Guten Tag!

Posting this from the 39 bus unterweg nach Oberstaufen whilst skirting a frozen lake covered in snow. I’m going to a unique museum in Hittisau this arvo FYI

Spice Girls singing Wannabee on the driver’s radio ffs.

Here’s a video demonstrating why I travel by train for sightseeing. Enjoy the ride.

On the Regio Bahn to Pfronten Steinach


Eine Verzögerung, Lieblinge!

Friends, Romans and Brexiteers.

I’ve arrived, I’ve hit the ground running and I have SO much stuff to write about. Yippee!

Here I sit in an apartment in the gorgeous Landhaus Mohr in the Allgäu, it is indeed exceptional as Trip Advisor says, and most importantly I’ve found the bus stop (well I thought I had but more of that in due course)

THE STORY SO FAR….I’ve been threatened with the police on a German railway station, I got caught in barbed wire trying to leave a private farm track (well I thought it was the footpath, didn’t I?), I have quickly learned the German for “I’m not supposed to stop here, you know?” from a rather antsy Bavarian bus driver, my lovely only worn twice après ski boots fell apart on their first day out (the glue had broken down after them spending 7 years in a suitcase in the loft) and I’ve taken to hanging about on station platforms with a bridge camera in my hand   #adodgylook


I’d forgotten how tiring Winter holidays are. You are up before 07.00, eat breakfast at 08.00 sharp and are out the door at 08.35.

Then it’s off we go….to here there and everywhere! On and off buses and trains, sightseeing, snapping away (all in the glorious mountain air), a pit stop for lunch, somehow cramming in picking up goodies to cook for supper and then arriving back at base at about 18.00 (daylight is 07.45-17.55 here)

THEN, you open the door and the warmth hits you like an express train. BAM!

It’s always triple glazing here in the Alpine lands so no draughts to help keep you awake.
You pour yourself a Dampfbier and within 5 minutes all you want to is to fall sleep, never mind cook a gourmet supper. Writing potentially award winning blog posts requires creative energy and you’re wiped out. 

I NEED A PLAN (or a secretary with shorthand)

So, this quickie post is to tide you over and whet your appetite because I’ve GOT to cook supper now. GOT to.  #famished

Black pudding, applesauce, spätzle, red cabbage, cucumber salad, and giant pretzels it is, followed by fruit and yogurt. A smidge  of cheese for those who want it. I

I may be cooking it myself but I came to Germany to eat German food not pizza.

Who’s in ?

PS I went to the International Ski Jumping in Oberstdorf yesterday. It was a blast (even though the second round was cancelled due to high winds and my feet were soaking wet due to the boot issues mentioned above)




Sorry for the very long radio silence, especially while I was in Paris for New Year, but I’m still having tech issues.
However, the bag is open once again, a jolly decent chap has lent me a laptop for a week, so watch this space…,,,

Distracted, but now back for a big finish!


Has it been 6 days? 

Oh…..S H I T !

Two dear friends came to join me for my last week in paradise and it’s just been all hands to the pumps since their arrival ( while carrying on with my tennis, catamaran sailing and windsurfing…natch )

Many ‘ginebra tonicas’ have been drunk by us in Taverna Llorenç-Botero I can tell you and should you want food, the boys that run the joint do a mean Fideuá. 

I’m currently in the TGV Barcelona-Paris hammering the vin rouge and there may be tears later. This travelogue will be finished next week, I promise. Gulp.

Just be patient, my lovelies.

Hasta pronto.

Photos taken from seat 61 in ‘upper class’

Never order fish on a Monday

I’m sure you ‘Bon Viveurs’ all know this, but ordering fish on a Monday, even in the top restaurants, is a no no. At best it’s been lurking in the fridge since Saturday, more likely Friday. If the establishment is using frozen fish it will be just fine to eat, but is that what you had in mind ? 

Frozen tranche of turbot anyone? 


Fresh fish returns to market on a Tuesday in most countries. Hold that thought.

And so it came to pass that DHG and I set off early for ‘big day out number 1’.  


Whoo hoo. Birthplace of the paella if memory serves ( I’ll return to the subject of paella in a subsequent blog #fideauman ). No worrying about driving or parking for me, we’ve planned to take the fast train into to the centre of town and it being Spain, the fares are cheap. It’s a Cercania ( I told you previously to hold that word. Loose translation, suburban service ). 

TIP !  Don’t park your car in Gandia ( end of the line ) but go one stop towards Valencia to Xeraco where you have a huge free car park next to the station and no heavy traffic to get there ( it’s on an industrial estate )

The ticket machines won’t take credit cards so we miss the effing train but hey, they run every 30 minutes and we discover that the coffee machine IS working ( it sure looked dead……). Chillax time.

We board the train ( Airco!  FAB ), there’s  loads to see in Valencia and we start to make a plan for the day. And then we discover….that many museums/art galleries/ churches keep their doors firmly closed on a Monday. OOPS! So there you have the link to the beginning of this post. Never order fish or plan to visit a historic monument on a Monday ( not without checking, anyway ) 

Determination kicks in and disappointment begins to fade . The Museo de Bellas Artes IS closed, but the Mercado Central is in full swing , the Cathedral is open ( sadly its tower is indeed shut. It affords fabulous views of Valencia apparently/allegedly               #nexttime ). 


It turns out that The Real Colegio del Patricia is ONLY open on Mondays. Get in ! 


Let’s not forget that our start and end point is the fabulous Valencia Nord station, a monument in its own right. And lo!  Is that  the magnificent Town Hall we can see over there? 

To cut a long story short,  off we trot on what turns out to be a fabulous and very varied day of sightseeing in Valencia old town. Throw in a great lunch at the Crudo Bar ( opposite the main entrance to the Mercado) and then the icing on the cake. We pass the Lonja de la Seda ( silk exchange ) , closed on Mondays ( natch ) but IT’S OPEN and in we go. UNESCO World Heritage Site FTW. 

Before you know it. It’s 19.00 and we’ve not even got down to the port where we were intending to drink beer and search out Spanish hipsters. Hello sailor *wink* 

We is knackered innit, so we resolve to return to this delightful city and head back to the station ( it’s a 50 minute train ride followed by 50 mins in the car and we’d like some supper when we get back to base if you don’t mind! ) 

I’d recommend Valencia for a 3/4 night city break. Go for the 4th night if you like beaches as well as the historic monuments. 


There were Eriobotrya Japonica everywhere (we think!)

I’ve already recounted the “why we decamped to Alcoy” story to you, this post tells the narrative of “how”. 

And so it came to pass that DHG and your scribe took the (winding) road to Alcoy. WOW ! What a spectacular drive it is along the narrow roads high above the valleys of the Algar & Guadalest rivers. Having said that, most rivers here on the northern Costa B look as if they dried up centuries ago. Quite a few are now parks. I digress.

We passed acres of what looked like citrus fruit trees which were covered in what seemed to be heavy duty netting. There are orange groves all over this part of Spain and none of those trees are covered in any way. Odd.

We arrived at Guadelest. The photos speak for themselves. It’s spectacular. There is supposed to be a boat trip on the lake, but it didn’t look like it was operating, to us. Water level too low ? It has to be said that it was the first time in our holiday that we had come across shops selling tacky souvenirs. Each to his own. What we also noted was that honey and nisperos ( also known as loquats and Japanese medlars ) were being sold. Could this relate to the ‘citrus trees’ we had seen ?

We’ll never be sure but Google informed me that birds are very fond of nisperos and that the Guadalest valley is unique in its production of them. Dare we join the dots ?

We progressed to Alcoy crossing several valleys at their heads. Alcoy is known as the city of bridges. It seems that the city is built on two sides of a spectacular gorge. The old town is on one side ( with the Town Hall ) and I suspect that when the bridge across the ( very deep! )  gorge was built the town expanded on the other side. 

We stayed in an excellent budget hotel ( which afforded us a fabulous view of one of the magnificent bridges from our bedrooms ) and ate a fine tapas supper on the pavement at the side of the town hall ( L’autentic is the establishment’s name )  It is not often that a hotel that looks shabby on the outside has pristine rooms.

This trip delivered on all fronts . 

PS. RHS types will be interested to know that the Medlar found in the UK is Mespilus Germanica and the fruits are a slightly different colour. 



Looking for (a different) Mary

DHG was here last week. A very cultured gentleman unlike your esteemed blogger. Day out to Margate, anyone? HP sauce on your chips, love? I digress. It works quite well. He takes me to churches, museums and art galleries and I take him to beaches, villages and places with views and sport going on. On restaurants we tend to agree  😀

We decided that during his visit we would do two days out at distance and 3 in the surrounding area. He liked the look of Murcia and Elche. I had a look at the map and took a fancy to a squizz at the ruins in Cartegena and he agreed to the add on. Was I mad? I only drive on holidays, it’s not something I particularly enjoy doing  and Cartegena is further away than Murcia ( 200km each way, 2hrs 15 mins drive time , motorway all the way ). Share the driving I hear you cry. Not possible with this car as it has been lent to me.

We decided to go straight to Cartegena and then break up  the journey back with stops in Murcia & Elche. Elche’s big attraction is its gardens full of palm trees, some of which are 200 years old. 

Cartagena was a treat. Amphitheatre, Roman Theatre, Marina, Open Top Bus Ride and plenty of good eateries. We came across the filming of a Spanish period drama on the seafront . DHG informed me it was almost certainly for a Spanish drama series called Grand Hotel . I told you he was knowledgeable. No need for Google.

We could have stayed there a lot longer.

In the end, we never got to Murcia ( so many ruins, so little time ) but we did visit two of the gardens in Elche. Thanks heavens for Enrique ( #satnavman ). Without him we would never have got through the narrow streets so quickly.  First we went to the Palmeral and then to Jardín Huerto del Acura ( The Priest’s Garden ) which was declared a National Artistic Garden in 1943 ( I was reminded of the RHS )



BTW, we never did find Mary but she knew we were looking   😉

Had I found Edward & Tubbs?

It was a couple of weeks ago if memory serves. I was driving back up to Benissa from the Moraira – Calpe coast road. I’d been down there to eat breakfast at the waterside ( un cortado, agua minerale con gas y un pan con tomate as you asked ) and to suss out the watersports centre.

It’s a stunning ride.  You climb up to about 300 metres on the twistiest of roads ( sheer drops to the right of you, sheer drops to the left of you ) and there are spectacular views in all directions. Just don’t look down if you are the driver…..

I drove along, and then, as if rising up out of the mist, a building with a car park appeared on the corner of a T junction where a road appeared on the right. I carried straight on but out of the corner of my eye I saw a sign on top of the building and did I really see a newspaper rack outside the front door ? Was it a shop?

This place was in the middle of nowhere ( on reflection it is actually in a prime location, WITH PARKING, for people returning to Benissa/Senija/Xalo from the coast. Darling we need a bottle of wine. Fancy an ice cream, kids? )

I whizzed past. What had I seen? I determined to return. Two days later I passed the establishment again, but didn’t see the turn off quickly enough and could not stop. Several days later I tried again and this time I didn’t see the place at all as I flew past ( Marvellous view of Benissa cathedral in the distance btw )

And then I finally succeeded. I saw the junction in time and pulled in and parked. It was indeed an independent supermarket  and as for the views from the car park ….

With trepidation I entered. Fresh bread, local wine from the Jálon valley, locally grown fruit and vegetables. This looked a good business model and to my surprise the owners were Spanish. I bought wine and fruit and left.

Dear reader, I had found the Holy Grail.


And guess what? They sell the Daily Mail!



Should you visit this shop and I urge you to do so, be careful at the till. Should you spend under €10 and give the man a €20 note the €10 euro note in the change is a long time coming  😉

Spit and glue

You remember I buggered up my ancient MacBook?  I’m still cross with myself. I thought I was downloading Windows Media Player for ios. YES I KNOW…..

As much as I wanted to rush out and buy a replacement I slept on my options…twice. Could I transfer photos from the camera to the phone? Yes. Could I write blogs on the iPhone. I bashed one out. Hard on the eyes, but yes It was doable.

As so dear reader here is the current situation.

I took this photo with my iPhone.

The ipad1 plays UK radio over the Internet through the ( excellent ) JBL portable speakers. It’s too slow to do much else. The MacBook won’t load but if switched on it will charge the portable speakers through the USB port. It will not charge the iphone6splus ( a device it doesn’t recognise as it’s too new ) so that has to be plugged into the mains all the time as it is functioning as my main computer and battery life is an issue. Photos are transferred from the LUMIX camera by WiFi to the phone, but it only allows 30 at a time. I write these blogposts on my phone. 

We are talking about battling against adversity  here. Never give up, never say die.

High tech this office is NOT.

This blog is being held together by ‘spit & glue’

Love me for it dear reader. This is painful. 

Looking for Beni

Benidorm, Benicassim, Benitatxell, Benidoleig, Benigembla, I could go on. Some say I ( too ) often do but I digress ( we’ll deal with my personal shortcomings another day folks. K? )

I saw a pattern. Could Beni mean at the foot of Mount xxx ?  The crossing point of River xxx ?

Paging GOOGLE!

Actually, I really need a full time ‘looker upper’ of stuff. From morn till night it’s just question after question don’t you just find?  What’s this mean?  Where is ?  Who is?

We are so lucky to have T’internet as a resource   #ineedpeople   #amoderndayjeeves

Anyway, I was wrong on both counts!

BENIDORM” doesn’t mean “dormir bien”. It comes from the Arabic word “Beni” (meaning “sons of”), like a lot of other villages in Valencia (Benitachell, Beniarbeig, Benigembla, Benimuslin, Beniarres….). They all are old Spanish-Musulman sites. All the names starting with “Beni” means “sons of” or “descendants of”, often referring to a Berber tribe or clan.

So now we know. Rock on.

Well, it was Sunday morning and I went for a drive in the direction of Benidorm. I got to Albir, amazing beach but it was just getting a bit too busy. A heaving Flea Market was on the go, the Hairy Bikers were in town, full English anyone?  It wasn’t working for me.

Look, I’m no snob ( stop laughing back there  in the 1 and 9’s ) and I’m up for a piss up in Benidorm anytime ( I’ve done Blackpool, Rhyl & Skeggy. I’ve earned my stripes. Word of advice. Never EVER go to Rhyl. ) but on a Sunday morning ?   On my own ? Have kiss me quick hat will travel, but…

So I went back to the peace of Altea & L’Olla.

I AM going to blog an album of Benidorm but I will do it from the upper deck of the open top tourist bus. I will ‘park ‘n ride’ from Altea. 

Here are my images.