We were the only two passengers in the minibus and Mrs S glanced over at me, as the vehicle bounced around and mouthed, what I saw as “wah wee o-ring”. If I’d had an online translator, I could have worked out that she actually said, where are we going? Seeing as neither of us had been on that road before, my answer was always going to be “I don’t know” but it was daylight, so that was a good thing, wasn’t it?…..
I was busy trying to find the paperwork, when all of a sudden, the G-forces intensified, as we negotiated a roundabout. Well, that’s what I thought it was but couldn’t see anything except Mrs S getting closer, as I slid across the seat towards her. Another sharp turn left, for good measure and we were nice and cozy together, on the right hand side of the minibus. We screeched to a halt, the side door was flung open and the driver made off, satisfied that he’d managed to unnerve a couple of tourists. We gingerly, (literally) stepped out of the minibus, like getting off a spaceship and onto the surface of an alien planet. Nobody was around at all, the only sounds were from the aircraft flying nearby. I retrieved our luggage, found the office, which was also deserted and waited for a few moments, nothing. Not even the sound of a television, very unusual. Eventually, a bloke came into the office and looked surprised to see us. I waved my paperwork and then he’s back with us and happily sorted us out with our car. Then it came to payment and the total had increased by 500 Euros! My basic Spanish was enough to find out it was a deposit and that if the car came back in any other way except the state it was in then, we’d lose the deposit. Nothing like a bit of pressure to start the holiday. So, we left the car hire compound, followed the sat nag and soon joined the autovia, doing 15 mph. I jest, it was at least 20mph. It wasn’t even that slow but I have to admit, my head was on a swivel as we drove onto the autovia. Soon the deposit was forgotten as we reached 30mph or 50Km/h in Spanish money but only because it was downhill. Seriously, we’d both relaxed and were driving as normally as we could, towards the next job of food shopping. This is where a little bit of time travel comes in, as we skip forward and find ourselves at our house, unpacked and about to sit down on the terrace.
There’s always something special about walking out onto the terrace, the warmth of the sun, the wonderful view of the village opening out in front of you and the beautiful blue sky overhead. On this particular day, the experience was reinforced by the wave of heat that hit us as we walked out, it was blisteringly hot. What did you expect I hear you say, it is July after all and you’re right, it’s just that the UK doesn’t exactly prepare you for a decent bit of sun. Anyway, up went the parasol and under it we went, cowering from the onslaught. The two cold drinks had already become only cool and so they were finished and I went off to get to more, taking the opportunity for a little relief in the nice cool house. On my return, I found Mrs S inspecting her eyelids (see previous blog) but she woke to the promise of ice cold lemon casera. It’s a real thirst quencher but later experience taught us that it’s not good for a 7 year old granddaughter, who was displaying all the symptoms of having taken an illegal substance and took a good six hours to come down. The second round of drinks disappeared pretty quickly and Mrs S took the bold decision to move indoors and away from the heat and I have to say, it wasn’t too long before I followed her.
Evening came and at about 7pm, we ventured out to the car and went for a drive. Not the usual thing for us but the thermometer still had it at 31 degrees and the car had air-con, so it was a good call. We stopped at Canillas De Aceituno and found a small butchers shop, ran by a friendly couple, with the lady having an artists touch to filleting chicken. It didn’t matter that there was a queue, she was performing and it would take as long as it took. Coming out of the shop, we made for the car and took a slow drive back to Sedella to drop off the meat, before venturing out again on foot (suitably creamed up against mosquitoes) to watch the glorious sunset. As the sun slipped behind the hills, it still felt very warm and there was a discussion about whether to sleep with the doors open for cooler air or doors closed to lessen the mosquito buffet. Recklessly, we agreed that when the time came, we’d try the doors open and see how it went. We wandered back to the house and sat out on the terrace, taking in the sounds of the village. Even though it had got dark, we could still hear children running around the streets, playing, singing and laughing, which sounded wonderful. Mixed in with the sounds of the children were the voices of the grown ups, coming out to chat about who knows what in the cooler temperatures. The way the acoustics work in the village, they could have been anywhere and with the general hubbub it almost sounded like there was something going on but it was just the Spanish doing what they do very well, being sociable. We must have sat out until after 1am, just chatting away and enjoying the slight drop in temperature. There was a clear sky and loads of stars on view, the majority of which, I don’t know the names of. I did buy an idiots guide to stargazing but all it said inside was “Look up, when it’s dark”. I felt cheated, I could have written that. Anyway, we sat and looked up and waited to see if we could see a shooting star but on that particular night, nada. There was one bright light in the sky that didn’t seem to move and so I took a photograph of it on maximum zoom. All we could see, when it was magnified was what to me looked like the Death Star from Star Wars. Now, from watching the films, I knew that the Death Star couldn’t possibly be in this galaxy and so I felt I’d be able to go to sleep, without worrying about any invasions during the holiday.
We decided it was late enough and made our way to bed and despite it feeling cooler on the terrace, the bedroom was still on the warm side, even though the windows had been open. I think we found the best way to at least not get hotter was to not keep shifting position if possible, as this seemed to make things worse. It did take some time to drop off but sleep we did, waking in the morning, surprisingly bite free and to another day, forecast to be, you’ve guessed it, hot. After an extremely leisurely breakfast on the terrace and feeling revived by a couple of coffees, we venture out for a strollette, which is of course a lesser version of a stroll and reserved for times when you don’t expect or want to be going too far. The limit for that day was because of the heat, not down to apathy or suchlike. Mosquito cream is substituted for factor whitewash sun lotion, making sure the back of the neck gets well covered too. Off we go, through the narrow street, which give excellent protection against the sun but boy does it hit you, when you step into direct sunlight. So, we stick as much as possible to the shade and make a good job of wandering around the village.
As if by magic, the church bells begin the midday chiming, as we enter the plaza and the shaded seats outside are calling our names. No sooner are we seated, when the owner came out and asked what we’d like. Initially, we were thinking coffee but it had already been thirsty work walking around and trying to stay in the shade and so, I opt for a beer and Mrs S thinks that’s a good idea too. I asked for a grande because I felt sure a small beer would not be quite enough. A couple of minutes later, two grande beers arrive on the table and the glasses are coated with ice to make it even colder. The owner is immediately promoted to my favourite person in the village but Mrs S is looking perturbed at her glass. “I won’t be able to drink all of that” she said. Feeling chivalrous, I offered to help her with any left over drink and thought that the day was turning out quite nicely, so far. I can say that the beer tasted fantastic and the chill on it, really made it hit the spot. We sat for quite some time, drinking our beers and watching the world go slowly by. All good things must come to an end and after assisting Mrs S in finishing her drink, we made our way back to the house and relaxed on the terrace, not a care in the world and not the slightest thought of work. Salud.
All Images © 2008- TheSlowWalkers