Ladder Snakes in Andalucia Spain

Ladder Snakes in Andalucia, Spain – (Rhinechis Scalaris)

The ladder snake (Rhinechis Scalaris), is also known as the Elaphe Scalaris or Culebra de Scalera in Spanish.

Spring is here and the wildlife is waking up. The flowers are blooming all over Andalucia and my daily walk is ever more joyous. Today was no exception.

My normal route takes me through olive groves, past fields of Asparagus where some poor souls are bent double all day, picking this lovely vegetable. There is also a multitude of freshly planted olive trees; small sprigs now but they will mature and join the billions of other olive trees in the Andalucia area.

Andalucia has a vast array of wildlife, and I am lucky to live high in the hills above Malaga, close to Antequera and an hour from Granada. I see, daily, birds of prey, bats, rabbits and birds of every type. I also come into contact with snakes!

Today, I was lucky to help a Ladder Snake get across the Camino (country road) with a little tap of my walking stick. He was sunning himself in the early morning rays. The trouble was, he was in danger of getting run over by tractors or cars. 

About Rhinechis Scalaris or “the Ladder Snake”

Rhinechis Scalaris or Ladder Snake
Rhinechis Scalaris or Ladder Snake – sunning himself on the Camino.

The ladder snake is a non-venomous colubrid snake that can be found in southern Europe, specifically in countries like Spain, Portugal, and France. It is a medium-sized snake, typically growing to lengths of up to 1.5 meters. Its name comes from the distinctive ladder-like pattern that runs down the length of its body, which is usually a light brown or greyish colour.

In terms of habitat, the ladder snake is quite versatile and can be found in various environments, from forests and meadows to rocky hillsides and agricultural areas. It is an opportunistic feeder and will consume a wide range of prey, including rodents, birds, lizards, and insects.

While ladder snakes are not venomous, they can be quite aggressive when threatened and will bite if provoked. However, bites from ladder snakes are generally not serious and are rarely fatal to humans. Many people consider the ladder snake to be a harmless and beneficial species, as it helps to control populations of rodents and other small animals.

In terms of conservation status, the ladder snake is currently classified as a species of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, like many other reptiles, it faces threats from habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as from the illegal pet trade.

In conclusion, the ladder snake is a fascinating and unique species that plays an important role in its ecosystem. While it may not be as well-known as some other snake species, it certainly deserves of our respect and admiration.

The featured image at the top of the page shows this handsome creature and why it is called the ladder snake. The markings down his back look just like a ladder. Photo by Benny Trapp 

April Fools Day Irish Guards Birthday

Difference between Día de los Santos Inocentes and April Fool’s Day in Spain

What is the difference?

When it comes to traditions and holidays, every culture has its own unique way of celebrating. In Spain, two similar holidays that are often compared to each other are Día de los Santos Inocentes and April Fool’s Day. While both holidays involve pranks and jokes, there are several key differences between the two.

Día de los Santos Inocentes; December 28th

Día de los Santos Inocentes, or “Day of the Holy Innocents,” is a holiday that takes place in Spain on December 28th. The holiday has a religious origin and commemorates the story of King Herod, who ordered the massacre of all male infants in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill baby Jesus. According to tradition, on Día de los Santos Inocentes, people are allowed to play harmless pranks and jokes on each other, similar to April Fool’s Day. However, the pranks are meant to be playful and not meant to be hurtful or malicious.

April Fool’s Day; April 1st

April Fool’s Day is a holiday celebrated in many countries on the first day of April. It is a day filled with pranks, practical jokes, and hoaxes. People play tricks on each other, and the goal is to fool someone into believing something that is not true. The origins of this holiday are not entirely clear, but it is believed to have started in France in the 16th century.

One popular theory about the origins of April Fool’s Day is that it is related to the change in the calendar that occurred in the 16th century. Before the Gregorian calendar was introduced, the new year was celebrated on April 1st. When the new calendar was introduced, which moved the start of the year to January 1st, some people were slow to adopt the new system. Those who continued to celebrate the new year on April 1st were ridiculed and became the butt of practical jokes.

Every year somebody gets fooled

Regardless of its origins, April Fool’s Day has become a popular holiday around the world. Many people look forward to it and plan elaborate pranks to play on their friends and family. Some of the most common pranks include fake news stories, prank phone calls, and sending someone on a wild goose chase.

One of the most famous pranks in recent years was when Google introduced the “Mic Drop” feature in Gmail in 2016. The feature allowed users to send an email and add a GIF of a Minion character dropping a microphone, indicating that the conversation was over. However, the feature caused confusion and frustration, as some users accidentally sent the Mic Drop GIF to important contacts, causing them to miss important messages.

I dare say we have all been pranked, in one way or the other. Hey-ho! Watch yourself on April 1st 2023. Want to see a really cheesey fool’s day website? These are worse than dad jokes!!

You may be wondering why there is a picture of parading guardsmen? Say “hello!” to my own regiment, the 1st Battalion of Irish Guards, formed on 1st April 1900. What else happened on April 1st? Check out this Historical Events website.

Spanish Food and Drink

Discover the Delicious Benefits of Spanish Food: Fresh, Flavorful, and Heart-Healthy

From Fresh Ingredients to Healthy Fats: How Spanish Cuisine Boosts Your Health and Your Taste Buds

Spanish food is loved by people all over the world, and for good reason. With a wide variety of dishes that boast fresh, flavorful ingredients, it’s no wonder that Spanish cuisine is so popular. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of Spanish food and why it’s such a great choice for anyone looking to improve their diet and overall health.

  1. Fresh and seasonal ingredients

One of the key benefits of Spanish food is the emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. With a climate that’s ideal for growing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, Spanish cuisine relies heavily on fresh, local produce. From juicy tomatoes to flavorful peppers and fragrant herbs, the ingredients in Spanish dishes are bursting with flavour and nutrients.

  1. Spanish Foof is Rich in healthy fats

Spanish cuisine also features a lot of healthy fats, which are essential for good health. Olive oil is a staple of Spanish cooking, and it’s well-known for its many health benefits. Not only is it high in monounsaturated fats, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels, but it’s also rich in antioxidants that can help fight inflammation and oxidative stress.

  1. Plenty of protein

Spanish food is also a great source of protein, which is important for building and repairing tissues in the body. Many Spanish dishes feature lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish, as well as legumes like lentils and chickpeas. These protein-rich foods can help you feel full and satisfied for longer, making them a great choice for anyone trying to maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Versatile and flavorful

Another great benefit of Spanish food is its versatility and flavour. From spicy chorizo to tangy manchego cheese, Spanish cuisine features a wide variety of flavours and textures. Whether you’re a fan of savoury stews, fresh salads, or hearty soups, there’s something for everyone in Spanish cuisine.

  1. Spanish Cuisine can Boost heart health

Finally, Spanish food is great for heart health. With its emphasis on fresh ingredients, healthy fats, and lean proteins, Spanish cuisine can help reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, studies have shown that people who follow a Mediterranean-style diet, which is similar to Spanish cuisine, have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic conditions.

In conclusion, Spanish food is a great choice for anyone looking to improve their diet and overall health. With its emphasis on fresh ingredients, healthy fats, and protein-rich foods, Spanish cuisine can help you feel full and satisfied while also providing a wide range of nutrients and health benefits. So why not try adding some Spanish dishes to your meal rotation today?

Your taste buds and your health will thank you!

Semana Santa or Holy Week in Spain 2023

Semana Santa or Holy Week in Nerja

Semana Santa or Holy Week is from Sun, Apr 2, 2023 – Sun, Apr 9, 2023

Holy Week is the most sacred week in the liturgical year in Christianity. In Eastern Churches, which include Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Eastern Lutheran traditions, Holy Week occurs the week after Lazarus Saturday and starts on the evening of Palm Sunday.

Here in Spain, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is probably the biggest event of the calendar year. Far more important than Christmas or Day of the Kings. Most of the processions take place from Palm Sunday (Sunday before Easter Sunday) to Good Friday and Easter Saturday.

If you have never seen the Holy Week parades, then you are in for a treat. My first parade was way back in the 90s in the town of Algeciras. This is a city in the Cadiz province, not far from Gibraltar. The parade was very impressive and featured people carrying crosses, blindfolded, chained and some barefooted. Apparently, such people have made a special promise or are asking for divine favour.

Where is Semana Santa most popular in Spain?

Córdoba holds one of the most popular Holy Week in Andalusia. 37 brotherhoods take part in processions with elaborate “pasos (steps)” which represent the scenes of the events of The Passion of Christ.

What are Brotherhoods?

If you’ve ever seen photos of Seville during Semana Santa, you will have seen hoards of ominously cloaked figures. These people are a huge part of the culture of the city, we’re going to take a quick tour through the history of these people in Spain.

Family and tradition are hugely important to Spanish culture; family friendships (and feuds) go back generations; and it’s expected the children will be a part of the same clubs and groups as their parents. In Andalusia especially, this includes hermandades (brotherhoods). The brotherhoods of Spain play a huge role in day-to-day life, especially in the south, organising every aspect of the social calendar. But what are they exactly? And what does it actually mean to organise every aspect of social life? Let’s take a closer look. See a lot more information on the Semana Santa Brotherhoods.

Almost every town and village will have their own Semana Santa parades. Nerja is no exception. If you want to see traditional Spain during the most sacred of weeks, then you need to book yourself a place to stay Now!

Nerja Beach Holidays has an impressive portfolio of apartments, villas and townhouses in Nerja. Check out the main website and book yourself a great stay.

Archidona Dog Show 2023

Dogs Shows in Spain – Archidona Dog Show

Archidona dog show prepares to celebrate its 30th birthday

The town will celebrate three decades of one of its best-known events on 5, 6 and 7 May

 

Just like Crufts, only in Spain

If you are a doggie person (who isn’t unless you are a cat?) then the Archidona dog show is something you shouldn’t miss. It is all things canine. 

Where is Archidona?

Archidona is a town and municipality in the province of Málaga. Part of the autonomous community of Andalusia in southern Spain. It is the centre of the comarca of Nororiental de Málaga and the head of the judicial district that bears its name. It earned the title of city in 1901. Wikipedia

From Nerja, just head north to Granada and you will soon find Archidona. It takes 1 hour and 10 minutes of very easy driving along the A-7 and A-45. Directions

Whilst in Archidona, use the same trip to visit nearby Antequera. I assure you, the place is an absolute wonder for history and culture buffs.

Archidona’s dog show

This is one of the town’s most important annual events will be celebrating its 30th birthday this year. The town is currently getting ready for this year’s Feria del Pueblo which will take place on 5, 6 and 7 May.

Isabel Alba, who runs the event, said that the bulk of the programme will be announced after Easter, although she confirmed that the town’s iconic Plaza Ochavada will host one of the event’s special moments, the well-known ‘Archi de Oro’.

Classic events will also take place, such as the parade, exhibitions of sports and skills and visits to nursing homes and daycare centres with dogs.
You can read the rest of this article from the Sur in English website.
 
Using your Nerja Villa, Apartment or Townhouse, these locations are within easy reach and make for a great holiday.

 

Potato Omelette. Why is potato omelette day celebrated today, 9 March?

International Potato Omelette Day March 9th

Yes! It really is Potato Omelette Day

Potatoe Omelette Day, this is a Joke; right?

From the Sur in English website, I find out that March 9th is dedicated to the humble potato. As it happens, I am a huge fan of tortilla or potato cake, potato omelette or whatever you prefer to call it. I have also made this dish on many occasions. 

How do you like yours… with onion or without? However, there are many other options with peppers, tuna, tomato or mushrooms… the number of possibilities with a potato omelette is almost endless, it’s just a matter of taste and imagination.

The popularity of the tortilla de patatas is so widespread the dish now has its own day in the international calendar of special events, and the chosen date is today – Thursday, 9 March.

The potato omelette can be served as an appetiser, accompaniment or single dish, and its fans are numerous, but how it originally came about is still unknown. Some theories suggest that it was invented in 1604 by a Belgian priest, Lancelot de Casteau.

However, others claim the Spanish origin of this staple dish in Spain and point out that it was invented in Extremadura, specifically, in the town of Villanueva de la Serena at the end of the 18th century in 1798. And in this municipality, the tortilla is a very precious commodity and in summer they hold a fair with this dish as the centre of attraction. Read more.

Can I find Potato Omelette in Nerja?

You would not be the least bit surprised to find out that you can get it everywhere in Nerja! Shops, bars, and restaurants, all sell this Spanish omelette. You can get them with or without onions, you can get large omelettes, small omelettes and more besides.

Try it for yourself. Spanish omelette or “tortilla” is not hard to make. Some spuds, eggs, onions, oil, salt and pepper and you are onto a winner. Take a look at the image above, this is my own effort at Tortilla or Potato Omelette.

Enjoy

Saint Patrick's Day Nerja 2023

Saint Patrick’s Day 2023 – Paddies Day in Nerja

Saint Patrick’s Day Friday the 17th of March 2023

What is Saint Patrick’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s Day 2023 – Paddies Day in Nerja
The look on the face of Saint Patrick – It’s as if he knows what to expect.

St. Patrick’s Day is the feast day (March 17) of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but returned about 432 CE to convert the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death on March 17, 461, he had established monasteries, churches, and schools.

Many legends grew up around him—for example, that he drove the snakes out of Ireland and used the shamrock to explain the Trinity. Ireland came to celebrate his day with religious services and feasts. Check out more about Ireland’s favourite sain from Britannica.

As an ex-Irish Guardsman, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be as enthusiastic as anyone when it comes to having a little celebration.

Just like everywhere else in the world, you can find yourself in the company of Irish folk in Nerja. Cochrans, Irish Annies, The Harp, and Buskers Bar to name just a few will be bouncing with people celebrating Saint Patrick’s weekend (Yes! Some people make a weekend out of it; why not?)

Staying in Nerja for Saint Paddies Day

The best way to enjoy the weekend would be to rent a villa, apartment or townhouse. Having a base to explore, not just Nerja but, the rest of the Costa del Sol gives you freedom from hotel and resort itineraries. But, make sure that you book now as the Paddies Day festivities can attract a lot of people.

Check out the Nerja Beach Holidays website and see what is available. If you need help, we are always ready and willing to sort a villa or apartment that will suit your needs.

Come and stay with us and help to celebrate this most wonderful of Irish Holidays.

I Bedroom Holiday Apartments in Nerja Spain for Semana Santa

Holiday Rental in Nerja – Apartment Tetuan 44

Description of the apartment

This beautiful 1 bedroom apartment is located on the tranquil Oasis de Capistrano with its wonderful gardens. The apartment comprises one bedroom with twin beds, fitted wardrobes and a ceiling fan. The bathroom has a bath and an overhead shower. The open-plan kitchen leads to the living room. The kitchen is fully equipped with a fridge, oven, hob, microwave, coffee machine, washing machine and all other amenities needed for your self-catering holiday.

There is seating for 4 people within the lounge and dining area. The lounge also has a very comfortable sofa bed (sleeps 2).

The patio doors lead from the lounge onto a lovely private terrace, that has plenty of sunshine and sea views in the distance. Oasis de Capistrano has two community swimming pools, a large children’s pool and an on-site bar/restaurant. Burriana Beach is a 15-minute walk away, and Nerja centre is around 20 minute’s walk. There is a regular local bus service within two minutes of the apartment.

For larger parties, we can offer this apartment along with Tetuan 6 (a 2-bedroom apartment) as they are within metres of each other and can sleep a total of 8 persons. See this apartment from the main website.

Semana Santa or Holy Week

Semana Santa or Holy Week 2023 in Nerja Spain
Parades, such as this, will take place all over Spain – Semana Santa or Holy Week

Holy Week is the most sacred week in the liturgical year in Christianity. In Eastern Churches, which include Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Eastern Lutheran traditions, Holy Week occurs the week after Lazarus Saturday and starts on the evening of Palm Sunday. For Hispanic countries, this is as big a fiesta as you can get.

Nerja is no exception. Just like in the rest of Spain, there will be several days of celebrations, both sombre and happy.

Booking a villa, apartment or townhouse in Nerja with Nerja Beach Holidays, you can catch all that is happing in the town and other locations along the Costa del Sol.  there will be so much happening that having your own place in Nerja will be a must.

Check out this wonderful apartment Tetuan 44 on the Nerja Beach Holidays main website. There are plenty more 1,2 and 3-bedroom apartments for rent. Make sure you book now though; Semana Santa attracts great numbers of tourists and quite often, accommodation is hard to come by.

We look forward to seeing you, here in Nerja very soon. Meanwhile, why not check out this great Nerja website that offers you all the information you will need for Semana Santa in Nerja 2023.

Deadly processionary Pine caterpillars make an early appearance in Spain

Pine Processionary Caterpillars in Spain

Processionary Caterpillars are a danger to humans and animals alike!

Pine Processionary Caterpillars 

The pine processionary is a moth of the subfamily Thaumetopoeinae in the family Notodontidae, known for the irritating hairs of its caterpillars, their processions, and the economic damage they cause in coniferous forests. Wikipedia

From the Sur in English Newspaper:

Deadly processionary caterpillars make an early appearance in Spain

The nuisance of the pine processionary caterpillar (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) has returned with force to the cities, towns and villages of Spain, «putting the health of its inhabitants and pets at risk every year», according to the country’s national association of environmental health companies (Anecpla). The organisation has insisted «systematic prevention measures are carried out to help minimise the harmful effects of this pest».

According to Anecpla, the rising temperatures and low rainfall is causing «a systematic advance of the first specimens of processionary caterpillars, well before they usually appear in late spring».

According to the president of the association, Sergio Monge, «biocidal chemicals have remained as the only, but most expensive treatment, which must be always applied by specialised professionals. It is a very effective control technique that is respectful of the environment, but the high cost is, unfortunately, a limiting factor», he said.

General director of Anecpla, Jorge Galván, warned, «minimal contact with this species can cause everything from dermatitis to eye injuries, hives and allergic reactions and even death in certain cases.»

«Direct contact with the caterpillars is not even necessary,» explains Galván, «just touching one of their hairs (which they throw as a defence strategy when they feel threatened), is enough to cause irritation and allergies, especially if they reach the eyes. These hairs are called »trichomes« and it is estimated that each individual has around 500,000, ready to act as poisoned darts when they feel they are in danger.

Despite being barely 4 centimetres long, the processionary can cause harm to animals much larger than itself, according to the group. Due to the high toxicity of their trichomes, these insects are «extremely dangerous, especially for children and domestic animals

«In the case of pets, especially dogs, this contact can even lead to a tragic end», warned the general director of Anecpla.

See more of this story.

If you are visiting Nerja, make sure to keep yourself well away from these little devils.