Rat band at the rastrillo

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Market in the square of Fernán Pérez

This morning, we went to the monthly Sunday rastrillo at Fernán Pérez, a neighbouring village just a few minutes drive inland from Las Negras. It was similar to the monthly Sunday market in Las Negras but we felt the ambience was better as all the stalls were crammed into the village square and we saw many familiar faces.

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Rats in the street

At about midday a troupe of street entertainers in rat costumes appeared from a house nearby.

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Rat music

They entered the square and entertained the crowd with music and theatre.

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Margaret ratted

A couple of them took a breather and squeezed in either side of Margaret on a bench.

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Dancing with rats

The group engaged with the crowd, encouraging people to join them in dance and —

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Ratting on children

— involved the children as well.

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Chasing tails

The public appreciated the show.

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The rat show

The rats are apparently German. Last month they were chickens! We will go again next month (first Sunday of each month) to see what form their next appearance will take.

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Reyes Pandora, in the spirit of Julio

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Reyes Pandora on the bar at El Brindi Negro

 

One of the iconic bars of Las Negras is El Brindi Negro. It has been popular not only for the delicious and creative raciones and tapas produced by Miguel but also for its inspirational and way out decor designed by his partner Julio.

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The restaurant in El Brindi Negro

 

After Julio passed away last autumn we wondered whether the ambience of the bar would fade away and who would step up to refresh the decor and redress the mannequins.

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Reyes Pandora

Reyes Pandora, a frequent visitor to Las Negras from Madrid, has taken up the challenge and, every time she comes to our village, reclothes the mannequins and refreshes the decor of the bar.

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Reyes with one of her mannequins —

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— and another

This morning I asked her to pose with some of her creations.

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Reyes and friend by the window

I have always enjoyed taking photos inside El Brindi Negro and I think you will find from these images that the ambience of the bar has not changed and the spirit of Julio lives on thanks to Reyes Pandora.

Photos by Digby Merry

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Wild Flowers and Almond Blossom

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Almond tree in blossom

Autumn seems to have seamlessly turned to Spring in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata without any threat of winter. The almond blossom appeared early in January and the trees are now in full bloom. Wild flowers are also blooming, lending their vibrant colours to the mountainous terrain.

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The landscape between Las Negras and Las Hortichuelas

Yesterday we walked from Las Negras up the rambla Aires de Las Negras towards Las Hortichuelas. On this walk you soon leave all sight of civilization behind with just the mountain scenery and nature to enjoy.

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Arriving at Las Hortichuelas Alta

On reaching the main road we crossed over to the tiny village of Las Hortichuelas Alta, passing by a field of poppies and Bermuda buttercups.

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Blossom and bee

There are many almond trees in flower here which are attracting bees.

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Corner of Las Hortichuelas

The village itself comprises mainly traditional little houses and there are some attractive corners.

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Fields of wild flowers

We can remember how the fields around the village used to be cultivated and this time of year the locals would be growing habas (broad beans). Now that generation has ceased to work the land and the younger generation have moved on, abandoning the fertile fields here to poppies, marigolds and yellow marguerites.

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Las Hortichuelas

Almond trees, palms, agaves, the colourful fields and the traditional white house provide attractive images.

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Leaving Las Hortichuelas

To make a circular walk we left Las Hortichuelas Alta by the road, crossed over to Las Hortichuelas Baja and returned to Las Negras via anaither rambla.

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Feliz Año Nuevo

Happy New Year Margaret at DVinos

Happy New Year Margaret at DVinos

Happy New Year

Waiting for midnight

Waiting for midnight

Last night we celebrated La Noche Vieja with a delicious long meal at the restaurant DVinos in Las Negras. Alberto, the owner put on a special New Years Eve dinner.

Getting out the grapes

Getting out the grapes

It was an excellent evening. The food was great, wine unlimited and this was followed by the customary twelve grapes and cava at midnight.

Saborea La Vida! Margaret and host Alberto

Saborea La Vida! Margaret and host Alberto

Sorry but I did not get the camera out while eating so no foodie pics but here are some of after the meal.

Waitresses for the evening

Waitresses for the evening

Alberto’s charming daughters waitressed for the evening.

Simone at the entrance to the bar Capitan Sardinas

Simone at the entrance to the bar Capitan Sardinas

The bar next door, Capitan Sardinas, opened after midnight so later we drifted across to join Simone the owner for one last cava before wandering home.

 

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Christmas in Las Negras

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Las Negras on Christmas morning

Rather belatedly, festive greetings to all followers and here are some photos from last week.  The fine weather continues and the sun shone as usual on Christmas Day. In the morning we walked down to the village. Only one fisherman on Las Negras beach.

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Daisy on the cliffs

We made a circular walk along the cliffs to Cala del Cuervo and back through the rambla.

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Tilly in the sun

Back at our house our old cats were basking in thw winter sunshine.

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Las Barcas restaurant by the sea

We had roast turkey for dinner the previous evening as is the tradition in Spain so we walked back to the village to Las Barcas for Christmas lunch by the sea. Jolly German and Dutch residents of Las Negras were enjoying themselves at the next table.

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Tricolor salad

We started with a tricolor salad (avocado, mozzarella and tomatoes drizzled with miel de caña).

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Seafood paella

Followed by seafood paella. Since then we have had to finish off the turkey at home – turkey salad, turkey pie, turkey curry and turkey pasta bake on successive days.

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Genoveses beach, San Jose 26th December

The next day we went for a long walk along Genoveses beach. The weather was again beautiful but still only a few people about.

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Lone bather

We did, however, encounter a lone swimmer braving the cold sea.

 

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Some photos from last week

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Rumen flowering on the cliffs

The warm sunny weather continues here in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata. Here are some photos taken during the last week. Of the flowers along the cliffs in bloom at the moment, those of rumen induratus are the most colorful. This shrub likes warm, coastal areas and here it flowers in various shades of pink. The photo above shows some flowering on the cliffs between Las Negras and Cala del Cuervo.

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Boats on the beach, Las Negras

The boats on the beach at Las Negras are particularly attractive in the early morning light and the compositions uncluttered at this quiet time of year.

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More boats on the beach

These two photos were taken on Sunday morning. There are always a few men messing about in the boats or fishing from the shore to add himan interest.

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Palm trees in El Valle

We posted some photos of El Valle in the last blog but here is yet another one. This time of the palm trees looking towards El Playazo beach and the coastline beyond taken yesterday morning.

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Hangliders in the sky

As we returned to Las Negras after a long morning’s walk we came across these hangliders.

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Soaring above Las Negras

Conditions for this sport here must be good as they are often seen soaring above Las Negras during autumn and winter.

If you click on the photos they will enlarge.

 

 

 

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Autumn in El Valle

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Olive trees in El Valle de Rodalquilar

We have now enjoyed over two weeks of continuous warm and sunny weather. Perfect for walking and enjoying the beautiful landscapes of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata.

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The path ro El Playazo beach

Yesterday afternoon we walked through El Valle de Rodalquilar down to El Playazo beach.

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The valley and old castle

The light and colours this time of year are superb. Vivid greens contrast with the rich brown of recently ploughed fields.

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Olive trees against the backdrop of mountains

The mountains behind, lit by the low, soft sun, form a dramatic backdrop.

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Palm trees aeound La Noria

The palm trees around La Noria (the waterwheel) are always impressive.

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El Playazo beach and the Bateria de San Ramon

The beach was virtually deserted.

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Hikers arriving at the beach

A small group of hikers arrived while we were there.

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Looking towards the sea from El Valle

Enjoy the photos. They will enlarge if you click on them.

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