Spring is here

Rob and Jacky Black
Tue 31 Mar 2009 12:22

Lagos – Sopromar Yard 29th March 2009


I  have been very remiss with this blog but thought today it was time for a catch up so here goes!

In February we went to Granada and Ronda – the day we left the weather picked up so our drive was pleasant

through fields of Olive trees for 100s of miles! It was strange when we drove over the huge road bridge in Seville

to look down over the river where we had been moored a few months previously. We made good time and arrived in Granada

around 1400 and after a few wrong turns finally found the hotel right in the centre of the city. It was a Best Western and we had a splendid triple room so plenty of space. We were able to walk to the Cathedral in 5 minutes so were at the centre of everything.

Our visit was crammed with sight -seeing the highlights being the day spent at the Alhambra which was awesome and the following afternoon wandering around the Jewish quarter and climbing innumerable steps to the hill to the west of the city which provided us with stunning views of the Alhambra and the snow capped mountains beyond.

When we left the hotel the Valet parking ‘senor’ drove us to the correct road for our route to the ski resort - Pradollano(all through the one-way streets!) and so we were soon out of the city and heading for the snow! We thought the resort was delightful and there was loads of snow; plenty of ski-runs and the village was very high 2100 metres with all the ski-ing above the tree line.

We stopped for a coffee at a lovely cafe which looked up towards the main descent to the bubble lift and watched the skiers fly down – we were very tempted to hire gear and have a go!

After leaving the Sierra Nevada we drove to Ronda – again at the start the road wound through a literal ‘sea of olives’ but gradually the scenery changed and became more like the moors of Cornwall with craggy hill tops etc. The final stage of the journey saw us on a pretty third class road with pot holes and no hard shoulders – fortunately there was little traffic.

Our hotel in Ronda was fine and again close to the old town – we had a good view to the surrounding hills from our bathroom window which faced SW so also allowed the sun to stream in. Having found a free parking spot up the road (saved ourselves 18 Euros a night!) we set off to explore and were soon at the old Bull Ring. This was built at the end of the 18th century when Bull fighting was formalised and the ‘new era’ of bull fighting began. There was a very interesting museum to visit as well as actually walking in the arena and viewing the pens and stables etc. WE then strolled along towards the ‘old city’ and to a viewing point where we were able to look out over the cliffs to the surrounding hills – quite spectacular the air was so fresh and clean and the

vista was magnificent. On the way back to the hotel we checked out some of the near-bye restaurants ready for our supper later!

Having selected one we duly returned at 2000 and enjoyed a super ‘Tapas’ style meal. It was so good we went back the following night to the same place. The next day we spent in the old town visiting the various Palaces as well as walking round the perimeter and viewing the various old bridges which were build originally by the Romans then the Visigoths, Moors etc. The city is set on a rocky hill top with sheer cliffs on 3 sides and deep clefts which had to be crossed to get into the main development.  You could just imagine how difficult it would have been to capture from the outside hence the Moors were able to make a ‘last stand’ here against the Spanish in the 14th century. Certainly a good place to visit if you haven’t been yet.

We returned to Lagos on the 14th of February and then started our de –winterising programme on the boat! The weather was glorious for three weeks so many of the jobs were done wearing shorts and t shirts which made a pleasant change from frost and rain in the UK! The teak decks were cleaned and look like new, the mainsail washed with a hose, the topsides polished, the bimini and spray hood washed and re- waterproofed and I made new canvas covers for all the hatches and the outboard motor to protect them from the UV light! In between all this activity we have spent evenings with friends at the local cafe where there is live music  3 nights a week, as well as taking part in the organised walks, driving up the west coast to explore the surfing beaches etc.

In addition I have been trying to swim at least 3 times a week in an attempt to get fitter and lose some weight!

Last week our friend Nicky came to visit us and we did some of the ‘tourist’ things we hadn’t done earlier in the year, as well as eating out a few times and driving to Monchique. Unfortunately although the sun shone all week it was very windy too but we did manage a swim in the sea on a very sheltered bay on the Tuesday.

I had to make a flying visit home on the 24th of March as our dear  sailing friend Andy Reynolds finally succumbed to cancer which he has been fighting for many years. The funeral was a real tribute to him and was attended by many members of our sailing club.

On my return we had Arwen lifted out and this past few days have been busy rubbing down, anti fouling and polishing. We have also had a new ‘skin-fitting’ inserted in-case we decide to install a water-maker later this year.

We have been very impressed with boat yard here – Sopromar - expensive but very efficient and incredibly helpful.

We are back in the water on the 1st of April.

That,s all for now.


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