La Manga | The end of something beautiful

It’s true what they say you know, time really does fly when you are having fun.

We have reached the final night of the holiday. 

Wanting to end it with something fun, mountain biking was on the agenda. Arriving at the shop to discover it closed early today which didn’t leave us enough time to warrant the trip worthwhile. 

Instead of creating a stressful situation creating other plans (as happened on Tuesday) there was a quick assessment as to what had been enjoyed the most over the week spent here. It was La Cala. 

Having already been twice this may seem tedious to you but each time we were there for a total of one hour and the second time we literally remained in the restaurant for food. 

Back at the beach it had that private feel to it again. There was just Chris and I.

Taking up residence on a sun lounger, we watched the waves crash. Today they were the biggest I’ve seen. Most likely to be remnants of yesterday’s storm. It was a little intimidating actually, looking out over the vast waters and seeing the size and reach of those waves didn’t let you forget how powerful this entity is. A couple of times the water came right up under our sun loungers causing us to have to move back.

Remember in the first post about La Cala and I told of how it boasted a beautiful, rocky surrounding? Well, it may not have been one of my brightest ideas but the urge to explore was much stronger than my levels of resistance. Equpped with strap up sandals and in a bikini I scaled those rocks with Chris (who more sensibly had trainers and shorts on). 

The rocks we scaled and we continued on round the cove

Risking my ankles was definitely a worthwhile expedition. The views, the wind, the sounds – oh what an experience! If you ever head this way make sure you do this! I mean, wearing more appropriate clothing to reduce risk of injury would probably be smart also but it’s up to you.

La Cala had become kind of our escape. There was just something about this beautiful spot that resonated with my soul.

In the evening, the final barbecue and awards night was hosted at one of the villas. 

A fantastic paella spread was put on with a whole host of cakes and magnums to follow.

The awards were given and the tournament winning team was announced. Mama Gee was in the winning team for the second year running! Go team! Next year is going to be her hat trick year!

We said our goodbyes and thanked everyone for including us in their plans throughout the week. Meeting different people is something I really enjoy and I am constantly in a state of awe and fascination as I listen to their life stories.

Back to the hotel for our final night in paradise. I’m not ready to leave yet. 

The final time…

La Manga | Cartagena and Lightening storms 

Wow, the weather forecast certainly wasn’t wrong. It was most definitely raining but nonetheless our trip to Cartagena was going ahead. 
On the advice of the concierge we asked the taxi driver to take us to El Corte Ingles under the impression that this was an indoor shopping mall. Unfortunately, we were a little to eager and arrived before it opened.

The taxi driver very kindly offered another suggestion of the port and the row of shops along there so that’s where we headed.

On the drive up I was not expecting much from this little town but actually I judged too prematurely. It was actually quite beautiful. The floors were made of beautifully decorative stone, in the wet they were also a tad dangerous being that they were so slippery but the beauty outshone the danger. The street was surrounded by some simply stunning architecture and decorative fountains, on a dry sunny day I’m sure the beauty of this area is quite mesmerising. 

The beautiful streets of Cartagena

As the weather wasn’t so today however, our plan was to browse the shops in the hope that the rain died off just long enough for us to explore the roman ampitheatre, sadly the rain wasn’t so obliging. 

Not to worry though, I was treated to pair of shoes which I just adore. 

At one stage, Mama Gee ended up dancing in the rain to the music of a busker. It was quite funny and I caught it all on video! 

On our return to the now open, El Corte Ingles it turned out that this was more a department store than a shopping mall. Fortunately, there was a shopping mall on the way back to the hotel; Espacio Mediterrano. We stopped her before heading back to the hotel to get ready for our evening meal.

Off to another villa tonight. One of the ladies who was hosting us was vegetarian so she catered for myself and herself whilst the other lady whom was not vegetarian catered a meat dish for herself and the others. How perfect! We all had the relevant paella dish tonight, it was lovely and finally we were all eating Spanish! 

The walk up to their villa was quite comical though. We walked round a one giant circle before realising we were lost. Each road in La Manga doesn’t look much different from the last. Eventually we found our way and headed up a great hill. The rain had died off but thunder and lightening had set in. 

As we sat on their rather large balcony for our meal, the lightening coming from behind the mountains in electric blue rays made quite a wonderful setting. I tried to capture it on camera but as Chris very cleverly left ours at home the only device to use was my iPhone 5 and the camera was just not good enough to capture but take my word for it, it was stunning. Mid sentence a few times we all wowed at some of the lightening strikes. 

A snippet of lightening captured at the bottom left hand corner

La Manga | When all else fails 

This week is fast becoming the week of failed plans and we are now the masters of back ups.

Initially, the idea was to get up early and head down to the tennis courts for a hit in the morning before heading to Cartagena, a historical city a short journey from the resort, in the afternoon but I had a really broken nights sleep so when morning came round I was not ready to rise. By the time we were ready to make a move it was too late to go play tennis.

Then came yet more rearranging, the trip to Cartagena has been postponed because today is a bank holiday in Spain (Wednesday seems a fairly odd day for a holiday don’t you think?) so all of the shops and attractions would be closed. 

Tomorrow we are due rain so the tennis is cancelled but our adventure to Cartagena is still going ahead because well, we are British so pretty used to dealing with the rain! 

So after all the rearranged plans, we decided to make the most of the still glorious weather (not sure I believe it’s going to rain actually) by laying on a sun lounger with a good book. So cliched but it should definitely come under the definition of holiday. 

At the arrival of Mama Gee and her friend, we took them to La Cala. They had yet to go so we thought it would be good to encourage a change of scenery on their break and we got lunch at a hotel endorsed restaurant there.

Back to the beach

As soon as we arrived it was a very different experience from Monday, the waves whilst still on the gentle side were crashing much more frequently and a little higher, the tide came in a little further and there were more people so it felt a little less private, but still spectacular. The gleaming sun, the sparkling water and the sound of he waves has to be one of the most relaxing settings.

The food at the restaurant is probably the best food we have eaten here so far, looking out over the water at the cruise ships on the horizon, we had a range of seafood between us which was cooked to absolute perfection. It brought me to realize that I was yet to really enjoy any food here but thankfully, today I did!

Gorgeous views from the restaurant

The slight change in aggression of the waves was a definite indicator of the change in weather, rain was forecast for the afternoon and by the time we were back at the hotel the sun was behind clouds and the breeze was picking up.

We made the most of it by spending a couple of hours at the pool before heading up to the gym for a chest a triceps workout.

Mid rep and struggling

Of course, we just had to indulge in the spa again whilst we were up that way. Especially with the change in weather and the setting of the sun it was great to experience the change in atmosphere and scenery. 

Views at sundown

As I already mentioned, it was Spanish Bank Holiday today and we weren’t sure which food establishments were going to be open. 

The shuttle bus driver drove us a different route back to the hotel but we hopped out a little earlier after driving past a restaurant called ‘Si!’ It was more like a sports bar with TV’s in every line of sight and a different sport playing on each one but the menu got me excited.. ‘vegetarian lasagne’. The first time I have seen the term vegetarian incorporated into a menu here! It was also delicious! 

We were all feeling absolutely wiped by the time we left, I think between the spa and the weather, which was now a bit chilly and raining, all the energy had been drained. This called for one thing and one thing only, a good old early night all round. Tomorrow will be a whole different kettle of fish, we will be refreshed and ready for the adventures ahead come rain or shine! 

Good night

La Manga |So many activities

Waking up to another beautiful day in this slice of paradise and ready to see some more of its beauty on a trip out to Torrevieja; or so we thought. It seems that we were misinformed as to the distance between our destinations and felt it a frightful shame to spend this glorious day travelling in a car.

Not quite the 20 minute journey we had in mind

Between us we had compiled a host of activities that we would like to experience in La Manga so we set about trying to organise one of those instead.
Travelling out of season, whilst having its perks, does comes with a few minor downsides; one of which being that a few of the amenities close down for the low season, as we also experienced on Monday, after planning to lunch at Uncle Sams to find it had closed for the year.
The same applied today. We had both set our sights on water skiing and a couple of hours paddle boarding, so the fact that they had closed for the season threw a bit of a spanner in the works.
Though we had lots of back ups each plan fell through for one reason or another today and after about the fifth outfit change, enough was enough. Changing the dynamic of our previous plans we headed for some much welcomed spa relaxation and it was blissful.

Aboard the courtesy shuttle we were chauffeured to the top of a steep hill. Once we were inside it was so clear to see the reasoning behind the location for the spa. The views were breathtakingly phenomenal! Worth a visit for those alone.

Wonderful scenery from the spa jacuzzi

Equipped with a large jacuzzi type pool, a smaller jacuzzi complete with jet infused loungers, a steam room with menthol insence, ice buckets, the coldest plunge pool you have ever experienced and jets that would put your sports masseuse to shame. The essence of luxury is definitely radiated throughout the hotel and all of the facilities.
It ended up just being the two of us in the spa for a couple of hours. Perfect!

The Spa to ourselves

We fully took advantage of the fact that there were only the two of us and did the opposite of what normally goes down in a spa.

We were loud, laughing our heads off, jumping from pool to pool, messing around with our new camera and holding competitions. Though I was totally tricked into a plunge pool competition: “just see how long you can stay in for babe” lead to me screeching and wriggling around in a such a manner that could only be likened to that of a petrified chicken because Chris found it hilarious to hold me down for a couple of extra seconds, which really is quite a long ass time when you can feel soul turning to ice!
If any of you read my Summer Preppin’ post, you will know that I had set out a couple of challenges for myself this week; the main one being to learn to swim. Well, guess who can now swim! I’m not claiming to be Olympic ready but I can get from one side of the pool to the other without drowning or dragging myself along the wall of the pool! So very proud of myself and of course my coach, Chris!
Needless to say, it was the perfect way to spend the day after so much mucking and messing about this morning.
Dinner reservations have been made of La Barra tonight following an invitation to dine with some of the other tennis campers. Bring on more of that Sangria!! 

In an attempt to take in a bit more of the limited Spanish culture here, I opted for a couple of tapas dishes. Now I am not sure how Spanish these dishes were but they were definitely tasty; Whitebait in garlic oil, grilled Mediterranean vegetables and patatas bravas.

What a perfect day it turned out to be..
Tomorrow we shall be travelling to Cartagena to soak up some culture. Be sure to check back to hear all about it! 

La Manga |Travelling in the low season

The resort beach is called La Cala. At 11am this morning there was only Chris and myself there, it was so private it felt as though it was just our own.

Just the two of us, sunbathing and looking out across the sea; so blissful.

Set at the bottom of a mountain this stoney beach has so much more character than most of the more standard sandy beaches. Though it was calm and peaceful the mini waves crashed with that bit more attitude and the rocks surrounding set the imagination running.

I am a very creative person though my follow up lacks. Whilst I create beauty in my mind, producing it in reality to share with others never quite goes to plan. This beach however, boasts so much character and so many different angles that even I, in my amateur photography ways, couldn’t fail to capture its beauty.

Beauty and a beach…

The shuttle bus only runs to and from La Cala on the hour. As we had never been before we had arranged with the driver to pick us up 1 hour after he dropped us off, but I could have happily stayed there for a few more.

After perusing the information given to us at check in we planned on grabbing lunch at Uncle Sam’s American Diner. That’s when the downside of traveling in the low season reared its ugly head, a few of the restaurants had closed down for the year now and you guessed it, Uncle Sam’s was one of them.

We still hopped aboard the shuttle bus though and went on a mini tour of the area spotting all of the little attractions and restaurants that weren’t endorsed by the hotel. There a couple of restaurants dotted about that we hadn’t seen before and a few more bars. We settled on a little spot called La Barra which turned out was only a stones throw from the hotel and tennis courts.

Now don’t judge me, but I ended up having a kids meal of fish fingers, chips and peas for lunch. Typical Brit abroad I know. It’s horrendous. As we discovered on day 1, the term vegetarian means nothing here!

We did indulge in some Spanish culture (which is very limited in this resort) with a glass of Sangria each. It was delicious. Chris and I were almost singing as we left, not drunk but that very enjoyable, very entertaining stage of merry! Will definitely be returning for a little more of that.

When in Spain…

A couple of the tennis players had rented a villa together and kindly hosted a barbecue for everyone this evening. When we arrived this was no bog standard villa and certainly no bog standard barbecue! They had prepared a feast good old Henry XIII would have been proud of!