A Day of Two Halves - Morning
Today was the first time since our arrival that we have gone on a bit of an adventure. Having caught up with administrative stuff around the house, and as it was Friday, we agreed that it was time for a trip to the coast.
When we came over in April, we visited the beach at Salobreña, some 30 minutes away and our nearest beach destination. At that time of the year, being out of season, it was empty but the bars and cafes on the beach were gearing up for a new season. Everywhere looked clean and tidy and we were lucky that the weather was crystal clear and the sea a deep, sparkling blue. On that day in April, we sat atone of the cafe’s and actually saw dolphins in the distance, leaping out of the sea. It was, we thought, rather a lovely place although we were in no doubt that it would potentially be overrun in the summer months.
As we are now in October, we though that it would be similar: the tourist rush would be well and truly over, the sea would still be warm, but the sparkle was definitely missing.
We decided, initially, to explore the town itself, a white tumble of buildings spilling down a hill topped by an impressive medieval castle. Theoretically, it had the makings of an interesting excursion.
I think we may have missed the best bits. We parked on a street in a decidedly deprived corner of the town and walked our way up through dirty side streets where youths had clearly had a binge, breaking brown glass bottles with alacrity. There seemed to be few redeeming features, even as we neared the summit. We were desperate for a coffee and could we find a bar? There was none! What we presume was one of the main squares, sitting just below the church, had been commandeered for what look to be a wedding, but everywhere else appeared to be closed.
As were leaving the church behind us, we met one of the older local inhabitants, making her way down the hill using a zimmer frame, and she asked for help. The poor lady asked if we could fasten her bracelet watch around her wrist and it was only then that we could see she had a deep gash on the side of her forearm. I think she had fallen, and the metal watch strap had gouged into her arm; the strap was damaged and couldn’t be fastened. She was shaken and it was all rather distressing. I asked if she wanted to go to the doctor, but she made it clear that she was on her way to the church, presumably for this big shin-dig, and I assumed that friends she’d meet there would take care of her. Unsettling.
The beach was no more relaxing. It looked tired after the season. There were tourist stragglers, waiting for the sun to make an appearance, but it was not busy at all, and it was sad to see the blocks of apartments that line the coast all shuttered up - presumably, the owners had used them for July and August and they were now abandoned for the winter months. This part of town looked dead. The decision was made to drive further east along the coast to find somewhere for lunch, and this course of action resulted in us driving down some farm track that ended, some 20 minutes later, at a dead end on a beach in the middle of nowhere. We had driven through pampas groves, fields planted with beans and peas, and negotiated a goatherd and his herd of some 50 goats. The upside was that we actually saw our first hoopoe in the wild!