I awoke to cloudy skies but it was still very warm. Karen slept into until about 9am.
Today was Stuart’s big birthday bash and so the choice of the day’s activities was left to him. After an epiphany he had chosen for us to get a large taxi to Puerto Calero and then walk the 5 miles or so back. In preparation for this, Karen & I both strapped up our respective injuries. I also decided to take one of the prescribed painkillers I have for occasions like this although they are primarily meant for my back. I hate taking tablets unnecessarily and especially painkillers. In the past 12 months I have only taken 2 but I really wanted to complete the walk back and preferably as pain free as possible and without any embarrassment.
After having breakfast we decided to have a quick walk to get our bodies moving, down to Dos Mil to get Karen a coffee. We got our favourite seats and enjoyed our drinks. As we did so we could see the predicted Calima starting to hit in the distance. This is a weather phenomenon which is a hot wind that blows in from Africa carrying sand from the Sahara. It was predicted to be here for 2 days and make the clouds look dark and dreary.
The taxi turned up on time and we had a jolly time all being transported to the Porto Calero. It was obvious as soon as we arrived that the Calima was getting worse and it gave a really eerie feel all around. After a quick walk around the marina we went to a cafe for coffee and cake. There were 8 of us, but they only had five pieces of cake available. Fortunately the cake sizes were large and as I am still not eating cake, there was more than enough to go round. Then Julie surprised us by holding a quiz she had prepared with questions for us all about details of the trip so far. It was very good and we have a great laugh trying to answer questions like who ordered what to drink with their meal the previous night.
It was then time for the hike back. The first section was high on the cliff path. Normally this is a beautiful walk looking down on the serene blue sea. Today it was a blustery challenge battling the wind with the skies turning a yellowish/orange colour with all the sand in the air. Although we could not feel it on our skin, we could all taste it in our mouths and our clothes were getting grubbier by the minute covered with an orange tinge. It was so surreal that it was funny. Fortunately it was almost bordering on being hot, otherwise we would have possibly given up and got a bus back. About half way we stopped on a couple of benches for a break. For a reason I cannot recall we decided that a rock between the benches was a perfect small stage for each of us to perform either a poem or soliloquy. Stuart outdid everyone with a 10 minute recital from Julius Caesar, demonstrating a hidden talent that may have better if it had remained hidden.
Eventually we arrived back to Puerto Del Carmen old town marina. We wanted to eat at the Mardeleva restaurant but apparently they only had one chef working and were reluctant to take a party of 8 turning up on spec, and so we went to Pincochio’s sister restaurant down at the marina. The effect of the Calina was evident as the tables were all covered in a thick dusting of sand. The waiters tried to insist that we eat inside but being British and on holiday we were not going to let a little sandy wind stop us eating outside. It was only later that we learned that the advice to islanders today was to stay indoors with all the windows shut. We had just walked about 3 ½ miles through the sandy wind and still had 1 ½ miles to go.
The food was all eagerly devoured and enjoyed. Then we tackled the last part of the walk and were glad to be back and able to clean ourselves up from being sand blasted. Karen and I were also pleased with ourselves as we had managed the walk without too much difficulty between us, although as usual Karen had struggled slightly on the steep downhill sections.
Back in the room we caught on a few things and then sat and read for a while before getting ready to meet everyone again for dinner.
As it was still Stuart’s day he had chosen Pinnochios restaurant to eat again which was a popular choice. One of the reasons we like this place is that we are usually treated like honoured guests. However today the manager was not working and they had lost our booking. We ended up with 2 tables of 4 which wasn’t too bad but we were not treated to our choice of shot at the end, instead given a ‘Pina Colada’ which was weak and tasted like Lilt. Still though the meals themselves were up to the usual high standard. For the first time there I had Fillet Steak which was not bad at all.
Our next venue was the Diamond Bar where many of us had cocktails. Karen and I had a Gin based one with champagne called Dragon. It was very good and quite strong.
It was then time to head to the The Dubliner, an Irish music bar. Now this place is almost always empty as it was again tonight, and so we took our usual seats. The owner was playing the music solo as his musical partner had the night off. Karen & I were not sure how long we would be stopping, nor how much drink we would be wanting. I got us a small bottle of Vino Sol to share along with a Mars Bar shot each which was delicious.
The music started off bland and uninteresting and every song sounded like it was performed in the style of The Travelling Wilburys. A few people left and then ‘Dave’ the guitarist seemed to change gear. As we made up most of the audience it almost turned into a private party for us. He told some cheesy jokes in his very fast strong Irish accent. I think the speed of his speech hides a nervousness from speaking as he seems much more comfortable when singing. The variation of songs was interesting especially when he said he would play a new song he was learning. I was expecting Dance Monkey or Taylor Swift. How wrong I was, as it turned out to be Love really hurts without you by Billy Ocean, first released 44 years ago in 1976. Despite this it was all rather pleasant and jolly and despite being extremely tired I was determined to stay as long as possible for Karen’s sake and for Stuart as it was his birthday.
The music and bar closed at midnight which was surprisingly early. The others decided to find somewhere to have one for the road, but Karen was deadbeat and suggested we went back instead. Back in the room I was in bed in record time and left Karen getting herself a hot drink before retiring.
The Calima had not stopped another good day.