Saturday, August 22, 2015

Summer Holidays in the South of Spain

Summer holidays spent in the south are a thing with the Europeans. I've been lucky enough to have a few holidays in Provence, soaking up the sun and the wine with good friends. One of my friends and her family leave Paris each August and rent a house somewhere for the month, inviting other friends and family for weekly visits. One year they decided to rent in the south of Spain and generously invited us to join. This gave us a chance to do a little southern Spain loop, starting in Madrid and continuing to Seville before flying into the Almeria area. This coastal province is famous for its beaches,  deserts, and the largest concentration of greenhouses in the world- over 64,000 acres best seen from the air.

Forest and Thibault were nice enough to pick us up and it was an easy hour drive to the tiny town of Turre near Mojacar. We arrived at the house, unpacked and then us girls headed out for a nice catch-up lunch at Adalina, the main restaurant in town.

There are a few specialties of this region that I highly recommend. Most places offer freshly baked puffy bread with a whipped garlic aioli that is incredible (unless you plan on kissing someone who hasn't had it). Gazpacho is a trademark dish, as are caracoles (snails in a tomato sauce), and paella with seafood.

We spent most of the next 5 days just relaxing with our friends who I see so infrequently, swimming in the pool, playing with their kids, shopping the local market, and cooking dinners together.

There are some cute towns around here so we headed out a few times for brief explorations, never straying too far from our pool though! Our house sat half way up one of the low mountains and the guys hiked to the top a few times, passing wandering goats, fancy houses, and great vistas. It was just as easy to drive up for sunset and an apero :)

One afternoon we headed to Playa Mojacar and after a delicious lunch of tapas at Cava Restaurant, situated right on the beach, we took a dip in the ocean; it was warm, calm, and gorgeously clear!

The hilltop town that we could see across the valley, Mojacar Pueblo, not only was very picturesque from afar but it was a great little town for a drink after the beach. We met a local British woman who sat and spoke to us about the expat community. Seems retired English folks love to live in this area and actually outnumber the Spanish. Basically, besides paella and gazpacho, you can find a proper fry up breakfast at numerous places around town.

The sleepy fishing village of Garrucha was another great place for a nice lunch. We found the restaurant Ricónes del Puerto and enjoyed fresh seafood specialties like this octopus (pulpo) in olive oil and pimenton along with cold Spanish rosé.

Spain has the most Blue Flag Beaches in Europe, an award based on environmental and safety standards. There was one right down from Garrucha which we dipped into and soaked up some sun on the pristine sand.

To Nic, Luke, Luca, Naoise, and Charlotte... Hope you are having a fabulous time on your summer holidays! xo

All Turre/Mojacar photos here.

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