Tag Archives: Travel and Tourism

Snapshots of Spain

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I mentioned in an earlier post that there was a bank holiday.  Normally in Spain the holidays are for some religious purpose.  August 15th was a normal day, but it was by night that the festival began!  I live in a flat overlooking Estepona ‘old town’ so I luckily had a brilliant view of the whole parade that went down ‘Calle Real’.  After a quick wiki search, I found that the Spanish, along with many others, celebrate the Assumption of Mary – otherwise known as the Virgin Mary’s heavenly birthday when she was accepted into heaven.  It went on for over an hour and the news showed that similar festivities occurred around Spain.  Some highlights (which you can see in the photo) include two brass bands, the men holding the statue of the Virgin Mary shouting “guapa, guapa, guapa” and women dressed as brides.

The statue of the Virgin Mary being carried through 'Calle Real', where people had lined the streets. and the second band following behind.

The whole street was full of people and there was an amazing atmosphere that was great to be a part of.  And that wasn’t even the biggest celebration – that happens in July, can’t wait to experience that one!

More recently, a few sales meetings took me to Gibraltar.  For those of you who may not know, Gibraltar – commonly known as ‘the rock’ is found between southern Spain and North Africa.  It is a British territory, so I was very much considering my little trip to Gibraltar as a potential cure for my home sickness.  After crossing the border, with lots of flashes of your passport, you pass the Gibraltar airport runways.  Literally, you can walk straight past the runways and you see the planes take off from the island very closely, which is pretty cool.

As soon as you look around you see ‘Winston Churchill Road’ and English signs everywhere.  The Gibraltarians have their own accent, something difficult to describe but interesting to hear.  And of course, you can see English everywhere – a language I understand with ease! J

After the sales part of the day, we treated ourselves to fish, chips and mushy peas from one of the many fish and chips places in Gibraltar.  It did feel a bit like home – with Burger Kind, McDonalds and Subway all in sight – but sitting in 37 degrees heat!  All followed by a cheeky visit to Morrisons to pick up things that are missing in Spain (big box of cereal, chilli sauce and a massive pack of Typhoo tea) and catch up on the English headlines (and I may have aww-ed when I saw the British currency – I do miss the Queen on my money!).

I took this trip with one of the directors of the company who’s also a photographer. This led to my next destination of Sotogranda, Cadiz where ‘locations’ were looked at, lighting was discussed and I suddenly felt quite glamorous.  We drove into Sotogrande on a road lined with palm trees – more LA, less promenade style.  At the end of the road was a roundabout with a Porsche sat on it – bit of casual advertisement of a PORSHE on a roundabout!  And I got to see some of the most amazing houses, flats, buildings, yachts, boats and views I have ever seen!  One of the things that particularly

The Burger Bar.

stuck out for me was an American style burger bar that you’d think would be out of place, but for some reason was completely fitting despite the luxury of Sotogrande.  A very glamorous place – I’ll remember it when I’m a multimillionaire looking to buy my third house…. well, we’ll see!

My first sight of Sotogrande which wow-ed me, near the 'Hippy Market'

And to top it all off, a sighting of a Spanish A-List celeb ended the

trip.  We saw the daughter of the Duquesa de Alba, who was the subject of the Flamenco show I saw see post ‘Tans, Flamenco and early starts’.  Like I said, Spanish A-list, so unfortunately I didn’t make the most of the experience, nor did I know who she actually was until we left.  But a brush with fame all the same!

A day of British treats, Spanish luxury and a touch of glamour – and all part of work!  A brilliant day which renewed a fresh burst of Spanish enthusiasm in me!

Another beautiful view of Sotogrande.

Table for one & a generous drink.

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It has been a very mixed week.  It was only a matter of time before home sickness kicked in.  And oh, has it hit.

English dialling tones, chunky chips and TV that isn’t dubbed – it truly is the little things that you miss!  Oh and on top of that… the people, of course!

Work keeps me busy during the week.  Writing up proposals, making sales and my mind’s constant translation into Spanish – a brilliant distraction, and a good use of time!  10.30 coffee breaks are a highlight to get that morning kick, soak up some Spanish – and I’ve always wanted to have a ‘usual’, even if it is my daily ‘cafe con leche’.

As I become settled in Spain, routines form, even with TV.  My second year at uni was a blur of Friends episodes, but this year a dramatic Spanish ‘telenovela’ followed by ‘Bob Esponja’ (Spongebob Square Pants), The Davincibles and ‘Sexo en Nueva York’ (Sex and the City) is all part of life in Spain! 😛

Though, home sickness really kicks in when you treat yourself to a meal out and the waitress asks ‘Una?’ – and yes, you that you do in fact want a table for one and yes, you are alone.  Now this didn’t seem like it would be big deal.  However I don’t know whether it’s the fact that it’s tourist season so everyone is eating with their families or friends or because generally in England, I usually eat out with friends or family, but eating out alone really emphasises the home sick feeling.  Oh England!

HOWEVER, Spain is still providing me with happier topics to write about in this blog (luckily – no matter how home sick I am, I’m still being sure to make the most of Spain!!)  The port is the hub of entertainment/nightlife in Estepona.

Just a few things about an Estepona night out:

  • Drinks are expensive, but with generous servings of alcohol at the same time
  • Happy hour is 8-9
  • After 9, bars are deserted while Spaniards eat, and they return much later
  • The Spanish enjoy Pitbull and J-Lo… a lot
  • Vodka caramelo is one of the nicest shots that you can get post-meal
  • Spain rains at night but you never realise in the morning
  • Restaurants/cafes stay open so a late night, freshly baked pizza is available for all

The rest is to be experienced yourself.

For now, a magnum and a dubbed movie wait for me as I enter my first of twelve months in Spain.