I’m super lucky to be visiting the Spanish town of Nerja, near Malaga, for 3 weeks, and I’m going to write a blog post for each week!
We flew out at 5pm on Tuesday, a little later than anticipated, so my first test was ringing the transfer company to make sure that the taxi would wait for us (it did). The driver was a really lovely guy with a Moroccan father and a Spanish mother who told me lots about his family and the languages he knew. After arriving at our apartment, it quickly reached 11pm, so some of us made the short walk into town so a small pizzaria and ordered some takeout tea! Exhausted from the travelling, we fell into bed pretty quickly.
I had a really lazy start on Wednesday, not getting up until around 11! We chilled out for most of the day, reading and sunbathing, although with pale skin and an inability to cope with heat I mostly chased the shade. It was amazing to be able to sit and read for hours on end, something I hadn’t done for ages. Probably years. We also made friends with a very beautiful cat who happily lazed in the shadow under our loungers.
Again, it got late before we knew it, so we got more pizzas and then sat on the empty beach for a while. At that time, around 10pm, the sea wasn’t too cold so I had a little paddle, although I wouldn’t have swum as it was so dark.
I had another easy morning on Thursday. I’ve been lying in quite a lot recently and although I wanted to exercise quite regularly during my time here, I knew I’d have to give myself a few days to adjust. After we were all up and breakfasted, we walked to the beach (a whole five minutes from the apartment) and had a lovely long, slow swim, starting from our beach, around the rocks that some people were jumping from, and to the next beach over and then back again. It’s been so long since I swam in the sea, since it’s always SO. COLD. in England, and I forgot how much saltwater helps you to float! I love swimming but I definitely couldn’t have kept myself afloat for that long in a pool. Once back to our beach, we painfully hopped on the burning hot sand and set out our towels and umbrellas and had a lovely sunbathe, covered head to toe in sun cream of course! Later on we meandered through town, taking in all the backstreets and shops.
At around 7 we went to a gorgeous restaurant in the corner of the square and had tapas and sangria (when in Spain…) followed by some yummy ice cream and a winding walk back, once again exploring the narrow twisty backstreets.
Friday marked my first active morning. I left at about 7:30am so that there weren’t many people around to get in the way of. I’d already decided the steps to the beach would make a great workout, so I went there and ran, jumped and hopped up them. Yes, I got some weird looks from the gardeners, but at least they stopped to chat to me!
Back at the apartment, I had breakfast on the balcony, which is one of my favourite things to do. It’s so relaxing to watch the world and listen to the sea. The thing that strikes me about this place is how quiet it is, even when it’s busy. There are lots of locals and tourists, but never the fast-paced buzz of a city or the harsh noise of other places, so it’s always relaxing to sit outside.
Later, Joe and I walked back the square to buy a paper for his granddad a newspaper, then stopped for coffee in one of the many outdoor cafes before returning. We swam once more, this time in the other direction down the beach. The waves were choppier but we stayed out longer and just enjoyed bobbing along. I feel like it’s a harder workout than it seems, so it will be interesting to see if I notice any benefit because of it!
I should point out that, in such heat, every activity is punctuated with a generous rest, spent either napping, reading and/or sunbathing.
That night we went to an Italian restaurant that Joe’s family know quite well. All the staff recognised them and enjoyed catching up. There was a lovely atmosphere and we managed to time it just before the rush, so for most of our time there it was nice and quiet. All the staff were lovely and the food was delicious. I couldn’t get over the number of items on the menu! It was incredible!
My Saturday morning started slightly later as even with all the chilling out I was shattered! I still woke up before most of the others though, which I really enjoy doing because the apartment complex is perfectly quiet. I used the paved area just under our balcony to do a crazy glutes workout, which was a sweaty one even at 9am! I knew if I’d been any later I’d have stuck to the confines of the balcony to avoid feeling like people were watching, so I was glad I’d made the effort to get out of bed. The only person to judge me was the gardener!
I’ve never done yoga, apart from maybe one taster class as a kid, despite feeling like I should take it up, so when Louise and Martha found a video on YouTube to follow, I decided I’d join it and…wow. I can’t believe I haven’t tried it sooner. I’m sold! I struggled to keep up at times, having never seen some of the poses before, but as I sit writing this my chest still feels open and relaxed. Physically it was a great stretch out, especially after training, and I think with a bit more time I’ll notice some psychological effects too! I intend to build the habit while I’m away so that when I’m back to work in England I’ll continue doing it.
We spent half an hour or so in the pool that belongs to the apartment building too; a very small one but a few short lengths never hurt anybody. It was good to get some proper swimming in without being buffered by the waves, but I left pretty quickly when about 6 other people arrived.
I’ve noticed I’m getting ever more comfortable walking around in a bikini. I’ve never been a sunbather and family holidays tend to consist of city breaks over beach stays, so it’s not something I do often. I’m fairly confident about my body, but the feeling of being open in what is essentially underwear is very alien to me! I’m also used to the British mentality of waiting until your body is perfect to don a bikini, which subconsciously makes me feel like people are scrutinising every aspect of my figure. The logical part of me knows that’s not the case, and after several days here my hang ups are slowly diminishing after seeing beautiful women and girls of all shapes and sizes enjoying themselves on the beach without worrying about how they look. If only things were more like that at home!
The book I’ve been reading is “Pretties” by Scott Westerfeld, second in a trilogy. It’s a young adult novel, the genre I think I’ll still be reading when I’m old, and actually really good!
That afternoon the four of us walked to a different beach slightly further from the apartment, a popular tourist spot where we hired a pedalo with a slide, which was really fun. The water was calm and clear so jumping from the boat and bobbing around was no issue. Interestingly, on our travels we spotted several bit of rubbish, plastic wrappers, a carrier bag, and a water bottle label, and I was really pleased when my friends turned the boat to go and pick them out of the water. It’s not much, but it makes a difference.
We ate dinner in a seafood restaurant on that same beach front. The restaurant had an outdoor grill and served excellent paella and meat and veg skewers! After that, we walked into the town centre just to wander around for a while. A busker was playing the harp, which was very beautiful to listen to as well as being completely unusual to see in the street. Our friend Martha plays very well, so she went to chat to him, with me in tow in case he didn’t speak English…of course, he spoke perfect English! They chatted for around ten minutes and he even invited her to play whilst he took a cigarette break. I was entranced by the way the gazed at the instrument as if the crowd didn’t exist.
Not wanting to leave such a wonderful atmosphere, we found a nice place to sit with a drink and stayed out for a couple hours more, chatting and generally soaking up life. It was perfect.
After such a late night on Saturday, we slept in on Sunday morning before walking back to the square to see our favourite harpist once again. He remembered Martha and invited her to play again, which she did, attracting just as much applause as the man himself. It was interesting listening to them compare styles, as he played lots of Spanish-style pieces. He attracted a bigger crowd than the night before, probably because then most people listened as the ate, whereas during the day people stopped walking in order to listen. One couple even started dancing, which was beautiful.
Lunch was a quiet affair, given the heat and how tired we were. It was definitely hotter than the other days and we were all feeling it! We popped into a clothes shop on the way back, partly to shop, and partly for the air conditioning! I buy a lot less clothes now, but I couldn’t resist this green ruffled top, which would be far too warm over here but I can’t wait to wear it back home.
After a good nap and a few hours rest we headed to the beach once more to swim and play frisbee before returning home for tea, all tired and hungry. We had jacket potatoes which was a great comfort meal in the heat, and then went out for the obligatory after dinner ice cream. There was a cool psychedelic alternative band playing so we stayed to watch them for a while (called Unsuspected if anyone’s interested). There was also a lads holiday going on, although whether they were German or Austrian or Scandinavian I couldn’t tell. What I could tell was that they had drunk plenty and were having a great time dancing!
On Monday, if I’m honest, I got a little bit bored. We checked maps and bus timetables and planned out the next day, but apart from that and a quick walk into town for some shopping we didn’t do much. I resorted to doodling, writing this post and washing up, while joe and his granddad fixed the lock on one of the bathroom doors. The guys my age all seem quite content to sit around on their phones or reading, which I don’t mind but after a week of it I need something else to do. Our one blessing is this gorgeous breeze today which makes the heat so much more bearable. I also bought these awesome trousers, which will be my last clothing purchase of the holiday because I’m trying #secondhandseptember.
So that brings week one to a close I guess! A week of sun, sea and amazing food punctuated by lots of naps! I’m really proud I’ve managed to stay active, especially trying out yoga which I’m going to keep doing. Now I’m settled in I’m going to push to do a bit more even if the others aren’t with me. I’ve got two weeks in which I want to visit Granada, Malaga, Frigiliana and the Nerja caves. Let’s see how much I can achieve!