The best place in Malaga province for Menu del Dia

Where is the best place in Malaga province for Menu del Dia? There are plenty of choices

Menu del Dia in El Cortijuelo, Malaga

A traditional starter: Embutidos. Cured dried sausage and Manchego Cheese

El Cortijuelo Menu del Dia

There are thousands of places where you can get a great Menu de Dia meal in the Malaga province of Andalucia. To be fair, there are also some that are not so clever. For now, let me concentrate on my own particular favourites.

Lockdown and other Covid-19 laws have limited the amount of travel we can do, it also has limited opening times of bars and restaurants. Each province and municipality has its own rules. Unfortunately for the area, I live in, Villanueva del Trabuco, we have had the most severe of these restrictions as of late.

Great news arrived this week (March 1st, 2021), we are allowed to travel within our own municipalities. This also meant that bars and restaurants were again able to open, albeit for a limited time and capacity.

We needed no second hint! It’s off to Fermin’s we go.

When you consider the restrictions we have lived under for the last few months, you would think I would be off to Nerja, Malaga or anywhere! No! We wanted Menu del Dia from El Cortijuelo.

Why El Cortijuelo?

Menu del Dia. Lentils with Chorizo sausage and potatoes

Menu del Dia. Lentils with Chorizo sausage and potatoes

Simple answer; we can walk to the restaurant from our home in the campo (countryside) as it is only 1km down the Camino. No need for a car and it would be great to be out in the fresh air.

El Cortijuelo is a barrio or ‘neighbourhood’  that consists of about a dozen houses and two great bars/restaurants. Collectively known as ‘El Cortijuelo’. You are either going to eat in Manolo’s or Fermin’s.

Manolo is the elder of the brothers Romero, Fermin is the eldest of his family.

Both of these establishments serve menu del dia. For €8.50 Monday to Friday, you can get a 3-course meal, with a drink. Weekends and fiestas menu del dia will rise to around €11 per person. Still fantastic value.

Yesterday we dined on a starter of a stew made of lentils with chorizo sausage and potatoes and fresh crusty bread. For our main course, we picked lamb cutlets with chips and fresh tomatoes and Bacalao (Cod in batter) with chips and fresh tomatoes.

Menu del Dia. Cordero (Lamb) with chips and fresh tomatoes

Menu del Dia. Cordero (Lamb) with chips and fresh tomatoes

A bottle of ice-cold Barbadillo (White wine) and Baron de Navarro (Tinto) helped to wash things down. Desert was Peach in syrup and Tarta whisky (cake with cream drizzled with whiskey)

All this cost €24. Put into perspective, a McDonalds with water and coffee is around €18 for two people.

The other great thing about eating in the Cortijuelo is that the food is great. The service is professional and there is a wide choice of wines. The children are catered for and a bouncy castle is on hand for those children with a little more energy than most.

Cod and Chips a la Cortijuelo. Bacalao con Patatas Fritas

Cod and Chips a la Cortijuelo. Bacalao con Patatas Fritas

Staying in Nerja

Staying in a villa or apartment in Nerja gives you the opportunity to visit these outlying villages and sample traditional Andalucia food and hospitality. Having your own villa or apartment gives you freedom of movement and you are not tied to any hotel itinerary.

If you are headed towards Antequera or Granada, why not pass by Villanueva del Trabuco and pop into El Cortijuelo. You are always welcome.

 

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Global Scouse Day – Liverpool’s own Ambrosia or Food of the Gods

Globals Scouse Day? What on earth is that?

Scouse. Global Scouse Day 2021

Cordero al Taco or, chopped Lamb to you

Scouse; what is “Scouse”

The simple answer is food. Scouse, or, to give it the proper name ‘Lobscouse’ is a stew that was eaten by Norwegian sailors. These sailors docked in the port of Liverpool and brought their grub with them. This was called ‘Lapskaus’. That is just one theory.

Another is that the first syllable ‘Lob’ means to throw, chuck, bung, or generally add something. The dish is simple, you lob whatever is to hand into a pot of boiling stock and let it stew, until its good and thick.

Although brought to Liverpool by Norwegian sailors (allegedly) it really is a ubiquitous dish. You will find any number of variations, anywhere in the city, anywhere in the country.

Scousers and the Scouse accent

Scouse is an accent and dialect of English originating in the northwest county of Merseyside. The Scouse accent is highly distinctive and has little in common with those of the neighbouring regions (Woolly backs). Wikipedia

Woolly Backs

Woolly back (plural woolly backs) (Liverpudlian slang, now historical) A non-Liverpudlian person who travels to Liverpool, especially to work at the docks. (Liverpudlian slang, derogatory) A person from the area surrounding Liverpool such as Skelmersdale, St. Helens, Southport, Wigan, Widnes, and the Wirral.

Mind you; to someone like me, an Evertonian, born in the heart of the city (Canning Street), people from the sticks, such as Litherland, Kirkby, Huyton, Knowsley et al, are de facto; woolly backs. Sad, but very true.

More on Wools.

These people, not from’ the Pool’ have their own name for Scouse. For example; I have a friend who comes from some god-forsaken place called Wigan and he calls Scouse ‘Lobby’. Other ‘wools’ refer to this Liverpudlian Ambrosia as simple ‘stew’.

In my childhood, Liverpool was a bombed wreckage of its former self. There were plenty of slums and poverty to go round. Scouse was part of the staple diet of the people of Liverpool at that time.

The simplicity of the dish, using whatever was available, made it perfect for any family. There is no ‘recipe’ for Scouse, it is whatever you want it to be.

There is even a version called ‘Blind Scouse’. Nothing to do with your eyesight, just Scouse without meat. If you were eating this, you were either a vegetarian (rare in the ’50s and ’60s) or you really were a ‘Pov’ (Liverpool slang for ‘poverty stricken’)

How I make Scouse

My dearly departed mother, bless her cotton socks, would cut up carrots and potatoes into the biggest pot she could find (10 kids, she needed a big pot) and into that would go Breast of Lamb (on good days) along with several pints of water and a beef Oxo. That was the basis of her Scouse. Anything else could be added at any time during the cooking process.

Other days, minced meat, stewing meat, any meat would go in.

Once ready, the Scouse was served piping hot with red cabbage or beetroot and a pile of bread. A mug of tea or a bottle of ‘Sass’ (Sarsparilla). Lovely.

Times have changed and I left Liverpool in 1977. I now live in the mountains above Malaga in Andalucia, Spain. The nearest village is a delightful place called Villanueva del Trabuco. I live in the countryside, about 4 km from the village.

The meat cuts are different here but, in the true tradition of Scouse, I will make do. So, this Sunday, #globalscouseday, I shall be making Scouse using local Lamb cuts ‘Cordero al Taco’, not the usual breast.

Everton Scouse Day

The finished article. Scouse with Pickled Beetroot

This will be browned in a big pot, along with onions and carrots. To be posh, I will also add some chopped Celery and parsley. A few pints of water and an Oxo cube will join the mix and then a load of large potatoes. That’s more or less ‘it’ Dish it out whilst piping hot, this Scouse Napalm is served with Beetroot or Red Cabbage.

Of course, while this is boiling away, a bevvy or two will be enjoyed. this, living in Andalucia will be the local grog but, beggars can’t be choosers.

 

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Nerja Apartments for rent – Renting apartments Costa del Sol

Nerja Apartments for rent from Nerja Beach Holidays

Nerja Apartments for rent - Renting apartments Costa del Sol

If you want to stay in the very centre of Nerja, we have apartments there.

The best way to see Nerja or the Costa del Sol is by renting your own apartment or villa. Its OK to take a day trip to see places along the Costa del Sol but it doesn’t give you too much time. There are so many places to see, so many things to do. One day is never enough.

Nerja apartments for rent

Nerja Beach Holidays has some of the very best villas and apartments in Nerja. You have a great choice of location as well as the size and price of the accommodations.

Recently built apartments, Granada 4 and Granada 5 are located right in the centre of Nerja.

Granada 4 Apartment in Nerja

Description

This modern 2 bedroom apartment is located on the first floor of a newly built apartment block right in the heart of Nerja within a one-minute walk to the famous Balcon de Europa. 

As you walk into the apartment, you will find the newly renovated kitchen equipped with hob, microwave, fridge freezer, dishwasher, coffee machine, washing machine, toaster and kettle.

The living room area has a TV with satellite channels. There is also free WiFi in the apartment. In this part of the apartment, you will find the dining area for 4 people which leads onto a small covered balcony.

The master bedroom has a double bed and storage area. There is also an ensuite bathroom with a walk-in shower, a washbasin, toilet and a hairdryer.  See more.

Granada 5 Apartment in Nerja

Description

This modern 2 bedroom apartment is located on the first floor of a newly built apartment block right in the heart of Nerja within a one-minute walk to the famous Balcon de Europa.

As you walk into the apartment, you will find the newly renovated kitchen equipped with hob, oven, microwave, fridge freezer, dishwasher, coffee machine, toaster and kettle. There is a dining area which leads to the living room with a TV with satellite channels. There is free WiFi.

The master bedroom has a double bed and storage area. There is also an ensuite bathroom with a walk-in shower, a toilet and a hairdryer.

The twin room has two single beds and storage area. There is a second bathroom with a walk-in shower, washbasin and a toilet.

The spacious private terrace is equipped with sun loungers, a dining area, an outdoor table, countertop and a washing machine.

The communal rooftop swimming pool/jacuzzi (non-heated) is open all year round from 9h to 21h and you can access it easily as it is just across the apartment.

There is an underground payable car park open 24/7 within less than 5 minutes walk to the apartment.

Access to the Balcon de Europa is easy as it is located within a 1-minute walk from the apartment. See more.

We have many more Nerja apartments for rent, 1,2, and 3 bedrooms as well as villas and townhouses in Nerja. If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and we will do all we can to help.

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Covid-19 rates in the towns and villages of Andalucia Spain

What are the Covid-19 rates in the towns and villages of Andalucia, Spain? Search by province

covid-19 rates Malaga Andalucia Spain

covid-19 rates Malaga Spain. Thanks to the Sur in English.

Covid-19 rates. The virus has taken its toll in many areas of Andalucia

What is Covid-19 or Coronavirus? As if you didn’t know, but, I’ll roll it past you once more, just in case. According to WHO (no! not Roger and Pete) the World Health Organisation, Covid-19 is;

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.’

What are the symptoms of Covid-19 Coronavirus?

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause
pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. These symptoms are similar to
the flu (influenza) or the common cold, which are a lot more common than COVID-19. This is why testing
is required to confirm if someone has COVID-19. WHO link

So, there you have it. However, it’s not just as simple as that. Each week that passes, we are told that new strains of the virus have emerged. The lasted is the South Africa strain, followed by the Brazil strain and even our own UK strain.

Vaccines are now available, some better than others. They offer anything between 80 to 95% effectiveness against the virus. These figures are altered daily.

As if Brexit wasn’t boring enough, this Covid-19 Coronavirus is really getting people down.

There are numerous restrictions on civil liberties, lockdowns, curfews, travel restrictions and so on. In some cases, shops are stopping people buying anything deemed ‘not essential’.

The Costa del Sol has been hit hard by the virus and the laws surrounding it. Even during the winter months, Nerja and the Costa del Sol would see plenty of Winter sun holidaymakers,

Now its locals only.

Don’t let the virus get you down

Never mind. Let’s all look forward to the future and when we can travel again. With the new vaccines, they give us hope of defeating this horrible virus. So, for now, why not keep logging on to this blog and the Nerja Beach Holidays website. You can do a spot of window shopping and see the new properties that have been added.

Map of infection rates in Malaga province and Andalucia

The Sur in English, a free, English language newspaper for the Andalucia area has published a map. This map shows in great details the infection rates etc in each of the areas. It will give you a good idea of how we are coping in the region. Map of infections.

The first Moderna coronavirus vaccines will arrive in Andalucía ‘next week’

The Junta’s Minister of Health says the region has administered the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine to 55,000 people – but is calling for more supplies from central government. See more.

 

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Winter Holidays on the Costa del Sol – It’s getting warmer

Costa del Sol to enjoy an early spring

Nerja Winter holidays Breaks - Winter Holidays on the Costa del Sol

Costa del Sol Winter Sun holidays 2020/2021- If only?

OK, so it may seem a bit pointless me writing this article, but, here goes.

Winter Holidays on the Costa del Sol?

I’m sat looking out of my window at cloudy skies and rain. It has been this way now for about four days. I’m not in Nerja, I’m not even on the Costa del Sol.

I live in the north-east area of Malaga province, about 1-hour easy drive from Nerja. In the campo (countryside) close to the Pueblo Blanco or ‘white village’ of Villanueva del Trabuco.

We are 682 M above sea level, so, our weather is often different from that on the Costa del Sol. If you imagine, we are on the same line as Granada and the Sierra Nevada ski slopes.

So, we can get very cold weather. And, just like many other people, I am looking to get back down to the Costa del Sol and some nice, warm, weather.  Here, where I live, we are expecting temperatures of 19ºC on Wednesday.

However; the Costa del Sol is in for even warmer weather this coming week. According to the Sur in English, the Costa is set for real springtime temperatures. We are talking 25ºC and more.

“The temperatures will be very high for this time of year, above 23 on Wednesday and up to 25 on Friday, but from this Monday they are already high,” said José María Sánchez-Laulhé, director of the Aemet Meteorological Centre in Malaga.

Before you start crying – the weather is changing

The lovely, warm weather won’t last past Saturday. We have storm Justine dancing our way. Justine is set to make an appearance in the province, but, just to cheer you up, it’s going to be us, inlanders, that will feel it. The Costa del Sol won’t bear the brunt of Justine.

Normally, the Costas are mild in the winter but you can still get some hot days and weeks. This, more than anything, is the reason why people flock to the winter holidays on the Costa del Sol. Nerja is a great attraction at this time of the year.

Golfers are also very fond of a winter break in Spain. The Costa del Sol, or, The Costa del Golf, as it is affectionately known, has over 50 golf courses.

Let’s hope and pray that this Covid-19 pandemic is over soon. We can all get back to enjoying our holidays in Spain. Keep checking on the Nerja Beach Holidays website, we have some brilliant new apartments in the centre of Nerja,

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Spain on a Fork – The Top Spanish Food Recipes

Spain on a Fork – My Favourite Spanish Recipes

What is Spain on a Fork?

Albert Bevia, who was born in was born in Valencia, Spain but raised in Southern California has a blog and Youtube Channel. Not surprisingly, it is for Spanish food.

Like many people, I am a devotee of Spanish food. Although I still crave the curries and chip shop of the UK, living in Spain gives me the chance to both eat, and cook, Spanish dishes.

Also, like many people I know, I spend hours watching cookery programmes on TV and Youtube. Chef John, Pappa Jack, Jamie Oliver but, most importantly, Spain on a Fork.

From very easy dishes to some of the classics, such as Cochinillo (Suckling Pig) and Rabo de Toro (Oxtail) this is the channel to watch.

Menu del Dia

In Nerja and other places in Spain, you will always find a ‘Menu del Dia’ or ‘Menu of the Day’. Depending on the town, village or city, the price of a good three-course meal can be as little as 8€.

You would get a choice of a starter, main course and dessert. This would also include a drink. It really is a great value.

Some starters are simple; a salad, cut meats, soup or stew. Main courses are usually what you might find on the A La Carte menu.

Spain on a Fork – Try the recipes for yourself

On return to your home, why not try and reproduce your favourite holiday meals. This can be great fun, especially if you are fond of cooking.

The best way to have your own Spanish dinner party is by visiting Spain on a Fork. Go to the Blog or Youtube channel and pick your favourite Spanish dishes. Choose a starter, main course and dessert and enjoy some time in the kitchen.

The recipes are easy to follow. Also, if you enjoy the videos and the blog, be sure to hit the subscribe button. Every time Albert posts a new recipe, you’ll get contacted. This way, you will never miss a thing. Enjoy.

One of my favourite Spanish dishes – Chickpea Stew

Spain on a Fork - Chickpea Stew

Spain on a Fork – Chickpea Stew, a classic dish

This is a classic. You will find this dish everywhere in Andalucia and the rest of Spain. Chickpeas are sold dry or cooked, you will find them in every shop. This stew is a great winter dish and also a great time saver if you are on the go.

I love eating this with fresh, crusty bread. Watch the video and then go to the blog for the full recipe.

 

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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Inauguration 2021

Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris 2021

Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris 2021

The New President and Vice President of the United States of America. Thanks, BBC

The inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States at noon on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, will mark the commencement of the four-year term of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will still take the oath, of course, to make them officially US president and vice-president, but this will be a much scaled-back affair, due to Covid and the recent riots. See more.

The era of Donald J Trump, 45th President of the United States of America, comes to an end tomorrow. But, just as you would expect, he ain’t going quietly; No! not this POTUS.

Normal protocols will be thrown out of the window as the old POTUS (President Of The United States) will not be present to congratulate the new POTUS. Donald Trump is expected to be on one of his golf courses. As you do.

What can we expect from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris?

When he formally announced his entry into the 2020 presidential race, Joe Biden declared that he stood for two things – workers who “built this country”, and values that can bridge its divisions.

As the US faces challenges from coronavirus to racial inequity, his pitch is to create new economic opportunities for workers, restore environmental protections and healthcare rights, and international alliances. See more

Joe Biden will overturn key commitments made by Donald Trump, with a raft of these done one day one.

Cuba is a target for Biden

President-elect Joe Biden’s team plans to bring the U.S. closer to normalized relations with Cuba, reversing many of the sanctions and regulations imposed during the Trump administration, according to people familiar with the matter. Cuba reset.

Biden on Europe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to quickly extend travel restrictions barring travel by most people who have recently been in much of Europe and Brazil soon after President Donald Trump lifted those requirements effective Jan. 26, a spokeswoman for Biden said. More.

We will have to wait and see what POTUS Biden and Kamala Harris come up with. Hopefully, we won’t have as a dramatic time as with Trump. Say what you like about him; he was anything but dull.

The Covid-19 virus pandemic will make this one of the hardest first terms for any US President, so, hopefully, the Biden-Harris ticket is a winner for us all. After all, we are always glad to see our American friends in Nerja and on the Costa del Sol.

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Where are the best places to eat in Malaga province?

The best places to eat in Malaga area depends on your own personal choice. Here are some suggestions

Places to eat in Malaga. Casa Manolo in Salinas

Casa Manolo in the small village of Salinas, Malaga, north of Nerja

Best places to eat – Salinas

Salinas is a Spanish town in Archidona , in the province of Malaga , Andalucia. It is located to the east of the municipal term, very close to the border with the province of Granada. In 2012 it had a population of 715 inhabitants. 1

Next to this town is the junction of the A-92 with the A-92M, as well as the Salinas station, currently in operation on the Granada-Bobadilla line. It is a simple and pleasant drive from Nerja and will take about 50 minutes. It is well worth the journey.

Salinas is a very small village, less than 1000 souls live there. However; it does have a couple of fantastic restaurants. This weekend (10/1/21) we went to Manolos restaurant. This place has plenty of parking and is at the end of the village. TripAdvisor photos and comments.

Eating in – Restaurante Casa Manolo

There is a bar where you can get some fantastic traditional tapas. There is also a separate restaurant section. This is decorated in traditional Spanish style.

The menu is good and has a great choice of dishes.

We started with a shared starter of Gambas Pil-Pil. This is large prawns cooked in Garlic and Olive Oil. This dish varies from village to village. Some add Tomato others add Paprica, some add both. This is served with fresh, crusty bread.

The best places to eat in Spain? Eating out in Salinas, Malaga, Andalucia, Spain. Gambas Pil-Pil

Eating out in Salinas, Malaga, Andalucia, Spain. Gambas Pil-Pil

We also had a shared starter of fresh Clams.

Clams are some of the most diversely used types of seafood in Spain. You’ll find them served freshly steamed with nothing more than a slice of lemon, mixed into rice dishes like paella or stewed with paprika and wine-like in this recipe for almejeas a la marinara.

Salinas Restaurant – Main Courses

We were a group of four, celebrating the 63rd birthday of our friend and this meal made it a birthday to remember.

Rabo de Torro (Bulls Tail)

This dish, Rabo de Toro, is as traditionally Spanish as you would get. Bull or Oxtail in a thick gravy. Served with Game Chips. Game chips are a traditional British accompaniment to roast game birds, such as pheasant, grouse, partridge and quail. They are thin slices of potato deep-fried. They are not normally served with Rabo de Toro is Spain, this would normally come with mashed potatoes. It was fantastic.

Game chips are a traditional British accompaniment to roast gamebirds, such as pheasant, grouse, partridge and quail. They are thin slices of potato deep-fried

Rabo de Toro – As traditional Andalucian, you can find this anywhere in Spain.

Tuna Steak – Filete de atún

This Tuna steak was done very lightly and served with chips and Padron spicy green peppers. 

This Tuna steak was served with chips and Padron spicy green peppers.

This Tuna steak was done very lightly and served with chips and Padron spicy green peppers. The Padron peppers are a great tapas and you can find them anywhere in any places to eat in Spain.

Cod with Prawns and Clams – Bacalao con Langostinos y Almejas

Bacalao con Langostinos y Almejas

Bacalao con Langostinos y Almejas – The best Cod dish anywhere!

Spain is famous for its fish dishes. This Cod with Prawns and Clams was fantastic. Served in a wonderful juice and garnished with red pepper slivers. This was my choice the main meal. I was not disappointed.

Brochette – Brocheta

Best places to eat in Malaga? Salinas is one

Pork skewered with Onions and Peppers – A real meal for the hungry

Brocheta is meat, skewered with Onions and Peppers. These are a very popular dish all over Spain. The meat will vary, as will the peppers and onions. The result is always the same: delicious and filling.  Served with Chips and Padron fried Peppers.

The wine – El Vino?  – But of course, why not?

Best places to eat in Malaga Andalucia, Spain

Monastery of San Miguel Crianza a Rebero del Duero and Flor Innato Verdejo

Monastery of San Miguel Crianza

Monasterio de San Miguel Crianza can be bought in 3 stores for a price of € 13.25, it is a monovarietal red wine produced by Bodegas Prado de Olmedo in Ribera del Duero 100% with bunches of Tempranillo. This wine is a dark garnet colour and a medium layer, on the nose, it is sweet and ripe with aromas of flowers, ripe fruit, red fruits and black tea. Tasting notes, it has a clean, fresh taste of ripe, red fruits.

Flor Innata Verdejo – White Wine – Vino Blanco

Tasting Notes and Food Pairings

Straw yellow with a thin layer of lemony overtones. High aromatic intensity, tropical fruit
with a grassy depth and aniseed characteristic of the variety. To the palate, it demonstrates a significant volume, smooth and very pleasant.
A wine that is a current revamp of the classic Verdejo.
It perfectly combines with fresh seafood and fish, pasta, rice and white meat. Buy some

The meal was a great success. Due to current Coronaviris laws, we skipped dessert and coffee as we were due to finish the day at a restaurant closer to home, El Cortijuelo.

So, when you get the chance to visit Nerja and the Costa del Sol, make sure you visit further inland. The towns and villages of Andalucia have some of the best restaurants and places to eat in the region.

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Holidays to Spain Winter 2021 – I would start looking now

Fed up with Covid-19? a holiday to Spain in 2021

Holidays to Spain Winter 2021 - I would start looking now

Plan ahead, after all, what harm can it do?

Brexit is done and dusted, at least for now. After years of utterly boring political arguments, for, and against, the politicians have agreed on something that neither wanted. They have made a deal that satisfies the political elites; for the moment.

Nobody else really understands the minor details. Mind you, if you had to trawl through 1200 plus pages of gibberish, you would be bored to death by page 10.

Obviously, things will change. Coming to Spain for your winter holiday or summer break will be a lot different. So, I thought I may as well bite the bullet and write a piece that may be helpful to people outside the EU who are planning a trip to Europe.

Travel after Brexit: How will it affect my holidays to the EU?

Now, the best way to approach this subject is to check out the BBC website.  You may think what you like about the BBC but it does have a cracking information service.

So, I spent a few minutes reading their articles on the effects of travelling in the EU after Brexit and I came across this great article. The first question asked is whether I can travel to the EU after January 1st 2021. Surprise, surprise! Covid-19 rears it’s ugly head.

At the moment, no.

Because of Covid, travellers from most non-EU countries can’t visit except for essential reasons.

After 31 December, the UK will no longer be treated like a member of the EU, so becomes subject to these rules.

The only non-EU countries exempt from these restrictions are those with very low infection rates, such as New Zealand.

The EU could choose to exempt the UK, and individual EU countries could create a “travel corridor” with the UK, allowing restriction-free travel.

If the rules are changed, you’ll be able to travel to all EU countries – plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – as a tourist, without needing a visa. Read on.

We are, at the moment, at the mercy of the Coronavirus pandemic. Spain has laws on what is and isn’t allowed. The UK has, at time of writing, gone into a stricter regime and things are looking grim, to say the least. However: don’t let this get you down.

Make plans for a Holiday in Spain

There is nothing wrong with window shopping. If you are stuck at home or have restricted movements, take the time to check out what is available for a winter or summer break in Spain. There are bound to be companies who will take a last-minute booking, so, be ready for it.

Perhaps the new vaccine will allow people greater freedom, who knows? It is a case of ‘chin up’ and look forward to a brighter future. Why not?

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Day of the Kings 2021 Reyes Magos or The Epiphany

What is the Day of the Kings (Dia de Los Reyes Magos)

Day of the Kings or Epiphany is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles. More

In Spain, the children look forward to the three Kings more than they do for Christmas. (things are changing though, Christmas is becoming bigger by the year)

The legend has it that the three Kings (I/E three wise men) followed a star to the baby Jesus and brought him gifts. So, more than 2000 years later, the representatives of the three wise men/kings, bring presents as well.

As with Christmas, the children leave out food and drink for the Reyes Magos, perhaps in hope of a more expensive present. The children leave out their shoes on the night of the 5th of January, hoping to wake up to them stuffed with gifts.

Other Reyes Magos traditions

Day of the Kings 2021 - Roscòn de Los Reyes Magos - Well worth a bite

Roscòn de Los Reyes Magos – Well worth a bite

In all sizes of cities, towns and villages, there will be processions of varying sizes. Each King would have his own float, there might also be floats from various organisations and religious groups. These are bright and colourful and well worth a photograph or two.

There is always plenty to eat and drink, especially El Roscón de Reyes. This delightful cake is akin to a giant doughnut, stuffed with cream or chocolate and decorated with colourful candied fruits and sweets.

Nerja is no different from any other town or city, they go for Day of the Kings with great gusto. If you can get to Nerja for the 6th of January, Covid-19 restrictions allowing, then it is well worth the trip. If you cannot, find the nearest town or village and join in the celebrations.

I have no wish to put a dampener on things, but Dia de Los Reyes will be a bit muted in many places. If you check on the local Town Hall websites, I’m sure they will have a list of events or otherwise.

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Does it get very cold in Andalucia Spain during the winter?

Does it get cold? Freezing the balls off a Brass Monkey?

Cold? Too right it gets cold!

One of the most asked questions I get is; does it get very cold in Andalucia during the winter months? The simple answer is; Yes! of course, it does.

Spain, like any other country in the world, has its cold months. OK, so, they are not as cold as some countries but, depending on where you live, it can get real ‘Brass Monkey weather’.

Freezing the balls off a Brass Monkey

Does it get cold in Andalucia Spain in the winter? Brass Monkey weather

A Brass Monkey was a tray that was used to store cannonballs

It’s not what you might think. No! The old saying has nothing to do with a monkey or its anatomy.

To freeze the balls off a brass monkey means it is very cold. … It is widely believed that a brass monkey is a brass tray used in naval ships during the Napoleonic Wars for the storage of cannonballs (piled up in a pyramid). The theory goes that the tray would contract in cold weather, causing the balls to fall off.

Well, it can get very ‘brass monkey’ in parts of Andalucia. Where I live, in the North-East of the Malaga province, on the same altitude of Granada, the temperatures can get into the minuses.

This week, for example, (31/12/2020 – 6/01/2021) we are looking at daytime highs of 4ºC and lows of between -1ºC and -4ºC. We wake up to a hard frost but, come lunchtime, we have bright sunshine.

Does it get cold in Spain during the winter?

This morning near to Villanueva del Trabuco; hard frost and bright sunshine.

Villanueva del Trabuco, the nearest village to me, has an altitude of  682 meters above sea level. We are in a mountainous area of Malaga, so, you expect to get this type of weather. The summers make up for it though. Hot, dry weather from May until October or November.

Does it get cold in Nerja in the winter?

The Costa del Sol gets a very different winter. Temperatures rarely dip below 10ºC. August is the hottest month in Nerja with an average temperature of 25°C (77°F) and the coldest is January at 13°C (55°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 11 in July. The wettest month is December with an average of 90mm of rain.

Nerja is a wonderful place at any time of the year. Winter Sun holidays are very popular on the Costa del Sol, especially with the golfing and walking fraternity.

Check out the Nerja Beach Holidays website for villas and apartments in Nerja. The new year, 2021 is upon us, so, Covid-19 laws aside, I would start looking for your holiday villa or apartment now.

Have a great new year.

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Grapes at Midnight – Happy New Year Spain 2021

What is it with Spaniards and eating twelve grapes at New Year?

Eating 12 Grapes New Year 2021 in Spain

12 grapes of luck. If you can get them down without choking!

New Year’s Eve is called Nochevieja, meaning Old Night. Just like the rest of the world, Spain celebrates the arrival of a new year and says goodbye to the old year.

I don’t suppose there will be many tears shed for 2020! What a horrible year it has been.

The two outstanding issues, for Europe, have been Brexit (British Exit from the European Union) and the worldwide pandemic of the Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The Coronavirus has wreaked havoc in every single country worldwide. Very few people have been spared the impact of this horrible, invisible, enemy. The good news is that there is now a vaccine and, hopefully, we will get back to something that resembles ‘normal’ in 2021.

For this reason, we will be hoping for more than the usual helping of good luck. So, how will Spain be trying to usher in a year of good fortune?

The Grapes of wrath

Spaniards have a fantastic tradition for New Year’s Eve, they gulp down 12 little green grapes. True!

Tradition has it that you have to eat them one by one, in time with the striking of the clock at midnight on 31 December. If you manage to eat all the grapes in time, you are in for a year of prosperity and good luck. Apparently.

I have tried this trick myself on many occasion. It isn’t a simple as it may seem. The grapes, although small and in a tin, they are not as easy to swallow as you would think.

The good bit is that you can help them down with a glass or two of Cava!

Cava is a sparkling wine of Denominación de Origen status from Spain. It may be white or rosé. The Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo is the most popular and traditional grape varieties for producing cava.)

I’ve seen many people almost choke in their endeavours to keep in time with the chimes. There are not many Spaniards who would miss this little New Year ritual and chance the wrath of a year of bad luck.

Happy New Year to you all. Let us hope 2021 is a damn sight better than in 2020.

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Nerja News – Nerja Footpath Reopens – Nerja Christmas Lights

Work will start to re-open a popular Nerja Footpath

Paseo de Los Carabineros

Paseo de Los Carabineros – “Important tourist infrastructure”

Work will start this week to reopen a popular Nerja footpath that has been closed for some time. A 200 metre stretch of the Paseo de Los Carabineros was closed in 2002 on health and safety grounds. Loose rocks from the cliffs above the paseo were a cause of great concern.

This popular walkway was originally opened in the mid-1990s connected the Burriana and Calahonda beaches via a kilometre of the pathway.

The work will be carried out by a company called Actua InfrastructurasS.L and a budget of 279, 968 Euro has been set and financed by the Malaga provincial Authority.

Nerja Footpath – “Important Tourist Infrastructure”

The Mayor of Nerja, Josè Alberto Armijo has described the footpath as “important tourist infrastructure”. In other words, it’s a great tourist attraction and a great place to take some exercise.

Not everybody is happy though: local residents have complained about the amount of rubbish left there by homeless people who use the area as shelter.

The timescale for completion is expected to be Easter 2021. There are also plans to open a beach bar on Calahonda Beach. I can’t wait.

Nerja Christmas Lights 2020/21

Nerja Christmas Lights

Nerja Christmas Lights will be reduced by 50% this year. Bah! Humbug!

Nerja switched on its Christmas Lights last Tuesday. However; due to Covid-19 restrictions and the effect on the local economy, the town hall has decided that expenditure would be reduced.

A 50% reduction in the festivities budget would give them the opportunity to help families and local businesses who have been affected by the virus crisis.

Still, 67,710 Euro has been spent on the Christmas Lights. The lights will be switched off earlier than usual due to the Covid-19 restrictions and curfew.

Nerja is a beautiful place, lights, no lights, or just half of the lights. Let us hope that we can all get to Nerja for a well-deserved break and soon.

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Diego Maradona Dies at 60 – A Flawed Footballing Genius

Diego Maradona died on the 25th of November 2020

Diego Armando Maradona was an Argentine professional football player and manager. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award.

To England fans, he was a cheat. In the 1986 World Cup, Maradona handled the ball into the goal to help Argentina beat England 2 – 1. To be fair, he also scored what was described as ‘the goal of the century’ a few minutes later.

The 1986 FIFA World Cup Final was the final and deciding game of the 1986 FIFA World Cup, held in Mexico. The match was held at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on 29 June 1986 and had an attendance of 114,600. It was contested by Argentina and West Germany. Argentina won the match 3–2 in normal time.

Diego Maradona in Malaga

Maradona was the Muhamed Ali of football; everyone knew who he was and what he did. Everywhere he went, he was received as a sporting legend. This continued even after he had retired from playing.

In 1982, for example, Maradona visited Malaga to host a tennis competition (yes, tennis) which was generating little interest, just the mention of Diego Maradona being the host sold the tickets out in less than an hour.

His visit to the Malaga CF stadium with his new team Barçelona broke gate receipt records. Maradona was loved, admired and, to some, despised.

Diego the flawed genius

He played for Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla, and Newell’s Old Boys during his club career, and is most famous for his time at Napoli and Barcelona, where he won numerous accolades.

Barçelona

Diego Armando Maradona dead

Maradona’s two seasons at Barcelona were successful, winning a Copa del Rey, a Supercopa de Espana and Copa de la Liga. However, his career at Barcelona will perhaps be remembered more for his off-field problems than his achievements on the pitch.

In both seasons, Maradona missed numerous games. The first was mainly due to hepatitis, though many think it was actually a venereal disease, and the second was due to a serious injury sustained from a challenge by Andoni Goikoetxea.

It was in Barcelona that Maradona got involved with drugs, a problem that would remain with him for the rest of his life. His partying lifestyle would also cause issues, and it is widely believed that Cesar Luis Menotti moved training sessions to the afternoon so that players would report on time and will have recovered from partying the night before. More of this story Marca.com

Napoli

After his time at Barçelona, Diego was shipped off to Napoli. A big gamble for Napoli. A big challenge for Maradona, after all, Napoli were not a successful club by any stretch of the imagination. There were few, if any, great players in the squad.

Maradona was at Napoli between 1984-91 and helped them win the league title in 1987 and 1990, and the Uefa Cup in 1989.

A 2019 documentary film chronicled his wild Naples years when he became addicted to cocaine and partying. He had a son whom he only recognised after an Italian court ordered him to pay maintenance and he was pursued by the local tax authorities over unpaid arrears for years after his departure.

A blog is too short to document the rise and fall of a great sporting legend such as Maradona. Luckily, there is a fantastic HBO documentary that I would strongly recommend in which it gives you the real Diego Maradona, warts and all. (see the above trailer)

It changed my opinion of the player and the man, I’m sure you will find it a fascinating documentary.

Adios Diego.

 

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Coronavirus 2021 on the Costa del Sol Covid-19 updates

How to get an update on  the Coronavirus 2021 (Covid-19) in Spain and on the Costa del Sol

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Costa del Sol

Coronavirus (Covid-19) A cute looking little bug, don’t you think?

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) has caused utter chaos all over the world. Since March 2020, life has gone from its normal humdrum routine to one lockdown after another.

How we thought it odd when people walked about in facemasks to protect themselves from the Springtime pollen and dust. Now it is ‘odd’ (and illegal) when someone ISN’T wearing a facemask.

Travel was banned, then allowed, then banned again, then allowed in certain places and not in others. Sports stadiums are closed, gyms, bars, pubs, restaurants and so forth are allowed to open, then banned from opening, then allowed during certain hours of the day.

Here in Andalucia (at time of writing) we are not allowed out of our areas unless we need to be. Most places of work are either closed or limited to certain hours. Facemasks are worn, by law and we are washing our hands or using disinfectants endlessly.

The trouble is; people are confused as to what is and isn’t allowed.

Here is a great link to a free newspaper for the Andalucia region. The Olive Press is a great read and has been excellent at getting the facts out to people. It also explains, in layman terms, what the hell is going on! Check it out.

WHAT IS THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.

Most common symptoms:

fever
dry cough
tiredness

Less common symptoms:

aches and pains
sore throat
diarrhoea
conjunctivitis
headache
loss of taste or smell
a rash on the skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes

CORONAVIRUS 2021 – HOW IT SPREADS

The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.
You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth.

For all you will ever need to know about this horrible bug, please visit the World Health Organisation website. They have Q&A pages, videos and lots more to keep you informed,

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Why is Friday 13th considered to be an unlucky date?

Are you scared to go out on Friday the 13th?

Friday 13th the Knights Templar

Friday 13th, what is all the fuss about? There are many people who are superstitious and regard this date with dread. I actually know people who will not leave the house, others have rituals that need to be performed to ward off the bad luck. Others, most, I would say, regard any accident or ill fortune on this date to be the Friday 13th curse.

It is all nonsense, of course; or is it nonsense?

The History of the Friday 13th Curse

Just like dropping salt, walking under a ladder or standing on cracks in the pavements, the 13th day of the month, should it fall on a Friday, is as deadly to your health and welfare as any of the others. If you are that way inclined.

It is also not confined to any one culture, this cursed day is a worldwide belief. The Spanish are just as likely to be fearful as the British or Chines.

So, why is it unlucky? There are several different theories behind the curse. My favourite is the curse of the Knights Templar. These were warrior knights who were actually monks of the Templar order. They were feared protectors of pilgrims visiting the holy land and brave and fierce warriors in the Crusades.

The Knights Templar were also a very rich and powerful order. This caused envy and treachery within the powers that be, such as Pope Clemente V and King Philip IV of France. Here is a fantastic article from the History.com website that you might like.

What caused the Friday curse?

On Friday, October 13, 1307, officers of King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar, a powerful religious and military order formed in the 12th century for the defence of the Holy Land.

Imprisoned on charges of various illegal behaviours (but really because the king wanted access to their financial resources), many Templars were later executed. Some cite the link with the Templars as the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition, but like many legends involving the Templars and their history, the truth remains murky. See more.

However; part of the Friday the 13th hex comes from a curse that was put on Pope Clemente V and King Philip IV by the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jaques de Molay, just before he was burnt at the stake as a heretic.

Guess what? Within months, both King and Pope died under mysterious circumstances. Coincidence? a real curse? Some people point to this as proof positive.

Other Unlucky Friday conspiracies

There is the ‘last supper’ theory for the bad luck and the number ’13’ and this concerns the seating arrangements of Jesus and the last supper. After all, Jesus and 12 apostles with him as they chowed down for the final time.

As with history and theology, its as accurate as people want it to be. Was there a last supper? Were there 13 diners? and, as for the date, if we are to believe the historians, the meal would have been on a Wednesday 13th day of the month, according to the Jewish calendar and he would have been crucified on Thursday, the 12th of the month.

But, hey! What the heck?

If you want to read more on this fascinating subject, try this website, National Geographic.

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Spanish style chicken with Chorizo and potatoes

A brilliant Spanish style recipe for winter

Spanish Style Chicken with Chorizo Recipe

I love watching cookery programmes at any time. You name it, I’ve watched it. From Fanny Craddock to Pappa Jack, from professionals like chef John to the most ham-fisted amateurs on Youtube.

I also love to cook and spend endless hours in the kitchen. So, I thought I might combine my love of food, with my love of Spain and point out some fantastic websites, videos and articles. Hopefully, you will get as much pleasure out of them as I do.

Well, this is a Nerja villas and apartments blog, so, it’s not surprising that we will be following Spanish recipes. Here is a great winter-warmer, combining chicken with chorizo and potatoes.

What is ‘Chorizo’

Spanish Cooking - Spanish style chicken with Chorizo and potatoes

Chorizo has a truly amazing taste. One bite and you will be hooked. Thanks to Gourmet Otero

Chorizo or chouriço is a type of pork sausage. In Europe, chorizo is a fermented, cured, smoked sausage, which may be sliced and eaten without cooking, or added as an ingredient to add flavour to other dishes. Elsewhere, some sausages sold as chorizo may not be fermented and cured, and require cooking before eating. Wikipedia

Spanish chorizo is made from coarsely chopped pork and pork fat, seasoned with garlic, pimentón – smoked paprika – and salt. It is generally classed as either Picante (spicy) or dulce (sweet), depending upon the type of pimentón used.

Watch the video of Chorizo and Chicken

I have scoured Youtube for the best examples of this chicken and chorizo dish. The Channel is Recipe 30 and this video will help you make a really authentic Spanish winter dish.

If you are impressed with this video, please, do the guy a favour and either ‘like’ the video and leave a nice comment, or, you can even subscribe to his amazing food videos by clicking on the red ‘subscribe’ button.

Can I get this dish in Nerja?

I’m sure you will find it on at least some Nerja restaurant menus. If Not, you can always ask and I’m certain they will be only too happy to make it for you.

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Living with Coronavirus Pandemic in the Spanish Sunshine

Since March 2020 we have lived with this unwanted guest

Coronavirus - Covid-19

Click the photo to get the latest news on Coronavirusin Spain

What actually is ‘Coronavirus’?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.

HOW IT SPREADS

The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.
You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth.

There is a lot more from the WHO website (No! Not Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry, the World Health Organisation)

March 2020 – Lockdown!

I arrived back in Spain from the UK just in time to be ‘locked down‘ or, for a better word ‘confined to camp!’ We were instructed by the Spanish government to “go home and stay home!”

There was a raft of restrictions, but, rather than bore you with a list, its easier to say that we could go to the shops and the medical centre but pretty much nowhere else. Also, you had to be wearing a mask and one person only from each household.

So, that is pretty much what we did.

The local town hall paid everyone a visit and handed out a surgical mask, one per person. It wasn’t a lot but at least it showed intent.

Shopping with Covid-19

Although I write the Nerja blog and spend a lot of time there, I actually live inland, in the countryside around the pretty village of Villanueva del Trabuco, north of Malaga city and close to Antequera, Archidona and Loja.

Shopping in the village, pre-covid-19 was pretty straight forward. We have several butchers, bakers, banks and so on.

Our main grocery shop is called ‘DIA’ (Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentación, S.A. is a Spanish international hard-discount supermarket chain founded in 1979 which as of 2012 operates 6,914 stores internationally, making it Europe’s third-largest food sector franchiser. It has also owned Schlecker in Spain and Portugal since 2013. Wikipedia)

‘Dia’ (pronounced like English ‘Deer’) is also the Spanish word for ‘day’. This, according to the locals and ex-pats alike, is the real meaning of the acronym, because, sometimes, it takes a day to get in and out.

I digress. The rules for entering any of the shops and other premises were simple, ‘one in, one out!’. Disinfect your hands with the gel provided and wear plastic gloves.

This created queues outside of masked people, two metres apart, all asking ‘who’s last?’ To be fair, people in the village were pretty good and I never saw anyone getting too upset.

This ‘lockdown’ was supposed to last for 15 days.

Getting on with it

The first few days were easy. Sleep until late, eat, watch the TV, overdo the hours on social media, watch the TV and then bedtime. The weather in March, in the mountains where I live, was mild, not sunbathing weather but at least we could be outside.

This was a bonus, other people were not so lucky. The rules allowed people out for 1 hour to walk the dog and exercise. We had to be 2 metres apart, masked up and within 1KM of our homes. That was it! If you were unfortunate enough to live in an apartment during these weeks, you had the walls to look at.

Bars, restaurants and other public places were closed. Stay indoors until you are told otherwise.

Withdrawal symptoms

Venta El Cortijuelo by night.

Venta El Cortijuelo by night. Empty during the lockdown

It’s amazing the things that we miss when they are taken from us. In normal times, not going to the local restaurant for a couple of weeks was not a problem, in Trabuco, we have plenty of places to eat. However, now that we couldn’t go to the local restaurants (El Cortijuelo) we were becoming anxious and needed our ‘Menu del Dia’ (Menu of the day; a 3-course meal for €8.50)

Just when we were getting desperate, restaurants were allowed to provide takeaway meals but delivery only. That was it! The people who run our local eatery were rushed off their feet.

And there is more

After the two weeks has passed, as luck would have it, we were told we could stay at home a few weeks more. Some restrictions were lifted, such as allowing two people from the same household in a car together, masked up, one driving and one in the rear passenger seat. We still could leave the village or gather in groups outside of the home and the menu del dia had still to be bussed in.

Gradually, things got better. The virus had peaked and the death rate and infections came down, slowly at first and then at some pace.

We were now allowed outside, allowed to go into shops, bars and restaurants, albeit masked up and two metres apart. It was looking like some kind of normal.

Tourism resumed in some places via ‘travel corridors’ which meant people could travel from countries with low Covid-19 staus to areas in Spain with low infection rates. The result was more infections.

Where we are at with Coronavirus / Covid-19

Like everywhere else in Europe, the Spanish government are coming out with new measures to try and combat the virus, which, unfortunately, has come back in a second wave. Instructions are often open to interpretation and vary from one autonomous community to another.

We are confined to our villages unless for work or health reasons (Hospital appointments etc) and we are expecting even more draconian measures in the coming weeks. Hey-ho!

 

Looking back on Covid-19 (Coronavirus) 2020

Coronavirus 2020

No jets to mess up the clear Andalucia skies. One benefit of the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic

As I mentioned, I live in the countryside. From May onwards, the weather was beautiful (and continues to do so as I write November 6th 2020) and the skies were blue and clear of those damn jets and their horrible vapour trails.

Most days were spent outside in the little above-ground pool we bought or just pottering about. There was little DIY to do as it had already been done, thanks to Señor Covid. BBQ’s, long siestas and nighttimes spent under the porch watching shooting stars in the clear night skies helped to pass the time in a most pleasant way.

I have to admit to overdoing the eating, drinking and social media. I have put on several pounds and I have Netflixed myself out.

I’m not sure how much more of this Coronavirus I can take.

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The Iberian Lynx is on the way back from the brink

10 times as many Lynx than in 2002

Iberian Lynx

Photographs of the Iberian Lynx by By José María Alvarez 

Iberian Lynx

The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is a wild cat species endemic to the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

In the 20th century, the lynx population had declined because of overhunting and poaching, fragmentation of suitable habitats; the population of its main prey species, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), experienced a severe decline caused by myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease. Wikipedia

It’s always nice to hear good news and, as far as the Iberian Lynx is concerned, this really is ‘good news’.

In an article in the Sur in English, a free newspaper for the Andalucia areas of southern Spain, we are told they are bouncing back, from near extinction.

The Iberian lynx is slowly coming out of the ICU in which it has been for nearly two decades. The efforts of ecologists and the public authorities to rescue this species, which was in danger of extinction, are continuing to bear fruit: the lynx population has increased ten-fold since 2002, and 894 now roam freely on the Iberian peninsula.

More great news

After the first phase, which increased the number of individual lynxes, the conservation programmes are now focusing on connecting the different colonies to create a self-sufficient population. This will also improve the genetic variability of the species and help to make it stronger.

This has been a spectacular leap since ecologists raised the alarm about what appeared to be the inevitable disappearance of lynxes at the end of the 1990s. Since then, and thanks to the European Union’s Life programmes in which administrations and conservation groups participate, it has been a race with numerous challenges. The first was to stop the decline of the species; then to begin breeding in captivity and reintroducing the cats into the most suitable environments; and finally to settle the lynx population in its historical territories.

You can read the full article, from the main Sur in English website here. 

Featured Image thanks to Brian Jackman

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Very Hot Sauces – Which is the Best Hot Chilli Sauce

Hot and Spicy Sauces are very popular all around the world

Hot Sauces - Al Sur del Infierno

“The South of Hell” a pleasant sauce. Watch it, it’s hot!

When I am not writing blogs or on social media, I can be found eating very hot sauces or messing with chilli plants. We all need a hobby or two. Mine just happens to involve burning my mouth and losing the feeling in my tongue.

The global hot sauce market size was valued at USD 2.29 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 3.77 billion by the end of 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.5% in the forecast period.

So, as you can see, hot sauces are real hot stuff (no pun intended) and getting more popular each year. There are tv programmes, videos, blogs, articles and more, all on the subject of hot sauces.

What is the hottest of the Hot Sauces?

The world’s hottest sauce is called Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9 and comes in at 9 million Scoville Hotness Units (SHUs). Or, put it another way; you would need to consume 3,600 bottles of Tabasco Sauce to 1 bottle of Mad Dog.357!

There is a fantastic website for Hot Sauce Geeks and, if you are interested, a quick visit to this site will get you hooked.

The effect of hot sauces on the human body

Hot sauce raises your body temperature, in a process called thermogenesis. As a result, you sweat, turn red as your capillaries dilate, and your nose runs as your mucous membranes try to flush out whatever is behind this. Remember, all of this is in response to totally imaginary heat. See more.

There you have it. If you are silly enough to overdo the sauce, you will experience severe pain. However, there are people such as I who absolutely love the heat and taste of these hot sauces.

To this end, if I come across a new sauce on the shelves of the supermarket, I will try it.

Al Sur del Infierno

My latest acquirement is called ‘Al Sur del Infierno’ or ‘The South of Hell!”

Al Sur del Infierno, super spicy sauce is made by hand in the Sierra Nevada (Granada). From a secret recipe with origins in California (this sauce is the bomb!) It is still very tasty, made with lots of fresh Red Savina type habanero, dry powdered habanero, and a touch of capsaicin extract from India, lots of garlic, onion, carrot, and fresh lemon juice. See more.

This marvellous sauce can be bought from Carrefour Shopping centres along with the Costa del Sol and many other places in Spain. The product is made in the Granada area, north of Nerja.

Enjoy.

 

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