After a late start and a leisurely open-air breakfast, we head off for Fuengirola in search of bus tickets for later in the week. It is quick, simple and painless – and tickets in hand, we wander into the market where Michael window-shops for spices, fish and meat, bemoaning the fact that ‘we don’t have food markets like this at home’. [I have the pictures and will remind him of this, when he mocks me, as I’m sure he will, at the handbag and shoe shops.
We drive to the town of Mijas, where we admire, as always, the horse-drawn carriages, the flower-covered white houses and the winding streets of this little gem hidden behind the Costa de Sol. There is a wonderful walk along the side of the hill, overlooking the slopes leading down to the sea and although the town itself is heaving with tourists, deposited by coaches for a couple of hours each morning and afternoon, up here it is quiet and peaceful.
After a brief detour into a shop selling beautiful sundresses – well someone has to keep the shopkeepers solvent! – we descend on the Mayan Monkey Mijas, the world’s smallest chocolate factory. While we decide which flavours to try, our friends choose double scoops of ice-cream to quench their thirst. Now I’d like to say that we sit virtuously waiting for them to finish this indulgence, without joining in – but I’d be lying! It is truly wonderful – not the most nutritious of lunches, but certainly right up there on taste.
We spend the afternoon chatting some more – it’s amazing just how much catching up there is to do when friends have been apart for more than a year, even in this age of emails and other forms of instant communication. We don’t really communicate that well, if we’re not face to face.
Supper is eaten in a Fuengirola back street where in an almost empty restaurant, far too early for the locals to be eating, we are served a huge slab of raw beef and a sizzling stone on which to cook it. Avoiding spitting fat is not easy with open necked shirts and short sleeves, but we ignore the pain and get on with it. What was I saying the other day about companies getting the customer to do the work?
[Tomorrow we will do more sightseeing and less eating – honestly!]
Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.
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