23rd December 2016. Las Marinas, Spain.

Woo! Hoo! I had been looking forward to this day for months, we were collecting two of our sons, Morgan and Gethan from the airport in the afternoon.

We were picking up the hire car at 10 a.m. in Las Marinas so we had a very early start, it was still dark when I walked to the shower block and the sun was just rising as Darren emptied and filled the van.

When everything was done on the van Darren popped into reception to pay for our two days stay (we were half expecting them to take the wine box back but they didn’t!)

He asked the man on reception which was the best way back to the main road and he told us to turn right out of the gate then right again.

We took his advice but the road looked rather narrow as we peered down it so Darren found a place to turn round and we drove back past the campsite (hoping the man on reception didn’t see us) and followed the road I’d seen on the map which was perfect!

We raced to the apartment, parked the van outside in the road, received a phone call from the car rental man asking where we were, even though it was only 9.30 a.m. and speed walked (in our heads) to the car rental office arriving with 5 minutes to spare, phew!

Once we were in possession of our little car we shot off to the town of Roquetas de Mar to check it out before we collected the boys.  We found a pretty little harbour where we stood watching some men causing a feeding frenzy amongst the fish as they threw bread to them, we discovered why they were doing that after a short while when the next bit of bread that went in was accompanied by a hook.  I have to say with the amount of effort that they put in to trying to catch a fish they did deserve to get one but the fish outsmarted them time and again and continued to feast on the bread that the kind men were supplying them with!

It was getting very hot so we said “Goodbye” and wandered round to the other side of the harbour for beer and tapas and watched the cormorants and ibis coming and going.

Before we collected our sons we went to the apartment to check everything was OK and to use the washing machine then we rushed off to Almeria airport.

Almeria airport is wonderfully small and extremely quiet no doubt due to the time of year, we only saw a couple of people there when we arrived.  We didn’t have long to wait before the boys came through the arrivals gate and there were lots of hugs and kisses (from us) and sighs of exasperation (from them).

I suggested they kept their eyes closed until we got to the apartment, unfortunately they didn’t heed my warning and as a result had to endure the horrible sight of miles and miles of plastic greenhouses (yes I do understand that they are needed to bring money into the area but they still look horrible).

We were warned that there was plastic as far as the eye could see but nevertheless I had no idea Almeria would look like this.

En route to the apartment we popped into Lidl’s to buy the ingredients for our Christmas lunch (which was when we found out that the boys had kindly brought out two packets of mince pies with them, as previously requested, we’d forgotten to tell them that we’d bought a huge packet from Iceland!  Sorry boys but you can never have too many mince pies).

We left Lidl’s with a chicken, veggies and potato wedges, which the boys insisted worked perfectly as a stand in for roast potatoes (who am I to argue) and a huge amount of savoury snacks and chocolate so we were all set for Christmas.

Darren and I had been touring Europe with a Christmas pudding bought last Christmas, a sachet for making mulled wine, bread sauce, a packet of sage and onion stuffing and gravy so we had the beginnings of a Christmas meal!

We pitched up at the apartment which was nice and spacious AND had heating, I was pleased to see that having been told that a lot of places in Spain DON’T have heating.  After checking out cooking utensils, pans and other bits and bobs which were lacking we went back out to van and brought most of our belongings in, thank goodness for the van!  Over the next few days we raided more items from the van, it was very useful having it parked outside as it turned out.

While I was looking out over the golf course something colourful caught my eye, there was a hoopoe wandering over the course, I haven’t seen one of those for years.

In the evening we took the boys out to the restaurant we’d had tapas on the day we’d arrived in Las Marinas.  We had another lovely meal there, a nice relaxing start to Christmas with our sons.

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