Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Costa Del Sol - Duquesa, Benalmadena, Malaga & Granada. June 2014


         There was a stunning sunset over Gibraltar the night before we departed, but awoke to grey skies, plenty of cloud and a menacing look of fog on the morning of 11 June. We filled up with fuel (£76 for 136 ltr's!) and headed of through the maze of anchored cargo boats in Gibraltar Bay. Guy tried to sail round the island in the light winds but after 3 hours of tacking we had achieved very little so as the cloud lifted off the top of the rock and the wind disappeared, the iron genoa was switched on and a course was set for Puerto De La Duquesa some 30 miles away which we arrived at 1820 hrs. Oh, it was so good to be IN the Med at last. We did not see any fishing pots!!
Gibraltar Sunset.
Farewell To The Rock.
Hurrah, Into The Med At Last.
          Porto De La Duquesa is a lovely small purpose built port with lovely white apartments and a large Restaurant area with a beach on either side. The architecture was very pleasing to the eye and blended in well with the overall theme of the town. we enjoyed a very pleasant two nights and one enormous mixed grill at an Argentinian restaurant with some excellent piri piri sauce.
Guy On The Beach At Duquesa.
Kisti Two In Porto De La Duquesa Marina.
Ginny Steering Kisti Two From Puerto De La Duquesa.
The Wedding Cake Is The Marina Office!

          It was a gorgeous morning on Fri 13 June as Kisti Two departed early at 0830 hrs for the 40 nm trip to Benalmadena Marina in the heart of Costa Del Sol territory. There we several fruitless attempts to sail but in calm waters and little wind, it was the iron genoa that came to the rescue again along the coastline round to Benalmadena arriving at 1730 hrs. It was quite surreal as there was what looked like a Chinese Junk outside the Marina with all the tall hotels and apartment blocks in the background, something akin to Hong Kong! Or had Guy had a few too many beers? 

Motoring Along The Coast While Ginny
Would Prefer To Be Sailing.
Costa Del Sol Coastline.
Arriving In Hong Kong!
Junk Tourist Boat At Benalmadena.
Benalmadena Marina Arrival

        Ginny's sister Louise was staying with her friend Jane who also had her mother, Vera and her  friend Peta staying. They joined us for drinks on Kisti Two having successfully crossed the 'gangplank', this being our first 'stern to' mooring. This was followed by a lovely meal at the La Marina Restaurant. After several drinks, Guy was then co-erced into taking the Saga Tours group for a sail the next day! The 14th June was a lovely morning. Guy found a bar to watch England lose to New Zealand and returned to Kisti Two to find the 'Girls' all on board and ready for the off. It was to prove a fun day with light winds and calm seas. Guy, Ginny and Louise even managed a swim. After 5 hrs and 7 nm, we returned safely to our spot in the marina and managed to tie up stern to without the assistance of marina staff. The day ended with a extensive tapas meal in the complex where Jane lives.
Saga Holidays Drinks At 1100 hrs.
The Marilyn Monroe Pose For Stressed Guy.
Walking The Gangplank At The End Of The Cruise.
Well Done Ladies!

         Our next big adventure was a trip to Malaga with Louise. A short train trip brought us into Malaga, then out came the maps to hit the tourist spots. Old Malaga proved to be surprisingly wonderful to visit. After a short walk around some of the old buildings and churches, we stopped for a lovely coffee and cake overlooking the main square. Our next stop was Malaga Cathedral, another magnificent building full of bling.
Guy & Louise In At The Arabric Baths
Malaga Church.
Coffee & Cake In Malaga Square.
Malaga Cathedral.
Malaga Cathedral Organ.
Malaga Cathedral.
         Our next attack was the old Moorish fort at the top of the hill overlooking Malaga. It was a long hot walk to the top from where we could look down into the magnificent bullring. The fort was very imposing standing above the Alkazaba (Palace), the Cathedral and old town of Malaga.

Malaga Bullring.
Louise & Ginny At The Fort Looking Very Regal.
Malaga Fort & Alcazaba.
Looking Down To Malaga Cathedral
& Alcazaba From The Moorish Fort .
Moorish Fort.
         We walked down to the town past the old Roman Amphitheatre and enjoyed a well earned lunch and beer attentively looked after by a lovely girl who was to prove a bit of a distraction for Guy! Fuelled up again, we entered the Alcazaba Palace and what a wonderful place it proved to be. Wonderful gardens with plenty of colour, clever use of water features, intricate archways, beautiful marble and stunning brick ceiling work. The Alcazaba was to prove to be an utter surprise in the heart of the tourist beach area of Costa Del Sol. Hopefully the pictures reflect our enjoyment.

 Alcazaba Palace Walls And Roman Amphitheatre.
Guy Distracted Again At Lunch With Louise.
The Alcazaba Palace Entrance

The Alcazaba Palace.
The Alcazaba Palace Gardens.
Two Lovely Ladies Enjoying The Rich Colour.
Cooling Off At The Fountain.
Guy Under The Sultans Coat Of Arms
Stunning Roof Work.
Beautiful Archways, So Much Detail.
The Inevitable Moorish Pond In One Of The Patios.
Not Him Again! Poser.
Such Beautiful Detailed Work.
Silhouettes In The Inner Entrance.
Guy Distracted Again!
         Another drink, this time in front of the Cathedral with plenty of distraction for Guy. The next day was a relaxed day at the beach along with all the tourists. Luckily its the silver brigade and those with young children so fairly peaceful.

The Cathedral Entrance.
What Lovely Scenery!
Guy On The Beach Promenade With
Benalmadena Marina In The Background.

        After researching several ways to visit Granada and the complications of acquiring tickets, Ginny booked a hotel bus tour to Granada with all the relevant entry tickets all at a much cheaper rate than we could have ever achieved. So we caught the tourist bus at 0800 hrs and had a most pleasant drive up to Granada. The first stop in town was a view over the famous Alhambra. The bus dropped us of in the centre of town giving everyone 2 hours to explore for themselves. We rushed off to the Granada Cathedral, another wonderful and imposing building as well as the Royal Chapel, the final resting place of Ferdinand of Aragon & Isabella of Castille who united the Spanish people under one monarchy. Under these monarchs, Granada became part of Spain and Spain became linked to Portugal, England, Netherlands, Burgundy and Austria through the marriage of their children, and with the discovery of the America, the basis for world-wide expansion of Spanish culture. A lovely painting depicts the capture of Granada and the Alhambra.
Views Of Drive To Granada.
Alhambra View From Mirador San Cristobel
Granada Cathedral Entrance
Very Impressive Columns
Stunning Work Above The Altar.
The Central Altar
The Beautiful Organ Pipes
Where's Ginny!
The Royal Chapel Entrance, Recently Cleaned and Restored
The Capture Of Granada From The Moors
By Ferdinand Of Aragon & Isabella of Castille.
Granada Central
Peaceful Granada

       Everyone has to visit the Alhambra in Granada and what a wonderful, beautiful and imposing  palace it is.  We toured around with a guide who kept us well informed throughout the visit and was able to explain all the interesting aspects of the palace in a most charming way. We were not rushed and had plenty of time to explore and take pictures which we hope speak for themselves.

Model Of Alhambra 
Alhambra Entrance.
Placio De Carlos V.
Inside The Placio De Carlos V, Reminisent Of A Bullring!
He's Off Again.
The Military Stronghold - Torre De La Vela.
Torre De La Vela
Magnificent Archways Over Looking Albaycin District.
The View FromTorre De Comares.
Has Anything Changed In 500 years?
Glorious Ceilings
Palacio De  Comares
Intricate Detail Of Interior Patio Of Palacio De Comares.
Patio De Arrayanes.
Sala De Dos Hermanas.
Sala De Dos Hermanas.
Patio De Los Leones, 12 Spouting Water Around The Fountain.
5000 Tiny Moulded Stalactites Form This Intricate Cupola.
Courtyard Of The Patio De Los Leones.
A Leo Posing With The Lions.
View Into The Jardine De Lindaraja.
A View Of  Albaycin District Of Old Granada. Not Much Has Changed.
Jardine De Lindaraja.
Jardines De Partal.
Palacio Del Partal.
Pomegranite Flowers On Shrubs In The Garden Plots Of The Generalife.
Ginny In Generalife Garden.
Looking Back To Alcazaba.

      Exhausted from all our tourist trips and with strong winds forecast we decided to stay at Benalmadena Marina until the winds dropped and we could head off east again to anchor for a few days.  The winds have stayed longer than expected but the marina is cheap and facilites good. We visited Jane and went out to the original Benalmadena (Pueblo) Old Town in the hills. A beautiful small town and well worth a visit away from the tourist flesh spots. Those on the beach were well sandblasted so we rested on the boat. Ginnys handbag was stolen one night in a restaurant but luckily all credit cards, passport,  driving licence and important things had been left on the boat. We lost dark glass's, boat keys and a Spanish phrase book plus a few personal items easily replaced. A good lesson well learnt.

Kisti Two In Benalmadena Marina.
A Little Disneylandish But Safe & Secure.
Guy (All Smiles Again!) With Jane On Her Terrace.
The Enormous Buddha Stupa Overlooking The Costa Del Sol.
Castle Built In Recognition Of Christopher Columbus, View From  Our Supper Terrace.
Happy Days.
Any Goldfish In There?
      The weather looks good for anchoring over the next four nights, so its now time to prep Kisti Two and enjoy one last visit to the beach and meal out. Guy is now Cathedraled, Castled and Palaced out! No more please Ginny, lets get sailing and anchoring again. The beach has been great to relax on and the Marina a good safe haven for 10 days. The only real problem has been the number of mosquitoes that manage to find their way in through the nets and always attack Guy, never Ginny!! So Guy now sleeps with his head covered in a mosquito net and it works wonders. Not a pretty sight though.

Benalmadena Beach With Marina.
Ginny Ready To Leave.  Whats She Been Drinking!!
Inner Benalmadena Marina Flats & Restaurants.
A Bit Disneyland For Us But Comfortable. 
Guy's Anti Mosquito Precautions.
        It has been fun to meet up with Louise and Jane and visit all the sites, but time to put the guide books and maps away, get out the charts and pilot books and move on again. We are slowly making our way to Majorca if anyone wants to join us.