What a difference a year makes..

This time last year with two weeks to go until the big day, this was the view from my back garden. Fast forward to now and…..well I won’t torment you will more sunny pictures but today we went out and I had on a thin long-sleeved t-shirt and I was hot so you get the idea.

We have been here just over a month now which doesn’t seem possible at all and the build up to Christmas is just getting going. The Christmas decorations didn’t go up until the beginning of December which was refreshing as the shops were in full swing even before we left at the end of October back home.

Everywhere you go there are children being coerced into having their photo taken with Santa – some willingly and some definitely not so. They are also big on huge models of the Nativity scene. The one we saw today was massive and had the whole town of Bethlehem in it. Some things are the same as home – all the lights and decorations – although no trees in the shopping malls or any public places come to that – and some things are very different.

There are the usual aisles full of chocolates and toys and it is interesting to see what foods they traditionally eat over the festive period. Lots of cakes, wrapped sweets and sweet breads. The other thing they are also big on is their meats – not good for a veggie like me. They have whole areas set aside for great big legs of cured meats. It is quite gross and they even have their own special bags that they bring along to put them in. We passed someone coming out today who had four trotters stuck out from amongst all his shopping – yuck!! Needless to say we avoid that aisle like the plague.

I must say it really doesn’t feel much like Christmas to us. All our associations with the holiday season are for snow, roaring log fires and glasses of mulled wine. 27 degree sunshine like it was last week makes us think of sun tan lotion and summer holidays and not Father Christmas coming down the chimney – I mean we haven’t even got one of those!!!!

That said, we will be celebrating in our own way, decorating the caravan and spending the day in a food and drink induced stupor.

We are discovering lots about the Andalucia area that we like. We went up into the hills on Saturday looking for a farmers market that had promised organic produce. We went to a town called Antequera about 30 miles north of Malaga. The autoroute went through the mountains and then opened up to a vast plain. We were quite surprised that it was so flat given the mountain ranges around here. We weren’t expecting the town to be very big but were really surprised when we got there. It had a lot going on and was a really pretty town with quite a medieval feel to it. Apparently there has been a settlement there for some 5000 years dating back to the bronze age. We fell in love with it and with three campsites it is high on the list for the next stop off.

We are also about 60 – 80 miles away from the start of the Sierra Nevada mountains. In the summer there is plenty of walking, mountaineering and cycling to be done there and then over winter you have ski-ing. Neither of us has skied for a long time but we are both looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with the skill and this area is one of the highest in Europe and most snowsure with a ski season running from now until the end of March – April. Being so close means that we can head up there early in the morning, get in a days skiing and then head back to the coast for a beer by the sea in the evening. How cool is that??

So, I have a feeling that we may be spending a little longer in this area than we originally thought. Maybe not at this campsite but I don’t think we will be going far when we do move on.

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