Posts Tagged With: Tea

Wed 5 July: last day in London and home to NZ

Today the tea situation got worse, there was not even any Twinings everyday tea, I had to make do with green tea! Not a good start to the day. Apart from that, I have discovered that around the corner, on the other side of the restaurant, is another table with cereal and bread and a toaster. Yum, I had toast with marmalade, trying not to be churlish thinking how much nicer it would be with black tea. In context, if this the worst of my problems, life is pretty good.

After breakfast I headed to the metro, and off to see Shellbe. Sad to say goodbye to Brett, but excited to be  going to spend the with Shellbe and see where she is living. Brett is heading off for a couple of days to York to see his step daughter Sandra.

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London Bridge Underground – off to see Shellbe before the flight home.

To get to Shellbe’s I had to go two stops on the metro, and then get off and go up three escalators and then find the correct train to get to Teddington. I found my way to the station ok, but there was a signal problem and a number of the trains were delayed including the 10:27 to Teddington. There was however, a 10:33 via Richmond to Teddington that was not delayed and had a platform number, so off I went and hopped on that.

All was going well until we came into Richmond and I half heard the train announcement about this being the change for what I thought was Teddington, and just about everyone on the train hopped off. I jumped off as well, but actually it was the change for Twickerton. Drat! By the time I worked this out the doors had shut and the train was gone. Thankfully there was a help phone and I was relieved to find the next train to Teddington would be along in 15 minutes.

Shellbe was waiting at the station and we went back to her place. Shellbe is currently working as a live-in nanny, looking after two small boys, Asher 5 and Matthew (Matty) 3. Just after we got to the house Shellbe had to pick up Matty from kindy and left me behind enjoying a cup of black tea.

Matty was very cute and was interested in me being Shellbe’s mum, and within a couple of minutes he had invited me on the family holiday in a couple of weeks to Italy.

At 3pm we picked up Asher from school, and we went to a bushy park where there were a number of deer roaming around. They are really nice boys, both asked me lots of questions, and for the rest of the day they referred to me as Mum as Shellbe was.

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Back at the house, time for Shellbe to cook dinner bath the boys, read stories and then their Dad arrived home, and all too soon it was time to head to Heathrow airport.

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I had a last couple of hours with Shellbe at Heathrow, then it was time to say goodbye 😭😭. It was really hard to leave her. There were tears all round, it has been so great being able to share the past few days with her, in both Amsterdam and London.

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Not much of a consolation at the moment, but at least these days we have messenger call etc to keep in touch and see each other.

Off through security to the horrors of long haul flying. I just don’t have the ability to sleep on planes. I was flying Emirates, and on the leg from Heathrow to Dubai I managed about 45 min, thankfully only a two stop over in Dubai, most of which was spent getting to the next gate.

Dubai to Auckland, which is a 14 and a half hour flight, I managed about an 1 hour of sleep. The flight seems endless. Around me everyone seemed to be sleeping soundly. The two people in the seats next to me slept almost the entire flight. I spent most the flight watching movies, and getting up and down (thankfully I had an aisle seat).

Upstairs on the plane, as well as business class seats, there are sleep cabins where you have your own room with a bed! Plus access to a shower. However, to fly from Heathrow to Auckland in one of these would cost $13,500 dollars per person (20 hours flying, makes it $650 an hour).

I arrived at Auckland, it was lovely to go through customs etc, within 20 minutes from landing I had my bike box and bag, cleared customs and was heading to Auckland domestic terminal. I really did not want to get back on a plane again.

My son Dan picked me up at the airport, and had Benji (the dog) in the car. We got home at 3:30 pm. Dexter, the other dog, was delighted to see me and I spent the next 3 hours struggling to stay awake until my daughter Tracey got home with my grandson Jasper (who just turned one). They got home at 6:15pm, I managed to stay awake until 6:30pm then off to bed to sleep. Nothing quite like your own bed.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I am looking forward to catching up with my other children, their partners, and my grandchildren at Jasper’s first birthday party. Sunday will be spent unpacking and getting sorted to return to the realities of work.

On Monday there will be 323 days until the next ride. The next ride I have booked is The Pub Ride, from Dublin to Denmark.

Thank you to my daughter Kelly for all her hard work and patience as editor of the blog -dealing my spelling abilities (or inabilities) and the Ipad’s tendency to change what I have written, not an easy task.

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Tuesday 4 July: Day 2 in London

Today was all about being a tourist, and seeing as much of London as possible in one day. First stop breakfast. For the first time I have not been concerned that I would not be able to find decent tea, as this is after all London. Unbelievable, endless teabags of every flavor known, apart from English Breakfast!! Luckily there was a twining tea called Every Day tea.

The buffet seemed a bit weird, no cereal or toast (or toaster) even though there were pots of marmalade and honey on the tables. I just assumed we had arrived after the rush, and had a croissant instead.

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Just before sunrise

After breakfast we got passes to the Original Tour Bus from the hotel, and headed to the stop to wait. Don’t ever get tickets for this bus – get tickets for the Big Bus, Golden Tours, or London Hop and Off – at least 3 each of these buses went past whilst we waited for the Original Bus to appear!

The bus was due at 10am, by 10:40 we were getting pretty frustrated, along with other people also waiting for this company, who like us were watching numerous other tour companies come and go in this time.

Finally the Original Bus arrived and off we went. We stayed on the bus for about and hour and half looking at the sights, and then we got off by Hyde Park and looked around the outside of Buckingham place and Westminster Abby.

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Buckingham Palace

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Westminster Big Ben

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Westminster Abbey

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Trafalgar Square

I got a photo of me in a red phone box with Big Ben in the distance, looked at the horses by 10 Downing Street, and at 10 Downing Street from the gate.

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Horse Guards

We saw theaters (Phantom of the Opera has been running non stop for thirty years), and London Taxis and double decker buses, and hordes of tourists. There are a number of places I wanted to go to but ran out of tourist enthusiasm, as well as time –  Platform 9 3/4, Harrods, to name but a couple).

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Victoria Tower Gardens

We got on a cruise to go up the Thames back to Tower Bridge, and got off at the Globe Theatre stop, and looked at it from the outside. After looking around this is also on the list for the next trip.

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Westminster. Parliament House under repair

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River cruise back downstream

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The London Eye

It was nearly 3pm and we had not had lunch so we went into a pub to try the pub pies. I had a Steak and Ale pie, which came with gravy, mushy peas and potato. The pie inside was nice, but the pastry was really tough. Shellbe said later this is usual for them, rather than it having been over cooked. Brett had a Beetroot and Camembert pie which was also pretty nice.

Then off to The Shard which has a viewing platform on the 68th floor, where you can get a pretty good view over London.

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View over the River Thames and the Tower Bridge from The Shard.

Then back to the hotel to get changed before going out for dinner. We had dinner with Shellbe, Brett’s nephew Ben who lives in London, and Brett’s stepson (also called Brett) who was in London for work.

We all met at Canary wharf at an Italian restaurant called Amerigo Vespucci. I had risotto with truffle and salad, it was really nice.  We went both ways on the metro, I am starting to get a bit more familiar with changing lines.

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Last night in London

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Editor’s note: The caption that came with this picture was “No miracles just don’t happen” . . . 

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Day 9: Rest day in Trieste (11 June)

It was very nice not to have to be up at 6am with breakfast at 7am, and then out on the road. Instead I made it to the dining room at a leisurely 9am. English breakfast tea in a tea pot! Bliss.

After breakfast we set off to the laundromat or Lavanderia (as they call in in Italy), we caught up with Janice and Gregg, and Yvonne and Scott there.

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Janice and Gregg (left) and Yvonne and Scott (right)

There was also a good looking Italian woman who was very frustrated as the second dryer was not working, as someone had put the wrong coins in. Of course all the men set about trying to sort it for her. Brett went back to the hotel and got the tweezers out of his bike tool kit, and came back and removed the two coins. She was very grateful and told Brett he was just like MacGyver.

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MacGyver saving the day 

After the laundromat I went back to the room to catch up with the blog.

Then off for lunch, we decided to go back to Eataly for the 2nd course we hadn’t tried on the blackboard menu.

We had white wine: Movia Sauvignon Blanc, and we shared two different courses – Filetto di orata gratinato ai pistachio gamberi e zucchini (a very nice fillet of fish with a nice coating and cheese)  and Frito misto croccante (fried squid and prawn rings).

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Lunch at Eataly, day 2

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Wine in a bucket with slushy ice pellets

We then wandered around for awhile, then had an afternoon siesta.

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Super yachts on waterfront berths

Later on the way to dinner, we could not help noticing the number of motor bikes and scooters parked at each curb.

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For dinner we had a wine – Bastianich Vespa Rosso, and Brett had fillet of beef which was was very nice, I had slow roasted pork which was tough because it was overdone.

Then back to the hotel to get organised for tomorrow.  We have 120 km to ride, but only 650 meters climbing.

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Goodnight Trieste, riding again tomorrow

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First day in Sarajevo (rest day for riders)

Having gone to bed about 7pm I was wide awake about 4am. Earlier in the night I woke up as I had heard some singing/ chanting which I wasn’t sure what it was. Later at breakfast one of the riders said it was related to Ramadan, and it was called “singing to welcome the new moon”.

As there are no tea or coffee making facilities in the room I was downstairs at 7am, the moment the restaurant opened for breakfast, to get a cup of tea. I met four new riders from Sydney who were doing their first TDA ride and chatted to them for awhile. After an omelette and a few more cups of tea I headed back upstairs and fell asleep again.

I was woken by the phone just after midday to say Brett had arrived and was waiting down in reception.

We caught up on family news, Brett had a shower and then we headed out to have a look at the town. Unlike yesterday where the heat was stifling, today was not cold but not too hot either. We didn’t really do any site-seeing just milled around, and sat watching the crowds.

For dinner we went to a place called Apetit, which is rated number two for restaurants on TripAdvisor. It was only a five minute walk from the hotel, hence the decision to go there and not to the number one.

It was an interesting place, only seats 12 with no menu for food or wine. They cook and serve a selection of what they have got that day. It was a lovely evening, the staff were the chef and the wait person, who I think was also the owner.

We started with a salad and then had steak with vegetables and pepper sauce. Yum – no room left for dessert.

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Afterwards we had a wander around for a little while, stopped at an English pub complete with a red phone box and Laurel and Hardy outside. We went inside and had a drink. I had forgotten what it was like when people could smoke in pubs and restaurants yuk!

Back to the hotel as jet lag was catching up with me.

a phone box

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Day 14: Sunday 27 Nov – rest day in Wellington

Despite getting to bed late I was wide awake at 6am. I got up and enjoyed being able to make a cup of tea. I decided to catch up with the blog as I had not done any updates since I left Napier and I like to keep at least a couple of days in front of Editor Kelly.

Brett went off to the supermarket and got some toast bread, butter, and milk, – we already had some marmalade. After doing a couple of updates I went up the road to have coffee with couple of friends Delwyn and Pat who live in Mt Victoria. Then went back to meet my daughter Tracey and grandson Jasper (nearly 5 months old) at mid day.

We went to lunch in Island Bay at a place called Brew’d, I had a very nice Kereru Pilsner and beer battered fish and chips. Jasper was full of smiles and chortles and generally was finding life very amusing.

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Fish’n’Chips for Gran, a bobble for Jasper Jet

After lunch I went back to the hotel, and Michele and Tony were in the unit next door so they came over to meet Jasper. Tracey had gone to catch up with a friend and her children, but I persuaded her to leave Jasper with me.

At 5pm Tracey picked me up, along with Brett and Sue, and took us to eldest daughter Kelly’s house for a family dinner.

It was lovely to see Kelly, her husband Daniel, their daughter Lucy (aged 3 1/2); Tracey and Jasper; Lizzy and her son Xavier (aged 4, and otherwise known as Jig) and Lizzy’s partner Kiel. Lizzy had been on night shift so Jig had stayed at Kelly’s and they had been to a Christmas fair, where they had both had their faces painted. Jig was a Tiger and Lucy was a pirate.

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Telling a story to Lucy and Jig

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Storytelling time

My children were interested to meet Sue as they had read so much about her on the South American blog, plus Kelly (blog editor ) had got lots of photos from Sue’s emails and blogs. They had all heard so much about each other that they all felt like they had met already!

We started with a lovely cheese platter and Kelly, by request, had made homemade burgers plus as a surprise pork spareribs. Kelly had also gone to the trouble of getting a bottle of Hawkes Bay HaHa sparkling wine after reading about it on the blog.

I had lots of fun, it was great to catch up and get a chance to spend time with Jig, Lucy and Jasper.

Then it was time to go back to the motel, I was a bit sad to be leaving but am going to be back home in two weeks. Tomorrow we catch the ferry to Picton and stay in Picton, so it will be like another rest day.

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Day 59/164: Rest day in Lima

Was nice not to have to get up at 5 am. I enjoyed resting in bed for a while. The hotel is breakfast included, and the restaurant opens at 7 am :D.  Finally some black tea without all sorts of spice added, I have noted the brand and will try to buy some at the supermarket.

I have a list of things to do and buy:

First wash the tent. After living in it for two months and after the dust camp it stinks. In our room we have a bath. Sue has already gone out shopping so tent bath time! The tent is so dirty I have to rinse it about 8 times after washing it. Then hang it all round the bathroom to dry.

Then off to the bike shop for the usual stock up, plus I want to get some new pedals. I was thinking that my pedals had only done 6,000 kilometres from when I did the trans Europa in 2012, as I have not used the trip bike since. However I have just realized I could not find the pedals and transferred the pedals from my road bike, which has had very regular use for over 4 years! However despite being a Shimano specialist bike shop they have no Shimano pedals or chamois cream.

Next off to the supermarket. I need some face moisturizer and to stock up on snacks and water for the room. Not as simple as it seems when everything is in Spanish! And no brands I recognize, with the exception of Ponds. So I think I have bought the correct product, but when I go to use it the next day it’s like Vaseline on my face. It’s not till the next day I realise that it’s face cleanser (may have noticed sooner if it had started raining), so top on my list for the next rest day is buy moisturizer!

Then whilst looking at the snacks, instant joy: blue cheese, camembert, crusty bread and a nice red wine:  picnic lunch again!

Whilst tempted to doze away the afternoon, the blog is calling. I am about 5 days behind and Kelly will soon be catching up to me. Spent a couple of hours there, and then packing gear again as back to riding tomorrow. No time for being a tourist in Lima sadly.

I managed to Skype with Dan for the first time since I have been away, so was really good to catch up with him. I also skyped with Kelly and had a short chat with Lucy. Unfortunately Skype has changed its setting and either I could see me or Kelly and Dan, but they could not see me. Will have to figure it out before next time.

On the way over the road to the pizza restaurant I bumped into Bob, who is one of the riders who was doing the whole trip. Bob has had bike problems and has not really being enjoying the trip – too hard, too cold etc, and has decided to leave from here. Bob has done other trips before with TDA.

Part of the problem is he has a really bad hearing loss, and does not have hearing aids, so often he does not hear people talking to him or misunderstands what people say, which makes it hard to integrate into the group. It’s sudden news for us but I suspect Bob has been considering it for a while.

Packing was a bit strange, I could not find my bike sunglasses and looked through all my stuff, then I realized I was missing other stuff as well. Turned out for some bizarre reason the housemaid had gone through my packing cells, moving some of the stuff into the drawers and the wardrobe. Also turned out Sue had not actually stacked her stuff up like a pyramid! I had wondered about that.

Dinner was anchovy pizza and a cold beer, then an early-ish night.

We have 6 new riders joining us tomorrow, plus a new TDA staff member, and 5 are leaving tomorrow (including Bob).

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Day 55/164: Rest Day in La Gramita

Although it is nice to be able to sleep in, I was awake as usual by 5 am. It was nice though, lying tucked up in bed listening to the surf, and knowing there was no desert or head wind to battle today.

We are used to eating breakfast at 6:00am, I thought the white board had said breakfast from 7:00am. But shock! horror! – when I got to the restaurant at 7am, it was shut up! I checked the whiteboard and it said 8:30am! One of the other riders had already checked the town a kilometre away and that was also all closed. So I sorted out some gear and went for a short walk along the beach. The hotel staff must have got sick  of having a bunch of riders either prowling around or standing with their noses pressed against the restaurant window as they opened up early at 8 am.

Breakfast was ok, rolls and a small plate of scrambled eggs. The tea so far has not been drinkable in Peru as  it has some sort of spice added to it. The other choice was instant coffee in warm milk or buying a plunger of coffee. Usually this would have been a simple choice but I only have $10 soles as I assumed wrongly where we were staying for the rest day would have a cash flow machine (also wrongly assumed there would be Wifi and power in the room). Luckily Jackie got a pot for us both.

Sadly Jackie is leaving in a couple of days, the day before we get to Lima. I will really miss her. After breakfast Jackie gave me the first option on stuff she was going to give away. I now have another sleeping bag inner which will help when it gets cold, a travel pillow, some more medications, and small bag for rest days.

There are no laundry options here, other than wash your stuff in the shower and them hang out to dry (there are no clothes lines, but I have a line and pegs). Luckily it has been only 3 riding days since the last rest day, and only 3 to the next rest day, so I just washed my bike riding stuff and strung out my line on the balcony.

Next I went for a walk along the beach to check out the town. I got some great photos of birds, including some pelicans.

Birds in La Gramite

Birds in La Gramita

Guano covered rocks with Pelicans

Guano covered rocks with Pelicans

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Editors note: I’m not sure this counts as a “Great photo of birds” . . . See below for a better example

A pelican in the bay (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

A pelican in the bay (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Seabirds fishing in the shallow waves (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Seabirds fishing in the shallow waves (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The town is very small, there about 40 houses, a general shop, four restaurants and a small church.

View of the town from Las Aloas Hotel

View of the town from Las Aloas Hotel

Another view of the town in La Gramite

Another view of the town in La Gramita

The industry here is fishing. A number of boats are pulled up on the sand, as there is no wharf. A few boats come in and out. The fishermen row the boats in until they are close to shore, then they haul them up onto the beach. The birds all hover around expectantly, and the dogs lurk around when any new boat comes in.

Fishing boats in La Gramite

Fishing boats in La Gramita

Fishermen bringing in the boat in La Gramite

Fishermen bringing in the boat in La Gramita

Fishing boats on their way into shore

Fishing boats on their way into shore (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Fresh fish for lunch arriving

Fresh fish for lunch arriving (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

As Jackie is leaving in a few days, this is the last rest day she will be around for so we checked out the restaurant options for dinner. One place looks a better option than the others (one of them we discounted as an option as the lady told us there is no menu), and Jackie who speaks a bit of Spanish checked that the one we were interested in is open tonight, which they say they are.

As predicted there are no cash flow machines in town, and none of the restaurants take credit cards or American dollars – the ‘restaurants’ consist of a few plastic chairs and tables, on cracked concrete floors. Thankfully one of the other riders Rolf has offered to lend me money so I will be able to eat tonight 😀

While we were walking around the town we went past one shack, and 5 gorgeous little puppies, about 4-5 weeks old, came running out. They were delighted to see us and wanted to come with us. They looked quite well cared for, but they must have been bored as their mum was out an about – probably at the shore watching the incoming boats with hopeful interest. We ended up having to lure them back to the shack, push them inside, and run flat out to the corner and hide until they lost interest to get away from them.

Local residents just chilling in La Gramite

Local residents just chilling in La Gramita

Could this be a cousin of BenBen's? Looks like he is loathe to bathe too

Could this be a cousin of BenBen’s? Looks like he is loathe to bathe too

Before leaving the hotel I had put on swimming shorts and a top, and on the way back we stopped for a swim. The water was cold to get into, but once you were in it was ok. The waves were quite strong, and a couple of times I got spun around and around by them. However, as I do not know this beach I made sure I did not go out past where the water was over my head.

After we got back to the hotel Jackie found out that the owner was happy to change American dollars at a reasonable exchange rate. Yay I have money again! In Pacasmayo when I used the cash machine I did not notice the bit where I had to opt out of getting American dollars and pick soles, so I had a reasonable amount of American money.

I spent a bit of time with the usual repacking. I am going to trial only having one pannier, and having it behind my seat instead of two panniers one on each side. With the headwind we are having, and expect to have for weeks, anything that cuts down the wind resistance will be a bonus. However to do this I have to decide what is in and what is out, as currently both panniers are full. This takes quite a while, but eventually I get everything into one pannier.

The next problem I have is to fit the stuff that did not make the cut into the one pannier into one of my two bags. My permanent bag has lots of room but, I can only access it on rest days. My daily bag is so full it is a 5 minute struggle everyday to close it!

After this we set off into town for dinner. We got to the restaurant that had confirmed it was open till 8pm and it was just closing! Two of the other restaurants were also closing or closed. We couldn’t go back to our hotel for dinner as we had to notify them if we were eating there at lunchtime.

The lady who had the restaurant that had no menu was standing at her doorway smiling at us, making “come in” gestures, so in we went. There was still no menu so we confirmed we were happy to have what she was serving – the only other option being having nothing to eat.

It turned out to be one of the best fish meals we have had. The fish was really fresh and even the rice had a nice flavour. Also she must have missed out on the price fixing memo that the rest of the town and restaurants have been following, as it is less than half the price of the other places, and the beer instead of being $10, soles is $2. Also she was delighted to have us.

The whole time we were eating, a local dog was sitting to one side unobtrusively, watching hopefully. At the end of the meal I went to give him a piece of fish. As my hand went out from under the table a previously unnoticed cat reached up and gently but firmly removed the fish from my hand. This was watched with a resigned look by the dog. I did manage to break off another piece and throw it to him clear enough from the cat. We left a reasonable tip and happily headed off.

Walking back along the beach we were so pleased we had bought our headlights as there were crabs galore scuttling around everywhere. We had to walk carefully so as not to step on them. A few rear up and challenged us but mostly they quickly scurried away.

Crabs on the rocks at La Gramite

Crabs on the rocks at La Gramita

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