Apologies in advance for the length of this! LOL! I just don’t know when to stop!
WEEK 1 – ESTEPONA
2am and we’re off to the airport with our friend Dave taking us to Gatwick for the 5.45am Easyjet flight to Malaga! John has been suffering with his tinnitus and isn’t looking forward to the flight but we have a light breakfast at 4am at The Red Lion in the North Terminal and get on the plane looking forward to arriving in Malaga at 9.30am.
Technology is amazing, I was able to watch a film on my mobile phone to while away the hours and John tried to sleep. Arriving at Malaga it was wonderful to be back in Spain and felt like we were home from home. Took the shuttle bus to the Helle Hollis depot and picked up our hire car, a little 3 cylinder Suzuki Splash! The hire went very smoothly, excellent customer service and we were off and away.
Driving along the N340 and seeing the changes since our last visit 2 years ago just showed how much the credit crunch had affected the building industry and there were many unfinished apartment blocks along the way. We arrived at our destination of the Macdonald’s resort Villacana at Cancelada, just outside Estepona at around 11am. Luckily our apartment was ready and we were able to get in, unpack and have a long siesta to recoup the sleep we’d lost. We’d been to Villacana before so just had a wander around to re-acquaint ourselves and went down to eat at the Rincon de Villacana restaurant. Its not a cheap place to eat but the food was good and we had a jug of sangria to wash it down. Ended up with two mozzie bites on my leg even using repellent but they were the only ones I had all holiday!
We like to use our mobiles to keep in contact with family whilst away but wifi was €20 a week which we felt was ridiculous (even though it did include Sky Sports and movies which we didn’t want!). So we searched around and down near the beach at Villacana south we found 4 free wifi spots which we made full use of whenever we went down to eat at the bars there.
Up at 8am! Went off to Carrefour to get some shopping for the week, so fascinating comparing the prices and choices to the UK.
When we got back we went to the welcome meeting, same old boring stuff and the “sangria” was actually tinto verano but it was free. One of the trips was to take the train from Algeciras and travel up to Ronda. This was on our list of things to do and we were going to drive to San Roque and pick the train up there. However, John felt quite poorly with his tinnitus so we decided to spend the €49 per person and join the trip the next day.
We spent a leisurely Sunday afternoon resting and building up our energy for a swim in the afternoon. The pool area isn’t huge but we had a lovely swim and went back to the apartment feeling refreshed.
There a couple of nice places across the road in the village of Cancelada and 5 bars and restaurants on the South side of Villacana where you can eat and so we decided to try the Barakka Bar which is on the beach. We went in and ordered a lamb shank for John and a prawn risotto for me, we had the house rose and crème brulee to finish. It was all very nice and the staff were OK but not somewhere I would necessarily rush back to. There was one other couple in the restaurant and about 8 on the outside but the entertainment was a surprise! A little snake crawled across the floor making the other couple jump and the waiter brushed it out of the door, poor little thing!
After using the wifi in the restaurant we wandered back to the apartment and passed the Villacana restaurant where there was only 1 couple sitting near the bar and the poor girl entertainer singing her heart out on stage. Such a shame that nobody else was there but I’m sure its because the price of the food and the drink is not that cheap and when they have happy hour at 5-6pm most people have made the most of it before going out elsewhere or staying in!
Heard the news of David Frost on TV, so sad, he was an icon of the 20th and 21st centuries and will be missed.
Up at 8am again, John not having a good day with his tinnitus! Pick up coach (Trans Andalucia) at 9.45am to Algeciras to get the train to Ronda. Coffee in a café near the station before setting off on one of the cleanest, best air conditioned trains I’ve ever been on! The views up to Ronda are stunning and the little stations have an air of an old English station design, which isn’t surprising as apparently it was an Englishman who built the railway. The guide, Danny, was excellent. Half Spanish and half German he moved from English to German effortlessly and was full of useful information about the history and up to date situation in Spain.
We had lunch in the café where Danny recommended, reasonably priced and nice food and then wandered around Ronda for the next couple of hours. The town was preparing for the Goyesca which is a festival of bull fighting and there were lots of decorations around. As usual we walked to the bridge over the gorge and got a picture of the cow on the balcony (become a family tradition LOL!) and then we walked into the park and saw the gorge and the valley from a different angle. Ronda never disappoints, and we always find something new to see. We took a slow walk back to the bus station to pick up the coach and stopped for a cool drink in a local bar before getting on the coach and going down the mountain back to Cancelada. All in all we had a lovely day with some nice people and saw a different part of the area and experienced the excellent Spanish train service – British rail companies should take note!
Went to 90 Miles bar at Villacana South and met up with Alan & Jeanette from Canada, who we’d met on the trip. We all had a great evening, chatting about our lives and having a meal and a drink and enjoying the singer (a girl called Zoe). Meeting such nice people is all part of the holiday experience.