Tuesday 10 July 2012

Settling in to Villa Cantarranas

Sunshine! The late night didn't throw the boys out of their inner clock, unfortunately, so it was pretty much their usual wake-up time when the round of scraping chairs, thumping feet and sibling squabble began. The main difference was it was gloriously sunny outside and warm!

Breakfast was served on the balcony looking out over cypresses and through palm trees to the hazy hinterland dotted with villas and fincas that stretched from Fuengirola up to Mijas Pueblo. To our left, half-glimpsed through the foilage, across a small car park, was the so-called top or small swimming pool shared by the 180 houses of the Urbanizacion. To the right, beyond the barbecue and chimineria on the balcony, rose the Sierra de Alpujata, blue-brown in the morning haze. As balcony views go, it is up there with the Rome Cavilieri Hilton as the best we've had. And it was so quiet! Apparently many of the houses of the Urbanizacon are owner-occupied and only a few are let out, so the population at any given time is quite low.

The boys were clamouring for the pool so we got the gear together, begin the sun-cream ritual, and trooped over to the "privado" pool. Snag. The gate appeared to be locked and we had no key! We soon found a side gate and there was a button to press to open the main gate so panic was averted. A family from London had just arrived too, Axel and Jane with their children Edie and Oscar. Axel's mother owned the terraced house right by the side gate so between us we had the prime locations for access to the pool.

The boys were quickly in their stride, second skins on (and armbands for Angus) and into the water. The kidney-shaped pool was fairly deep at one end, ideal for Sean and Finn to start jumping in once their confidence grew. Sharon went in search of a big supermarket and ended up a lot further away than she intended, driving all the way to Marbella to do a "big shop" that would see us through most of the week. She eventually returned to prepare us a sandwich lunch on the balcony then the boys settled into their routine of quiet play indoors with iPods and such like as the afternoon sun reached its hottest.

After a second trip to the pool, we changed and drove into Mijas Pueblo, eventually finding parking down a side street. The memory of visiting it from our stay in Mijas Costa back in October 2007 came back as we trooped into the small network of streets around the town centre, passing donkeys and traps and the usual selection of arts, crafts and leather goods shops. We climbed up a steep staircase and found El Capricho, where we had eaten back in 2007. Its frontage is unassuming, a doorway leading on to a staircase, but once up and inside there is a terrace with a splendid view back over the town up to the encircling mountains. The boys were beginning to flag, their late Sunday night catching up with them, so their enthusiasm for the tasty (though expensive) calamari, gazpacho and seafood paella was low with only Sean showing any real vigour. Rowan insisted on listening to Harry Potter on an iPod.

We eventually took leave (and Finn left his iPod behind - fortunately Sharon was able to claim it the next day) and ushered the children back down to the cars to take them home to bed. Sharon and I were then able to enjoy the peace of the balcony in the twilight and subsequent dusk, watching the swallows darting across the darkening sky and then, as the stars struggled to pierce the last vestiges of daylight, bats traced a more erratic route across the rooftops. It was good to sit with a glass of wine and forget all the troubles of the world.

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