WEEK 2 – DONA LOLA RESORT, SITIO DE CALAHONDA PART 4

Friday – Estepona here we come. One of my favourite places on the coast, it has changed so much over the years from being a drab seaside town it has evolved, with the help of an ambitious Mayor, into a place that is a must to visit.

We parked the car in the car park under the paseo and tried to find the local tourist office. We had trouble last time we visited Estepona, because they’d moved it from close to the paseo into the old town. Once again, no signage and we were trying to remember where we had gone before, we even asked someone – a Scots guy but he wasn’t sure although he gave general directions to where he thought it was. So we decided to stop for lunch and sat down outside a Heledaria (ice cream parlour) and a couple walked past with what looked like tourist map. We asked them if they knew where the office was but they were less than helpful 😦 A young waiter from the café next door then came over and offered to take John after we’d finished our lunch.  Then the couple came back and said that they had got the map from a friend and finally showed it to us so we could get our bearings. We still weren’t sure so we got the young waiter to take John round (it was only round the corner doh!) and we were very grateful. After lunch we walked around to the office and found it hidden away, not very well signed in a square where we think the Scots guy was talking about! Anyway, in we went, very few leaflets on show and a woman sitting at a desk right at the back of the office not taking any notice of us for a good couple of minutes. We finally asked her to help as we wanted a map of the murals around the town, we also wanted to see the Orchid Centre but didn’t get a chance to mention it. She handed us a map, said “this is where we are, the murals are here, here, here etc” then she gave us a smaller leaflet with details of where they were. We felt dismissed and went of into the street to find the murals. unfortunately the two leaflets didn’t tally lol! So, off we went following the route as best we can, it was amazing, seeing the back streets of a town with such amazing artwork on the walls of buildings.

We found the Orchidarium and wanted to go inside but it was closed! They were setting up for a special even for the Alzheimer’s society and we thought it was because of that but, apparently, it closes for siesta! Would’ve been really nice if the woman in the tourist office had been proactive and told us that, she knew we would be passing it! Still its a good reason to go back to Estepona in the future plus there are still murals to see too!

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WEEK 2 – DONA LOLA RESORT, SITIO DE CALAHONDA PART 1

Saturday – left Mijas after lunch

So, here we are 2nd week of our very eventful holiday. Although it is on the same site as the Macdonalds Resorts Leisure timeshare resort, the apartment we are renting is a private rent on the first phase of Dona Lola. It is a small studio apartment (Marianne F) that is owned by someone I know through Facebook and we booked through http://www.Holidaylettings.co.uk. It is smaller than we are used to but it has everything we need and as we spend most days and evenings out and about it will serve as a useful base.

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View from the apartment

P1040693 P1040688 P1040687We met the local black and white cat who seems to like the family in the apartment next door but he allowed me to pet him and he certainly isn’t keen on the other 2 or 3 cats in the area coming on his patch lol! The people in the two studios to our right (Spanish families) have done some amazing renovations and I know that the person we rented from is in the process of updating the kitchen area and the other facilities in the apartment. Wifi would be a good addition as would a few more English tv channels but its not a deal breaker as there are lots of bars and restaurants with wifi in the area.

Although on the private side of Dona Lola the owners had left us their passes to use the facilities on the MRL timeshare side. We didn’t make use of them this time as we had so much else on during the week and didn’t find the time. There is a bar/restaurant, a pool side restaurant, outdoor pool and children’s pool, a small adult only pool and an indoor pool and gym etc so well equipped for a great holiday. We’ve stayed on the timeshare side several times and have always had a great time when we’ve been there.

Outside the main part of Dona Lola there are several bars and restaurants and you could actually spend your whole week never having to go anywhere else to eat! However, there are also some fantastic bars and restaurants over the main road at El Zoco too! I will do a quick review of the ones we ate at as I go through this blog.

Decided to go to Devines on our first night. Its a great family restaurant run by a British family and Deborah is the main host but the staff and the food is great. After the meal we always get served with their “after eight” shot which is Baileys, Creme de Cacao and Creme De Menthe! Oh it is lovely!

IMG_20150912_203357227 2015-09-12 20.40.36After dinner we went to Oscars bar, apart from free wifi they have a great atmosphere and I fancied a gin and tonic! Now everyone that knows me knows that if I have too much I get an itchy nose but they do serve an exceedingly nice G&T there. The owners Dave & Lisa are fantastic hosts, remember everyone’s names and their favourite tipple. We got chatting to someone who was staying at Dona Lola in a rental from someone I also know from Facebook (who’s facebook group I help admin)! Lovely guy and we had a great time chatting to everyone, I got a bit tipsy and we rolled home at 1.30am to find 2 dead cockroaches on the kitchen floor! The owner of the apartment had plug in things that are supposed to put the cockroaches off coming in but it wasn’t working lol! We managed to pick them up and stick them down the loo! However, as much as we don’t like them, they are a fact of life living in a hot country.

WEEK 1 – MacDonald’s Timeshare resort – La Ermita, Mijas Pueblo

Saturday 5 September 2015

Getting up at 2.30am to go to the airport, don’t you just love early starts! Our friend Dave took us  and checked in on-line 24hrs before so boarding passes on our phones and when we got to the airport we printed off our own bag tags and took them to the bag drop. It all went really smoothly, was already liking the BA effect! Take off was at 6.50am and we sat back and enjoyed the flight with a nice breakfast brioche and muesli yoghurt etc. Excellent seats (leather and nice and wide!) and quite comfy. After an uneventful flight we touched down at Malaga Airport and our holiday began, there was supposed to be a baggage handlers’ strike but if there was, it didn’t affect us and we got through quite quickly.

We made our way to the pick up area and took the mini bus to the Helle Hollis depot to pick up our Opel Corsa Turbo car, it was a great little car and was so much better than the Skoda we had last time. It really impressed John LOL! Driving up towards Mijas Pueblo was an experience though as the sat nav took us up a windy route but it was all part of the holiday and gave me (at least) the chance to savour the views of the coast as we got higher and higher and started to recognise places along the way.

We had exchanged our last timeshare week into La Ermita which is owned  MacDonald’s Leisure Resorts and is set on the side of the mountain with stunning views over Fuengirola and beyond. Although we had exchanged into one apartment (no.8), as we didn’t own with MacDonald’s,  we were allocated another one (no.25), but it was nice and with great views so we were happy. Wifi was €19.95 per week and we did pay for it because we weren’t sure of the Wifi available in bars in the Pueblo and the first day weather was a bit suspect so thinking we may spend a lot of time in the apartment we decided it would be worth it. We wouldn’t normally pay that much for wifi as its a bit of a rip off but in the end they didn’t charge us for it!

 

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Why are we waiting?
John waiting to be served!
John waiting to be served!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday afternoon the weather began to brighten up, so we had a walk around the Pueblo to get our bearings and see what was going on, but we mainly chilled (after an early start to get the flight we were very tired!) and so we had lunch in the La Ermita restaurant. Big mistake! Although the tapas we had been nice, the service was appalling! 45 mins to get served, and being Brits we didn’t complain! We didn’t see many other people there for lunch but as it was changeover day we weren’t surprised.

As we were exhausted we decided to eat in the resort again in the evening. Another big mistake! We sat down at a table on the balcony and waited to be served After a little while we could hear the people on the table by us complaining that the food wasn’t quite what they ordered and was cold, the waitress had no idea about what the menu was so it was no wonder their order was confused! John ordered a special burger and fries and I ordered a goats cheese and ham pizza. 35 mins later it arrived, so burned on the bottom that it was charcoal! I complained to the waitress who said she would get me a new one. I wasn’t prepared to wait again for food so said I would share John’s fries, I would’ve played the diabetic card but decided against it. They did apologise and gave me a free Malibu and cola light which was something but it certainly put us off eating there again.