous for the manufacturing of Valor chocolate!!

As we got off the bus we just happened across this beautifully decorated authentic Valor chocolate shop. The front had all the individually made chocolates and at the rear was the cafe. Well we just had to sample some of their wares didn't we!!??

To say it was divine is an understatement...honestly in my humble opinion the hot chocolate was better than Cadburys...and I told the man so!!

We then went exploring. I had read up on the area and knew that there was an old historic end to the town where all the buildings are painted in pretty, pastel shades.

The day was quite windy but warm and the town is so pretty. We walked from one end to the Marina and back again. I must admit I was quite pleased and surprised to see a moving escalator that takes you up three levels from the bottom to the top of the town..The only other place I've seen anything like this out in the open was in Las Vegas!

After a few hours of sightseeing we boarded the bus back into Benidorm and found a lovely little Spanish bar and had a light lunch of sardines and a beer!

That evening we decided to look out for a Indian Curry restaurant and we spied one whilst we were on the was called The Curry Mile and it was far the best curry I have had in many a long time.

Tues 14th April

Today it was us that was heading home and as we checked out, behind the reception desk I spied two really old black and white photos..

I asked the receptionist if I could take closer look and she started to explain to me that the photos were of the very first tourist bus service that operated in Benidorm...the Year was 1958!! She also said that she still knew the owner of the bus and although quite old now, he was still alive! I really love seeing all the old photos of an area...

Heading back down the A7/E15 motorway we stopped for a quick coffee break and these beautiful bright, vivid pink succulent plants grabbed our attention...

Pretty aren't they???

Whilst we liked Benidorm......we LOVE Mojacar and we were soooo pleased to be back home!

Packing up now to head on back to the UK for the wedding on the 3rd May so I'm unsure when I'll be posting my next entry, but I'll try if/when I get any free Wifi connections!

Until then...xx



Friday, 17 April 2015

I digress...!

I know I promised to write up the 2nd part of the Hen weekend in Benidorm...but I've got sidetracked!!

Early this morning we whizzed along to Garrucha market for our Friday churros and chocolate at Ana's..the last we will have before returning home next week...

On the way we tucked in behind all the cyclist just going out in their daily ride...

We then had to attend the Spanish Notary to amend and update some of our legal documents...we used the same solicitor and Notary that we did 12 yrs ago when we bought our property..situated in the Parque Commercial....

Then the next appointment was a soothing pedicure...also in the Parque Commecial..she is a Russian girl and she always does a fantastic job....

It was a little early for my next appointment at the hairdressers so we decided to have a coffee on the sun terrace at Hola Ola right slap bang on Mojacar Beach..

Great views from the sun deck terrace on this lovely, sunny day...
The into the hairdressers called the Whacky Barbers in Mojacar..I've had my hair cut there a few times now, Debbie is a lovely girl so I asked her to cut it shorter for me and left the styling up to her.....what do you think?? Before & after pics!...
Driving along the front I asked to stop so I could jump out and photograph all the Chiringuitos that look stunning's the beginning of the season, they're all open now after having a thorough clean and polish!!
1st is Aku Aku..
Renowned for their Paella..
Next is El Cid..
One of the oldest bars on the beach, founded in 1978!
Next is Lolas'..
Personally this is my favourite simply for the decor..And the huge glitter stylish!
Next up is El Patio 2000...

Equally one of the few original chiringuitos on the beach of Mojacar, and I think it was founded in 1968?...

Next door is Bahia..

Now I can personally vouch for this one as we have eaten their Paella and it was to die for!!...a bit pricey granted but divine all the same...all washed down with a jug of freshly made chilled Sangria..heaven..

Last on the end is Maui Beach..

The largest of them all and most certainly has had the most euros thrown at it decor wise..

Beautifully presented with newly installed all weather glass bi-fold really is quite classy!

As you can probably gather from this entry...these are just a few of the reasons we love Mojacar so much...there is so much to do and definitely NOT enough hours in the day!

Lastly I just wanted to share with you my latest "pimp my plants" experiment..

I had previously only crocheted one Cover for the Palm and that had faded with the constant sun on it, so I decided to go all out and do all three!.. End result..ta dah!...

Número Uno..

Número dos...

Número tres.... photo ladies please!!...

These little jackets should last another season surely?!..

Next instalment of the Benidorm Hen weekend will follow tomorrow..promise!

Off for a Chinese meal this evening with our neighbours so will let you know how that goes too...xx