1st February 2017. Isleta del Moro, Spain.

Darren had a lot of work to do today so I got up early to get some photos edited while I had the chance because he needed the power supply.  I am over a month behind with the photos for the blog and was rather disappointed to discover that I had still only managed to get 3 days worth done this morning, still that’s better than nothing I suppose and let’s face it I only have myself to blame, if I stopped taking so many photos it wouldn’t take nearly as long to go through them!

After breakfast Darren began his work and while he was busy doing that I got on with the task I try to ignore, cleaning the van.  I felt quite virtuous when I’d finished giving it a thorough Spring clean, it looked and smelled wonderful.

A very strange thing happened this morning, it was a nice quiet morning, the only noticeable sound was the soothing sound of the waves breaking on the beach when suddenly we heard a woman’s voice speaking loudly through a speaker, it went on for ages and when we looked out of the window we could see a smart white van (like a little camper van) with curtains in the back windows.

There was nothing written on the van but it was driving EXTREMELY slowly through the streets with the lady’s voice being broadcast loudly!  As the van drove away and disappeared round the corner a man from the car park we were staying in waved his hand at the back of the van then followed in the direction the van went.  A bit later he returned with the van following along behind him and he walked to the back of the car park where his motorhome was parked.  The white van pulled up next to him!  The van drove away not long afterwards.  We’d both LOVE to know what the lady had been saying, I’m sure it would have solved the mystery of what service the van driver was offering.

Darren eventually finished his work at lunchtime so we wandered over to the cafe our friends Jane and Steve had shown us which made vegetarian and vegan meals.  We’d tried to go in there on Monday but the sign said it was closed on Monday’s and Tuesdays so we were hoping it would be third time lucky.  It was, we went in and had an entertaining time trying to order some food.  The lady behind the counter was the only member of staff in the cafe and she spoke a little English, I think that the combination of her small amount of English words and my even smaller amount of Spanish words was what caused all the confusion.  After a good 10 minute ‘conversation’ I thought we’d understood each other and Darren and I decided she was telling us to go and sit at a table and she’d be out with a menu, however as we walked out of the door she followed looking rather perplexed and we decided that wasn’t what she’d asked us to do at all.  We walked hesitantly back into the shop and she laughed.

By this time she’d come up with a solution to my lack of linguistic  skills and she got the ingredients out of the fridge to show me what she could use to make vegetarian tapas for me.  She showed me seitan which I’d never heard of before so I had to order some of that.  I then threw in a wobbly by telling her that Darren would like meat tapas, I’m getting quite adept at using the words carne and pescado, usually with the word ‘no’ before both of them so after she’d got her head round the fact Darren wasn’t a vegetarian she showed him what she could make up for him and then he chose something completely different off the board!

With the food order sorted I ordered 2 small beers in Spanish and she replied “Dos?” however I was beginning to wonder whether I’d said something wrong when I noticed she’d poured out 3 glasses.  I breathed a sigh of relief when she just brought 2 glasses out to our table.

When the tapas arrived it was absolutely gorgeous, Darren had a small hamburger in a roll with a little salad in it and a very tasty sauce.  Mine was equally scrumptious, she filled a roll with slices of cooked seitan, tomato salsa and sweet peppers.  They tasted so good that as soon as we’d finished our food I took the plates in and asked if she would make us some more.  I been rehearsing what I was going to ask but she blew that out of the water when she asked whether we’d like to try different tapas this time, I gave up trying to reply in Spanish and asked for exactly the same again, ending with “muy bien” which I hope means it was very good.

The second helping of tapas was equally as tasty, I feel sad that I’ll never have that again, I’ve felt that a lot on this trip.  I told the lady that it was delicious (in Spanish no less!) and she explained, with lots of mime involved that it was made in their cafe and they made it using wheat gluten.  Gorgeous!

We traipsed back to the van with full tummies feeling happy.

We packed up the van and set off for the next destination on the list from the British security man at Villaricos, but not without a doggy U turn!

We drove to Rodalquillar which was an ex-gold mining town.  He’d told us it was a semi derelict town and he was quite right.  It was intriguing.  We could see the buildings for the gold mine up on the hill in front of us but as we got to the sign post for it we saw a car park with a few motorhomes in it at the bottom of the hill and decided that we were probably supposed to park there and walk up.  We parked and while I changed into more suitable clothes for walking Darren got out to see if there was any information telling us where to go and what there was to see but there wasn’t so he looked on his tablet and discovered there was a car park further up the hill and decided to take a chance and drive up there.  While he was doing that I was amazed as I watched a middle aged Spanish couple across the road from us.  The man had been collecting what looked like grass or reeds, he then made them into a bundle and put them on the lady’s back, they then proceeded along the road with the lady carrying the load while he wandered along carrying absolutely nothing!

We drove up to the derelict mine buildings passing a new amphitheatre and lots of smart looking buildings which appeared to be used for scientific purposes one of which was something to do with studying volcanoes.

There were some lovely vans parked at the top, mostly homemade and unique.  The thing that immediately caught Darren’s eye was the gallows bracket on one of the vans which had a chair hanging from it and someone lounging comfortably in it enjoying the stunning view.  He decided we could do with one of those, the person in that van had had the foresight to put another bracket on the other side of the van too so they would never have to sit in the shade.

We set out to explore the mining buildings but I got halfway up the first set of steps, suddenly noticed there was no banister rail AND it was very windy and suddenly felt very nervous.  I knew I couldn’t go all the way up feeling like that so I cautiously turned around and made my way back down.  When I reached the bottom Darren informed me that the steps sounded hollow because he could hear my foot steps further up the staircase,  I looked closer at the dilapidated steps then and noticed that the bricks used to make them were all hollow.

We chose to walk to the top via the road which changed into a dirt track as we neared the mine buildings however two cars still drove past us as we walked up.  There were some great views from the top and I’m really glad we went up there but it was getting late and we needed to drive to the next place on our list so that we could park for the night because we felt it would be much too windy up on this hill  (with hindsight I’m not so sure).

We drove on to Isleta del Moro and saw a large car park with motorhomes parked in various places around it.  There was a glorious view out over the sparkling blue sea and as we started to drive down into the car park Darren spied our two friends Jane and Steve sitting outside their van in the sun minding their own business, completely unaware that we’d turned up.  They still hadn’t noticed us when we’d parked so we sneaked up behind them and Darren stood behind Jane’s chair and said in a loud voice “Oh, the view’s not as good from here as I thought it would be!”  That got their attention, poor things they then had to stop what they were doing and chat to us for 10 minutes (which was interesting for us because Steve informed us that the 4 hills we could see in the distance were in fact volcanoes according to the information board at the entrance to the car park) before we rushed off into town to have a look around before the sun went down and before we got blown into the sea!  It’s ironic, it was windier here than up the mountain!

As we struggled up the hill against the wind I said “Hola” to a lady and she started speaking to us in Spanish and gesticulating, I gather she was asking us whether we’d like a 30 minute massage, or was she, whatever she was offering we said “No thanks” and miraculously gained the ability to virtually run up to the view point at the top of the hill.  The view point was well worth the visit but needless to say we walked, or rather blew, back to the van the longer way round because it didn’t pass the massage lady’s shop!

We watched a little girl flying her kite in the strong wind, she was having great fun and we watched the sun as it set behind the volcanoes (that answered the question as to why the sand was black in places at Las Negras).

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