Friday, January 29, 2016

El Palacio de los Chavarrí, 1956

A young man called Zach Allen spent a few months in 1956 staying in a palace between Garrucha and Mojácar. This was the Palacio de los Chavarrí, now repaired, rebuilt and turned into a hotel called Fergus.
In those days, when there was almost no one living in Mojácar - they talk of just 600 citizens - Zach must have stood out as being very foreign indeed. His hosts were the Garrigues-Walker family - the father was Antonio Garrigues Diaz-Cañabate, later to become Spanish ambassador to both Washington and the Holy See. This was their summer house, they lived in Madrid.
Below his lodgings, women worked the tomato plantations. No one bathed on the beach; there were no tourists, no restaurants. Nothing.
Zach had his camera and here is his picture of the place where he stayed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Some Friends

There's nothing like a barbeque with some Spanish friends, a few horses, some wine and a guitar.

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Almería Baths

The hammam, the Arab bath-house, is the perfect place to take your weary body - and there are a couple of them in the city of Almería. The best one is under a small hotel in the town hall square. It's called Aire de Almería. Here's their gallery.  The baths, in a high-roofed cavern, are quiet and the lights are dim. Music plays faintly. Incense wafts around healthily. I had gone with my companion to take the waters. We had remembered to bring our bathing costumes (mine is a minuscule red Speedo I've had at least thirty years) and enough money to get in upstairs (40€ each for ninety minutes splash plus a 15 minute massage). In the changing rooms, we put on slippers and an albornoz, a dressing gown. A hostess took us downstairs. I happen to be extremly shortsighted (I wear bottle-bottom contact lenses) and also, increasingly deaf. Downstairs, I could see nothing, and I could hear less. Over the distant mumble of the hostess I couldn't help but notice that there were a lot of sharp marble corners.
The attractions include a large warm bath (as in the photo, only a lot darker), a (very) hot bath, a freezing cold bath (yaraarrggh, I whispered as I fell in it), a large hydro-bubble bath, a saloon to sip complementary mint tea (if you can see the tea-pot) and a very hot sandalwood-smelling steam room. All perfect, and all confusingly empty - at least I thought it was, until I sometimes bumped into a fellow bather. Disculpe!  After a while a mysterious girl in black notices a coloured band on your wrist and takes you off for an aromatic massage. Very nice.
From time to time, it's good to have a treat, and a visit to the Arab baths hits the spot. And then, just outside, why, there's a bar to re-hydrate.
In all, I haven't felt so clean since shortly after that time my granny made me an ill-advised curry when I was seven.