Monday, 21 October 2019

My First Hire Car and Mar de Plastico!

I had lovely trip back to La Union a few weeks ago, and I actually hired a car for this trip, for the first time ever!  I didn’t know how easy the process would be, but on arriving at Murcia International Airport, picking up the car went without incident, and I would say was a pleasure!  Driving in the dark to La Union was a little nerve racking, especially as I had never driven on the right hand side of the road before, but after about 10 minutes, I was feeling more confident, and on arriving in the town, I was so happy that I even muttered under my breath, “It’s great to be home!” 

Unfortunately, due to the recent Gota Fria, and the catastrophic damage it had caused, my bedroom suffered some rain water ingress, which meant that sleeping in there wasn’t a possibility.  However, I am hoping that this will be fixed soon.  The tenacity of the Spanish people really came to the fore when looking at the newspapers and watching the news over there, and realising how severe, in some regions, the damage truly was.

Within a day of arriving, I was lunching with my friends at Sinnott’s Bar at Las Isleta, Club Nautico, La Manga.  A real gem of a bar, serving up an amazing three course roast dinner and wine, all at a very reasonable price.

A massive expanse of greenhouses, covering an area of 165 square miles of land in the Almeria region.

Greenhouses as far as the eye can see.

The highlight of the trip was driving to where Mar de Plastico is filmed, near to Almeria, a round trip of some 600 kms.  Mar de Plastico translates to Plastic Sea.  Myself and my partner have been watching this Spanish series on Netflix and really enjoyed it, so it was Simon’s suggestion that we go to where the filming is made, and I am so glad he did!  I was nervous about making the long journey, as I had only had a couple of days’ experience of driving in Spain, but I enjoyed it so much.  We stopped at a few cafes along the way for my coffee fix, and took photos looking down on the giant expanse of the greenhouses beneath us.  The series was filmed, in part, in Campohermoso, a district of Vicar, in Almeria, the heart of the greenhouse production industry.  It is the tale of a mayor’s daughter’s murder, set in the imaginary town of Campoamargo.  This Spanish series is well worth a watch!

After only 5 days away, we were dropping the car off at the airport, and travelling back home.  As soon as I arrived in the UK, I was making plans to go back again!

Next blog - Birthday celebrations and making plans for spending my first Christmas in La Union!

Monday, 27 May 2019

More Great Times In La Union, Murcia

I was so happy to go back to La Union, Spain, last week and enjoy the company of my much missed friends.  I flew into the new Corvera Airport, and with hand luggage only, I quickly disembarked to a great few days away.

My friends were waiting for me and I was also lucky enough to go out with lots of them to a couple of restaurants I hadn’t tried before, as well as a few old favourites.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Panaderia El Garbanzal, Calle Murcia, 44, 30360 La Union, Murcia, has been extensively refurbished since my last visit in January.  It has a fresh feel to the place, and has different tapas to take away each day.

On my first full day, I visited again the Café Mayor on the Calle Mayor, with Dianne and Sandie. We had a great meal of pork medallions and wine, and it was lovely.

On the second day, I went to Restaurante Asia in San Javier with Maria and Mel, and what a bargain!! 7 euros, 95 for a glass of sangria on arrival, choice of four starters, lots of mains to choose from (I had duck with hot sauce), ice cream, brandy, and half a bottle of wine each!! Where else in the world can you get value like that?!

With the temperature steadily rising, Antonio’s on the Los Nietos beach was my final meal out, with Dianne, and we couldn’t have picked a nicer day. I had chicken paella at 10 euros, with a lovely bottle of wine. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and with a journey time of 13 minutes on my favourite “baby” train, it took no time at all to get to what must be one of the most beautiful places ever.

Thank you La Union and friends for yet another lovely trip.  I can’t wait until my next one.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

From The Panaderia To The Fox!

Hello all.  It has been two months since I was last back in Spain and I am missing it terribly.  However, I have decided that 2019 is going to be the year that I concentrate on getting my funds back on track through work and new commitments, so that I can return to Spain with renewed vigour and excitement about the future.

The stocks and shares market has taken a battering to the tune of about 20% due, no doubt, to the uncertainty of Brexit and other factors.  To this end I, along with millions of others, am having to look at other ways of improving my money situation, as well as helping people along the way, which I am always happy to do.

I have increased my workload in First4admin, gaining lovely new clients, and I aim to go back to Spain in May to hook up with my friends, the lovely weather and the general laid back lifestyle. I also need to brush up on my Spanish as I miss using it!

I have also become a digital marketer, and I am receiving cashback on shopping which I would have bought anyway on food, fuel and socialising, and helping others do the same through my free app link.  I noticed that my bank only offers me 0.20% interest on my accounts so I have really got to start earning more interest, so cashback seemed to be one of the answers.  Through talking to friends of a similar age, I know that trying to sustain funds for the future when getting older is of real concern to many.

I now regularly go to The Fox in Walmley, near where I live, hence the title of this blog piece! I have a coffee, do some work, connect with the internet, and make some cashback in the process by paying by eVoucher! I might also treat myself to a small carvery along the way as well!  I loved promoting bars and restaurants in Spain, so now I am back, I am doing the same thing back in the UK.  I so miss the Panaderia in La Union, Murcia though!

Adios por ahora mis amigos. Estaremos en contacto de nuevo muy pronto.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Flamenco Dancing And Los Nietos Beach

On a cold and grey winter's day here in the UK, I thought I would write about my last trip to La Union in Spain, which was November/December time.  Rather different, obviously, to the summer time as the locals were sat outside cafes in coats, surrounded by heaters. I felt the weather though was lovely for the time of year, and I ventured outside with no coat to be seen!  There was even a flurry of flamenco dancing on the Calle Mayor, giving a summery feel to the place.

I went out with my friends one evening to Las Velas Cinema to see Bohemian Rhapsody.  It was brilliant, and at four euros, fifty for a ticket, the value was incredible.  We had lovely seats with cup holders; the film was awesome and my friends were a delight, as always.

I normally take the train into Cartegena but decided one day to travel in the opposite direction to Los Nietos Beach, some 13 minutes away.  Although deserted, it was lovely.

Yours truly on Los Nietos Beach

I found a new gem of a bar called Bar Museo Minero on Calle Real, 104, 30360 La Union, Murcia.  It was a bit like a Sports Bar, with cheap food and wine, showing lovely pictures on the wals of the old mines of the region.  Another place to go to on my travels whilst I walk of an evening.

Bar Museo Minero

On my next trip I will be travelling back to the UK from the new Corvera Airport, or Murcia International Airport as it will be known.  I am looking forward to seeing how easy it will be to commute to and from La Union, and I will provide an update and information on my next blog to assist people who will be thinking of travelling to this new airport.

Hasta luego until then!

Monday, 29 October 2018

Wood Fired Spanish Food - Wonderful!

I recently spent another few days in La Union.  The weather was mixed, with rain on two days, but it was sunny and bright for the rest of the time.

Sandy and Dianne's friends, Mateo and Veni, kindly invited me for lunch at their home.  Delicious open wood fired chicken and lamb, (pollos asados), home made bread, (sobrasada), and wonderful amounts of wine were consumed.  I was so honoured to have been invited into their home.  I tried my very best with my Spanish, and even though I am a total novice compared with Sandy and Dianne, I really enjoyed listening and trying to converse in Spanish, and I was so pleased to have had the opportunity to do that in a Spanish home.  Thank you Mateo, Veni, Sandy and Dianne.

On a totally different note, it does now appear that the lovely San Javier Murcia airport will definitely be moving to Corvera, 30kms away.  On a good note, Corvera's airport is brand new and can manage over 3 million passengers a year.  There will be good transport links and the new airport will be closer to the beaches around Puerto Mazarron and Bolnuevo.  I have always loved San Javier Murcia Airport, so let's see how I like Corvera Airport in the months to come.  I know my journey to La Union will be longer, but I will keep you posted on the new airport, its facilities and proximity.

General Best Selling Books For This Christmas

Friday, 12 October 2018

Roman Soldiers And More Food!

It was another fiesta week in Cartagena on my last visit, with men walking around dressed as Roman soldiers, and a lovely buzz throughout the city. 

As seems to be a wonderful recurrent theme, there was much eating and merriment, so here goes with my next round of places to visit in Cartagena and La Union, Murcia, with links to the restaurants mentioned.

Firstly, I went to an Indian Restaurant called Omkara in Cartagena with my friends, Sandy and Dianne. Had an offering of chicken madras and peshwari nan and wine, all for 20 euros, about the same price as the UK. Lovely food and staff, and I will definitely be going back again.

Still in Cartagena, I saw amazing cakes at Confiterias Marin and really unusual, but wonderful tapas at El Pincho De Castilla.  A truly gorgeous place, with hams hanging from the ceiling. I  had walked past this place on a number of occasions, but had never ventured inside. So pleased that I had been taken in to take a look.

Saw this lovely car in Cartagena, which wouldn't look out of place in Chicago!  Isn't it gorgeous?!

Going back nearer to home, I ventured up to the Calle Mayor one evening to have medallones de solimillo a la pimienta at one of my favourites in La Union, that being Cafe Mayor at 7.5 euros, including a glass of wine. This dish of pork covered in a pepper sauce literally melted in the mouth!

Rounded off the week with sausages and mash at Mel and Maria's, before flying back to the UK the next day.

On a separate note, I now have a copy of an English/Spanish mass book, so I can at least try to respond where I should in mass. Really happy about that.

Another lovely week. To be continued.....

Tip: Ryanair are changing their on board baggage terms and conditions again in November. Check on their website for more clarity on these changes.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Food Glorious Food!

After a week of lovely weather and seeing great friends, I seem to have done rather a lot of eating on my last trip out to La Union, Murcia and I am not complaining!  Here is a round up of the places I visited:-

Within two hours of arriving, I was dining at Los Churrascos in El Algar with my friends, Sandy and Dianne.  A beautiful restaurant within a 10 minute bus ride from La Union.  Although not cheap for this region at €30 a head, this price was for 3 courses, 2 bottles of wine and beers, and the food was top quality and divine.  One of the best restaurants I have ever visited.  We also saw the cyclists from the La Vuelta Cycling Race come past later in the day – a bit like the Spanish version of the Tour De France!!  It was a fantastic afternoon - great company and lovely places visited.

I was also introduced to a Chinese café in Cartagena just opposite the bus stop where I get off.  Three courses, wine and coffee for €8!  I was then shown by Sandy and Dianne where the Historical Military Museum and the Roman Amphitheatre were.  Amazing. I must have a better look at them on my next trip.  The Military Museum is free to look around too!

Rounded off the trip to Cartagena by dropping into the bar of the Los Habaneros Hotel on the way to catching the No.10 back to La Union.  A lovely hotel that is really good value to stay at.

The last day of my most recent trip saw me helping to celebrate another friend's Birthday, Linda, at Sierra Minera in La Union. I have been here before. Their Menu del Dia for €10 is amazing.  Every starter consisted of some sort of salad or fish, on this occasion, and as I don’t like either, they gave me an enormous plate of ham and melon – yum!!

Another fantastic trip. Can’t wait to come back again in a few weeks’ time.

Tip of the week:  When booking flights, book them really early in the year.  You will pay probably about 50% to 75% of what they will bump up to if you leave the booking to nearer the day of when you want to travel.

To be continued……..

My First Hire Car and Mar de Plastico!

I had lovely trip back to La Union a few weeks ago, and I actually hired a car for this trip, for the first time ever!   I didn’t know how...