Category Archives: Entertainment

SUNNY SPAIN – November and December

Day 8 – Malaga

We were up early on this Thursday morning to check out of Los Amigos Beach Club, with some regret, because we enjoyed this resort much more than we had expeted.  2316316_125_z

DSCN1911   Not only did we make friends, but we walked to the beach, had good food available close by, and Mijas is so centrally located along the Coast del Sol that we could walk or ride almost anywhere in a 2 hour radius–which we did for Ronda, Granada, La Calla, and Fuengirola, which gets you to Malaga by train.   area_map_costa_del_sol

In fact, this day’s journey was exactly that. Thanks to new friend Ivon, we had a town car ride with him to the train station, instead of the wild taxi ride we had getting to Mijas. Believe me, that was a great relief.

We said our tata’s to our British friends Ken and Marjorie, Gordon and Edna, and then found Ivon.  images

We got the train, had a lot of help from the locals and station personnel figuring out how to buy a ticket, and which train to catch.

We arrived in Malaga, and decided to walk the mile to our hotel, partly so we could get an idea of the terrain and how to navigate our two days in the city.

Unknown-1 We arrived at the hotel, Carols V (which I had said to Elton, as we checked out at Los Amigos as Carlos “V.” He replied, graciously, “I think it is Carlos the Roman Numeral Five–you know Charles V, ” the Holy Roman Emperor in the 16th Century.” We had a good laugh. I guess I am forgetting my Latin I and II.

The Carlos V in Malaga isn’t a luxury hotel, but the price was right–and we were only sleep there two nights, expected to be out and about most of the day, so it was really just fine.  Unknown-2

We were bent on tapas for supper, and had it early since our late breakfast at the condo of everything left in the fridge that we didn’t give away, was plenty to tide us over till 4p.m.     IMG_2600

Seated at our al fresco cafe, we people-watched, enjoying the balmy afternoon, and then dined on lovely Serrano ham, olives, cheese, potatoes, roasted peppers, bread and wine. Oh life on the Mediterranean. You could get used to this.  IMG_2611

We had booked a Hop On, Hope Off trolley tour, but had trouble finding the right station. On foot, we traversed quite a bit of the city, and only after a couple of hours realized we were out oftime for the day, because it was almost twilight this December evening.  We had hoped to use the transportation to get around, especially since we had scheduled a tapas workshop on Friday.city-sightseeing-malaga-hop-on-hop-off-tour-in-malaga-138384

As it turned out, we didn’t need much transportation other than our feet. Almost everything in Malaga’s main district is walking distance. And, as in so many city areas of Europe, if you stop off for a gelato or a cappucino or some refreshment, you can do miles with little effort.

IMG_2637  As evening grew, we wandered into the mall near our hotel, and discovered it was the day the Christmas lights would be lit. Shoppers were clustered waiting, and then a collective ahh went up when the lights came on.

Shopping here was a congregation of little shops and posh department stores like Massimo Dutti, where we found accessories–a belt and purse that will give us sweet memories of this trip.   IMG_2628

We had a great time finding gifts for the kids and grands, and a couple of totes for us at the little kiosks in the mall, where everyone was so friendly and helpful.

We headed back to Carlos V for the night, happy to rest up for our full day Friday.

 

 

 

 

Sunny Spain – November and December

LA1_resort-header-01_0Day 7 – Back in Mijas.

We took a break, knowing it would be our last day in Mijas and with our new British friends at Los Amigos Beach Club.

We had a paella lesson in the community room, and also learned how to make sangria. The resort had a new person teaching, so the crowd had to interact, and some of them had done this before. Great fun.  IMG_0074

Our poolside condo was the perfect location, and strangely quiet–but then it was December. Not a lot of swimming going on.

We relaxed, enjoyed our afternoon, tried to eat up all of the things in the fridge and gave away the rest.

In the evening, our friends Ken and Marjorie invited us to their condo for a party, and there the rest of our new acquaintences were gathered. It’s amazing how a good hostess can provide the perfect appetizers with just bread and condiments and some other yummies, but Marjorie had done this before.   Unknown-3

On our dinnertime the day before, we had shared our table with Ivon, and he offered,  now, to drive us to the train on Thursday for our excursion to Malaga. He had his car, having driven through France to Mijas.

images

We got a picture of just how homey this place was to these English and Scottish friends. They thought nothing of driving to Spain, as we would feel traveling through States to a holiday.

UnknownWe had a great time, went back to our condo to pack for our last leg of the trip, and then watched BBC till we were sleepy.

All good.

 

Sunny Spain – November and December

Day 6 – La Cala Mijas

Day 6 was a time to kick back a little and see more of the local area. We felt the need to walk, and found La Cala Mijas was about an hour or less from our resort, and worth the walk along the Mediterranean where the view was never hidden.   Coastal-pathway-La-Cala-de-Mijas

We had to navigate along the busy highway’s bridge which paralleled the road, and the traffic was loud and scary at times, but we kept the Sea in sight, so had a good trade-off.  Besides, we knew the distance was possible, and the day was cool and pleasant, about 75 degrees F. on the first day of December.  We weren’t sure whether it was the Spaniards or the tourists who didn’t walk everywhere, but in Mijas, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of foot traffic. In any case, we enjoyed our walk, even though the road roar made it a little difficult to chat as we walked.   Unknown-4

We started out around noon and found it a pleasant mid-70 degrees F. on this Tuesday, December, 1.
When we arrived, we were delighted to find a navigable town with restaurants and expansive beach areas with tables for dining al fresco from El Torreon, the large white beach restaurant we decided on.  Unknown-3

We ordered seafood, of course, at El Torreon, and we leisurely dined with the Mediterranean as our companion. The food was delicious. The whole scene reminded us of Santa Monica, and we felt at home there, almost as though we had always known it.

Unknown-2 It doesn’t get better than having lunch on the beach of the Mediterranean Sea, and strolling through the beach town, with no worries of parking cars, being lost, or dodging children begging for coins. (There was absolutely none of this in Spain.)

After lunch, we strolled around the small town, and enjoyed the freedom of a new place in walking distance to our “home away from home.”

By around 3:30pm. we decided to get to the bridge to walk before any chance of a rush hour, since we didn’t really know much about traffic patterns along the highway.

733987_175558075926207_1560753296_nReturning to Los Amigos, we changed for dinner, and wandered back to the Indian restaurant, Punjab Palace, which we knew we liked, and feeling like this couple of blocks of walking was nothing.   We weren’t about to start exploring new food on this walkabout day.nearby-restaurants

BBC provided our evening’s entertainment, and we also said hi to our British neighbors, who invited us to their party the next day, which we accepted, especially since we planned on leaving Thursday, cutting our time share stay short, to go to Malaga for two days before flying back to Boston.

It was a breezy delightful day by the Sea, and we knew we could get used to this very easily.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunny Spain in November and December

I think the simplest way for me to chronicle our amazing trip to the Costa del Sol, is to diary it, and take you along with us–after the fact, of course. So I will begin:

Day 1 and before – Guiness for breakfast anyone?

Our first challenge was figuring out how to get to Logan International, because our usual travels are from Bradley, where we have parking. We didn’t want to leave a car parked for the 10 days, because winter can make starting a car up tricky. There was a time we almost didn’t get the car started. That isn’t fun at night or early morning where other transportation options are thin.   Unknown

So, having mentioned this need to a co-worker, who does Logan frequently, we found out that our company has a deal with Avis for one way, if the car is dropped off within a few hours. Great perk. Other rentals for one-way additional charges, were going to cost upwards of $150. Problem solved. We got an Avis car for $42. So now we were ready to go.

Unknown-1   We boarded Aer Lingus for Malaga, via Dublin–amazingly less expensive than a trip to South Dakota. Of course hubby’s first thought is that even with a 5am arrival, he had to have a Guinness, served by an Irish colleen,  with whatever else he would have for breakfast.

When we first arrived at Dublin Airport, it was so early hardly any workers were there.  Unknown

By the time we read the very confusing signs, and watched the other travelers scurry away to their connections and/or Dublin destinations, we were left at a fork in the road (corridor) with no idea whether we were the “Euro passport” people or not, and therefore had no idea where we were going.

This was a problem, because our short hour and a half was dwindling and hubby really, really wanted that Guinness,  the likelihood which at this hour looked like a no-go, since no food stands were in sight. Only the lonely pathway to or away from “Euro Passport” travelers.
We walked quite a way away from that sign, and were grateful at last to see a guy with a motorized cart. Since it was Ireland and not Spain, we had hopes of directions.   IMG_2291

His look when we queried him, bespoke that we were not the first lost passengers. He good-naturedly motioned for us to climb onto the cart, and he wheeled us to our gate area–where, behold, we found food AND Guinness! Several croissants, scones and a pint later, we boarded the second plane for Malaga, very happy indeed.

 

Della Mae – Bluegrass worth the ticket

It was a circuitous route that led us to hear Della Mae at Payomet’s satellite venue, an Elk’s Lodge in Eastham, Cape Cod, MA, but this is a circle we were thrilled to travel.  th-2

We got to Della Mae because we heard Delbert McClinton, also new to us, on Imus in the Morning. We just loved his singing style and music. Learning he has a website, amazingly named merely www.delbert.com, we found that he was scheduled to be in a line up in Cape Cod.   th

We were planning to spend a few days in Eastham, MA (inThe Cape) in May. But, alas, Delbert wouldn’t be there till August on a Tuesday, no less.

We usually stay at The Town Crier Motel in Eastham, and what we found delightfully surprising, was that Della Mae was going to be performing at the Orleans-Eastham Elk’s Lodge, under the auspices of Payment Performing Arts Center, the exact May weekend we would be there.

dellamae-9135rgb    So, although we couldn’t attend the concert for Delbert on a Tuesday in August at the regular performing arts venue, Payomet, we decided to try out the Della Mae concert at the Elk’s lodge.   th-1

I called Payment, got tickets, bought an annual membership to Payomet, imagining we might make the three hour trip to The Cape more often,  now that we have a whole new perspective on things to do, and relished getting to hear a fairly new bluegrass combo of five women.

What a great delight they were to hear! The five formed their bluegrass group in Boston about five years ago, and are now based in music-city–Nashville. Evidently meeting from various places as far apart as Colorado, British Columbia and Nashville, they discovered they sound really, really good together.

We agree. Celia Woodsmith, the lead singer and guitarist, from Boston, has a throaty, high-energy, charismatic style, and can evoke a lot of emotion in traditional numbers like 16 Tons, and original music like Boston Town, and the Eco Song. Jenni Lyn Gardner, the only member actually from Nashville, does some strong lead singing, but it’s her mandolin, along with Kimber Ludiker’s violin, that brings up the Celtic flavor of the combo’s modern, yet classic-bluegrass, and we were transported to the new and popular Brigadoonish Outlander series. Courtney Hartman, the Coloradian, is also mulit-talented on guitar, banjo and vocals. A fifth member, Zoe, from British Columbia, is no longer listed as a member of the group, but was there with excellent fiddling for our May concert.

3503525839-1     Della Mae now has three albums, the newest one this year (2015), is titled Della Mae, and Woodsmith says is “edgier” than some of their earlier recording. Their other two albums include grammy-nominated, This World Oft Can Be. Let’s just say if you want a delightful evening of heart-pumping bluegrass, get to their website and see when they will be at a venue near you. It’s well worth the ticket, and you may have to stand in line soon as they gain in following and popularity.

Rockin’ it out at Tucker’s in Southwick

Not sure when we’ve had a better time, returning to the nostalgia of our youth as the dinner theatre-Eagle’s Tribute evening at Tucker’s in Southwick, Mass.  tucker-s-restaurant

Cover-Tribute bands can be iffy at best, but the 7 Bridges Eagles Tribute Band delivered every penny of the ticket price ($45 per person, including buffet dinner) and way more.

10300120_10152389010134140_3904124123450316618_n    On this evening in March, 7 Bridges opted to bring only five of their seven-man band, knowing that Tucker’s would be a more intimate setting. This was a good decision, plenty of volume, and a very personal evening, especially since we were seated at a table just to the left of the stage.   tucker-s-restaurant-2

The full band, known as “the ultimate Eagles experience” would have been too loud. Don’t quote me on my memory, but I believe we had Jason Manning, Keith Thoma, Bryan Graves, Randy Meisner, and Black Hall who we heard.

In any case, the abbreviated 7 Bridges did almost every single of the “greatest hits” and even invited the willing crowd to singalong, which, of course they would’ve done anyway, but with permission with less guilt.

This ensemble sounded so Eagles-perfect, if you closed your eyes, you were back in the day.

The buffet was a bit disappointing. What was there was tasty enough, but there weren’t many choices, and if you don’t eat fish or chicken, you’re down to side dishes. Salad and dessert are included, and again, nothing special. We decided that it wasn’t the buffet we were really after, so since the evening was so much fun, and our table of oldies (but goodies) were companionable and fun too, we really didn’t dwell on the rather institutional buffet food. In fact, we are looking at Tucker’s calendar to sign up for the next dinner-show evening. They do this regularly.

10934078_10153044377179140_4312725264214461913_n   And, we may even visit 7 Bridges’ website (www.7bridgesband.com) and see where they will be playing aroundthe country.

I highly recommend the dinner-show experience at Tucker’s, and really, even with mediocre food, where can you enjoy an evening of authentic music, sing-a-long, and good conversation for $45 these days. It’s all in Southwick, and our table companions who were regulars, assured us they have had nothing but fun at other events.

Stay tuned. We’ll let you know.