"Salty Dawg " - Nordhavn 55
Owners: David and Lowie Bock
August 13, 2007
Submitted by Lowie
It is 7:20 PM in Spain. It feels as if it is 4:30 in FL. The sense of the sun hours are entirely different here. We just tied the little boat up to the Salty Dawg after a lovely mini cruise. I have not been writing much because David seems to be covering all of our bases so well.
We hope to be adding pictures again to the blog in a week or two. Our current camera has been too difficult to use in the bright sun—and since it is always bright sun we have had a challenge. But have no fear, Doug has come to our aid and is shipping us a replacement digital camera. Stay tuned.
For me, the most fun is living in a new environment with a whole new set of rules. David is really studying hard at Spanish. I am working at it too—but not with his level of motivation (so what else is new?). But I AM studying the culture and the library of guidebooks we have amassed. I feel like a 4 year old who is seeing a new world and new place and has a million questions. The language has enough Latin root cross-over that one can make a good guess at a sign’s meaning—imagine learning Arabic ugh. But even grocery shopping is a little different which makes it FUN!
We keep talking about the late society here but it is truly infectious. We are going to take the bicycles to the local fruitera to buy peaches in about 5 minutes. The store will be open till at least 8:00. To see happy young kids on the streets or in strollers or playing in the park at 11:00PM is mind boggling.
I just have to believe they take LONG naps during siesta.
Buenos tardes mos amigas!
August 9, 2007
Submitted by David
It’s really hard to get started before 10 AM. Even Dannie knows that she doesn’t have a shot at being off the boat too early. By 10 AM it seems like it’s going to be another unbearably hot day but as the land is heated by the sun and the warm air rises it creates a nice gentle sea breeze that intensifies during the afternoon and continues until after sunset.
We’ve tried to plan inland excursions every second or third day up into the hills or along the shore line villages. The alternate days we are into happenings around the marina, the boat, the beaches or the nearby waters by tender. The only thing that gets boring is the continuous and predictably great weather.
Yesterday was a boat project day and after we got tired of chores, a light lunch and siesta of course we headed out in the tender for a ride and swim. We anchor off shore and jump in the refreshing water. The Med always has a gentle swell and the water is quite warm at this time of year. The beaches fill up during the mid afternoon and stay quite busy until almost dark.
Today we dealt with some administrative tasks like setting up a local bank account and drove off to tour some small villages in the mountains. Early afternoon from about 1 to 3 the locals are in the restaurants in the small towns—too hot to eat outside. We had Dannie with us and couldn’t find any outside eating. The roads from one village to another are frequently well paved but only wide enough for one car plus. Fortunately there is little traffic and when you meet an oncoming car the drivers are courteous and do the best you can to get by without touching—but it is very close and there are mostly drop offs into ditches or down the side of a mountain where the pavement ends.
Later in the afternoon we really hungry. As we past thru a moderate sized town I spotted a café/bar with a few outside tables and a parking spot near by. I went in and ordered a few cervezas and tapas—no Inglais spoken here but with a few smiles and gestures we were first brought a saucer filled with the best tasting dark brown olives and then served 2 delicious sandwiches with a thick slice of ham cooked in a spicy sauce on hard crusted bread. Ordered another beer and we were brought 2 small platas of I think chunks of pork in a saffron sauce. The bill came to 6.70 Euros—what a bargain and great tasting too. We followed this by a walk around the town and topped it off with an ice cream treat.
During our first 3 weeks we have concentrated our touring efforts on Almeria province and we are trying to experience the small town local culture. We plan to visit the larger cities and popular destinations like Granada and Seville after the tourist season when the crowds are gone. We are also taking advantage of the Med shore in our backyard that people from all over Europe come to visit on their summer holiday.
Back to the marina and off to the beach for a swim. As we returned to the boat around 8:30 the restaurants were just starting to set up tables for the evening meal. It’s now around 10 and the restaurant are in full operation—me—I’m ready for bed but Lowie (now that she has finished Harry Potter 7) has found an old copy of James Michner’s—Iberia—so she is lost for not only tonight—but quite a few nights--db
August 6, 2007
Submitted by David
As has become the custom, we got up a little later today and after a walk with Dannie and chatting with a Brit that came here 6 years ago and just never got going again (he is leaving with his boat for Thailand next month) we left for a exploration in a new direction with the car. Headed west on a 4 lane autovia—like a US interstate road until the completed part ended and then followed the coast on a 2 lane road that was cut into the mountains along the shore and thru the towns—much as the old road down the US East coast did before I-95 was completed--I remember those days.
After a visit to a scooter shop--I just cannot pass one without checking it out—we headed north into the mountains. The infrastructure of new roads is excellent where it exists and so much is underdevelopment. A few miles out we were ascending along a dry riverbed valley with spectacular vertical rock faces—like nothing we had ever seen. I took a secondary road thru the mountains to start heading back east and we past a bunch of electrical generation windmills. We saw these in the Azores and along the coast along the Med, but this was the first time that I had really been up close. They are like a sculpture in modern art—absolutely magnificent as they turn very slowly and they are huge. The blades have a wide base and a graceful taper unlike the prop on an airplane.
The roads were quite narrow—barely room for two oncoming Euro sized cars and constant switchbacks with dramatic drop offs and few guardrails. Not scary—but one definitely has to pay attention to driving and this is no drive to do with a few beers on. Occasionally we passed thru small villages that reminded me of Alpine villages except we were still in an arid, barren type of terrain. Some of the streets in the villages were barely wide enough for one car. Lots of little cafes in the villages. I couldn’t stop thinking of what great scooter rides these roads will make. Unlike the coast which we have mentioned before as being covered with 100’s of miles of while plastic greenhouses growing Europe’s vegetable (Costa de Plastic not Costa de Sol) the mountain slopes are covered with olive trees—thousands and thousands and little buildings in the villages to process the olive oil.
As we got further along we got into an area of road improvement with construction of new bridges and wider cuts into the mountains—this continued intermittently for maybe 30 km—this part would not have been fun on a 2 wheel scooter. We were very high and again there were no protective rails along very steep drop offs but the scenery was spectacular.
I had purchased a new SLR camera prior to leaving the US and have not been particularly motivated to use it rather than the point and shoot camera. Today’s trip presented numerous opportunities to use a quality camera and lens and I’m sure that we will return to this area. I have been told that the scenery is even more spectacular further into the country. This is such a contrast to the busy coast full of tourists and vacationers.
I’m now planning how to organize the storage on my prospective scooter to accommodate the camera gear, a cooler and raingear.
We marvel at the diversification of living on a boat by the coast and in a very few minutes be up in huge rolling mountains—all still desert like.
August 4, 2007
Submitted by David
We took a ride up into the mountains a few days ago to get away from the scorching desert like heat, sunshine and low humidity. The 2 and 4 lane highway are new and cut thru mountainous terrain with shear drop offs into deep valleys with dry river beds. This will be spectacular scooter riding in the fall, winter and spring. Of course as we drove thru each town or village I had to stop to check out the local scooter/moto shop. One town was setting up for a festival this weekend so we planned on returning.
A local who was born there advised us to return and participate in the festivities. We got there about 1:30 and the town was dead. All the booths and stalls were closed and hardly a soul around but the main calle was blocked off. We circled around the outside of the town and worked our way to the town center thru narrow one way streets where we found a place to park in front of the church. There were a few restaurants (cafeterias) on the perimeter of the square with tables and chairs and a temporary outside bar. We sat at a table with Dannie and I had to buy tickets to exchange for drinks and food. One Euro bought a short beer or tinto (red wine with soda water over ice) and each drink was accompanied with a tapa. Each drink brought a different tapa-rice with seafood, meats in salsa, broiled meats on a stick—all different. A fellow from the restaurant came around to each table and gave us each straw hats with the restaurant name on the band. Our Spanglish language barrier created no problem
When we got there—hardly a soul was to be seen. Within a short while the scene changed with small and large groups of people drinking and eating. We started to stroll around the narrow streets and found dozens of similar bars with crowds pouring into the streets eating, drinking and just having a great time. Lots of kids here and I have yet to find an objectionable one. Many of the kids and adults come over to play with Dannie and unlike our previous dogs—Dannie is great with the kids. Unlike the resort towns that blare with loud disco music, the streets were filled with delightful traditional Spanish music. We had to be he only touristas within a 10 km radius
What a delightful afternoon—I’m sure that the festivities will kick into high gear later in the afternoon and evening and y’all know what party animals we are. Now back at the boat and after a siesta Lowie is reading Harry Potter and I will continue with my Spanish lessons.