Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Costa del Sol: Last day on the beach

Autumn has kicked in already and I’m still with my beach stories! Temperatures have slowly gone down here in the Netherlands, although today was an exemption, what a lovely weather, a bit warm than normal but you can feel the cold biting under your skin.

Anyway, I’d like to post another beach entry while the weather is still good!

(Map of Costa del Sol) The Costa del Sol is the whole coast stretch of Malaga province in the South of Spain, from Nerja up north all the way down to Sotogrande.

Moi ready to become a beach bum on our last day in Costa del Sol.

The fotos below were taken on our last day in Costa del Sol on Playa del Bajondillo in Torremolinos.

We pretty much didn’t do anything, Dutchman was trying to surpass his sun tanning quota while I, for the most part, just stared at the sea whilst listening to trance music. I read some magazines as well and I must admit some were glossies gossiping about BNers (Bekende Nederlanders, meaning famous Dutch personas) that I picked up in the lobby of the hotel. It’s alright to have some not-so-serious diversion sometimes.

Oh, a bird poo’d on me! How big is the chance that I get poo on my hair in a wide open beach, huh? The poo got caught on my hair, yuck. Nasty bird.

Travel Period: August 2010
Destination: Costa del Sol Beach, Malaga (Andalucia), Spain

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Welcome to La Carihuela

I am probably just halfway through my Andalusian holiday entries, I mean we stayed in Andalusia for 3 weeks so we have done so much and seen so many places! Anyway, back to Torremolinos. There are actually two parts of Torremolinos along Costa del Sol and that is the main Torremolinos area, more like the new part where the tall apartment and hotel buildings are located, and La Carihuela, the old part of the town.

Chiringuito means a bar on the beach, lots of these in Costa del Sol.

La Carihuela though is much prettier, authentic, vibrant and charming than Torremolinos. It used to be a fishing village until tourism discovered and transformed her into a sun holidaymaker’s mecca. Luckily, she has managed to preserved her little seaside village feel. There are more bars happening in La Carihuela as well and the outdoor terraces and shops are always a delight so Dutchman and I spent a lot of time in the evening here, not to party but to dine, walk around, relax and enjoy the nice vibes of the place.

Here are some fotos of La Carihuela:

The promenade and the playa (beach), those are police on their segway. Oh, tragic news by the way, the British CEO of segway died a day ago.

La Carihuela from the rocky cliff that separates the town from Torremolinos, by day and by night.

Moi on the boulevard and some La Carihuela scenes.

As you can see in the foto above, the outdoor restaurants can really get busy here, especially after 21:00. The Spaniards eat late and there were hordes of them vacationing in Costa del Sol.

Outdoor cafe/restaurant terraces and shops.

Flamenco children's dresses for sale and street name signs here are made from ceramic which is very typical Andalusian.

San Miguel Beer and many houses here have ceramic walls from the outside and inside, for aesthetic reasons, as well as functional--helps cool off the house from the summer heat.

More of La Carihuela scenes here.

Travel Period: August 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Romantic Beach Dinner in Marbella’s Paseo de Maritimo

Marbella’s coastline paseo is very much the same all over Costa del Sol—paved and great for rollerblading, there are plenty of outdoor café terraces on the promenade, vendors every five hundred meters selling fake designer bags, shades, watches and what have you, and the beach is lined neatly with colourful sunbeds. The only difference here really is that the restaurants in this area are chicer and the type of people dining in it and walking around as well are chicer as well. It is a very upmarket place.

Who knows, I might have bumped into a local celebrity, a socialite or someone famous. But who cares?

El Sombrero Restaurant
Website: El Sombrero Restaurant

For dinner we were eyeing on going back to Marbella Old Town. That place is just lovely. I was really caught by the whole ambiance, so lovely and so ‘gezellig’, however whilst walking down the boulevard towards Puerto Banus we spied rows of striking chiringuitos (beach bars and restaurants). What they did is pretty much nothing new really. For this particular restaurant, El Sombrero, they rolled a massive green carpet on the beach, placed tables and chairs and voila, it is a restaurant on the beach! The tables for twos were all facing the sea and candlelight’s alit, flickering like fireflies into the night. It is so romantic. I want to eat here! And so we did.

I’ll be honest here: Our dinner at this restaurant sucked. My rating would be 3 stars out of 5 and that is already being polite. The whole ambience and experience was superb, it made up everything for what the food lacked. Perhaps I just had the wrong dish?

Dutchman argued though that the restaurant owners in Marbella, and this goes to the whole place, ‘understood’ the concept of dining.

El Sombrero Restaurant in Costa del Sol, Marbella and the beachside dinner setting.

My camera's battery died on me so this is the only food foto I have, my main course for the evening: Pescado Frito (Fried Fish). Too oily for me though.

Coffee of course to close this romantic dinner by the beach.

Paseo de Maritimo

Here are a few more fotos of Paseo de Maritimo and the Playa:

Playa de la Venus, the beach in Marbella.

A cross-shaped fountain.

Fotos are not so good though... Marbella beach on Playa de la Venus.

Travel Period: August 2010
Destination: Marbella (Malaga - Andalucia), Spain

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Cheese Tasting in Amsterdam

I met up with a very old friend (we go back 15-20 years) last Sunday—let’s call her Lens, she is visiting Amsterdam together with her hubs. Amsterdam is their last stop after their Mediterranean cruise before flying back to Manila. MadamE and her hubs were there as well because they are also mutual friends—hey, we live in a small world after all, so naturally, us the local residents of this very flat land did the mandatory Amsterdam tour.

Midway through our itinerary, we came upon the ‘De Kaaskelder’ (The Cheese Cellar) on the Flower Market offering cheese tasting.

If you are visiting Amsterdam, this is one of the best and easiest places to do some cheese tasting before buying. We’ve probably tried every cheese on display and we’ve decided to buy the rookkaas (smoked cheese) to eat while walking. The friendly guy in the shop sliced the cheese for us so we can eat them right away. Lens bought a couple cheeses as well.

It is not hard to miss the De Kaaskelder (The Cheese Cellar) on the Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market) in Amsterdam. The cheese shop is housed in a historical building, the VOC Pakhuis (warehouse) circa 1625 of the trading company VOC-Dutch East India Company, the first multinational company in the world.

Cheese ladies at work.

Cheese tasting - aged cow cheese, with herbs, with tomato, goat version and more.

Yummy smoked cheese (rookkaas) in three varieties: cow, goat and with herbs and garlic.

More cheeses of course.

Cheeses are usually eaten together with jam, honey and mustard. Northern Europeans normally eat it with mustard while Southern Europeans eat it with jam or honey. I’m not much of a sweet tooth type so naturally I prefer mustard to go with it and of course with a nice glass of dry red wine. Heerlijk.

Tip: Check out Limburg’s spicy mustard with grains, they are soooo yummy and you can buy them at any Dutch supermarket (I normally buy mine at Plus).

Here we are near the hip Jordaan district along the famous Amsterdam canal belt (soon to be UNESCO world heritage site).

Lovely canal in Jordaan.

Visit Period: September 2010
Destination: Amsterdam Centrum (Amsterdam - North Holland), The Netherlands

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