A stuffed donkey and a sombrero. That used to be the image that people had of Spanish holidays. Coachloads of sweaty, fat northerners heading to the airports on their package tours singing “E viva Espagne” at the top of their drunken lungs.
Not far off the mark really.
Mrs Giant68 and myself have just returned from 2 weeks at gas mark 8, liberally doused with booze in Torrevieja. As I have said before, I have been blessed with some really good friends. Now 2 of my friends have a house in Torrevieja, and they let us ruin their own holiday for a fortnight while we join them.
I will change all the names to protect the innocent so we will refer to them as Steve and Sarah (bugger! That is their name, oh well, never mind. They were never that innocent anyway!)
We have been to their house a few times and, therefore, know our way around and we know everyone in the area, all the expats and some of the Spaniards. So getting off the plane is almost like going home. This year, within a couple of hours we were sat in a Chinese restaurant eating and drinking and being remembered by Richard the waiter. Richard doesn't sound very Chinese but, to be perfectly honest, I can’t pronounce his real name let alone spell it. We were getting up in the morning and meeting people that we have known for some years.
This year Carlos had gone. For years we have gone to what we called Carlos Bar to drink and play cribbage. Carlos knew us, and even after a year away would remember that we liked to drink Guinness. His was generally the first place we would visit as it was the best pint of the holiday. A cold Guinness served in a glass that had been kept in the freezer. And when the temperature outside is in excess of 35°C, that is wonderful. But this year he has gone. The Meson Gallea is run by Jose and is not quite the same. So we went somewhere else.
Marys Bar is a little different. We had always walked past it thinking that it was a little run down and rough. It was. But the beer was good. The landlord, another Jose, was a surly bastard and we had the feeling that everyone stopped talking and stared at us as we sat down, and they did. But we persevered and by the second week of the holiday we were Joses best mates. We had free sardines, pork and sausages cooked by our hosts fair hands on his BBQ. The BBQ looked like it harboured all the e. coli and salmonella bugs in Spain, but the food was good and tasty and none of us were ill. We got into the habit of passing by after meals elsewhere for a coffee and brandy before went home.
As for the rest of the holiday, we had barbecues at the house, where we cooked our own sardines, meals out at Shellys bar, where we played pool. We went into town and ate ice cream at a shop that sells more flavours than there are flavours. My particular favourite was amaretto ice cream, I love marzipan and this was just marzipan ice cream, I had died and gone to heaven.
We sat round the pool, we swam, we went to the beach, we watched as Ann ranted about something or other while under the influence of a chilled Rose’. Steve, a notoriously fussy eater, ate the sardines, olives and battered prawns. I ate raw onion and garlic mayo ( I can’t face cold garlic usually, makes me want to puke!)
We listened to the sound of the Russian lap dancer being pleasured by her latest boyfriend, and cheered when she finally climaxed. We watched lightning and listened to the thunder. The rain was torrential for a couple of hours, a kid was actually surfing in the road! We trimmed trees and cut our fingers. We slept outside under the stars ( apart from the night it rained!) But mostly we had fun.And we were disappointed when it was over.
I will raise a glass of cerveza to Steve, Sarah, Harry, Ann, Sian, Amy, Jeremy, Roger, Pat, Christine, Mark and Steven. To the memory of Shelly, whose bar we drank and ate in. To Jose, the surly Spaniard, and the Spanish mafia for interrupting their card games with questions. Cheers! Here’s to next year, if we are invited back.