Orihuela, Spain

7 – 14 June 2016

It seemed our trip to Spain was jinxed from the beginning. Our friends Murray and Viv, who were expecting to come with us, weren't able to travel due to family problems. Undaunted we continued our plan to head to Geoff and Marylin's house alone.

We arrived at Alicante, where they collected us. It turned out that Geoff wasn't well and had spent the previous night at the hospital. Perhaps this visit wasn't going to be quite the non-stop party of our last visit.

Fellow house-guest

Geoff on bike repair duty

It turned out to be just the quiet type of holiday we needed after the chaos of the previous six months at home.

Each morning before it got too hot, we took a bike ride. The route varied but always involved a visit to a local cafe for refreshments.

One particular day the puncture monster got us. Christine's bike (it's always Christine's bike) got a flat on a gravel road along the riverbank, just after we'd parted company with Geoff in the car. It was at this point that we discovered that, although we had a puncture kit, the bike pump didn't actually work. Marilynn called Geoff who headed home for another pump and arranged to meet her in the town, so she could show him to our location.

Meanwhile a passing Spanish cyclist came to our aid, leaping from his bike, repairing the puncture and using his own pump to blow the tyre back up. By the time our friends returned, we were almost back on the road. It's amazing what can be achieved with sign language.

By the time we made it back from our ride each day, the temperature was really high and we made full use of the pool.

Friday night found us headed to the local city of Murcia, to check out the tapas scene. Getting there involved a drive and a tram ride. After a spot of people watching with a cool beverage, we headed to a lovely tapas bar we'd visited on our last trip, Geoff and Marylin's favourite.

By the time we were headed home, the trams were getting further apart but we weren't done yet. The boys needed ice cream. Where would we find ice cream at midnight in the quiet Spanish towns on our way home? The need grew greater and we weren't finding any options.

Cooling off!

Lunch break

Where are you Viv?

Finally we spotted a light in the distance and hope was revived. We pulled into a 24 hour petrol station and raced to the kiosk. A somewhat alarmed night cashier asked what we wanted.

'Helado', we giggled, the tapas had been well lubricated. The guy gave us one of those looks, the type that tell you someone doubts your sanity then he moved away. 'That's that,' we thought. As we headed back to the car, a voice called to us and we turned to find the door to the shop had been unbarred, unlocked and opened and the guy was pointing toward the freezer. He may have thought we were nuts but we obviously didn't look dangerous!

We knew that our flight home was late, so we headed to a local restaurant for our last lunch time for 'Menu del Dia'. A three course lunch designed for local workers, it would keep us going until we were due to get home early the next morning.

Shopping for supplies.

Zombie fish.

We flew with Ryanair, a first for us. Our plane was showing on the information board as on time but an hour after our departure time it still hadn't showed up. The lack of anyone to ask made us nervous and the lack of any seating at the gate made us grumpy. Of course the French air traffic controllers had to pick the day of our flight for their strike, well they pick quite a lot of days to strike it seems. Anyhow, finally a plane showed up and we were headed back to Bristol.

You'd think that 1 am would be a quiet time at Immigration in a small provincial airport. Apparently not so. It was amazing how they could get taken by surprise by planes landing at an airport. Another frustrating hour passed as we stood in line to enter back into our own country!

Now we had only two days to get ourselves sorted ready to head out again to the States.

Found one bigger than yours Murray!

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