Sotogrande – signing off – Andalusia, Spain

Well today is the last day of our Spanish sojourn. We have spent 5 weeks in this lovely spot and will be sad to lock the door of 58 Los Cortijos for the last time tomorrow morning. We have enjoyed waking up and seeing the sun rise over the Mediterranean each morning as we took our morning run or walk around the Sotogrande Urbanisation.

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Being the organiser extraordinaire that I am I drew up a 5 week plan – Steve likes to talk about all the things he wants to do (mainly play different golf courses) but unless I crack the whip time can go by the wayside. I also wanted to fit in some sightseeing too.

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We enjoyed 13 and a 1/3rd rounds of golf – 8 and a 1/3rd being at La Reserva our “home” course. The 1/3rd represents the round we didn’t finish due to Steve falling in a small hole next to the 6th tee and spraining his ankle. It was Nurse SUNGRL to the rescue, dragging him into the golf cart and driving him back to the car. Once firmly ensconced in the back seat we headed back to the ponderosa so he could RICE – rest, ice, compress and elevate. Due to these quick actions he was back on track fairly quickly and out for his daily walk a few days later (under duress of course – but that is normal, sprained ankle or no sprained ankle : )

La Reserva have this cute little owl as there mascot and every time we played they gave us one each to show we had paid our green fees. I think they may make good Christmas tree decorations.

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We also enjoyed checking out the local restaurants where tapas is the main theme.

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We went to Valderrama for dinner last Saturday night and found we had the restaurant to ourselves until a solitary member came in for dinner about half an hour after we arrived. It was quite eerie being in this fancy restaurant where the only noise was the clink of plates in the kitchen. The food was amazing and the service was fantastic as you would probably expect when there were only 3 of us in the restaurant.

Valderrama is a private golf club where the members pay EU150,000 to join and an annual sub. It hosted the Ryder Cup in 1997 when Seve Ballesteros was the captain. It was also the first Ryder Cup that Tiger Woods played in. Valderrama was the home to the Volvo Masters from 1988 – 1996 and then again from 2002 – 2008. It is very expensive to have a round at but is apparently an unforgettable experience – we thought we would start with dinner : )

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We had dinner at La Finca Thai Fusion one night and it was delicious – everything is made from scratch and the flavours were really good. We got talking to the owner who is a young Spanish woman with a high class English accent and a hint of American thrown in. She was educated in the UK and is married to an American. She actually has a degree in fine arts and is currently painting animals that have been rescued from various scenarios. There is a small zoo in the area that provides a home for these animals to get them well again. In the eyes of the animals she reflects the scenario that they were rescued from – this is her signature so to speak. He mother in law quilts the paintings which gives them texture – we saw one in the flesh and it was amazing. She also showed us a photo of her current project which is a Tiger that was rescued from the circus so she has the reflection of a circus tent in one of it’s eyes.

The restaurant is run from her family home (she had lived there since she was three days old) – a large Spanish villa next to a camping ground. Her and her husband were at a crosscroads 5 years ago wondering whether to stay in the US or relocate back to Spain, Spain won and they have been operating this lovely restaurant ever since – lucky for us.

They do a special Sunday roast lunch on Sundays due to the large expat community. We couldn’t resist so we enjoyed a lovely roast last Sunday while sitting in the garden. There was roast lamb, roast potatoes, pureed peas, pureed carrots, cauliflower and cheese, broccoli and the most amazing Yorkshire pudding. So yummy. After letting that digest we shared a toffee and caramelised Apple crumble. Needless to say we didn’t need dinner. We also popped back their for dinner tonight – our last night in Spain.

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We also enjoyed a few lunches down at Puerto Sotogrande – The Hairy Lemon became a favourite although Steve kept referring to it as The Hairy Onion – who knows how his mind works?

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We also met up with some English friends Anne & Grahame who we had originally met in NZ. They had since shifted back to the UK (a long story aye Anne) and have now shifted to Spain. Their new home is a few hours north of where we were staying but they happened to be in the area for a couple of weeks which was great. We caught up on all the news over a lovely meal at Asador Cancha II – an Argentinian steak restaurant overlooking the polo field in San Enrique.

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Polo is quite a big sport in Spain as is Paddle Tennis a cross between tennis and squash.

After an early start this morning we are now sitting on an Easyjet flight to Gatwick, London. It was sad locking the door to number 58 Los Cortijos but we have already decided we will return one day. Our car rental drop off was a doddle although we did fear for our lives in the van back to the airport – the driver insisted on going top speed – he even accelerated 50 metres from where he was stopping to drop us off before slamming on the brakes. Spanish logic ?

Malaga Airport is very nice and really modern. We are always a bit apprehensive checking in due to our inability to keep our bags under the weight limits. We have our own scales so we know we are always sailing close to the wind. The readings on the check in scales were a lot lighter than we had weighed which we can never understand, especially when the girl said to us – you’re exactly on target? Steve thinks he has come up with a way to foil the scales though – he rests part of the bag on the metal surround so that takes some of the weight – so he believes anyway. It’s all a bit of a game really : )

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We have now arrived safely in London and used the great public transport system here to get to the hotel. We then traipsed halfway across London to Parcel Post to send some stuff home and discovered they don’t sell boxes – you need to go to the Post Office for that. Long story (don’t get me started) but we have posted 8kg of mainly clothes home so Rachel D there is a box coming your way. Now let the shopping begin : )

It wouldn’t be London without popping into a couple of pubs where we found a few things to our liking. Bring on the game tomorrow – can’t wait.

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About SUNGRL

This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
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