Friday, 20 October 2017

Let me take you round the streets.........

Firecrackers just outside
 Last night I met up with Mark our course leader and we had dinner on the roof terrace. It was quite magical with the fireworks going off all round us) After we had eaten we were invited to the hotel owners family celebration of Dwali and we were told we could take photographs.   In the end I didn't because I was invited to take part in the ceremony which was wonderful (apart from having to sit on the floor...the knees are not what they used to be! ) 
 It was the actual day of Dwali and everywhere has to be cleaned to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi. A "Lakshmi pooja" was performed to seek divine blessings from the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, who helps those who strive to achieve wealth. It consists of a ritual using grains, leaves, coins, and idols to prepare a ceremony. During this ritual, you can invoke the Goddess by reciting the Vedic mantras or by thinking of her being showered with gold coins with two elephants standing. The ceremony was finished with having an aarti.  A lit candle with camphor in the bottom of a small dish was put on a metal tray and everyone takes turns in circling it over the table - clockwise. The purpose of performing aarti is the waving of lighted wicks before the deities in a spirit of humility and gratitude, wherein faithful followers become immersed in God's divine form. It symbolises the five elements: space,wind,fire,water and earth.  It is very much a time of family love. The ceremony was finished by the sister-in-law putting a red dot on our foreheads. Celebration sweets are also eaten (which are delicious)  I was quite moved by all this and felt very privileged to have been asked.
This was the family table

Today I was at a bit of a loose end. I had slept late so it was almost lunch time before I arrived for breakfast.  The hotel was empty and one of the young lads was called back from his 'holiday' to cook me a pancake.  He  did it with a big smile. I felt so bad that I gave him a 500 rupee tip which is all of about £5.  He took that with a big smile and when I had finished my pancake he reappeared with a friend and wanted to know if I had realised how much I had given him.  I told him I had and to go and have a good time..... he ran off with an even bigger smile. Apparently to him it was a small fortune.... so good!
I decided I needed to go and do some shopping so got a tuk tuk to take around the markets, he had failed to tell me that most of the shops were closed because of the holiday! However, I found one store open and met these cheeky chappies who asked to have their photos taken.

I set off on a walk around the streets this afternoon, hence the title. 

These also asked to have their photos taken. I started off with three but by the time I had got my settings right others appeared!

Apart from these little beauties I also saw these:

The rubbish is like this all over
Food but no water!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

The next Adventure-Its Dwali!

When I booked my trip to India way back in June I had no idea that I would be there when it was  Dwali. I deliberately booked it for a few days previous to my photography course starting as there are places I want to see that are not in the agenda. So........after a long journey I arrived this afternoon. My worries about having to change planes and pick up my luggage in Delhi and then catch the flight to Jodphur within 2 hours were compounded when I saw the queues at the e-visa security check in. It took 45mins to get through that. Then I had to pick my luggage up and go through check in and security (full body search in a cubicle!) . This was a bit of a nightmare. I put my luggage on conveyor and it disappeared through the curtain. My boarding pass was in my handbag. Then I got sent further down to a women only gate where the man wanted my boarding pass.  Well..long story short I ended up going back through the mens gate (which bleeped)and getting my boarding pass out of my handbag. Went back to ladies gate and got searched. Bags still waiting at other conveyor and when I went to retrieve them they emptied my case with two cameras and numerous bits of electrical gadgets and put it all through the scanner again.  Then because my laptop was in my bag they took that out and put that through again, then sent me on my way.  Of course my gate was about the furthest away but it was OK I had 10 minutes to spare!

My ride from the airport to my hotel was amazing. Because of all the crowds in the city the car could only go so far and the hotel manager who picked me up left the car just outside the old city and phoned for a tuk tuk.  I tried to take photographs but it was so manic and the roads so bumpy I didn't get many. Top...shoeshine boy. Lucky to get that one. The other is of two lady mechanics I think!

My hotel from the outside and the inside in the old part of the city.  It sounds as if the city is under seige...its not but the fireworks are so loud they sound like bombs...I have brought ear plugs with me!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Home again

These have been making me smile all week.  My hands are very joyful but I'm thinking I probably should have worn the cap. Not sure 5 minutes in the shower would work. Maybe it should be worn all day?

Breakfast was early on Wednesday. Transfer coming at 9.00. The breakfast bar was very busy at 7.00 which I was surprised at so only managed to get this one photo of the food. I didn't try all of these!

The trip to the airport is very short and it was pretty much straight down to gate 37.  Already there was a long, long queue but as I didn't need locker space I just sat down and waited for them all to go through. Makes life much easier if you can have your bag under the seat in front.

Tuesday was my last day, how I wished I was staying longer but I had a meeting on Thursday morning, so I was going to make the best of this and go to La Concepcion-Jardin Botanico -Historico de Malaga.  I had to find the No 2 bus stop and I was away. It was just at the bottom of the road and hopping on tried to tell the non English speaking bus driver where I wanted to go. We managed to communicate and he said it was the final stop.  I knew it was out of the city and managed to more or less know where I was by the names of the streets we were passing.  However, on and on we went and I was thinking that the final stop would be a bus station but it wasn't. It was just an ordinary stop and by the time we got there I was getting just slightly worried but....... He leaned out of his cab and made it clear I should get off and pointed to a sign over the road. 

I also knew that I had to walk 500m to the gardens. Didn't know it was mostly up hill. It seemed like a couple of miles! That was the only sign there was so I just carried on up the hill,over the bridge and onto the green path.  There was no one around until way along the road two SC men were trying to jog. They finally caught me up and after a lot of hand signalling I managed to understand I had to keep on the green path and go under the major motorway that was parallel with the road I was walking by the side of. I had to smile as the spandex pants disappeared down the road, not good on such a senior really and his poor partner could hardly drag his feet. Not surprising really as it was hot and he had a long jacket,scarf and hat on! 
On arrival a shot of caffeine was definitely needed to help me on my way. I knew I was in for some more climbing! .
So really looking forward to getting good shots off the camera. Hell..I had left the SD card in the 
Card reader last night.  The most annoying thing was that the camera is quite heavy to carry about and I had thought about just using the IPad, I wished I had.  Never mind nothing was going to spoil this visit I had the mobile, which it turned out was pretty useless. But it's a decent phone so I guess that was just me not knowing how to use it. Not easy to see the subject when so sunny but I got a few and a few videos of my feet! 

Rather liked him.

Not a lot of flowers out here but lots of poinsettias all over the city. Lots of tropical trees from five continents.

I did find a clump of these beautiful.

Created in1850 the gardens stretch for 250,000 sq metres.  This was the first road I walked down and the truck there was full of leaves.  A worker was using a blowing machine and as I got to him the leaves were right across the road but quite deep. I had no choice but to walk through them and I can tell you the urge to kick them about was huge. I was very refined and didnt! What a missed opportunity.

The azaleas were right down to the bottom of the hill/mountain and the view was amazing, unfortunately the motorway was very noisy and I could smell the fumes even up there. It's a great shame.  That apart it was calm and beautiful to walk around. I sat and soaked up some rays for about an hour on a seat in the middle of the cacti, Hundreds of them,some just starting to flower.
There were waterfalls and statues and fountains.

This is where I get cross again about he camera!

 The small pond at the bottom of the steps to the palace.

The garden was created by Amalia Heredia Livermore who was the granddaughter of the English consul at the time. It was bought by the Echevarri-Eschevarrieta family in 1911 who extended it but it fell into disrepair and was taken over in 1990 by Malaga Council. It took 4 years to get it back to its former glory.

Many wedding photos are taken here especially in the springtime when it is covered with wisteria.
I think another visit has to be in the spring.

A small wood of black stemmed bamboo which I love.

There is a forest walk which according to the notice is quite difficult so I gave that a miss and as it was lunch time I made my way back to the cafe.  After rejecting the lasagne I opted for the smoked salmon and avocado salad with a bottle of sparkling water.  I have to tell you that until this meal it would not have been a favourite but it was totally delicious, and so beautifully presented. I also opted for a pudding. I felt I could on my last day.  I hadn't even had an ice cream this week.!  (At this point I had forgotten all the cream on the cappuccinos) I had a strudel with ice cream served with a knife and fork.  I've never eaten ice cream with a fork but it can be done if the ice cream is the right consistency.

The walk back was much easier, no hills!  Waited at the same bus stop hoping it was going back to the city, hadn't sorted that one!  It did, it was just a circular route which dropped me off at the same bus stop..  A great day and I was pleased with myself for making the effort to get out there.

So Malaga.... What a lovely city. Landed there once but didn't see much of it.  I shall definitely be back in the spring.   The people are wonderful and I didn't have any bad experiences. Except one cafe I went into ans they didn't put cream on top of the cappuccino!   Slimming world here I come.  

Till the next time!   Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

No coffee in the room!

Generally my hotel -Room Mate Lola, (name is a bit dubious) is absolutely great. Breakfast is good, varied and plentiful, the decor, very modern (a lot of black and white ) which I like. My only gripe is that when I wake up I need a coffee. I don't know why this treat is sadly lacking in continental hotels and thinking about it also in a lot of American hotels. I should have learned from the last holiday in France and brought my own supplies!
Consequently,unless I'm brave enough to tiptoe down three floors in my jim jams, I have to get up and get ready for the day and shoot down to breakfast, whereas if I had coffee I needn't get up until 11.30 as breakfast is served until midday!  The Room Mate is a chain of hotels in Spain, don't know if any other countries. This hotel is rated 4 and1/2 stars and although not cheap, I got a good deal. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.
The plan today originally was to visit the botanical gardens. Good job I read the leaflet because it is closed on Mondays!  Maybe as well as it is going to rain at 3pm! New fancy brown spotted umbrella stashed in the already overflowing bag,why do I feel obliged to staggered around all day with a bag full of "stuff", I wandered out into the street and decided that I would take a leisurely stroll and check out the beach via the harbour while the sun is out and will do indoor things when it's raining. The harbour is one of my favourite places to hang out.  The legs were feeling a bit stiff after all the climbing from yesterday. Decided to sit in the park on the bridge, under the palm trees.

I was quite happy to sit and watch this gardener tidying the garden and trimming the lavender bushes, the smell was divine.

But time waits for no man (or woman)and the thought of another of those delicious cappuccinos drove me on another couple of hundred yards to the cafe that I was in the other day.  You can tell how leisurely this day is going to be. I can't remember when I last wasted so much time and it feels so good I even debated wether to get on the little car/train thingy that operates round the port,to take me to the beach (knowing full well it's only a 5 minute walk). Anyway the legs and feet will seize up completely if I don't use them. Also there are about 10 lovely shops that I have to pass and only one was open yesterday so they need checking out.  That done and a bag I'm just thinking about I strolled along to have a closer look at the lighthouse.

One of the oldest in Spain. Don't know when it was built but has been damaged by an earthquake 1898, damaged by artillery in the Spanish civil war and repaired in 1939. Is known as La Farola (small lighthouse). In recent years GPS and radar have been installed. It lights up the waterfront at night.
Around the corner was this

Can't go on a beach without paddling so shoes off and straight into the water. A salt bath, just what my sore feet needed. 

The sand was very difficult to walk on, the feet kept sinking right down. Its very gritty and really gets between the toes! Well I had left the swimming costume in the suitcase. Couldn't be bothered to carry the kindle about. So what to do but lay back and look at the sky.
Plenty going on up there! Loads of planes taking off and seagulls flying about.

As you could see, the beach was practically what makes people come and sit 10 feet away from you?  I do quite like other members of the human race but not the ones that do this and then shout and scream because the sea is cold? Can't they see that I am lying there peacefully contemplating how long it will take the jet stream to disappear.  Am I getting to be a grumpy old woman??  So my reverie was disturbed..better go and get some lunch then.

Slow amble to the top of the beach to the cafe. Boy life is hard!  Lady in black from a cruise ship. She and her husband had obviously been the lucky ones to win the company of the cruise ship bore! He was, I clearly heard, single, a pub landlord from High Wycombe, who didn't have a washing machine in the pub and took all his washing down to his Mum's house. Lucky Mum, suppose someone has to love him.  My plate of tomatoes and tuna salad, very oily and garlicky, arrived and he disappeared thank goodness! Yes definitely a grumpy old lady! Peace again.

I've really got to fit in the cathedral and it's passed 3 o'clock and no rain! Better hurry then don't want to get caught out!

The cathedral is absuletly huge.  Part of it was fenced off so we couldn't see the altar clearly.
I'm still thinking about whether I liked it. I certainly didn't get 'that feeling' that you feel in some churches.  I didn't particularly want to stay there either. Obviously appreciated all the carvings,especially around the seating for the choir.

The ceilings are amazing!

The cathedral even has its own el gato

Don't think she looks very Spanish!

I thought I would revisit my little pocket park but today all the seats were full.
But how did I miss this yesterday, one of my favourite flowers.

I remember years ago seeing some in a florist shop in Oakham and knowing I loved them Alan popped in when I wasn't looking and bought me some at £5 a stem! But they lasted ages.

This was a lovely shop I could have filled my suitcase!

Well it finally rained when I was in a restaurant having dinner and had left off by the time I came out so never did use the unbrella. What a

Monday, 11 January 2016

Apologies for the two posts coming up. Kept losing connection when it was publishing and ended up doing it three times! I think everyone in the hotel was on line! Not going to try and delete it as bound to lose it!

Sunday in Malaga

 It's now 03.25 Monday morning! Don't know if it was being overheated under the thin duvet,needing a visit to the bathroom or sore feet that woke me up. However, visit to the bathroom,phone beeping so put on charger, drink of water etc etc and I'm wide awake! Might as well catch up with the blog.

I know it is the winter season but Malaga is such a quiet city. 
When I left the hotel 9.30 ish there was only the odd person around. I wanted to catch the Hoppa to the harbour. I had spied a market on the quay front on Saturday and I do love to wander around them. I had an hour left on my ticket so why not use it. I was early and sat waiting by the water when a man with a map came and sat by me. I thought I recognised the accent. Northern but not a real Geordie. He was amazed when I asked him if he was from Middlesborough! 
How would I know that. Well daughter No 2 was at Uni there for three of her six years and of course I visited when I could.  
Turns out he was bringing a young persons badminton team in July and was doing a reckie. 
The Hoppa driver turned out to be the young man who had picked me up (in the nicest possible way) now 3 times in past 24 hours. From the greeting I got I think the M man thought we were best buddies!
We had chatted quite a bit, I do love chatting to handsome young men,  Didn't tell you about the young man in the cafe who was thrilled when I told him he looked like Ronaldo did I...well that's another story.
Leaving Mr M earnestly studying his map and listening to his commentary I wished him a happy day bid a farewell to handsome, never to be seen again driver and  I jumped off at stop 6.  
The stalls were still being set up....great. 
It was getting a little busier now. A crowd  of geriatrics ( about my age) were trying to manoeuvre  the steep steps down to the promenade. Visions of being tripped over by a walking stick and ending up in a pile at the bottom flashed through my head (am I getting paranoid about this I wonder)
Anyway I stood back until it was clear. 
The stalls were all high standard artisan goodies,what a treat!  Purchasing a few of said goodies it was now time for elevensies and as I sat down I noticed there was a boat trip around the harbour to be had! I skipped over to get a ticket (well nearly) and pretty Spanish girl told me this trip would be busy, probably better to take the next one.  Sure enough geriatrics appeared so I quickly retreated to the cafe for a civilised cappuccino.

It was a happy hour, I have always loved people watching and today was no exception. Suddenly the city had come alive. Joggers, fast walkers, cyclists, dog walkers, young couples, old couples dressed in their Sunday best all out in the now very hot sun.
The boat chugged bank to the quay with two of the lovely young at heart geriatrics doing a Kate and Leo arm stretched impersonation at the front of the boat.  They got loud applause from the people sitting in the cafe!  Damn, I couldn't get my camera out quick enough.

The boat trip was much needed...calm water, wine, fizzy drink, tapas hour of peace. But I did a lot of thinking and came to some conclusions about the changes I am going to make when I get back.

Plenty of these but a lone boat.

The market was the only thing planned so now to wander.  Made my way over the bridge back towards the city.

I decided on going inside the cathedral but the main door was closed so followed the path and the sound of a guitar to a delightful little pocket park!

No onee else there except me and the birds!

And the people in the cafe across the road.  It was just so quiet and the guitarist was so talented. He stayed for about 15 minutes.  I saw him later playing outside another cafe.

My wandering so took me around tiny back streets leading into now familiar places.

One of which led to this tree by the Alcazaba. It shines bright pink but the flowers are all lights.

The Christmas lights are still up and I was told that the city looked amazing when they were all lit up.
I hadn't planned on being a mountain goat but as I was there I had to go and have a look at the Alcazaba. A Moorish fortification.

This was the easy bit!

Starting to climb!  At this point it said there was a bar. I had been fooled before but I checked it out and there was and it was open. 

I could get used to sitting there taking in the views of the harbour!  I sat under this having my Capp.

and by now as it seems to happen at about 4 every day the wind got up and I had to keep spitting out little pieces of twig!
I didn't get quite to the top but saw enough to satisfy me. It is a huge place.
Had been looking at the weather forecast and rain was heading our way for Monday. Brolly in the car at Stanstead of course so went into the first souvenir shop I came to and bought one. Not going to be caught out!