Thursday, 6 February 2014

Almunecar on Spain's Costa Tropical

When writer Laurie Lee first saw Almunecar in 1936 it was a small village.  To quote 'a tumbling little village'.  Because it was on the hillside below the Castillo de San Miguel.
In the 1950s when Laurie Lee returned, the village was still coming to terms with the outcome of the Spanish Civil War.  His book 'A Rose for Winter' is based on that.  And there is a rather plain memorial to this British writer
These days there are now hotels and a nice flat promenade for strolling along.  And, of course, shops to browse.
Incidentally, when in the town do wear comfortable shoes as there are a lot of very steep hills here, especially if you go up to the Castle and meander around the old town.  There are plenty of cafes in which to sit and recover but I enjoyed relaxing in the gardens overlooking Playa Puerta del Mar. Good seats and it is reasonable quiet.
The Laurie Lee Memorial
In these gardens, below the Castillo, is the metallic Monument to the Phoenicians near to which is Laurie Lee's Memorial.
Another quiet place where you can sit and relax is the Parque el Majuelo with trees from around the world.  And you can see another part of the area's history - the Roman Fish Salting 'factory'.

If you fancy a trip to Malaga, buses leave from the bus station towards the back of the town.  As there are two companies operating it is not advisable to buy return tickets.  If you do buy them there is a danger that you may get on the rival company's bus for the return journey and have to pay again.  They don't have a reciprocal arrangement!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Train Travel Woes

Although I appreciate the bad weather MAY have had something to do with my recent travel troubles, Southern left me and other travellers feeling abandoned.

On the day I was sailing out P&O had given me a check-in time of 14.45-15.45.  The best train for me to catch was the 13.06 which was scheduled to arrive in Southampton at 14.15.  Plenty of time one would think.

The train arrived 4 minutes late and by the time it reached Chichester it was 11 minutes late.  And it went downhill from there.  At 14.15 we were stuck in the middle of nowhere and eventually the train was sent to Eastleigh.  Not a taxi in sight so I and another lady who was also destined for the ship had to wait with everyone else for a train to Southampton.  Talk about nail biting.  That train arrived at 15.00 and we reached check-in at 13.30.  Probably the last passengers to board.

And did things improve for my homeward journey?  Nope.  First of all I asked the taxi driver to take me to the Platform 4 entrance of Southampton Central and he took me around the houses to Platform 1 - presumably so that he could earn another £1?  Grrrr.

THEN I found that the 9.33 Brighton train had been cancelled.  Had to wait another hour.  The 'ticket collector' (don't know what the gatekeepers are called these days) did suggest I take a train to Haywards Heath, another to Brighton and then a train from Brighton.  Two things against that:

1.  I had a large suitcase, a garment bag (large) and hand baggage and there isn't a lift at Haywards Heath Station.

2.  If I had gone to Haywards Heath I could have caught the Littlehampton train which would have been quicker and lot less hassle.

Had I taken either of these options it could have taken longer than the 1 hour wait + the journey.

Are Southern's staff actually trained?

Think I'm going to have to write to Southern to complain don't you?