Slipping and a Sliding at 650m …

Needless to say that the running shoes are still causing problems although they are reduced to one blister on the bottom of my right foot – every time I think I have left it long enough to heal (reality is I know I haven’t…but I am itching to get out running again), I manage to aggravate it enough again after two or three runs meaning that I am forced to take another 5 or six days off. This time I have only run once and can feel that it is starting to bear its ugly head again so have decided to give it a week or so of as much rest as possible and see if it sorts itself out….frustrating, although to be fair it hasn’t actually had a proper ‘rest’ as you can’t really rest the sole of your foot, no matter what you do, you are putting pressure on it.

It has been a busy couple of weeks though, with Emma and Paul – a couple whom we met in Palamos in March – coming to stay with their dogs en route down to Almerimar where they have rented a flat for the winter….. I would imagine that if you contact the coast guards in the area you will probably find a motorhome somewhere lodged on the seabed in the marina…..Emma has definitely had enough of it! We took the opportunity to celebrate the visit with a ridiculous amount of food and of course…. chocolate brownies 🙂

As Emma and Paul parted, we headed up the coast again with the motorhome to walk up Bernia, apparently one of the most beautiful walks in the area. There are several routes, but on the Monday we decided to park at the bottom and walk up, all 850m (well to be fair it probably should have only been about 650m but we missed the turn fairly near the beginning due to lack of signage), zig-zagged up the side of the mountain with a fairly steep drop off to the side. As we got closer to where we needed to make a decision as to which way we went the cloud came in and made the decision for us…..

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so rather than continue up into the cloud, we skirted around the mountain towards the sea on a 17km circuit.

The whole route from the bottom and around the mountain would have been too much to do in one day anyway, especially with less daylight hours at the moment. So, we decided to go back on Monday and do the top circuit. With map in hand and a description of how to get to a car park we headed off of the main road and within less than half a mile Keith was carefully navigating Mika between a concrete wall and sloping brick verge with possibly a centimetre to spare. However, having made it through the narrow gap and seeing that the road ahead widened out we decided to continue up into the forest on a narrow, steep, winding road, bumping into and out of the pot holes. When we finally arrived at the point where we decided not to climb any more the week before, we then had to go down a steep, windy, gravel slope into the car park….. at this point we both knew that we were going to possibly have problems getting back out but we didn’t have any way of turning back.

We decided not to worry about getting out yet, but to enjoy the walk instead and it is fair to say that it is beautiful. The circuit it roughly 10.5km and took us just over 3.5 hours with a break for lunch, it has some stunning scenery, but also some stunning shear drops …. not somewhere I would walk if I had vertigo, but other people obviously work in different ways as we met a lovely English couple in their 50’s who lived nearby and he did have vertigo. He was determined to beat it and had made it almost to the top but couldn’t get the last 200m (possibly something to do with the fact that they – and us following them – had taken the wrong turn which was more complicated than it needed to be – a bit of bouldering. Hopefully after his wife went back to find him (we did try to help them through, but ended up just getting him back to a safe ledge and taking her up to the tunnel with us), he did make it to the top…..although I have no idea how they got down again.

Anyway, we had a beautiful walk and the scenery was stunning ….

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Getting back up the hill with Mika was ‘interesting’ to say the least, I had thought that we were going to spending the night up there waiting for a tractor to help us out, but thankfully after the umpteenth attempt and a lot of wheel spinning, Keith managed to get Mika up the slope and onto slightly more solid ground. Needless to say, although no damage done, we won’t be heading up this side of Bernia again in the motorhome … apparently there are some places that motorhomes shouldn’t go 😦

To get a fair balance of exercise and as Keith really wanted to do the extra 3km up the hill to Gijona the last time we went up there, we have now struck it off of the list and can confirm that there really is nothing in Gijona apart from Turron (nougat) factories and Smith Kline and Beecham…. unfortunately he now appears to have an appetite for the next piece of the road which zig zags its way up the side of a much larger mountain…..   😦

We have also managed to get out into the sea and swim a few times, Keith still hasn’t tried his wetsuit but the sea has been much calmer and I actually managed to swim in the direction I wanted to go this time rather than round in circles !

I have also taken motorhome cooking to the next level and we have now added ‘Tarte Citron’ to our repertoire…. I have been wanting to try it for a while, thinking that it would just take a little longer to cook, but despite not making my own pastry this time our Spanish guests seemed to be pretty happy with the result!

We are also trying to do our bit of ‘good’ by helping our friends learn a bit of English.  We appear to becoming quite popular and our english classes have been expanding themselves as we now have Miguel (the son of the owners of the site we are staying on), Miguel and Santi (the friends Keith made when he was first in Alicante twenty years ago), and Veronica (Manuel’s’ girlfriend – also a friend from years ago) …. apparently english is easier to learn with a beer, coffee or cake 🙂

Winter is drawing in….6/11/15

How time flies… I can’t believe that it was two and a half weeks ago when I last updated the blog, not only have the clocks gone back and the evenings drawing in, but it will surprise you to learn that we are still awaiting the door handle parts.

Mika is now two years old, so officially out of warrantee but as we have been in contact with Burstner we are hopeful that it will get fixed this side of Christmas, just in good old Spanish style… ‘manana’ (tomorrow), or possibly ‘el mes que viene’ (next month)!

With the weather in Portugal and southern Spain not looking too great and having started to increase our network of friends and activities over here, we have decided to relax into it and settle in for the winter…… if you can call it that as it rose to 25 degrees today.

The sea is hovering around 21 degrees at the moment, so although you can swim without a wetsuit – and we both happily did so today – I did take mine for a test run last Monday. The process of getting it on probably took more energy and time than I spent swimming, although I obviously have one arm stronger than the other as I found myself going round in circles. Each time I tried to get back into the shore I found myself heading out to sea again…. thankfully I finally made it back in, although I was good 100m further down the beach, possibly something to do with the strong currents rather than the strength in my right arm!

Needless to say I haven’t been back out in it again yet as it has been pretty choppy, but I am sure it will get an outing next week…. if you don’t hear from me within a couple of weeks start looking for me in Africa…

We ventured up the coast to a pretty little town called Altea which is just north of Benidorm, the old town providing a beautiful example of a historic Spanish hill village

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We have also been stretching the legs and ventured up into the hills again with the bikes, a nice 45km round trip with 450m ascent all to have lunch in a bit of tranquility….

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Unfortunately the new running shoes have as always made their mark on my ridiculously soft feet … after 5 runs (to be fair I didn’t make any allowances for them being natural running trainers) I had to take a week off to let the blisters heal, so will just have to see how I get on this time round… second run in the morning 🙂