Heading for Torrox

September 8, 2017 - Torrox, Spain

We took the chance to lie in for a little while this morning before heading down for our breakfast in the courtyard. Breakfast for us was still more substantial than usual but we also knew we would be having lunch when we arrived in Torrox so we restrained ourselves a little. Even Max kept it to eggs, bacon and toast with a coffee.

Our bags were just about ready so we just had to duck upstairs to do the last tidy around before we checked out. The taxi rank was just around the corner so we headed over there with our bags in tow. As usual we headed toward the first car as there were several on the rank. The driver of the last car beckoned us but I waved him off and pointed to the first car. The driver of that car then waved us back to the last car. Who would have guessed?

Our driver quickly understood we wanted to go to the airport and whisked us down one side of the foreshore park to the point where he could do what amounted to a U turn to the right from our one-way road onto the main road and we were finally on our way. The driver also had good enough English to understand that we wanted to go to the Arrivals side, even though we had suitcases with us. Ah, another hurdle overcome.

It is about 20 minutes to the airport so we settled back to enjoy the ride and to anticipate meeting old friends and new. Margaret wondered if she would recognise Jenny, or Chris, or Paul, or Vicki. When we arrived and dragged our bags into the Arrivals Court and past all the confused looking passengers arriving or waiting for the rest of their party, and past all those waiting to greet friends or fares, we then spotted the café that was the designated meeting point for our group.

Max spotted Chris very easily and then Jenny so we quickly reintroduced ourselves. It was as if we had seen them last week rather than two years ago. Paul the tour organiser then came over and introduced Rob Bell our guide for this year. We were also introduced to Karen and Sue from the USA, as well as several others. Paul led us off into the car park to where the minibuses were parked. He had to stay to meet some other arrivals but Rob piled us into one bus and we attempted to drive out of the carpark.

As we walked to the cars Paul had explained how the parking system at the airport had been changed recently. Now everybody, yes everybody, that drives into the Arrivals area leaves through the carpark and the boom gate. You get 15 minutes for free but you must get your ticket validated … from the machine down the bottom. If you take too long with the friends you drop off and then there is a queue at the gate you cannot get out, there are no attendants nor anywhere to park while you go back to get your ticket validated. After that everyone becomes late and a total shambles ensues. Guess happened just in front of us? Luckily there was room for us to reverse a little, giving him room to reverse a little and edge into the lane to the left. Rob could then squeeze past, check our ticket and bail out of the probable mayhem.

Just to add to that little hold up the traffic on the Autovia was almost at a standstill and we crept along for a couple of kilometres until we passed a vehicle broken down and obstructing part of the right hand lane. After that the traffic flowed smoothly and soon we were into the familiar interchange at Torrox and then driving into the Plaza de la Constitución.

Torrox is a typical 'andalusian white village' built on the side of a hill so the road system consists of many narrow and often one-way roads with connecting steps or Carrer. The town has added a bit of colour by hanging a multitude of coloured umbrellas over the square. It makes a dramatic scene and is always part of a search for the perfect photo opportunity.

Some of the many coloured umbrellas hanging over the 'L' shaped 'square' are fading a little but it is still an arresting sight to see. When we pulled up in the narrow street and unloaded everyone Vicki was there to meet us all. I think there had been several little problems with timing and organisation this morning so Vicki was glad to be able to hand us a key to the house up on the Calle Alta. She also explained where we were meeting at 2pm for lunch and Margaret and I took our bags in our hands and got out of her hair.

The house we were to share with another 2 photographers is the same as we were in last time and we took the first floor room which is the only one with a double bed. The steep stairs lead upwards to our room on the left and a sitting room on the right, then through a storage space and up to another room with twin beds off to the right, then past a bathroom to a door for a terrace area before leading up again to another twin room and another terrace. We spread our things out in the double room and made sure we had staked our claim.

First things first we thought so we took our accumulated washing down to the kitchen, put it in the washing machine and put the kettle on. While the kettle boiled I searched for something that seemed to resemble laundry detergent. Not knowing any of the language apart from how to order a beer has a few drawbacks. Still, the obvious way to start is to look in the most likely places, such as the cupboard beside the machine, which is where I found a bottle of Liquid Laundry Detergent with helpful pictures.

Once we were settled in, the washing machine just taking its time, and perhaps getting ready for a 2pm Siesta, we connected our router and checked our emails and did some minor electronic housekeeping, then took a cup of tea up to the 2nd floor terrace. Pretty soon it was time to walk up along the Calle Alta to our designated lunch spot. The washing machine had barely made it to the end of the first wash cycle so we had to leave it going. A pity not to get our clothes out drying in the midday sun.

When we arrived at the Bar San Roque almost all the group was there. Vicki greeted us like the old friends we are and we found a seat at the table opposite Chris and Jenny and introduced ourselves to those around.

Ina, Linda, Marie, Rhona, Sona, Dorothy, were painters along with Chris and Jenny. Some were already fairly accomplished while others professed no knowledge at all. Sue and Karen from USA were to be part of the photography contingent. Not long after we arrived Paul brought along Debbie, an Aussie from Campbelltown area, and introduced her as another photographer. She would be sharing our house. There was one other to join us but he was on a later flight and was to make his own way to our house about 5.30pm.

Before the food was served Paul made a little speech of introduction and gave us a few tips on enjoying ourselves and staying safe. Vicki then made a special birthday presentation to Chris. This is his fourth time in Torrox (the three previous times as a photographer) and it always includes his birthday.

Lunch proved to be a series of tapas courses, some made especially garlic free for me. (Sin ajo, por favor). I said it in the Catalan fashion 'a-yo' and Vicki corrected me 'ack-ho down here', but that didn't matter as Vicki had already ensured that my meals would be garlic free. We had prawns and salad and tortilla with plenty of bread as well as wine and beer.

After all that food, alcohol and much chatter about Chris's ability with a paintbrush we needed to head back to the house for a little siesta. Debbie, Chris and Jenny tagged along with us and we left Chis and Jenny at the foot of their steps.

Everywhere you go in Torrox there are steps. I suppose if the town is built on the side of a hill that is to be expected. Many of the Calle are in fact slopes with steps here and there, like the Calle Angustians that leads from the square up to our house, Casa Angustians. At least heading back along the Calle Alamos and Calle Alta is part of the (narrow) road system and is a fairly gentle slope. There was time for an afternoon siesta before our last house-mate arrived. Peter, from Milton Keynes, has a bit of difficulty getting around so he had the middle bedroom to make it a little easier. That left Debbie up in the eyrie at the top.

We all headed back along the Calle Alta and on past the Bar San Roque to the Mibar Tapas bar where dinner was to be served about 7.15pm. Many little tapas courses later and many drinks later Margaret and I joined Chris and Jenny for a drink on the terrace of the house they are sharing. This tour is starting off in good form. It was midnight before we blundered back in to La Casa Angustians.



Our room at Casa Angustias
The view from the terrace at Casa Angustias
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