Work! It had to happen. Tina is still on holiday until Friday, but I have learners to shout at :) What promised to be a very busy day is eased by two lunchtime appointments cancelling - good. Tina sees Chris.
When I get home in the evening, Steve rings. He has found two medals from Dad's service in the war! I am so grateful to him, he says he will post them to me.
To Trowbridge. Steve and his helper Dave do a good job of clearing Dad's house. Tina and I wander around Trowbridge, then go to Bradford on Avon. The river is VERY high, and there's water running through the town. We eat a delicious roast pork sandwich in a cafe. Back at Dad's, Steve is getting on well, so we drive home and leave him to it.
Tina and I potter about in the morning getting used to Basingstoke. In the afternoon we walk with Ken and Carol around Malshanger, and catch up with each other's news.
Up early for the ferry at 7:30, no breakfast :( The taxi at Los Christianos gets us to the airport three hours before our flight. Somehow the aircraft stays in the air :) At Gatwick we say goodbye to Les, who gets a train back to Nottingham. We drive home through the dark in torrential rain, eat chinese food, then take Jim to the station for his train around 7:30 pm.
It's been a rare treat to spend a week together, I'm so glad we went away. Now it's weird to be back in the UK in the gloomy November weather when a few hours ago the temperature was around 80 degrees and the sun was shining brightly. I wouldn't like to give up the seasonal UK weather permanently, even the winter can be glorious on a cold sunny day, but there's a lot to be said for a break in the sun :)
We sleep well. Breakfast is a huge buffet. Jim and Les stay in San Sebastian, Tina and I walk for two hours over cliffs to a nearby cove for a swim. I forget my trunks but the beach is deserted so I can swim without them. Unfortunately there are no photos of this ;) It's very hot. We walk back and later meet up with L & J. We play scrabble in a bar in town before dinner. Les is miles ahead but I swap some letters to get rid of a "Q" and she pulls it out of the bag a bit later in the game. I manage to get rid of all my tiles. By some massive fluke and the fact that Les was stuck with her "Q" I win by a point. Bloody hell - I never win at scrabble :)
We eat another huge dinner, and get to bed relatively early.
We say goodbye to Alex, the owners son at our hotel. A very pleasant woman takes us in a taxi to a high place on the island - up in the clouds. On the way a woman with a child on her back is pottering about next to a tent at the side of the road. There must be some poverty on the island. Our driver drops us next to (I think) the Roque de Agando, the most prominent of a group of volcanic plugs called simply Los Roques, near the centre of the island. The rock is shrouded in mist, but still impressive.
Today's walk is down hill to San Sebastian, the capital of the island, where our last hotel is located. We cross a road and stop for coffee. The cafe is full of a coach party of cruise passengers, who soon depart. Rather them than me... It gets sunnier and much warmer as we continue to descend.
9000 people vive in San Sebastian, out of the island's total population of 28000. Compared to the villages we have been in so far, this is a teeming metropolis. Similarly, the hotel is huge, compared to the other two. Tina and I have a good look around the town before dinner. Walking back to the hotel, we come across a woman watering her plants outside her house. Tina and I say how pleasant her flowers look, and I snatch a photo. As we walk off she dashes after us with a rose for Tina :)
Dinner is posh and huge. Tina and I order paella as a starter - it's huge. Our main courses include kid, cod, and guinea fowl, which is all delicious. Later we play cards, a whist variant which lasts for around an hour. I win by a tiny margin, much to everyone elses disgust. Jim and I had a side bet and he's particularly miffed.
Breakfast, then we walk up into mountains. There is bright sun and it's very warm. As we descend to a bar cafe on the beach there is a little rain. Les and I share calamari. It's now too cloudy and windy to swim. We walk back to hotel and laze around.
A taxi again to our evening meal, a different restaurant this time, which has lots of fresh fish on the menu. The waitress / owner is a German woman, who chats when she has a moment. We all order lemon sorbet, which the waitress annoints with Limoncelli. A nice touch, especially when she pours four glasses for us as well.
After breakfast we say goodbye to Jordi, and get a taxi - 30 minutes climbing up into the mountains. The day is spent mainly walking down, with only occasional climbs. In the morning we walk through deciduous woods, and find a bar at lunchtime for a drink. In the afternoon we can see the volcano Teide (Tay-dee) on Tenerife. At 3717 metres (12198 feet) Teide forms the highest peak on Spanish territory and the worlds third largest volcano (Last eruption 1909). (Thank you Wikipedia).
Gradually, we descend to Hermigua, where our next hotel awaits. Nearer to the village, we come across a chapel, brilliant white in the low sun. We take photos, and two minutes later sun drops behind the mountains :) The same thing happens at the church in Hermigua, a lucky day for lighting. We find a bar and relax, then find our hotel. It's perched on a hillside, with great views. At 7:30 a taxi takes us to a restaurant, which is on the beach. We eat dinner to the sound of waves breaking.
A shorter walk today, on the other side of the village. We go up, see more wonderful views, down, pass a dam, and back to Vallehermoso. After a late lunch in a bar, J & L snooze, and Tina and me walk down to sea, the same place as yesterday. En route we see bananas and unidentified fruits. At the beach there are massive breakers.
In the evening we try a different restaurant, and play hangman on the paper table cloth. Walking back to the hotel, we see lots of stars in a clear sky.
Before breakfast I'm standing outside when the woman with a bad leg walks along with her husband. She looks surprised when I enquire after her leg - it's not same woman... T & J & L take the micky, and ask if I enquire of all women I meet how their limbs are. I retort that it's a valid chat up line, sooner or later one of them will be injured, and will be impressed by my sixth sense. Jordi is around at breakfast but not his wife. We chat to fellow guests, some are on the same holiday.
We set off for a walk, a circuit around the village. We climb up for ages, with wonderful views. It's very green, and there's a bit of rain. There are palm trees, cacti, weeds trying to overgrow the path. We pass two tiny chapels. There's an old man with broom in the first, and a French party picnicking outside the second. Whenever we meet French people they always seem to be in groups, and having a whale of a time. We descend a very steep path to the beach. A swimming pool is empty, the sea has big breaking waves, we're advised not to swim. There is a road to a deserted bar covered in fallen rocks, under massive sheer cliffs. We walk back to village, and have beer at a bar. The French party are already there having fun. Lots of "Bonjours" to us. Before dinner we play Scrabble. Jim scores very well with one word which I won't repeat - where did he learn that sort of language. Still, as he says, it's in the dictionary. Roger Melley's dictionary, I think...
Our evening meal is in the village in a bar which our taxi driver recommended. We all order lots of tapas dishes, which are excellent. The meal goes on and on, with new dishes appearing at regular intervals. Did we order all these? It's a bit like the scene from Monty Pythons "Meaning of Life" where Mr. Creosote has a problem with a "wafer thin mint, a tiny little thin one." Somehow, we do justice to the meal without exploding.