Our stay in Estepona was 7 days, with 4 nights at Costa Natura, a naturist resort just down the beach from Estepona. As you know, Bill and I enjoy staying at naturists resorts and always look for opportunities to add a few nights textile free on our trips. Costa Natura is a family vacation resort, clothing optional throughout the resort, with no clothing permitted in the pool amd spa area. It is right on the beach, but in all fairness, not one of the prettier beaches we’ve seen. The shore is a combination of small stones, large rocks and rough dark sand. It is quite narrow directly in front of Natura. The resort grounds are well kept, with large grassy areas, and a large heated pool. There is a restaurant and a snack bar. Just across the street is Aldi Supermarket, which made it convenient for us, since we still were traveling without a car. As you can imagine, photography is strictly regulated so my pictures were focused so to avoid invading someone’s privacy.
One nice sight from Natura was off in the distance, we could see The Rock of Gibraltar and further the background the mountains of Northern Morocco.
Gibraltar and Jebel Musa (Mount Moses), above the Spanish town of Cueta, were, according to mythology, two of the Pillars of Hercules. The myth goes that the Strait of Gibraltar was created by Hercules using super human strength to create a sea passage from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. In doing so, he created these two mountains marking the entry to the Mediterranean. However the Strait was formed, Gibraltar, a British Overseas Terretory, and its counter part, the Spanish Autonomous City of Cueta, on the Moroccan coast, are at strategic points at the entrance to the Mediterranean. Both have been subject to invasions, foreign control and countless wars. The current political situation is that in each case, territory that should belong to Spain (Gibraltar) and Morocco (Cueta) are held by foreign powers. Gibraltar citizens have voted twice to remain British and the Spanish majority Cueta residents seem happy with the status quo.
After our four nights at Costa Natura, we took the short taxi ride into Central Estepona. Bill’s cousin Anne and her husband Vijay, own two apartments in Estepona’s Puerto Alto Urbanización, a short distance from the Harbor. Anne and Vijay offered to let us stay at one of their units, so Bill and I checked in to Apartment Vikram, named after one of their sons. The apartment was very comfortable, had a great sea/harbor view and was very convenient for exploring this cute coastal town. We took a couple of walks exploring Estepona’s harbor, beachfront and old Town.
One of our walks included a stop ar El Orchidario de Estepona (The Estepona Orchid House). The orchid display was a little disappointing because so few were blooming. That may be a seasonal thing. It was fun walking through seeing some in bloom and imagining what it might look when things were in full bloom.
There are plenty of restaurants near the apartment. We enjoyed sushi one night. I was amused that a sushi restaurant couldn’t, at first, find their Sake, but eventually a nice warm Sake appeared at our table. The sushi was good, somewhat different in presentation that at home, but good, non-the-less. The next night we enjoyed Indian. The masala sauce was sweeter than we are used to. We had chicken tikka masala, spicy grilled shrimp, palak paneer and garlic naan. The food was good, but if you remember, we had an excellent Indian meal in Amsterdam. This did not quite meet that standard, but we certainly enjoyed it.
After three enjoyable nights in town in Estepona, we rented a car and headed east. Now you might think, “wait, you are already on the east coast of Spain, how can you drive east?” If you look at a map of Spain, the Spanish coast from Almeria to Gibraltar is a generally east-west, with a slight tilt to the North as you head east. After Almeria the coast is generally north-south. We had a four hour drive to reach Mojácar. After a two year delay, we were ready to celebrate the wedding of our nephew Kyle and his bride Ida.
The wedding was a 4 day event, starting with a family pizza night. Our restaurant for the evening was La Murralla, located high up in the Pueblo Mojácar, one of the most beautiful white houses villages in Almeria. Our hotel was on La Playa Mojácar, but the pueblo was a 10 minute drive up a costal ridge. I assume the pueblo was built high on ths ridge for defensive reasons. The food and wine were great and the views spectacular.
After dinner, we had a short walk around the pretty pueblo.
On Friday evening, Ida’s family hosted a tapas and paella dinner at their Finca, just a 20 minute drive away. A finca is a plot of rustic land. Rustic land, was usually used for agricultural purposes, but today is oftentimes recreational. The Knutsen Finca is a little of both. Two gorgeous homes, owned by Ida’s Father and Uncle, surrounded by gorgeous grounds, a large infinity pool overlooking the valley and the family’s olive grove and vineyards. The Grove is an active olive growing farm and the vineyard produces a beautiful Vino Tinto Crianza. In fact, our departing gift was a bottle of the olive oil and the wine was served both at the Friday evening rehearsal dinner and for dinner after the wedding
The wedding was planned for 1 PM, Saturday. It was a beautiful warm sunny day. Shortly after 12:30 we boarded the 3 buses to take us to the wedding location. You might ask why so many buses, Well, there were over 120 guests, from 24 nations, a credit to the international nature of the relationship. Ida is Norwegian, but studied at Carlton College in Minnesota, where she met Kyle. Both did graduate work in the UK and now live in Norway. Her family owns the Finca in Spain and both have travel extensively and have met friends along the way, many of whom traveled to Spain to celebrate with Kyle and Ida. The wedding was originally scheduled for June of 2020, but with Covid, it was postponed twice. While waiting, Kyle and Ida got on with their lives, getting a civil marriage in Norway and giving birth to their beautiful son Thomas. But, they were not to be denied their celebration on the Spanish coast.
The location of the ceremony was in Castillo de San Ramon/Las Escobetas. Completed in 1769, the castle, along with nearby military barracks, provided the little fishing village of Garucha with protection from Berber pirates who routinely attacked villages on the Spanish coast. The Berbers have occupied North Africa, most notably Libya and Morocco since the beginning of recorded hitory. With the protection, the village bagan to grow into a more commercial center.
In the background of the picture of Bill and me is Bill’s Brother Kip, holding his Grandson, Thomas.
The wedding couple’s transportation was a 1930s vintage Rolls Royce, beautifully restored. Full disclosure: I have no idea what the beautiful car is. I was told this by one of the bus drivers that were checking it out, while waiting for the ceremony to conclude.
The wedding was a beautiful affair in this historic building. Afterwards the buses took us all back to the Parador Hotel for the reception, dinner and dancing. By dancing time, I had hit a brick wall, so I excused myself and left the dancing to others and went up to the room.
The American custom is when people clink their glasses, the couple has to kiss. The Norwegian customs is that the kiss is while standing on their chairs. And if the guests stomp their feet the kiss is under the table.
On Sunday, after 4 days of non-stop celebrations, people began to say goodbyes. Bill and I were only going a short 10 kilometers up the coast to Playa Vera, so when one of our new friends, Axel and Ginger, suggested dinner at a seafood restaurant right on the Marina in Garucha, it was only a short drive to return for one last wedding related event.
Although Kyle and Ida had to postpone the celebration twice, the weekend was a fabulous success. Bill and I enjoyed seeing our family, meeting new friends and sharing in all the weekend fun. This four day event was the kernel that grew into our 9+ week Europe trip. We are now on the tail end of the trip. Only a week remains until we fly home. And of course, waiting patiently for us is Mouse. I wonder what goes through his mind when we are gone so long.
We are now in Vera and will go to Torremolinos on Thursday to visit friends from home. With that, I will stop for now. I will have one more blog, wrapping up this trip. I will do that sitting on our patio in Cathedral City. Until then!