ON Saturday 23 December, 53 members of U3A Marina Baixa left Albir looking forward to a Christmas away from home.
After two hours they stopped for breakfast before continuing on to their next stop, Granada. The group had free time there to explore and have lunch and late afternoon they continued to their hotel in Almuñécar which would be their base for the next 5 days.
All the rooms comprised suites with 2 or 3 bedrooms and the high standard of décor had a definite Moorish influence. The hotel was surrounded by magnificent gardens and plantations of Chirimoya. The town of Almuñécar has medieval steep winding streets that lead to the Plaza de Constitución, where the Town Hall stands, and onto the highest old quarter called Barrio San Miguel and onto the Moorish castle.
Christmas Eve, after a morning exploring the town and lunch in the hotel the members left for Malaga to see the light show – a 300m domed walkway full of lights which, at 6.30pm, were switched on to provide a light show accompanied by music.
Christmas Day was spent in Almuñéca enjoying the sunshine and visiting the old town. Many celebrated with their friends in various apartments ending the day with a buffet meal in the hotel restaurant together with a slice of Christmas cake made by the Association Secretary.
Boxing Day, members visited the Alpujarras mountain range and some of the “White Villages”. The first village was Lanjaron, famous for its mineral water, and then a stop for coffee overlooking Orgiva where the author Chris Stewart who wrote “Driving over Lemons” still lives on his farm. Next stop was Pampeneira. The village hugs the steep slopes of a lush river gorge, the Barranco de Poqueira. Pampaneira, at an altitude of just over 1,000m, is almost on the snow line with outstanding views. Along the winding route were many shops making and selling rugs, etc and a small chocolate factory enabling members to partake of free samples and purchase some souvenirs. The final stop was at Trevélez for lunch and then a scenic route back to the hotel.
On Wednesday, after breakfast, the coach left to visit Almeria, Andalucia’s most eastern capital. The town, steeped in history, lies at the foot of a mountain range which is crowned by the magnificent Alcazaba, an Arab fortress second in size to the Alhambra. The town boasts a Tourist Train, Cathedral, Civil War Shelters to name but a few of the attractions to be found, but time marched on and the coach left for Puero Lumbreras for lunch. A well travelled and weary group returned to Albir after spending a very memorable 5-day Christmas break. Special thanks to Rob and Liz Parker who planned and organised the trip and to Mario of Premier Coaches for a safe and comfortable journey.