By Veronica

Wet day

Backblip, too busy to blip on the day. Norwegian friend S had vaguely invited us to visit her house in Nigüelas when we had people over for lunch on Sunday. This morning she phoned and invited us for lunch, today. It was spitting with rain in Almuñecar and we didn't have anything else on, so we said yes. "Bring some warm clothes," she warned us. "It was 8 C here this morning." So we tossed jumpers and anoraks into the car.

Wisely. Nigüelas is a village in the mountains near Granada, nearly 1000m above sea level. It was pouring when we got there, and 5 degrees colder than Almuñecar. Given the conditions, we abandoned the project of going for a pre-lunch walk. Instead S showed us round their beautiful house, which we haven't seen before. It's a traditional Andalusian country house, and I daresay the ground floor housed animals originally, but they have opened it up by knocking walls down and created a large open space flooded with light from many large windows. Not terribly practical in winter (like most older houses here, insulation is a foreign concept), but it does look lovely. They are keen gardeners and from every window there are views of lavish greenery, spring flowers, and burgeoning bougainvillea. The garden is very large, and even with help they're finding it too hard to manage. Norwegian S was thrilled that it was raining -- "I can read my book instead of spending two hours watering!" Mainly for this reason they are sadly thinking of selling it.

By the time we'd seen it all, the rain had virtually stopped so we walked down to the restaurant in the village. This was a real find too -- a collection of old farm buildings on a large plot of land which has been massively developed by the young Belgian-Dutch couple in charge.  Sadly we had to sit inside ... the food was lovely though, especially the starters which we ordered to share. I'm not normally a fan of croquetas but these cheese and bacon ones were fluffy and delicious instead of claggy and tasteless.

Lunch took a while, and even though it was raining when we came out, S insisted on giving us a tour of the grounds of the restaurant, which are extensive. As well as the restaurant they have a dozen rooms scattered between various outbuildings -- this is the internal courtyard of the main building, which also features a traditional Moorish hammam. Everywhere was the sound of gurgling water as there's a gushing acequia (irrigation channel) which explains the greenery everywhere. It would be a lovely place to do something like a yoga retreat. Outdoor view in extras, just to show what a lovely day it was to appreciate it :)

By the time we'd walked back up to the house, pausing to chat with some friends of S on the way, it was time to leave as I had another engagement. I spent the evening at C's house; she hosts a monthly intercambio para chicas. I haven't been before and hadn't clocked that everyone brought a dish to share. So I arrived empty handed, but on the other hand I ate just a few salad leaves, having confessed that we didn't finish our extremely copious lunch till 4, and it was only 6:30. It was a good evening, with topics many and varied, but I was a bit worn out from all the socialising. Home by ten.

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