Olive fields by Noreen

Olive fields by Noreen
Mysterious, primordial world

Sunday, 15 October 2017


We are back in Turkey.   The weather is wonderful at this time of the year.  28c in the afternoon and around 20c at night.    A few days after our return, we did a two week house sit for friends who had to go to England but I still managed a swim last week and the sea was still warm.
We are now catching up on the jobs that have mounted  up while we were away! The garden had overgrown, so much that I couldn't tackle it myself and for the first time ever had to employ two men to cut it back.


If felt strange seeing two strangers working in my garden, pruning back plants which I have planted and tended to since I first started this garden back in 2005, but it was either pay them to do 3 hours work or spend 2 weeks doing it bit by bit myself and have to take painkillers to alleviate my back pain.  I was sensible for once and decided to put my health first.  Now that the heavy pruning is done,  I can use my small pruner to cut back the bits they missed!  I've washed all the floors,  the windows can wait!  I'll buy some new plants to replace a few which died during the long hot summer.  When that's done I hope to start on another canvas,  maybe an autumn scene?    I love autumn eventhough where we live there is very little autumn colour.  Lots of greens and of course blue!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

FLIGHT CANCELLED and a tour of Frankfurt!

We had the house cleaned. We had used up the last of the fruit, meat and vegetables and were well organised for our travel tomorrow.  I went to the pool and had a lovely relaxing last swim.  While I floated and swam about, I thought back over the last few weeks.  The temperatures had reduced to a nice managable heat and we had seen three different towns east of Malaga.  We had eaten and walked in Rincon de Victoria,  Benajarafe and Torre del Mar.
 The south of Spain is very different to western Turkey.  In Spain there is a huge amount of high rise buildings.  Where you don't have high rise,  the buildings are very close together.  Most of the detached houses have high walls surrounding the whole site.  You have to travel inland to see houses with big gardens. The cities do have big parks so this gives the residents a change of scene without having to travel very far away from their homes.
 In Turkey, where we live on the Bodrum peninsula,  we are used to seeing large villas on large sites all with big gardens. We can walk to the sea in six minutes!   I brought my thoughts back to the present and did one last lap of the pool.  I said "Adios" before strolling back up to the house.

  On entering, I was greeted by Mr. D who said "Our flights to Frankfurt have been cancelled!"  I thought he must be joking and waited a few seconds to see if he would start laughing,  but he didn't and added "they just sent a text".  I checked my emails immediately and yes they had  confirmed it.  We could get a refund or book another flight with them but we still had the problem of missing our connecting flight from Frankfurt to Bodrum.   I then checked the options for connecting flights from Frankfurt to Bodrum which was the rout we were booked on for the following evening!   Wo and behold!  No flights with that airline to Bodrum until a week later!  I checked another airline  but their prices were 700 Euro each and felt this would be far too expensive.  After searching alternative options,  I felt it was better to stay with the same airlines as maybe our insurance would not cover more expensive alternative airlines.  So I rebooked both flights.  The Ryanair one for the Thursday,  6 days later because I was afraid they might cancel again,  and the connecting flight to Bodrum for the following Friday at a cost of almost 300 euro just to change our date!   As it happened the flight was half empty!   We would  have to pay the trains and hotel in Frankfurt for one night.  I spent most of the day online trying to find out from Ryanair which flights they  would be cancelling for the rest of that week.  At this point they said they were going to cancel fights every day for 6 weeks but did not tell us which ones.  I asked people on the Ryanair facebook page to please ask for a LIST,  this would help passengers to make changes to their plans and reduce the disruption.  It took about three or four days but they eventually published the list.  Up until then,  we didn't know if our rebooked fight would again be cancelled.....   We were very lucky we happened to be staying in our friends house and that we could stay another 6 days.

  View from terrace towards the sea.       

 On the following Thursday, we eventually set off at 6.45am to catch the early morning bus.  I was anxious as usual thinking we would sleep it out,  eventhough, we never sleep it out!  I woke every hour and got up at 6am.  I still managed to forget the lovely salad sandwiches which I made up to have on the flight.  Instead we had to pay 17 euro for cheese and ham criossants and 2 teas!!

We arrived in a cooler but pleasantly sunny Frankfurt.  We navigated our way through the large airport from terminal 2 to terminal 1 and from under this terminal we took the train to the city centre. We decided the best thing to do first was take a tour of the city.  We waited outside the train station for about 45 minutes. There are no seats and standing around is not the best for our already tender backs! We were relieved to see a blue hop on hop off bus approaching our stop.  We promptly bought tickets on boarding the bus and for about 50 minutes we got to see enought to let us know where we should return to on the next morning.

 We then found ourselves a hotel where we were able to freshen up and leave our cases before taking an evening walk of the streets nearby.

 We found a lovely German restaurant where I had my most delicious ever vegetarian meal.  It consisted of a Tofu burger with salad and chips.  Sorry I didn't take a photo, my back at this stage was aching and  I was so hungry,  I couldn't wait to sit down.    Mr. D enjoyed his meal too, a 100% pure beef burger with plenty of salad and a nice selection of chips.  We were quite pleased with our choice of restaurant.

By the time we finished dinner it was  dark and we noticed the coolness of the night air when we stepped outside. We strolled and admired the different shop windows and made our way back to the hotel.  Tomorrow was only a day away!

After breakfast on Friday morning we left our cases at the hotel.  "The old town is only about 10 minutes walk" said the hotel receptionist as he bid us a cheery smile.  It took us about 20 minutes but it was worth it. It was beautiful!

Saturday, 30 September 2017


We walked up another hill,  we are going to be so fit!!!  it was wonderful to arrive at our friends house.  They have just bought it and have had all their stuff transported from their holiday home in Turkey to their new home in Benajarafre, Spain.  We are so familiar with their lovely home ware, beautiful glass, pottery, lamps, cushions and pictures from spending time with them in their Turkish home that it felt like home straight away!   It's a nice quiet area, no traffic sounds,  just birds and the sound of the waves on the shore below.

The beaches on the south of Spain are very long,  they go on for miles.  The locals and holidaymakers alike bring their sun umbrellas,  deck chairs and picnics to the beach.  They never get over crowded because there is so much space.

Most of the houses and apartments have more than one balcony and sometimes a terrace or a garden.  In summer the sun is very hot and sunblinds give much needed shade.

No sunloungers to be seen here but some of the restaurants on the beaches do have them which you can rent for about five euro for a day.

We dined out a few times.  Food was dissapointing to begin with, we are spoiled with delicious nutricious food in Turkey!   However the lunch in the photo above was delicious.  This restaurant in the next town  "Torre del Mar" was recomened to us. We went there twice and enjoyed the food on both occasions.

In the town of Torre del Mar, which is 15 minutes away by bus there is a huge beach.  Running parallel to the beach is the splendid promenade (paseo marítimo) with a wide walking area, cycle lane, grassy areas, play areas for children and numerous chiringuito.(beach restaurants)   It runs along the entire length of the town and stretches almost 4 kilometres.   We didn't walk it due to the heat but it would be great in the cooler weather to hire a bicycle and cycle the 4 kilometers!

There are numerous fountains and colourful flower displays in the town centre which add to the athmosphere.  The town is very flat and residents told us of the serious problems of flooding when the pipes become blocked during winter rains.  We really liked this town but feel it's very far away from Malaga city which would mean constant travelling by bus.....  ideal for holidays but not for permanent living.

Malaga city.  (text from Lonely planet)  Málaga is a world apart from the adjoining Costa del Sol: a historic and culturally rich provincial capital which has long lived in the shadow of the iconic Andalucian cities of Granada, Córdoba and Seville. Yet, it has rapidly emerged as the province's city of culture with its so-called 'mile of art' being compared to Madrid, and its dynamism and fine dining to Barcelona.

More on Marbella

Temperatures are back down to the low thirties so this suits us.  On some days there is a nice cool breeze which flows through the villa.  Mr D. is catching up with the latest sport on TV.  He has watched all of the Wimbledon tennis championship, Golf championships and the World athletics. He only sees the highlights when we are in Turkey so this is a real treat.  
 We have seen more of Marbella.  We walk down the hill always keeping to the shaded side of the street.   It's a big city with a vast landscape of tall apartment blocks which stretch all along the coast and back up the hills to the main motorway.    There are shops and restaurants on the ground floors of the apartment blocks.  The locals can be seen sitting and relaxing while eating tapas in the shade cast by striped blinds which cover all the outside eating areas. 

There is a long park which stretches down almost to the coast.  In this park we visited a world famous bonsai museum which is said to be the best collection of Bonsai trees in Europe and the best Olive tree collection in the world. This museum also holds the "Pinsapo" pine tree which is in danger of extinction and a 400 year-old juniper amongst other wonders of nature. I love this art.  It tells us that even if you do not have a garden, you can have trees!  I once made a bonsai tree from a sycamore sapling and it's still in my garden in Ireland.

Photos of the side streets in the residential areas where the Spanish people live.

Photos of the narrow streets of the old Marbella which is always thronged with tourists.

Photos of the boardwalk area and the beach at Marbella.

We enjoyed our time in Marbella but soon it was time for our house sit to end.  After welcoming our villa owners back from their holiday, we set off again with our small cases to the bus station where we got on the bus to Malaga central bus station. From there we headed east on another bus which an hour later dropped us off at a little seaside town called Benajarfe.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


We are into August now and the Spanish sun has been really hot.  Yesterday the temperature reached 38c.  We stayed indoors with the shutters closed to keep out the sun and intense heat. 
 It's not as hot today so I took the dog for an extra long walk this morning to make up for her short walk last night.  She is panting a lot with the heat.  She is a lovely little creature,  so full of love,  we have become very fond of her.  The cat is beautiful and so good too.
There are so many nice places to visit but the weather has been too hot to venture very far.  It's not very comfortable walking around towns when you are dripping with sweat!
Last month, we travelled by bus to Ronda, a town way up high in the mountains.  You can read about it here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronda

It's quite daunting travelling to such a height,  I felt as though I were on a plane, one which swung from left to right and back again!   As our bus scaled the great heights,  the coast faded away below and there is nothing but trees to our right.  I look apprehensively to our left,  a low metal barrier separates the road  from a sheer drop to an ever decreasing valley.   Buses, cars and trucks are travelling down towards us at what seems to be in excess of the speed limit on this mountainous winding road.  A few of the passengers including me were suffering the effects of motion sickness.  My ears were popping,  my stomach heaving.... When I thought we could climb no further, we still climbed.  I wondered where the city of Ronda could be. 
   Much to everyone's  relief we eventually reached a plateau.   A beautiful landscape with olive trees, fields and cows stretched out before us. 

We climbed even further until this plateau was far below us and eventually we arrived in what felt like another world way above, and level with the clouds.  Ronda, a beautiful city,  one of the oldest in Spain, rich in history.

This gorge (El Tajo) separates the city’s circa-15th-century new town from its old town, dating to Moorish rule. Puente Nuevo, a stone bridge spanning the gorge, has a lookout offering amazing views.

View looking towards the gorge. You can actually walk down to the bottom to get a full view of the bridge. I didn't see many people do it on such a hot day!

We will go back again during the winter months when we can travel there by train approaching from the Malaga side.

        Views from the other side.     There are stone seats built into the bridge. I took photos with my tablet and also Mr. D's camera. while his voice trailed behind me saying  " don't lean out so far!  you'll drop the tablet!  

Here is the bull ring,  we didn't,t go in! 

The entrance gate.

You can take a tour by horse and carriage.

The streets.

 The photos cannot really capture it,  you need to be there!

 Church of Santa Maria la Mayor

Another street with restaurants and shops

Plenty of restaurants and modern shops which had the most beautiful clothes...... I did manage to resist!!

Great to see so many people shopping,  and no sign of a recession.

I could easily live in Ronda,  if only it were not so far away and so high up in the mountains....

It's lovely parks so cool in the summer.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Merced Ronda

Me taking a much needed rest in one of Ronda's many plazas.

We wandered round some beautiful streets but there are still many more to see.

Many blinds fully down over windows and balconies,  keeping out the heat and the sun.

Another Plaza, plenty of space for the festivals.

Goodbye for now Ronda,  we will be back!