Still here.. .! Almerimar 36 41.86N 02 47.55W

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Wed 4 Sep 2013 08:48
Already it's Wednesday 4 September and no, we haven't fallen off the edge, we are still here in Almerimar and have been taking life somewhat slowly and quietly for a few days.

We hired a car last Friday and took the scenic route through the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountains to visit the city of Granada.

We were really pleased to see that Granada is thriving and the old part of the town was particularly enjoyable. We didn't do the hop on/hop off bus this time having decided to walk everywhere instead. After indulging ourselves with a delicious cup of the famous hot chocolate and churros, with far too many calories to dare to contemplate, we walked to the outskirts of the old town to visit the Alhambra Palace and the surrounding gardens which overlook the city from the east. The main areas of the huge fortified palace site were very busy with tourists from seemingly all parts of the world, but queues were quickly and efficiently dealt with. A glorious day weather wise was perfect for wandering around the huge and very impressive gardens and viewing the intricate architecture and beautiful stone work of the palace buildings. I won't go into detail here, but it's well worth looking the Alhambra up on the internet if you're interested. A tip for anyone visiting, make your way to the city cathedral and get a taxi to the palace grounds (4euros) that's cheaper, for two, than taking the shuttle bus and avoids a long hard walk up from the city - as we did!

After several hours of walking and by now beginning to feel rather tired and footsore, we headed back into the city centre to find something to eat and enjoy a little more of the attractive surroundings. We chose a nice restaurant in the plaza, located next to the cathedral and enjoyed a good meal and spent a pleasant hour or so doing what everyone does in such pleasant locations, i.e. people watching! By early evening Charlie was feeling weary, so reluctantly, we found the car, (having taken several photos of where we had left it, to be sure we could find it again) and headed back to the boat. It was a two hour journey each way. A very successful day out - we like Granada even more.

In case you're wondering, my lumps, bumps, cuts and grazes are all healing well and although my left shoulder and lower back are still troublesome, the bump on my head has now stopped hurting and I've stopped worrying about it.

We were all set to leave Almerimar on Monday afternoon, until we looked at the weather forecast and saw that strong easterly winds were forecast and due to last until Thursday. You've guessed it, we are heading east, and that is why we are still here. It was blowing very hard yesterday (force 6-7) and as our plan had been to sail through the night and arrive in Cartagena Tuesday evening, we were both glad not to have been out at sea, it could have been another 'Trafalgar' experience, (except all hatches and vents would have been water tight this time!). So rather than crash to windward in some discomfort, Charlie did some jobs and we retired to a waterside bar for refreshments in the evening.

The holiday season for the Spanish finished at the weekend and almost all have now gone home and back to work. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants In this port which were all open to all hours up until Sunday. Then all of a sudden, Monday morning, it's all changed. Many don't open for breakfast now although the majority seem to still be trying to capture the lunch and evening trade, but there aren't too many people around. The marina we are in is right in the heart of the town and it's been surprisingly pleasant. We haven't been disturbed by late night noise at all and it's very convenient for popping ashore to the supermarket and other facilities and we've actually quite enjoyed it here.

There are quite a lot of expats living and working here and we have taken the opportunity to get quotes from a couple of businesses recommended to us, run by British, Dutch, South African and Swedish men, for steel work for a new bimini frame and a new bimini cover. We get the prices later today. If they're within budget, we'll be coming back here again next spring to get them made and fitted, if not, they won't be seeing us again!

A typical evening comprises dinner on board followed by a film show. We have just finished the Deadwood series, for the second time around, and enjoyed it as much as when we first saw it 2 years ago even if the language is extremely uncouth!

Further checks on the weather this morning indicate the winds are reducing. If that's the case, we will be leaving here tomorrow. We haven't yet decided on our next port of call, but probably either Cartagena or Mar Menor, both about 24 hours away so an overnight passage is on the cards.

We are now booked into the boatyard at Sant Carles, to the south of Barcelona, and have to be there for 25 September. At that point we start to put everything away, take the sails down, service the engine, etc and Alkira will be lifted out of the water on 30 September and put into a steel cradle to await our return next April. A big job will be putting on the huge winter cover we had made to keep her clean and dry throughout the winter. Taking the cover off and putting it away to fit back into the bag will be quite another story! We head for home on the 4th October.

Just to be different, we have booked a train journey for our return to UK Barcelona-Paris-London. An adventure all by itself and that way we will not have to worry too much about baggage weights but it does mean we have to get across Paris and London before we arrive home in Lymington. More on that later.

All for now