Thursday, October 14, 2010

By the sea

Hola!  Today we leave Granada and head for Costa del Sol…but first we are going on a tour to an olive grove.  We all had breakfast at the hotel.  Danielle elected to stay at the hotel as she is not fond of olives.  Kristina, Lori and I were in the lobby at 10 AM to meet our driver.
We boarded the Mercedes van and along with a couple from France, headed out to the olive grove.  We drove about 25 km south of Granada to a very small town.  There were three vans of people to take the tour, which was in English.
A young lady told us all about olive trees.  How they grow, how old they can be, when they first start bearing fruit, about their root system and she showed us how they irrigate the trees.  The grove we were in was owned by families that live in the village.  They were passed down from generation to generation.  The families harvest the olives themselves and are part of a cooperative that presses the olives for oil.  Depending upon how many kilos of olives you harvest, you receive a percentage of the oil.  They grow enough for themselves.  They don’t have enough to sell.
The olive trees are on terraces that go down the mountains.  They are irrigated via channels that bring water down from the mountains.  Both the terraces and the channels were built by the Moors, so they are very old.  There are almond trees, pomegranate trees and grape vines in amongst the olive trees.  She said that they say, “You plant the grape vines for your children and the olive trees for your grandchildren.”
From there we got back in the vans and drove into town to the old mill.  At one point the driver of the van had to pull in his side mirror, because the street was soooo narrow.  The mill had been built in the 1500 and was used until 1920.  She explained how it worked and that they now have a modern factory to process their olives.  She took us across the street for an olive oil sampling. 
We tried five different olive oils (and you thought that they were all the same) and she explained the type of olives used and the process.  We now know all about extra virgin, virgin and pure olive oil.  We really enjoyed the tour and learning about olives and olive oil and seeing this small village.
We were back in the city at about 1:30 PM; we met Danielle and loaded the car to head for the sea.  We managed to exit Granada without any wrong turns and soon were speeding along a lovely divided highway to Malaga.  We were in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and had quite a few curves, steep downgrades and even a couple of short tunnels.
We stopped at our first gas station along the way.  The guy came out and asked Danielle what grade of gas.  She said she didn’t know.  He pointed to the number that he had suggested, on the inside of the cover to the gas tank.  That was nice of them, to let us know what type of gas to use.  We stocked up on agua and snacks and headed back on the highway.
The GPS lady did not know about our hotel, and our reservations did not give a street address, so Kristina programmed in the name of the town.  Once we reached the town, Danielle stopped and we got out and went into a travel agents office to ask where our hotel was.  She spoke excellent English and gave us precise directions.
We arrived at the Beatriz Palace Hotel and Spa which is indeed on the sea.  It doesn’t have a street address because there is not a street.  You have a small access road off the highway as you drive NE. However we were coming from the NE so we had to drive past the hotel until we could exit, then get back on the highway going NE and THEN we could pull off at the hotel. 
Both of our rooms have balconies with a table and chairs.  In fact, I am sitting on the balcony right now, typing this, while listening to the waves wash up upon the shore.
We cannot access the Internet from our room.  This is the first hotel we have stayed in that did not have Internet in the room.  We can use wireless in the lobby area, but not in the room.  Bummer. 
After settling into our rooms, we went to the lobby to use the Internet.  Then we went to the beach to stick our toes in the Mediterranean Sea.  It was COLD!!  :-o  We thought it would be warm in October, but it sure felt cold!  We picked up a few shells and some sand and then came back to the hotel.
As you may have noticed, we skipped lunch.  We decided to walk along the highway on the sidewalk overlooking the sea, to a restaurant that Kristina saw after we crossed over and started back to the hotel.  We had a lovely walk along the bluff, but never found the restaurant.  So we turned around and walked back to the hotel. 
We had to wait ½ an hour for the buffet to open at 7:30 PM.  It was a really nice buffet.  I had salmon and flounder and hake along with salad and agua and several desserts.  They had 4 flavors of ice cream and I tasted all of them.  They had a really good coconut cookie.
After a relaxing dinner, we headed back to the room, where I decided to write this while sitting on the balcony and enjoying the sea breeze.  Lori will post it later in the lobby.  It is a lovely, cool evening on the Costa del Sol.  We will be here until Monday morning.  Kristina just pointed out that I am being watched by an iguana or a small lizard of some sort that is on the wall behind me. Oh joy!

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