I can't believe that I wrote my last post on 29th September! It doesn't seem that long ago since I was struggling with my virus and getting all excited about my trip to Spain. The weather was still warm enough to go out with only a light jacket. Now I am back almost a week and find myself reaching for my winter coat. Quite a change after temperatures of around 25C or higher.
I really enjoyed my time in Spain with my friend Eileen. My virus plagued me for the first five days (it probably thrived in those temperatures! but then finally left me. It was so hot that it took a few days to acclimatize. In fact, we didn't do anything madly exciting, we just chilled out - or warmed up would be more appropriate. We did go on a day trip to Cartagena and visited the Roman museum there. The amphitheatre was discovered in the late 19th century when some of the old fishermen's houses were being renovated. It is in excellent condition and well worth a visit. What an industrious lot the Romans were! Cartagena itself is a very old Spanish city with wide streets and lovely buildings. We also visited Mar Menor, the largest inland salt lake in Europe if I understood our guide correctly. People with arthritis, rheumatism and various skin ailments come here for the mud baths which are reputed to give a lot of relief.
I didn't take many photos but I have put a few under the "Photos" tab if you care to see them.
I loved the open air market in Torrevieja on a Friday morning. The food stalls stretch at least a kilometre and offer just about any kind of fruit or vegetable you could think of. You get the powerful smell of spices and herbs as you walk along. If I lived locally I'd definitely do all my fruit and veg shopping here. The market is huge and there are stalls offering clothes, shoes, watches, leather goods, things you've always wanted and things you've been trying to avoid. As soon as you stop to look someone pops out of the back regions and tries a hard sell. You suddenly find that the handbag for 50 euros is being offered to you for 20 and is genuine, yes genuine camel leather, and in fact the eager seller is going to throw in a genuine leather belt just to be nice. You smile, shrug and move on , avoiding the watch for 5 euros which is being presented to you. You also refuse to be drawn into the "find the dice" game which is being played by a shifty looking character using three halved and hollowed-out potatoes and two accomplices who are winning 50 euros each time by discovering under which potato the dice is hidden and are insisting that you can be just as successful. It is all good clean fun as long as you keep a tight hold on your purse.
Despite all the fun and sunshine, though, I am glad to be back home. I prefer the rough Atlantic in all its moods to the sleek sophistication of the Mediterranean. The Atlantic has more character, I reckon. And so I was out on the beach today drinking in the bracing salty air and watching the oyster catchers and the gulls parading around the wet sand. Cold? Not really, well wrapped up and contented.