By Linda Coneybeare, Travel Plus
Hola! I am just back from a week on the Costa Tropical in Andalucía Spain. My sister and her husband wisely decided to spend the winter in Spain so that meant free accommodation for me!
I travelled with my niece Jessamyn, and her friend Dan. Off we flew to Spain, leaving Haliburton when the weather was -42ºC. We flew with Transat via Montreal, a short flight to Montreal then a relaxing six hour non-stop flight from Montreal to Malaga. I found it much easier to connect to another flight on this side of the Atlantic with no jetlag to deal with, and our bags were transferred directly. So easy!
With Tom awaiting us at Malaga Airport with his car rental, we drove one hour to the resort town of Almunecar, a town the size of Lindsay.
It is located right on the shining Mediterranean Sea and offers 124 restaurants! Siesta time happens in Spain, the shops close from 2 to 5 p.m. every afternoon, but those 124 restaurants do not! It was typical to enjoy a three-hour lunch under the shade of orange trees, sipping the local vino blanca (white wine), fresh salads and seafood.
I quickly discovered that conveniently located right outside their apartment was the Isle de Capri café serving café con leche and croissants, two Euros for all that, and free wifi! I made that a morning habit. One day they were already sold out of their homemade croissants so I had lemon cheesecake instead – I managed!
There are two kinds of restaurants, those that open in the morning and close after siesta. Other restaurants serve only dinner, and do not open until 7:30 p.m., but stay open until after midnight. A typical menu included Calabrese salad (with the best tomatoes!) fresh fish, chicken or pasta followed by dessert: homemade ice cream, or cheesecake (as mentioned above).
Tapas are always included when you order an alcoholic drink (like white wine). If you drank enough you could skip dinner, just enjoy the free tapas! Tapas would normally include olives, fresh bread with olive oil and local ham.
One day I went to the local grocery store, the Super Mercado, cauliflower was two Euros, fresh strawberries the same. A bottle of local wine was two Euros: less expensive than bottled water or Coca Cola!
Bev and Tom’s apartment was located right across the road from the sea, with a beautiful balcony. My sister apologized for the cool temperatures – 14 to 15ºC that day – but I reassured her coming from -42ºC this is tropical!
We explored the town and enjoyed the shopping, more coffee breaks sometimes with wine included!
One destination we all agreed could not be missed was the ancient city of Granada. We toured the gardens and buildings of the Alhambra: a beautiful Moorish castle later occupied by Spanish royalty. The snow caps Sierra Nevada Mountains could be seen in the distance: beautiful!
One afternoon we visited a “white town” there are many of these ancient whitewashed villages in Andalucia. The homes can only be accessed by winding narrow streets. All the buildings are white, with beautiful mosaic tiles, and a lovely main square with sparkling fountains.
Both Spain and Portugal are popular winter destinations. Long stay rates are very reasonable and the direct flights to Malaga and Faro with Transat so convenient.
I would love to return to this region of Spain. Not so busy and touristy as Marbella and Torremolinos which are located an hour west of Malaga Airport.
Soon I will be spending a week in Key Largo with my son Patrick and his family. We will tour all down the Keys and enjoy a dinner at Jimmy Buffett’s Restaurant in Key West. Key lime pie included!
Happy spring from Linda and Machenzie at Travelplus!