20th December 2016. Las Marinas, Spain.

The sun was out when we got up this morning.  I went out to take some photos before we left.  I spent ages taking photos and was just taking my last one when I noticed something white in the background, I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was SNOW on the mountain tops in the distance.  I was very excited to have seen snow but sad that we wouldn’t see it again as we were leaving.

We left Vera and drove down to the place we have booked an apartment for Christmas.  We were under the impression it was in Roquetas de Mar but it’s not, it’s about 5 km from the town.

We were going to an aire that our friends Kathryn and Alex had mentioned but it was full to bursting, no problems though there were motorhomes dotted along the streets, wild camping so we joined 3 of them on a long wide stretch of road which overlooked snow capped mountains on one side and the sea on the other.

I’d been very excited as we’d driven down towards Almeria because in the distance we could see LOTS of snow covered mountains.  What a wonderful way to spend Christmas, in the sun but still able to see snow!

After we’d sorted the van out we got the bikes ready and went into town to explore.

We didn’t get very far we stopped at the first restaurant we saw which looked very popular and sat in the sun eating tapas andwatching sparrows darting in and out of the palm tree beside us.

The waitresses in the restaurant were very friendly, one spoke to everyone in their own language, there were Germans and Swedes sitting next to us, she came over and started chatting to us in Spanish, we must have looked like startled rabbits in the headlights and when we said “Sorry we don’t understand” she laughed and told us she’d spoken to us in Spanish because we looked Spanish, then proceeded to chat to us in perfect English.  When the other waitress came to see if we’d enjoyed our meal she very patiently waited while I falteringly said the meal was delicious, in Spanish, and then very kindly said my Spanish was good.  (That was EXTREMELY generous of her!)

After we’d eaten we cycled along the sea front into the main town to explore AND find somewhere for cake!

A lot of places were either closed or the seating was in the shade so we carried on back to where we’d come from where we spied and sign mentioning coffee and cake which ALSO had seats still bathed in the afternoon sun, perfect.

We found a table and I went back over to the board to see whether I could find out what the word for cake was in Spanish, but it was all written in English or German.  By the time I got back to the table the waitress was already there.  She asked whether we’d like kaffee und kuchen we said “Si” assuming she was speaking to us in Spanish and she beckoned me to follow her to show me the cakes they had.  I pointed to the apple cake and said “manzanas” and she said “mit sahne?” so I replied “ja, danke”  and as I walked out of the shop said “gracias”  suddenly as I got back to our table my brain finally kicked in and it realised that it had expected her to speak Spanish but she’d been talking to me in German and a teeny bit of English and I’d started answering her in my teeny bit of German, when I’d expected to be talking in my teeny bit of Spanish!  As my poor confused brain started to process this information I thought it was going to explode!  Apparently we were in a German café and all the other customers were German.  I have to say the Germans certainly know how to bake FANTASTIC cakes so we’ll definitely be taking our boys there when they come to stay.

We cycled back to the van where I spent ages photographing the scenery.  It also turned out it was the place to see wildlife, who’d have thought it.  As I was looking out of the van I suddenly saw an ibis fly past the window and when I went to look I saw a flock of them pootling around on the grass a bit further along from us.  I grabbed my camera and tried to take some photos through the window, Darren asked me what I was photographing and I pointed them out to him at which point he informed me that they’d been right beside him while he was getting the bikes out of the van earlier!  When I asked him why he hadn’t told me he said he’d thought they were seagulls!  D’oh!

I made an important discovery that evening (important to us at least), am I the only person who doesn’t know that this area is mosquito heaven?! Ironically earlier on in the day I’d been commenting about how nice it not being bitten by mosquitoes now it was Winter.  So I went out to take photos of the birds and left the van door open, when I came back I stared scratching my legs and then I noticed mosquitoes hitching a ride.  For the rest of the evening our new game became “Catch that mossie!” unfortunately it turns out they were far better at eluding capture than we were at annihilating them.

The little blighters are very good at hiding and days later we found them (along with new bites on various parts of our bodies!)

There was an amazing sunset in the evening, I watched the sky burning deep red and yellow above the distant mountains and over the roof tops until eventually it faded to pale pink and lilac then darkness descended.

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