Thursday, February 4, 2010

GB takes a Bear-Break

I realize that technically, I'm no longer on my bear-break but as my bipedals neglected to book me into accommodations which included wifi, this is really the first opportunity I've had to update you on my Christmas adventures. But please don't think that I'm complaining - bears don't complain. Sometimes we just grrrrr quietly under our breath.

Grrrrrrr ....
just joking!

I got back from Spain
(with a very short stint in London) a few days ago. I was in Nerja for the most part - a lovely seaside pueblo blanco (white town) on the Costa del Sol in oh-so beautiful Spain. I confess that I wept great big hot bear tears when our plane touched down in Málaga - which pretty much matched the great big hot bear tears I wept when I flew out of Málaga in 2008.

I love Spain.

Anyway ... Nerja. Nerja d
ates back to prehistoric times - as attested to by the skeletal remains and artefacts found in its mammoth underground caves (discovered some 50 years ago) which may actually tunnel through the mountains all the way to Granada. Naturally it was the Romans who first put it on the map. They called it Detunda, a name I don't care very much for at all. I much prefer Narixa, or "Abundant Spring" - the name later given to it by the Moors, which would later metamorphose into Nerja. It became a centre for silk production and by the 900's, its goods were travelling the trade routes all the way to Damascus. Later it was a hub for the processing of sugar cane from the Spanish colonies, but these days all you can see are avocado groves and then more avocado groves. And tourists.

One of Nerja's prettiest spots - perched on the edge of its 14th century old town - is its mirador, or look-out spot: the Balcon de Europa (so named by King Alfonso XII). It's a pretty "balcony" or avenue lined with king palms and it juts out on a cliff, 23 metres above the Mediterranean. You can see me on the balcon, and behind me in the (above left) picture is gorgeous Burriana Beach, while below is me and Alfonso XII.

A-12 visited Nerja back in 1885,
right after an earthquake devastated the area. History remembers him fondly but his claim to fame is being shot at - on his honeymoon - by his pastry chef while taking a spin in Madrid. (The chef missed.) A-12 actually wasn't the first to call the promontory (it actually used to be a gun battery on the site of a fortress) the Balcon de Europa, but he thinks he was and no one bothered to correct him and the town obligingly erected a statue to him. He was the king after all.

I must confess that beyond going for walks through the old town, I didn't do very much - maybe because I'm a bear, my body was inclined to hibernate - except conduct some quality control inspections in Nerja's bars. Especially sangria. It's so easy to mess up sangria that I felt - since I had some time on my paws - to check out the local offerings. I'm very pleased to say that every litre I had met my very stringent specifications.

I also paid a few visits to the Nerja Donkey Sanctuary. The sanctuary - which survives on donations from the public - provides a loving home and medical attention to abandoned, unwanted, and sometimes abused (*sob*) donkeys, mules, and horses. Apart from the equines, there are a bevy of goats and sheep mulling about, 2 pot-bellied pigs, and a few cats and dogs. I liked to stop by the market on the way and pick up some carrots as a treat. It takes so little to make a donkey happy but what I think they really like is the gift of money - you can click here to make a donation or for as little as 25€, adopt an animal!

I did manage to discover on this trip a wonderful little restaurant which I wish I could've taken my god-bipedals to. It's called Me Siento Como Quiero, which I think very roughly translates into "I Want What I Feel Like". Now it is an Italian restaurant (sorry guys) but it serves the best pizza I've had in the last few years (and that includes my 2 months in Italy!). But the best part? - I mean after the food? Their daily pizza special includes 2 pizzas and a bottle of wine ... ALL for 10 €! Even my female bipedal attendant's mother got in on the action. What a lush she's become!

I confess that I did spend a lot of time there (my waistline has suffered a little bit at their expense), and when I went last week to have my last pizza and say goodbye, more big hot bear tears were shed. The chicas who work there insisted on having their picture taken with me and, although my Spanish is at best elementary (I think modesty suits me), I'm pretty sure that I've been promised free pizzas and vino de mesa for life.

So that's Nerja in a nutshell. I hope to be back again next Christmas, and if my female bipedal attendant could just sell a few more copies of her blasted book (she couldn't even be bothered to mention me in it once! - not once!), we'd all buy a little place there in the sun ... then the big hot bear tears would really flow - just like the sangria!


Anonymous said...

Hi G.B.
How lucky you were to spend the last month at Nerja. I know the ¨pizza restuarant¨you mentioned and they said to say hello to you. When you finally come here to live they promised you an especially big pizza and a pitcher of the best sangria you have ever tasted. The sun has been out every day looking for you so hurry back.

Grey Bear said...

Oh I can't wait! She better got off her duff and start selling those books!