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Friday, August 20, 2010

It's COLD!

We're home from Spain and it's COLD. I've been freezing since we came home yesterday afternoon. we returned home to 'winter' weater. It's cold, raining, foggy and did I mention it's COLD. Spain was ofcourse very, very hot. It started out at high 20s (I'm talking celcius here) in  the shade about 8 in the morning. By mid morning it was up to 40 degrees in the semi-shade on my parents balcony. I dread to think what the temperature is here.

yes we got to Spain but it was not without problems. In fact we had a series of problems the weekend before we left for Spain. I'm not going to share all of them but it was a very stressful weekend. On the Sunday night before we left we had a disturbance outside our house which ended up in me calling the police at 1am. they had to take statements and left at 3am on Monday moring. I got up about 8am. At 9am I was on the computer to check in for our Ryan Air flights which were scheduled to leave Bristol airport around 7 am on Tuesday morning. I got to Emily's passport details and noticed her passport had expired in July. After a large amount of screaming and crying. I was seriously panicking. We took some deep breaths and  i called the passport agency desperatelyh asking if they could renew Emily's passport on the monday afternoon. I figured we could get to the Newport office in Wales before closing. I was told the first appointment was on Wednesday. I broke down and cried again adn handed the phone to Simon. He managed to get an appointment booked at the London office on Tuesday 8.30am. So now we just had to work out how to get Emily and Simon to London for 8.30 the next day when we shuld be flying from Bristol at 7am that same day.

After hours of internet work and phone calls, we had a solution. Our first problem was to work out how to get Simon and Em to London. I tried to book a bus from Bristol airport but it was full and eventually managed to get a bus for them from Swindon. So we drove up to Swindon overnight, arrived there at some time in the middle of the night. Simon and Emily caught the bus to London and arrived about 6ish am.  They went for their appointment nad was promised the passport within 4 hours - 12.30pm.  I had booked them on the Gatwick Express from London Victoria for a flight around 3pm ish.  So they didn't have much time. If anything went wrong they would have missed their flight. The passport was ready early and they jumped on th train to gatwick and made it in time for the flight. Ryan Air normally want you to check in online at least 4 hours before departure. Simon couldn't do this because he didn't have Em's passport 4 hours before departure. So Ryan Air should have charged him £40 to check in at the airport but the wonderful check in clerk didn't. He said he should but for some reason the didn't. Answer to prayer! After the money we had spent, £40 wouldn't have made much difference but ti was still nice not to pay it.

In the meantime, Vanessa and I drove back from Swindon to Bristol (we had already passed Bristol on the way to Swindon) and checked in for our original flight. We arrived at Girona airpot at 10am, ontime. For the first time every I would have been happy for the flight to be late. Much more to do at Bristol airpot than Girona. What boring airpot. There were a newsagen and rubbish coffee shop and a restaurant which was equally rubbish. the hire car was in Simon's name so we coudn't even collect that and go off for some sighseeing while we were waiting. Simon and Emily arrived at 6pm. Vanessa and I spent the day moving between differetn seating areas at Girona airport, ate some disgusting food, ate some sweets and Vanessa did quite a lot of sleeping

 and will kill me for posting this photo if she ever finds out. I also nervously awaited the text from Simon saying they had the passport and would catch their flight. We were already in Spain by the time they ahd the passport. While Simon and em waited for the passport they walked to Buckingham Palace and relaxed in Green Park and were planning what they would do if the passport wasn't ready in time and they would miss thier flight and spend two weeks at home in cornwall.

when Simon and Emily arrived, on time too. We collected the car and drove into Barcelona and found our rented apartment without too much trouble. We were so exhausted by the time we arrived. Simon and i left the girls in the aprtment while we went out hunting for some food. The local supermarkets were closed and our landlord had given us a city map and marked the nearest 24 hours supermarket for us. WE tried to find it but nearly got lost, okay we were probalby lost. We didn't find the supermarket and started arguing and ended up going back empty handed. We all went to bed hungry and slept like logs.  On Wednesday i went out to the local corner shop and got some breakfast and we headed out to explore Barcelona. We were close to a local metro station and close to centre of town.

We headed to this cathedral first

 and I'm sorry but I can't remember the name of it. It's an amazing building which still isn't finished. There was a very, very long queue to get in so we didn't bother. Too hot to be standing around all day. While Simon and the girls walked around the building I sat in the park across the road and knitted.

Then we got back on the metro and headed to Las Ramblas where we had a McDonalds for lunch. We ate it ouside in a square. Then walked down Lad Ramblas which was very crowded. there were street stalls selling small animals like birds and hamsters. I must admit we were shocked at animals being sold like this and the cages they were in were far too small. Emily was deseprate to buy a pet or two though. I forgot to get my camera out.

We walked through the old part of Barcelona and stopped at a few squares and ended up at the Picasso museum which Simon and Vanessa enjoyed more than me and Em did. No photos here either. After a hot day we headed back to the apartment. We did talk about havingt something to eat and then walking down to the beach which was only abougt 10 mins walk from the apartment but we were too tired. So spent the evening relaxing in the apartment instead.

On thursday we had planned to spend the morning in Barcelona but decided instead to start the long drive south to Costa Blanca. we stopped at Tarragona to look at the ruins of the old Roman amphi theatre.

 There were lots of other ruins and Roman stuff there too but we only did this one. It was very very hot and Vanessa was not feeling very well. She had a cold and a temparature. Em loved walking around the ruins though.

We then drove down to Torrevieja and arrived at my parents flat in the evening. The drive took longer than we expected so we were again exhausted. For the first few days all we did was relax by the pool. Didn't get a pic of that either. The girls love the pool and would spend hours playing and swimming. Most of our days were spent like this: get up late (Simon and girls, not me), go to the pool, come back to apartment for lunch and a siesta, about 3pm, go back to pool or beach. 7-8pm home for a snack and relax. some days we mised it up and went to the beach in the morning. We didn't do much sightseeing because it was too hot to do anyting other than sunbathe/swim during the day and because there isn't a huge amount tosee in the area and most of it we have already seen. But we did visit my favorite city, Murcia, one evening.

I love Murcia's narrow streets and gorgeous shops. There is one shop in particular where I always end up buying a new handbag and this time was no different. I wasn't quite as impressed with their selection this time but I still bought a bag. We then went to 'Sirvent' for ice creams.
Here's mine:

the girls banana splits:

and Simon's  'healthy option' which included a lot of fruit and frozen yoghurt:

Italy is well known for their delicious icecream but I think Spanish icecream is equally gorgeous and thouroughly enjoyed my treat. Yes those ice creams were huge and yes we all finished them.

One evening we went to Alicante, antoher town I love. Last year when we went Simon and I discovered a lovely little Pizzeria in the old part of Alicante. We couldn't remember the name or exactly where it was but we did eventually find it and had lovely pizzas again.

This time I wrote down the name, 'Sale & Pepe' so I won't forget it next time we go. Bad picture but it was dark.

Alicante has a lovely seafront with a wide pedestrian area and marina. We walked along looking at the market stalls and I bought a beautiful glass beads bracelet and the girls bought me a pendant for my birthday next week. I'll get pics of the braclet for the next post.

the main attraction on the southern Costa Blanca is the beaches and there are lots of fabolous beaches along this coast line. Our favorite one is the long beach at Los Alcazares/Los Narejos on the Mar Menor. The beach goes on for miles and the water of the Mar Menor is a few degrees warmer than the Med and it's very shallow and calm.

when we first went here 7 years ago there were mainly Spanish tourists using the beach but these days, alhtough it's still mainly a Spanish beach there are lots more Norther European tourists.

It's also a very busy beach. This pic was taken at 8pm one evening just as we were about to leave. I was trying to capture how busy the beach still was but as I wastaking photos looking straight at the sun it didn't work too well.

We went to this beach on our last day too and it was incredibly hot and busy. The Spanish don't like leaving much space between themselves and their neighbours on the beach. This is the view either side of my beach chair.

Last year when we went I did a lot of knitting on the beach but this time I mainly read (read two books on this holiday and one of them was the thickness of two books) but I did do some knitting too.

We did visit some other beaches too and this is another favorite and one of the nearest beaches - Cala Capitan:

On the last night Emily had her hair braided.

And finally the view from our balcony:

I love getting up at about 8am every morning and sitting out on the balcony enjoying the peace and quiet and knitting or reading. I also like sitting out there in the evenings. The view isn't the greatest but it is very quiet. We can actually see the sea from the roof terrace but the roof terrace is too hot to use in August.

Thank you for reading and looking at my holiday pics. I did do a lot of knitting too and I will share some of that in my next post. I also had to do some work and spent quite a few hours in the end at the local internet cafe. After a rather stressful start to our holiday we did enjoy ourselves and have come home relaxed and ready to get back to life. I've got lots of designs due in the next few weeks and plans for new yarn clubs. More on those next time. The first two clubs to launch will be a crochet club and the Easy Lace club. I've also decided I will finally do something about my book plans and actually get working on my book proposal. I've been thinking and talking about it for  at least 2 years now. Although it's lovely to be home I do wish the weather would improve and quickly.

Our next trip will be to London on 9th September for my teaching gig at Iknit Weekender on 10th. Book your place now. Simon and the girls are coming and we will spend the Saturday doing some sightseeing together.


Joyce across the Pond said...

Great to hear all about your holiday...the start of it was terrible though! Glad it was all sorted out in time. We've all been in that sort of place at some time or other!!

Chatrine Bråta Antonsen said...

Hei Anniken. Artig å lese bloggen din. Hørtes litt stress ut å få pass i siste sekund, men resten av turen høres deilig ut. Det hadde vært gøy å treffe deg. Klem Chatrine