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Casteller de Castillo
11/15/2010, La Linea Spain

We took Jack up into the hills one afternoon by car to visit the hilltop village of Castillo de Casteller. The final part of the journey was along a steep, winding single track road and luckily we only met a couple of other cars. Steve has had a lot of experience driving through mountainous regions in the Alps, Vosges and Pyrenees on holiday years ago so he was ok but glad when we arrived. Unfortunately the driver never gets to see all the spectacular scenery as they have their eyes on the road - thank goodness. However there were still beautiful views from the top, especially from inside the walls.

The site is unusual as the fortress and village were built in the 12-15th century on the walls of the original ancient Arab fortress. It appears that the castle was more administrative rather than defensive. In the latter part of the 20th century the government undertook its restoration as it had fallen into neglect.

By 1971 nearly all the original local families had moved to Nuevo Casteller with its superior modern amenities leaving a few locals, holiday home owners and, as a couple of the websites say, "ageing hippies or bohemian types"!

There is evidence of Prehistoric settlements and Bronze age settlements and there are cave drawings to be found in the area.




On top of the rock
11/12/2010, Gibraltar

Highest spot on the Rock

Sightseeing
11/12/2010, Gibraltar

Me outside the visitors centre.

The top of the Rock
11/12/2010, Gibraltar

My uncle visited so I took him up on the cable car to the top of the Rock. On the way up the car operator warns you not to feed the Barbary Apes. The view was fantastic and I took lots of photos though we only saw 2 or 3 apes but one of them gave an impressive acrobatic performance on the stairway while I was visiting the ladies - typical!

After the visit we had a great seafood pizza and dessert at Mama Mia at the bottom of the cable car station. We heard from a couple who were at the visitors centre when we were that a mother had been bitten by an ape when she tried to retrieve her toddler's comforter and instead of going to get treated she had stayed and allowed the child to pet a juvenile ape which promptly bit her.

Gibraltar
11/12/2010

Looking down from the top of the rock, Marina Bay on the far right of picture with the western end of the runway. Roughly centre the container dock and north mole with part of the detached mole protruding in from the left.

Checking out Fuengirola
10/21/2010, La Linea

My long time friend Sarah and her husband John flew out to Spain to look at possible properties to buy and we were able to meet up one evening at Puerto Banus. We set off earlier in the day to investigate Fuengirola as a possible place to be lifted so Steve could do some maintenance on our prop seal and anti-foul the hull.

We had met Tim Gordon on our pontoon a few weeks ago and he used to work in the boatyard at Fuengirola and said that it was a good place as the guy in the office spoke English - always helpful and he had worked in the yard himself for a while, a recommendation is always useful. Also you can live aboard and work on your boat when it is out of the water which is rare in Spain as normally once it is lifted you wave it goodbye and are at their mercy! We questioned this at Ayamonte and were told that it is a health and safety issue - no comment! You can also work and live aboard at Gelves up the river Guadalquivir river near Seville. Fuengirola is a bit like Blackpool with more sun so did not appeal but the bars. Tim Gordon still does boat maintenance and is a useful man to know.

Sarah suggested we met in a bar overlooking the marina at Porto Banus - see picture. The marina is rather up market and there are some fabulous boats there, along with some classy shops like Jimmy Choo. We didn't end up in the bar as planned because a pint was 9.50e and we are poor sailors now!

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