Wednesday, 25 June 2014

My travel report - part 2

I woke up just before the campanilla (bell) was rung - probably because I was excited and anticipating our second day.

I enjoy train travel, especially when the train is going through scenic countryside with breathtaking views of mountains and rushing rivers. There's nothing better than sitting in a comfortable seat, being served a delicious breakfast, while admiring the scenery (unless of course it's sitting in a comfortable seat and being served a delicious lunch with fine wines!)

Outside the Palacio Real in Madrid

The photo above, I have to confess, is nothing to do with this trip. It's a photo taken in Madrid with John's niece Fiona and I'm wearing my brown hat - but after the comments on my last post I felt an obligation to include it here! I think the brown hat would have looked ok with the clothes I wore on this holiday but that my new hat looked better. OK. Back to business and my travel report.

On day two we were taken by coach to the Roman villa of La Olmeda, with its amazing mosaic tiled floors. We then visited a couple of Romanesque churches before having lunch at the Restaurant Los Templarios where we were greeted by two of the waiters.

Photo courtesy of Mr Over-60-and-over-here as my camera battery went flat!
It was a tasty meal with a lively atmosphere and a few elderly couples got up to dance. We all had to be dragged away by Ana, our tour guide, before we could join in with the dancing.  After all we had a train to catch up with at Mataporquera as we were due to spend the night in Villasana de Mena, which meant another two and a half hours on our train. Not that we minded, as we had more stunning scenery to admire.

On our last full day we visited Bilbao in the morning then had lunch on the train as we headed to Santander, which was our final stop.

Outside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
I am wearing a lightweight casual jacket in this photo as it was windy (so no hat!) but not too cold. We were lucky that the long range forecast was wrong and it didn't rain, and in fact most days were warm enough not to need a jacket. We discovered after we returned home that it had been raining in Jumilla during our absence, so the sun really must shine on the righteous!

At Santander Cabo Mayor lighthouse
I've realised that in the photos posted so far, even though they weren't all taken on the same day, I'm wearing my blue linen trousers with a pink or red top. I also packed black linen trousers and several blue tops, but didn't have any photos taken when I was wearing them.  Clearly I'm not a very professional fashion blogger!

What I noticed was that the black linen trousers didn't appear to crease as much as the blue pair so I wore them an extra day. I'll bear that in mind when packing for our next holiday.

The photo below shows me wearing my new dress, with a pink scarf (in case it turned chilly) and navy shoes. Being self critical, I think sheer dark tights would have looked better or maybe a lighter shoe, however these shoes went well with the navy trousers that I wore most evenings. Any suggestions to improve this look?  

Santander Casino
On our last evening we had the chance to go on an optional visit to Santander Casino after dinner. Now I don't want to encourage you to gamble but, as you can see, the stained glass windows there are stunning, so it's definitely worth a visit. Confession time coming up: readers, I played roulette! It would have been rude not to, wouldn't it? I changed five euros for two chips and with great excitement placed my first bet. It was just like in the movies, except that for some strange reason - though I didn't win - I received half my stake back. I was a bit disappointed when I saw what I'd been given, as for a second I thought I had actually won something and I was waiting for piles of chips instead of just one.

When we returned to our suite that night we found a lovely red rose, a box of chocolates, a guide book and hand written note on our bed. That's not all as there was a bottle of cava chilling with two champagne flutes beside it. What a lovely end to our trip! Except that wasn't quite the end of our holiday, as we then spent one night in Madrid on the way back and returned to Alicante via Valencia.

Joanna and her husband Agyeman had read my book "Retiring the Olé Way" while living in the USA and Joanna had contacted me via facebook with a few queries prior to them moving to Valencia. It was a great opportunity to meet them both and I'm happy to report that we all got on very well, so we are now real friends as well as facebook friends!

Please note that I'm wearing my black linen trousers with a bright blue top in this photo, which proves I didn't spend the whole holiday dressed in pink and red tops with blue linen trousers.

I will do a summary of our holiday in my next post.  If you have any questions, please comment below and I'll try to answer them.


  1. I think the dress looks best with the dark shoes. If you look at you and the outfit as a whole, the shoes balance your dark hair almost like bookends. Light shoes might make you look 'unbalanced' visually.


  2. I agree with Sharon. Having tried the lighter shoe look, I find I look ungrounded.

  3. Thank you Sharon and Robin. I definitely don't want to look unbalanced!!! I think that if I had taken a strappy pair of heels they would have looked better, but I didn't try this combination before I packed and these shoes go well with my navy trousers. So a lesson learnt: unless it's an outfit you've worn before, try things on before you pack.

  4. But we like this combo--we prefer it to shoes that are too light.