Olive fields by Noreen

Olive fields by Noreen
Mysterious, primordial world

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

AND OFF TO RONDA WE GO......

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!  

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Testing the waters in Spain

I haven't been on here since April!  I wanted to wait until I had something new to tell you.  Well, I have some news!!
Firstly,  both of our friends have sold their homes in Turkey.  They were very sad to leave but for both families,  it was a decision that had to be made for health reasons.  The beautiful country of Turkey will always be there and who knows, it may be possible to return for holidays in the future.   
However,  we are missing them very much while we still ponder over leaving Turkey ourselves and moving nearer to our own daughter.    With this in mind and with our daughter sending me links to properties in Spain and links to Spanish language websites, we have decided eventually to look at Spain.  We want to see if we can find an area where we could live for maybe 6 months a year and spend the other 6 months in Ireland.

In February I joined a house sitting website.  I wanted to look for a house sit in Southern Spain.  This would enable us to get the feel for the country.  Even though we had previously been to Spain on holiday,  I wanted us to get more familiar with it's daily living.  Would we be content to live away from the sea and the beach or would we want to be near the sea and shops?  Would we like to live in an area with many buildings around us?  It is unlikely we would be able to afford a detached house with it's own pool and garden which we have in Turkey.  We are willing to compromise because it will mean our daughter, family and friends will be able to get to us with just one direct flight and two airlines to choose from!  

We  looked at all of the house sits in Spain and eventually found one which was suitable to us.  We applied for it and have been successful.   It was to our advantage that we have plenty experience of house and pet sitting.  Since 27th June we are taking care of a lovely villa with a cute little dog and cat.
 The villa is located in the hills above Malaga.  There is a bakery, vegetable shop and a pharmacy just a ten minute walk away.  The supermarket is a 20 minute walk.  The bus station is a 10 minute walk. We are getting plenty of exercise walking the dog twice a day.  She is a lovely little pet and really easy to walk. We try to buy a few groceries every second day so we do not have to carry too much.  We are missing our electric scooter!   I'm doing an on-line Spanish course and so far I have managed to be understood while I do the shopping.  The people in the shops are polite and friendly.  The people we pass on the streets do not say "hello or good day"  unlike Turkey where everyone greets you when you are out walking.  It's just like Ireland and England in that way.

We walked downtown which takes about 35 minutes to get to the promenade and beach.  There are some lovely boutiques and restaurants as you head down the hill.  I had kept some money from last year's Christmas presents.  I treated myself to a new dress.  All the stock in the botique was from Paris so it was a real treat. I wore it on our day out to Fungerola. We had a delicious lunch at this lovely restaurant on a side street next to Hotel Angela. It's run by an Irish couple! No wonder the food was so good!!


The promenade in Marbella is called the board walk.  It goes on for miles!  We walked quite a distance before turning back.  There are beautifully built hotels, apartment blocks and restaurants all along the boardwalk.
 There is miles and miles of sand.   There are restaurants right down on the beach. We haven't gone down on to the beach as yet because dogs are not allowed.  We have been all along what is called "The golden mile"  It's like a main street.  Nice shops,  lots and lots of them.  Also beautiful parks with decorative stone seats and large trees providing much needed shade.



The buses go to all towns along the coast.  We have visited Fungerola and Malaga city.  
This photo shows     part of the beach at Fungerola.


We've been to Puerto Banus and it's Saturday market. Just like Turkey with lots of stalls selling t-shirts, dresses, shoes and fancy goods.  I bought another dress and top!  Mr. D bought two very nice tee-shirts. 
 We've gone by bus to east of Malaga and seen towns, Rincon de Victoria, and Benajarafre.  

Friday, 28 April 2017

THE ELUSIVE WATERFALL

We followed the directions given to us by the hotel owner.  "Be sure to go and see our beautiful waterfall just outside the town,  it's just a 15 minute walk through the woods, even children can do it!"  he assures us as we leave the hotel lobby.
 On the outskirts of the town of Köyceğiz, we ask for further directions from a local stall holder who was delighted when we bought some oranges from his well stocked stall.


Soon we were driving on a very rough road which had another road turning left.  We decided to go straight ahead walking on for more than 15 minutes but there was no signposts and no waterfall,  just two small steams which came down from the mountains.  The trees were beautiful.  We saw some beautiful wildlife which kept us busy with our cameras.  We walked on and came to some big stones and rocks.  We did a bit of climbing thinking we were near.  We could see another small stream flowing by.
We were a bit disappointed on not finding the waterfall having managed to climb over some very large boulders on the stream but to no avail.  We turned back.  On our way out we saw a car parked and a young man got out.  I immediately asked him if he knew where  the waterfall was located.  he replied "yes".  Mary's Turkish is much better than mine and he explained to her where it was and that he would take us there.  We had gone in the right direction but it was much further on.  So on we walked,  up a hill over some rough gravel and stones and suddenly we see a make-shift bridge!  It was quite flimsy,  like something from an Indiana Jones movie in which someone falls through and is hanging on with one arm!!  There were a lot of "woooo's and ough!!'s and what on earth is that?

This photo is taken from the opposite side.  We now had to make decisions.  Would we cross it, could we cross it?  Our young man who is called Deniz said "no problem,  I'll help you!"   With my not so perfect eye sight, it looked not too bad to me!   I did not see the missing pieces of timber and the thinner lats on the farther side. 

 Mr. D and Mary are both nervous of heights.  Mr. D said he would wait and take some photos in that area.  I said I wanted to go ahead with the others as the fountain was now only about another 10 minutes away. Deniz went first and guided Mary to the other side.  Isabelle and I followed slowly but carefully.  When I got three quarter way across,  I saw the open spaces underneath my feet and the water flowing below.  I paused for a moment and then jumped over the spaces and quickly got to the other side to the cheers of the others! 
Below is the elusive fountain!   The next surprise was that we had to climb down the side of the rocks to get to the base of it!  We had come this far,   I was definitely going to do this last stage!
Mary decided to stay above while with the help our our guide Deniz Isabelle and I managed slowly but surely to scramble and hold on to bits of branches and rocks as we made our way down. It was not a very big waterfall!  But we had such fun as we made our way to it!

 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A mini holiday

Our dear friend Mary has been planning a trip to Köyceğiz since the end of last year.  She arrived back in Turkey at the end of March and when her friend Isabelle from Paris came here on holiday, it seemed the right time to set off on our trip.  I'd given a neighbour a supply of cat food and she kindly agreed to feed the cats whilst we were away. 
On a bright sunny morning,  with our bags and cameras packed we set off in Mary's 'Duster' car.
I felt very comfortable and relaxed with Mary at the wheel.  She is a very capable driver,  very knowledgeable regarding rules of the road (unlike quite a lot of male drivers here!)  It wasn't long until we were out past all the heavy traffic on the Bodrum roads and heading for Mugla.
After a brief stop for tea and some photographs we were on our way again. 

The roads took us up high into the mountains.  As we gazed upon the views far below us, it felt like we were looking out from a plane window.  There were narrow roads and hair-pen bends and Mary navigated them beautifully. We even found a traditional Turkish village and a lady cooked delicious gozleme (very light dough filled with herbs and cheese and baked quickly over an open fire.)
We arrived in the evening at Lake Köyceğiz.  It was even more beautiful than I had imagined having already seen photographs of the lake and surrounding areas.  It was very quite with just a few restaurants open and we found a lovely hotel with little balconies which overlooked the lake.  After checking in,  we wasted no time.  We were out straight away with our cameras capturing the evening light on the lake.
We sat and chatted while we watched the beautiful sunset.  We enjoyed a delicious meal and got an early night.  We set our alarms for 6am and we were up and out the next morning to capture the sunrise.  It did not disappoint!

Someone else was up early too!

After an hour or so, we returned to our hotel to review our photos.  We had worked up a good appetite and enjoyed a delicious breakfast of eggs, cheese, tomatoes and olives.  We took a walk up to the town square where I bought some honey from a very large shop selling nothing but honey.  Every type of honey from every flower!
We packed ourselves into the car.  The surroundings of the lake as a whole and particularly the banks of its Dalyan sea connection are important nature reserves.  There was plenty to see as we drove along. The lake is fed by the Namnam and Yuvarlakçay rivers and a number of mountain brooks. At the south side, there is a NW - SE fault line, bordered by several sulfurous hot springs, amongst others Sultaniye Spa. We made our way there and soon we were relaxing in the very hot and very relaxing springs.




We stayed for two nights at the hotel.  On leaving they advised us to visit a waterfall in the woods just outside the town.  This proved to be quite an adventure.   Story and photos to follow soon!