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Location: Almunecar, Spain
Current temp: 36
Written by Roxanne

We originally planned to be in Almunecar until only July 15th. We thought that would give Noah a couple of days to enjoy all the fun of being at the Mediterranean before moving on. But, a couple of days before we had to pick him up from his volunteering with Diverbo, Len and I decided we weren’t quite ready to leave… we wanted to explore more of the area and play more in the sun, sand and sea. So, we booked two more weeks in Almunecar. Our decision to stay got even better with a great last minute deal on a condo in the same building we were already in. We literally only had to move our stuff down two floors and down the hall a little further (which gave us a better view of the sea). It was the easiest check out and check in we have had on our trip. We are now due to leave Almunecar on July 29th. We are still planning where we’re going on the next step of our trip.

This has been a peaceful and restful change, following our completion of the Camino. We have enjoyed playing in the sun/sand/water, exploring the area, going for leisurely walks , catching up with homework, watching beautiful sun sets and trying to catch up on our blog (don’t worry, we are still working on it).

During our first week in Almunecar a typical day for us would look like this:
• Wakeup around 9.
• Sit on the balcony and watch the pool and beach slowly fill up with people, while the streets simultaneously get busy with people, bicycles, tour trams, buses, autos, motorcycles and many Vespas, including pink ones that Aurora has got good at spotting. We would watch staff (we don’t know who they work for) set up chairs, rake the sand, and get the rows of Tikki shelters ready for beach goers. Then at about 11 am, a color flag goes up to indicate beach/water conditions. After a few days of being here we figured out, the three flag colors, green, yellow and red, just like a traffic light. Before the flag goes up we all guess of what color the flag will be for the day. Some days the flag color would change, throughout the day.
• Eat breakfast, but never all at the same time, as we are all walking around the apartment on our own schedules, so it takes a long time before we’re all done.
• Aurora does homework with mom’s help.
• Len and Aurora would go to the pool for a swim and play for a couple of hours. Aurora prefers being in the pool, compared to the beach and the sea. While they were at the pool, Roxanne works on the blog.
• Return from the pool, change and make some lunch.
• By late afternoon it is time for some exploring. We enjoy walking around and finding new things to see.
• Part of our day is to make our way to the grocery store and buy something for supper.
• Return home and make supper.
• After eating we sometimes went for another walk. Sometimes we went to the beach; other times just sat on our balcony enjoying the view with a beer (which by the way costs anywhere from 0.52 of a Euro to 1.79 Euro, for imported Guinness Dark Stout from Great Britain. We once saw at the grocery store a special on a dozen canned beer, for approximately 3 Euros. For conversion sake, one Euro is approximately $1.50 Canadian Dollar).

Things haven’t changed too much since our first week here. We still enjoy sitting on the balcony watching the people (locals and tourists); going for groceries almost every day; doing some schoolwork and of course swimming and soaking up the endless sun and heat (averaging mid 30 degrees every day). One day it was only about 27 or 28 degrees, and wait… here it comes, we were cold. We have officially become, “wimpified”. High twenties and we were shivering, what’s up with that?

Every Friday morning Almunecar has a market with about 200 vendors selling everything from underwear to spices. We enjoy walking through the market and always find something to buy, or wish we could buy. It’s tough, because we are trying to keep our bags light and only have enough to get us through but not too much to weigh us down. We’ve already sent a couple boxes of stuff home (one while we were in Ecuador and one while we were in Peru). We have a box started now that has yet to make it to the post office, but that will be done some time before July 29th. There is also a flea market on Sundays. It’s true when they say, one person’s junk and another’s treasure. Although there weren’t as many people at the Sunday market, or as many vendors, people seemed to come out to buy used tools, toys, clothing and books. It was interesting to walk through the market, and I am so happy to have found a few English books to read on the beach.

The kids have been reluctantly doing their schoolwork. It has been weeks (OK…, months) since the kids have done any official type of schoolwork, although they have learned so much about living and adapting. When Noah was volunteering for the two weeks, Aurora was so good about getting to her schoolwork. Now they are both doing about two hours of schoolwork/blogging/writing book reports a day. I have to admit, when its 35 degrees out, and the sound of the sea is calling you, it is very hard to do any kind of work. We have found that getting the schoolwork done first thing in the morning works best, probably because the sun is not yet fully shining into our condo and the kids have not lost their concentration to the beauty of the day outside.

Aurora was missing some “girl time” with her friends (and missing her brother too) so we decided to put her in a summer camp for a week. She had so much fun meeting other kids from around the world; playing new games, running through the sprinklers and swimming and kayaking in the sea.

We have been told that Almunecar has a population of 30,000, but that number grows to 150,000 over the summer months. I’m thinking this may be the reason why the cashiers at the grocery stores are so grouchy and rude. They must not like all the tourists. But, without tourists there wouldn’t be the need for three grocery stores all located beside each other and all the mini markets and shops that sell groceries and all other odds and ends you can think of. We have yet to go to the grocery store and receive a friendly smile and/or any customer assistance. And speaking of grocery stores, there does not seem to be any planning as to where things are located within the store. Bread and baking, might be located in three or four different spots in the store. Milk is usually not refrigerated and is usually sold in one litre tetra packs and has a shelf life of one to two months. Pasta sauce is not located anywhere close to pasta products. It felt like forever, before we were able to find peanut butter, and then of course only one of the stores keeps it in stock. Products and crates just seem to be put where there is space on the shelf or end of the aisle. It is so confusing and frustrating finding anything in the stores. But after two weeks we have found our favorite grocery store of the three and are feeling more like a local each time we go.

Of the 30,000 residents I think a large proportion are senior citizens living here in their retirement years. During the summer months when the population rises to 150,000, it’s because all they are babysitting their grandchildren. It seems more common to see children with their grandparents than with their parents. I envy those grandkids. How great it would be to spend your childhood summers visiting grandma and grandpa at the Mediterranean.

We plan to spend our remaining days in the Mediterranean swimming, going for ice cream, exploring and planning our next leg of our trip.

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