Thursday, February 12, 2009

Escape to Andalusia

The journey out here was uneventful. We timed our departure so that we got to Heathrow in time for a coffee and twenty minutes relaxing, before heading to the gate just as they began boarding. The flight was fine – apart from the fact that Brett’s luggage wasn’t on board; the curse of Terminal Five clearly hasn’t been completely lifted. On arrival we picked up a very sporty Seat Leon from Avis. It’s a joy to drive.

I’d gone to great lengths last night to program the location of our apartments into the SatNav but in practice, when we got here, the roads it was expecting weren’t there – and some of them looked like they never had been! We spent over an hour trying to make sense of it, before giving in and calling the apartments for directions. We called in at a Mercadona for supplies on the way and while Brett was sorting out the ticket for parking, I managed to back our lovely little car into a pillar. That had to be the absolute low-point of a bad couple of hours. Fortunately, not too much damage was done; the pillar left some debris on the bumper and a few marks, but it isn’t serious.

We got to the apartments, endured the check-in routine and then finally sat down with a coffee and a snack to unwind.

Even though we’d bought supplies, we went out to the on-campus restaurant for dinner. Las Casitas’ menu was entirely British but didn’t look bad. Brett started with homemade mushroom soup which he assured me was very tasty. My own ‘fruit jewels in raspberry coulis’ turned out to be cubes of pineapple and not-quite-ripe melon drizzled with the raspberry syrup you use on ice cream. We’d ordered a bottle of red to wash it down which was a bit rough. Our waitress reminded me a lot of Shirley Valentine. She’d recommended the homemade steak and ale pie which we both ordered, but which turned out to be cold in the centre when it arrived. She was very apologetic and they were duly returned properly reheated. Once at the right temperature though they were actually very tasty; sizable, absolutely packed with meat and with just enough cheese baked into the crust to give you an extra savoury frisson every few bites. They were also quite large and by the time we’d finished up we were both well-stuffed. We declined dessert (although there’s a homemade bread and butter pudding on the menu I think I’ll want to try later!) and ducked out just before the animator got going with a quiz.

Rosie arrived from the airport almost as soon as we got back to the apartment, bitching about systems failures and class of clientele on Monarch airlines.

She liked the apartment though – and it is quite lovely. It’s on two floors with a terrace off the lounge and a balcony off the main bedroom. They both look out over a small shared garden area to the tennis courts and a wooded hillside beyond – all very peaceful and rural feeling considering the reception building looks over the car park to the main A7 coastal road. The apartment complex is generally attractive and well kept; quite Moorish in its design with narrow little ‘streets’ of apartments decorated with greenery, pergolas and little water features.

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