The Budget Orient Express.

The Orient Express. The very name conjures glamour and intrigue. Black tie donned counts wearing monocles. Countesses with cigarette holders and gold-capped front teeth. Servants and trunks. Finery and frippery. Decadence and dosh. But we were not on the real Orient Express. We were hurtling across Europe on a budget; travelling from Paris to Istanbul – hoping for some of the luxury at a fraction … Continue reading The Budget Orient Express.

House-Sitting in Alora, Spain.

A place to call our own. For three weeks at least. We only had to share it with Coco, Derecha and Maisie. ‘We’re in the campo’, Jackie told us. We’d imagined Alora as a quaint little village, cobbled streets falling down a hillside. Don’t know where we got that idea from. Must have been the mention of ‘pueblo blanco’ that did it. In reality, Alora … Continue reading House-Sitting in Alora, Spain.

‘Our’ Watchtower in Cadiz.

We were hemmed in by one of Cadiz’s narrow old-town streets. The ‘You are Here’ souvenir shop to our right, clothes and shoe shops all around, most of them shuttered. It was four in the afternoon and still siesta time. Wider than some, the street was still slightly claustrophobic; cobbled underfoot, and lined with enormous, seemingly impenetrable arched doorways. We were early and no one … Continue reading ‘Our’ Watchtower in Cadiz.

Capileira – Hiking The Sierras.

After a city stretch we thought we’d be ready for some mountains, countryside and hiking. Like Boabdil, I gave a last sigh, and tore myself away from Granada. He had negotiated a settlement with the Catholic Monarchs, agreeing to surrender the city in return for the Alpujarras valleys, 30,000 gold coins, and political and religious freedom for his subjects. We were following in his footsteps … Continue reading Capileira – Hiking The Sierras.

Granada’s Albayzin.

  Everyday we walked through the Albayzin along the Barranco de las Naranjas and Barranco de los Negros – romantic names which conjured up images of the Moors, their legends and history – on cobblestone paths, past white-washed cave houses, cactus plants, scrubland, and at every turn there was one glorious view of the Alhambra after another. Past an ad-hoc cafe that made use of … Continue reading Granada’s Albayzin.

The grass really is greener in the Dordogne.

Not many people can say that they moved to France because they had to find room to house twenty-four animals. Roland used to work at Scotland Yard. He had a colleague in the mounted police. There is no money in the British system for pensions for police work-horses. The police can hardly fund sufficient policemen, let alone keep old horses in clover. Roland’s colleague knew … Continue reading The grass really is greener in the Dordogne.