Monday, 18 December 2017

Granada, Sierra Nevada, Altea and off to the snow in the Alps – Days 55 to 60

Happy Christmas from Elizabeth and Jackie!
Having finally warmed up, after the Alhambra with a mulled wine made of very cheap red wine with an Aldi Christmas teabag dipped in it, we felt ready to go outside again. The same restaurant, or group of restaurants, we had eaten in in our first night also did a plate of mixed fish, equivalent to the plate of mixed meat, which Brian really fancied. On looking on Tripadvisor however, it appeared we were lucky to live through the first meal, so tempting fate with a second, hmmm. I found a tapas bar (yes another one) that appeared to specialise in fried fish, which sounded great, decided we'd go and find it even though Tripadvisor said it should be shut. 
Brief visit to the snow in Sierra Nevada
This coincided with a message from Sue and Mike saying that they had read good things about it and every time they had walked past it had been rammed. They had eaten at lunch time as four hours of studying had made them ravenous, but they would meet us for a drink when they had finished their homework as long as we didn't expect intelligent conversation as they we frazzled!

Brian changing a bolt in very cold water
This turned out to be one of the traditional tapas bars, where you order a drink, which is accompanied with a tapa, and they were big portions and very yummy. Having had a plate of some sort of pink fried fish, and one of deep fried prawns we ordered a half portion of mixed fish. It was great. Sue and Mike joined us, so we ordered another beer and got a plate of small clams in olive oil and garlic, at which point we had to stop drinking as we couldn't eat anymore food! We had a lovely evening though, and finally said goodbye to Sue and Mike, really hope we get to catch up somewhere in the future.

Spot the difference
As we'd decided against removing the car from the car park we hadn't been into the Sierra Nevada as planned, so thought we'd do it on the way home. All the rain the previous day had obviously fallen as snow in the mountains which looked lovely. We got as far as the ski resort, which was as far as we could go without snow chains. We did have them, but didn't want to use them for the sake of it so we headed back to Granada and then on to the Costa Blanca arriving back at the house at 16.30. Elizabeth was at home preparing a fabulous salmon en croute while dad was at bridge, so we filled her in on our travels, before repeating some of it when dad got home.

Elizabeth posing by the pool (look at those earrings!)
Thurday night was a girls night out for Elizabeth and I with Carolyn, quite restrained, but thoroughly enjoyable, fortunately we were just about ready to leave when the two reserved long tables were filled by about 40 men, and one woman (who knows what was going on) and the ambient noise level rose dramatically. We called John and left while we could still be heard over the telephone. We got home where we still couldn't make ourselves heard as dad and Brian had had a boys night in of Iceland (the shop) curries, beer and an action movie, oh, and the box of licorice allsorts!

All looking!
Friday night was an evening of steamed mussels and prawns a la plancha, the final instalment of our fish preloading! There is a fish counter in the Carrefour at the ski resort, but the produce always looks a bit sad and the prices are all crazy, so we'll get home in May ready for curry and fish.

Brian joins the girls for a drink at the beach bar
Yesterday's eating extravaganza was a roast leg of lamb from the village, you order in advance, in this case for four, even though there were to be six of us eating, and collect an amazingly tender roast garlic lamb and almond mashed potatoes. We actually ate round at Jane and Michael's as Michael is struggling with painful legs and with the cold. We arrived singing carols and wearing Santa hats bearing crackers, so we could have a group Christmas meal. It was a lovely afternoon, Michael was on good form, no one had had to cook, except Brian who had suddenly been told he was making his fatless sponge, raspberry roulade again, while he was cleaning his teeth that morning. So he couldn't argue! And, because we ate in the afternoon we could go home to watch the Strictly Come Dancing final!

Elizabeth, Richard, Jane, Jackie and Michael
Apart from eating we've washed and shopped in preparation for moving north and chilled before packing yesterday so we could be up at 05.00 this morning with the aim of getting to the ski resort by 19.00 this evening. We are making good progress so far, though there is more traffic than I expected on a Sunday, but obviously the tricky bit, if there is one, will be as we approach St Jean in the dark and maybe the snow! As much as we are thrilled there is good snow for skiing we don't actually want it inconveniencing us as we drive in!

Jane and Elizabeth (with an annoying wasp just to the right!)
The only other bit of excitement? Brian had to go in the pool! Of the four screws despatched with the new handrail, only one had arrived, and the three replacements bought by father, it turns out weren't galvanised. It's amazing how quickly rust can develop and how far it can spread! Not a difficult job in itself, but it's jolly cold, and he got chilled to the core. Elizabeth and I got back from shopping to find him missing, the only thing he could think to do to warm up was walk, fast, uphill. That had sorted him out! He'd tried to sneak off to do the job unobserved, but sadly for him. We noticed, and there are pictures!

The very tasty garlic lamb brought in from the village
Just swapped back from driving, to finish this, looked up and it's actually snowing, hmmmm. Gone through a tunnel, and come out to light fluffy cloud and blue sky! Better go and put the last two episodes of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Thanks. Sarah, it's kept us occupied.

This is the view from Jane and Michaels balcony. R&E's house is in the centre, although its just hidden in this photo
It was a lovely day, but slightly cold

Christmas photo number 1. Elizabeth

Christmas photo number 2. Richard (Jackies dad)

Christmas photo number 3. Herself!

Christmas photo number 4. Brian

Last view from the Bernia mountains, looking down towards Altea, Benidorm and the mountains beyond. We'll miss that view!

The view from our window this morning in our snowy apartment in St Jean d'Aulps in the French Alps. It's -7C outside and snowing. Time to unpack, get out and buy our lift passes and start skiing!!!

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