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Bar Casa Puga, Almeria

7 Oct

Yesterday we took Mick’s mum to Almeria shopping.  Well, at least I wanted to go shopping and the last time Sadie went to Almeria with one of her other boys she was taken straight to the football stadium and home again!  So we thought she deserved to actually see the city this time, you know, with shops, coffee stops and everything!  I always like to go to Zara Home at the Mediterranean Shopping Centre and needed to exchange something.   But our other main reason for going to Almeria was to take Sadie to our very favourite tapas bar for lunch.

 

Casa Puga exterior

 

Casa Puga is something of an institution for the locals; located in the old town near the cathedral, it has been run by the same family since 1870 and is a truly authentic Spanish experience.  It has a fabulous long marble bar where people stand and have a drink and a tapa, where the waiters tot up and write bills in pencil on the bar and then there are a certain amount of small marble tables, mainly at the back for a proper lunch or dinner.  You are all crammed in together, which is just as well as you want to see what everyone else is having (in these places they always seem to serve stuff which isn’t on the menu, and we hate missing out!).  They serve the best mushrooms, prawns in batter and the most fabulous jamon iberico – it is the good stuff and pretty pricey by standards around here – 17 euros for a plate, but plenty for three of us.

 

As authentic as it gets!

 

The staff run around constantly, bringing more dishes in any old order, and you just lift your glass to indicate wanting another, so you are never really waiting for anything.  Mick finished with what I can only describe as a miniature black pudding paninni – exquisite.  As we were having a leg of roast lamb for dinner we decided not to go too crazy, but could have easily stayed until 4 o’clock stuffing ourselves – it is the most wonderful place to end a shopping trip – you need to arrive by quarter to two though, in order to get a seat – otherwise you have to stand and eat at the bar, not good if you have been schlepping about for 2 or 3 hours.  Evenings there, particularly on Friday nights, are noisy, smoky, fun affairs and attract a vibrant and interesting crowd – so long as you can persuade one of your party to drive home it is worth the hour long trip.

Here’s the fabulous mushroom recipe as shown by Juan the barman.

Casa Puga telephone number: 950 231 530

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Almeria airport, Almeria

4 Oct

Well, this is not so much Yummy Almeria, rather than Useful Almeria!  Having said that, Almeria Airport IS a very nice airport.  It is completely hassle free, small (although is undergoing expansion which it needed), takes no time to get through passport control and luggage and straight out to the car hire desks and on your way.

The airport is only 10 minutes from the city in one direction, and 45 minutes to Cortijo del Sevillano in the other, being the best airport to travel to if you are staying with us.  Easyjet and Ryanair fly here from London everyday and other airlines such as Monarch from Manchester several times a week.  The other new thing from Almeria is that you can fly Ryanair to Madrid for a tenner – it is brilliant and means that if you are here for a week or more, you could integrate an overnight stay there if you wanted to (or longer – Madrid is great fun to visit).

Not the busiest airport in Spain

When you leave, again it is completely hassle free; the car hire return is easy and all you have to do is check your bags in (or not as the case may be) and go through passport control and to the gates downstairs (no endless walking miles to gate 56 – I think there are only 5 gates!), and onto your flight home.

Almeria airport arrivals

Alcazaba, Almeria

18 Sep

If you come to Almeria, you could do a lot worse than spend the day in the City of Almeria.  I wouldn’t particularly recommend it in August but any other month it can be a great day out.   However, you do need to know where you are going to fully enjoy the experience (like most cities) and someone who can read a street map and do a little research before heading off, otherwise you are in danger of parking the car and wandering about aimlessly!   The old town is full of great little bars and restaurants (some of which I will feature later) and there is a good main shopping street leading down towards the port (where you can get a ferry to Morocco, another thing on our ‘to do’ list!), plus the bus and train station, from where you can travel all over Spain.

The Alcazaba entrance

If you do visit, then a trip to the Alcazaba is must.  It is an Arab fortress which dominates the city and was constructed in 955 and is one of the best preserved in Spain.  It is the second largest Muslim building in Spain (after the Alhambra in Grenada).  In its heyday, 20,000 people lived within its walls.   In 1489 the town was captured by the Christians and opened up a new era of economic development.  However it came to an abrupt halt when in 1522 an earthquake devastated the city.  The 16th and 17th centuries were a period of slow but steady expansion but the Alcazaba has more recently undergone extensive renovation and is well worth the effort of a visit.   There is a good deal of walking as you would expect and also a lot of steps so it is not great for wheelchairs unfortunately, but if you are up to it, it makes an interesting contrast to a day at the beach followed by a fabulous long lunch somewhere in the old town.

Tha Alcazaba interior