Wednesday, 20 April 2011

138. Back in town

20th April 2011. Back from Andalusia on Sunday evening.. and we've been busy getting things back to normal here since then. Clearing the inbox & mowing the lawn - both of which had flourished in our absence, and well, all the rest of it. Really enjoyed Andalusia.. we were lucky with the weather - it was above 30° most days with it peaking at 36° while we were in Seville. Low humidity made it very pleasant though.
Hotel Don Miguel, Ronda
We started in Malaga and then over the following week we visited Ronda, Arcos, Seville, Cordoba, Granada before returning to Malaga. This clip below was early morning in Ronda - from the spectacular terrace of the Hotel Don Miguel (where we had one night) perched on the edge of the vertiginous gorge of the Río Guadalevín. Turn up the volume - no tourists, just the birds singing:
And this was a late night visit to a flamenco cellar in Granada.. (a bit touristy I know)

We (the Royal we) discovered El Corte Inglés - a Spanish department store chain - while in Spain. Probably not news to 99% of you but it was to us. Not having the car with us saved my credit card from a Fukushima-style meltdown though! There's a slideshow of the trip here..

Whilst in Paris - we had a day free there before leaving for Spain - we swung by an old favourite Franc Pinot (1, Quai de Bourbon on the Ile St Louis) but it looked as if it had been closed for a long time. And on our return, we thought we'd stop off at La Rhumerie for one of their legendary rum based cocktails - but it too was closed (for re-decoration - it re-opens 19th May). One new place we tried that was open was Le Zimmer, a traditional brasserie near Châtelet.. worth remembering if you're in the area.

We stayed M & C, old (French) friends of Madame's from the 60s, and they had me laughing with a story of when they were once on holiday in England staying with friends. Apparently the lady of the house was about to toss the salad one evening when M got to his feet and announced to one and all that he would do it as he was a great tosser..! Apparently his English hosts cried with laughter at this - much to his bemusement!

We were both surprised by the prices in cafés in central Paris - we stopped for a drink just across from BHV and it seemed as though the minimum currency unit was 5€. A small beer was 5.10€! A coffee 5€..! Ouch!

Meanwhile, back in the Pays Basque, we picked up the pooch yesterday morning and he slept all day - I don't think he must have had much sleep at the kennel. He was in a daze most of the day..
Rowing last night - beautiful warm cloudless evening out on the Nive - did 13km in a VIII sculler. (Running total: 573km) By the way, that's the club above on the left. There's a long outing planned for this coming Saturday morning - a number of boats are heading up the Adour as far as Urt (difficult to pronounce) - which is about 20km upriver (map here). One set of crews will row up river and will change over at Urt with another set who will have driven up there. I'll be in an VIII going upriver. And it's an 8am start..! Luckily the forecast is for cooler weather on Saturday.

A link for our readers in France - click on your department and then your town or village..

By the way, it was 28° here yesterday afternoon.. Madame had bought a v drinkable AOC Gaillac dry rosé from Leclerc. It really hit the spot yesterday lunchtime.. (Obligatory warning notice: it's 13° so, as they say here: à consommer avec modération)
I spotted this story in SUR - the giveaway English language newspaper in southern Spain..

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