By Veronica

Take a seat

The rubbish collection in the inaccessible-to-cars old town takes interesting forms. There are no bins. Usually when we come back at night, there are neat rows of plastic bags full of rubbish lined up at the end of alleyways, or dangling from hooks on walls. At around 2:30 a.m. there is a massive clattering and rumbling as a team of workers drag wheelie bins around the cobbled streets and up and down steps, tossing the bags into them.

Tonight though was "throw out your sofa" night. Nearly every street corner featured a pile of sofas, some with added mattresses, chairs, and the odd table. We were amazed at the sheer quantity of furniture being thrown out, whole housefuls in some cases. Goodness knows how they manhandle this lot down to a lorry to take them away.

It was nearly midnight when I took this photo; it had been a busy day. We started with a walk in the hills above Almuñecar -- a test for my new boots. A long, steep climb through orchards of avocados, citrus, mango, chirimoya, and even bananas was rather taxing as it was a hot and humid day. But I did make it without blisters, and then it was all downhill, finishing with a couple of kilometres along the dry riverbed. But the advertised two hours turned into three, so we didn't have time to go home for a shower and change before meeting lapsed blipper guiri and F for tapas on the beachfront.

We last met back in May 2016. There was plenty to talk about, and time flew by over numerous glasses of tinto de verano and delicious platters of crisp fried anchovies and gambas pil-pil. It was well after four by the time we tore ourselves away.

During the conversation F had told us that there is an intercambio group in Almuñecar, which meets on ... Thursdays, so after a shower and rest at home, we presented ourselves at the designated bar at 8:30. It was a big group, 20 people including us, guiri and F. And happily it was exactly half and half Spanish and English, since Xavi, the organiser, had us playing a conversation game: two rows, all the Spanish in one and all the anglophones in the other. Xavi specifies a topic and a language and you talk to the person opposite for three minutes. Then everyone moves along one to the right, and you start again in the other language and a different topic. Much more organised than the Motril group. It was good fun; we also spent a fair amount of time in general chat around the table. More tapas and tinto de verano were consumed.

We left after ten, and decided to check out the advertised blues in a bar on the way home. It turned out to be a man with an over-amplified guitar, playing mostly pop tunes from the 1970s with a bit of blues mixed in. It was so loud that we retreated to the furthest corner in order to be able to talk, and left after a glass of wine and a tapa. 

And finally, our local bar Los Pajaritos turned out to be open, so we had to try it. It's a true traditional neighbourhood bar that probably hasn't changed in 50 years. Three tables and a few bar stools inside, but most customers were sitting on the steps in the street as it was a warm evening. The owner is dour but efficient, and we had yet another glass of wine and yet another free tapa (fried fish). It really was rather late though, so we finally made it the last few yards home.

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