Sunny Days in Estepona

Yesterday and today were very hot – 35C. Not days to be far away from the water.

Still…. yesterday we had to go out and food shop first!!! So, into the car and off to LIDL. Got a very good haul in there. They always have really good charcuterie and continental foods but these Spanish LIDL always have amazing fish and seafood too. We got some lovely big fresh king prawns, squid, sea bass and hake. Plenty of cold meats and fish, salad – will take us on a week at least.

Unpacked all of that and hastened down to the pool where we spent the rest of the day, swimming and relaxing.

I had a really interesting chat with a poultry farmer from Lincolnshire. He has a huge poultry farm, mainly raising eggs to be hatched into chickens, but also eggs for eating. He was telling me that one of the most obscene food scandals is the total wastage of eggs if they dont conform in shape and size to that decreed by the Min. of Agriculture. He alone, sends 60,000 eggs to landfill every month. What an incredible waste! Nothing wrong with them other than they are not perfectly oval. This sounds like something that ought to be publicised more in times of food hardship. He also said that he struggles to get workers but that having got them, he struggles more to get them through all the NVQs and academic qualifications also now required before you can be a livestock worker. Not enough to be skilled and great with animals, now you have to pass academic qualifications as well and unsurprisingly many young chaps who want to work on farms aren’t very good at them. It’s got like nursing and many other jobs where we’ve forgotten that basic care is better taught practically and let those who want more qualified jobs pursue academic qualifications. Nursing seems to be seeing sense finally with the emergence of the apprenticeship schemes.

Ate in the little bistro by the pool last night. It was a lovely evening. We could see Gibraltar and North Africa rising above a sea mist. It was quiet and we sat and watched the sunset over the mountains. I had the fish again. Brilliant.

Today, we headed out to one of the local beaches. There are three in Estepona. One very large long beach in front of the main town and two smaller bays to either side. We had been recommended to go to Playa del Cristo which is the westernmost bay, just around the corner from the yachting marina. It was about a 15 minute drive from the apartment and we managed to park up free of charge right behind the beach. There were two beach cafes serving the beach, both with cabanas and loungers with umbrellas. Of course, the Spanish tend not to use these and come prepared with the own chairs, loungers and umbrellas. If we were going to be beaching every day, we would have bought our own probably.

Like a lot of the beaches on this coast, the sand is not lovely and white. It’s a dark golden colour (some are grey) but it was spotlessly clean and the water was gin clear. We plonked down on the front row of loungers in one of the cafes and somewhat later the waitress came and demanded 20 euro each from us for the 2 loungers and a shared umbrella. We were a bit shocked to be honest but we thought heyho Dubai prices, we won’t be beaching every day…… She did give us a small bottle of water each free of charge!!! Anyway, annoyingly, later on more people came and they complained about the price and she told them that all but the front row were 10 euro each!!!!!! If she’d told us that, we’d have moved. Never mind, lesson learned.

We had a lovely, lovely day. I was in the sea A LOT. Bob was in the sea much less often. OK it was warmer by far than Folkestone but nowhere near as warm as Goa. You definitely got a frisson when you got in. But, for me, it was absolutely lovely, refreshing but not cold after the first minute. Bob begged to differ and only came in twice. It was a nice family beach, sandy, gently shelving, no idiots on jet skis, no loud music. Nice to see little toddlers with their buckets and spades at the water’s edge.

We had our own food for lunch and we stayed down till nearly 5pm. We’ve had to adapt our hours here. It’s so hot. We are staying much longer at the pool or beach than we do elsewhere and it’s really too hot to eat before 830pm at the earliest.

We called at the Carrefour Hypermarket on the way back to Forest hills and picked up a few supplies we’d missed from our LIdL jaunt plus 2 noodle floats. I like to loll on them in the pool or in the sea and they don’t take up much room.

Tonight we ate dinner in the apartment sitting on our terrace. We have an awning that we pulled out. It really is very pleasant and totally private. Not overlooked from any direction. So far, both Forest Hills and Estepona have very much exceeded our expectations. Forest Hills is nowhere near as luxe as the Marriott Vacation Club properties we usually stay in but on the other hand it is very much smaller and feels intimate, private and quite special. The apartment is comfortable and has everything we need. A/C would be better but on the other hand it is a pleasure to sleep with all the windows and sliding doors open to feel the breeze and the fresh air. It’s a very quiet area up here on top of the “castle” so we are not disturbed by traffic or people out late.