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Playa Macenas Beach and Golf Resort

8 Dec

The Almerian climate is perfect for golf lovers and as you’d expect we have many beautiful courses in the local area.

Desert Springs and Valle del Este are both less than 20 minutes away from the Cortijo and are well used throughout the year. We’ve reviewed them both already on Yummy Almeria

Playa Macenas is a little further away on the south side of Mojacar on the road to Carboneras and the fabulous Cabo de Gata National Park. It’s well worth the trip to find this gem of a golf course, even if it is a little unusual.

Macenas 006 (2)

The resort was built over 4 years ago but construction of housing stopped abruptly when the crisis hit. The result is an almost fully developed resort which is largely uninhabited but still has a very playable and enjoyable course in the middle of it.

Our chum, Mike ‘discovered’ Macenas earlier in the week and suggested that we played on Saturday morning. I hadn’t played for a long time so I was pleased to hear that the 18 hole course has eight par 3 holes – Mike said it would be a perfect place for me to get back into the swings of things.

Macenas 008 (2)

 

We paid 25 euros’s each for the round, which includes buggy rental and believe me, you need one, and enjoyed a gloriously sunny morning of golf in fabulous surroundings.

We saw a couple of other golfer’s but no-one else so it’s like playing on your own private course in the middle of nature with amazing views of both mountains and sea. On more than one occasion we stopped to enjoy the deafening sound of silence amazed that the place is so underused.

Macenas 004

As well as the par 3’s there are plenty of very challenging holes – water, gulleys and a fearsome number of bunkers to trip you up with every misplaced shot. I had plenty of those but without the pressure from other golfers and the serenity of the place felt myself relaxing very quickly, making a few decent shots and feel my golf mojo slowly returning. Mike was right.

After the game, we relaxed a bit more on their fabulous terrace overlooking the Med and gazing out onto the horizon admiring the natural curvature on the Earth with a couple of cold beers.

Macenas 012

Macenas is well worth the visit – it is a bit of a ‘ghost resort’ but a very upmarket one. The course is fun, challenging and truly beautiful and literally, all yours for the 25 euro fee.

PlayaMacenasBeach and Golf Resort Telephone number 950 548 240.

 

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La Capilla Restaurant, Mojacar

29 Oct

This surely is one of the prettiest venues in the region – it is a converted Chapel and is gorgeous both inside and out.  We went recently, just before the heat of the summer, for lunch and it was really excellent.Capilla Ollie and Bug 004 (2)

La Capilla is on the road that joins Los Gallardos and Garrucha so it’s not strictly in Mojacar but close to it. The menu is incredibly varied, something for everyone and whilst, not cheap, represents good value.  If I had known the size of the main courses, I would not have ordered a starter – maybe two starters instead, or a salad for the table to begin, and then a main.

Capilla Ollie and Bug 010 (2)

 

The setting is just gorgeous and one can’t help thinking that it would make a fantastic venue for a wedding reception or big birthday celebration.

Capilla Ollie and Bug 003 (2)

 

We had a wonderfully cool table under a canopy and incredibly private. Lots more nice pics here on their Facebook page.

La Capilla Restaurant telephone number is 950 479 305

 

Bodega Mi Cortijo Restuarant, Mojacar Playa

18 Mar

It is always a bit of a quiet time during the first three months of the year for everyone here.  Restaurant owners take their well deserved holidays, and we are all doing those horrible jobs that we put off until the winter – the run up to Christmas is too busy, so it gets pushed back until now (before going out today, Mick and I finished painting the hall!).

 

Anyhow, we decided it was about time for an outing again and a bit of relaxation and so went down to Mojacar to meet up with some friends who had already visited Mi Cortijo.  It is located on a side street (second turning on the right after the Hortiflor roundabout if you are coming from Garrucha direction).  As soon as you turn up the street you will see it on the left hand side.  Parking is easy as it is in a residential area.

Mi Cortijo cats and dogs 001

 

It is obvious that this has been newly refurbished (it used to be a lovely home interiors shop) as it is very smart and tastefully done.  There is a large area with lots of tables and chairs, and barrels and bar stools where you can have breakfast, coffee, drinks or tapas and then a more formal dining room at the back.  We just went for tapas and a couple of glasses of wine – there is a fairly extensive tapas menu and some good healthy choices too (half of us are on diets!).

Mi Cortijo cats and dogs 004

 

We ordered Jamon, mixed salad (which comes with tuna, but is left undressed), roasted peppers and tuna, sliced tomatoes with grilled Italian cheese, smoked ham and sliced potatoes on toasted bread, and then some toasts that we first thought were kebabs (pinchos), but in fact you went and chose some toppings of your choice – the boys chose alioli, anchovy and a chilli pepper topping (?) for us, but actually it was very nice.  Had I not been on a diet I probably could have had one or two more dishes to make a reasonably substantial lunch, but opted for another glass of wine instead!

 

Mi Cortijo cats and dogs 005

 

As the name suggests (Bodega) they also sell their house wine by the 2 litre bottle for 4.50 euros – red, white and rosado, which we didn’t try.

 

It is good to have another new place to go to with slightly more sophisticated and beautifully presented tapas than usual.  The service was lovely and friendly, swift but without bringing everything at once and the bill came to 14 euros a head which included a 10% tip.  We will definitely be going there again and would be a good choice for an evening drink too.  We didn’t look at the a la carte menu but if the tapas are anything to go by, take a look next time you are down that way and see for yourself.

Mi Cortijo cats and dogs 006

 

They are open all day from 8.30 a.m. until 11p.m daily.

Bodega Mi Cortijo Restuarant, Mojacar Playa Telephone number: 696 431 510.

Mediterraneo Restaurant – Mojacar Playa

23 Dec

Ok, this is without question, one of the best restaurants in this region for a menu del dia!  It is situated overlooking the beach, and near the Irish Rover.

Mediterraneo 004

We were taken here a few weeks ago by some friends, and we were so impressed wanted to go again and so we in turn, invited some other friends to join us for lunch.

The restaurant is bright and airy, has a formal restaurant with large windows overlooking the sparkling blue sea – it was a sensational day yesterday, which made it only the better!  On the pavement side, is an enclosed, less formal dining area where you can have drinks, or eat as well.

Mediterraneo 002

The menu del dia offered here resembles a top quality a la carte menu in other restaurants – there is an endless choice of starters, main courses and desserts – all for 10 euros per person at lunchtime and 12 in the evening.  Drinks are all on top as you would expect from this standard of menu.  Alternatively there is a vast choice of rice dishes or perhaps pizza for the younger members of your party!

Mediterraneo 003

Yesterday we chose crunchy prawns (little filo parcels deep fried and served with a honey dressing), fois gras with a fig dressing, and a prawn cocktail which had crab sticks and pineapple pieces on a bed of iceberg lettuce.  All were fantastic.  Sue and I had chuleta de buey to follow – (on the bone steak, utterly divine), our friend, Gordon, had leg of lamb (actually, I have to say this looked a little disappointing, just two medallions which probably was not enough for most men,   so I would recommend the shoulder if you want lamb, as it comes on the bone and is a bit more “gala”!  Mick had an entrecote, cooked medium with a roquefort sauce.

Mediterraneo 007

There is a fantastic choice of fish as well – probably 8 kinds– next time I will have hake.  There are about 10 choices of meat dishes and as said paella etc for those not wanting a three course lunch.

Mediterraneo 008

All main dishes are served with hand cut chips and a small order of perfectly cooked fresh vegetables.  Digby and Kevin, the mutts, had the benefit of the steak bones later!

The desserts are very varied – I am not particularly crazy about puds, so had a gorgeous piece of fresh pineapple;  the others had chocolate brownies, blueberry panecotta and warm apple tart – all were good, even though maybe not homemade.

Mediterraneo 010

With a bottle of house red, three glasses of white and a few soft drinks the bill came to 80 euros with a decent tip – unbelievable value and really good service too.

Mediterraneo 005

If you want to give this lovely eatery a try, do book as both times we have been the interior restaurant has been packed, and the café part pretty busy.

Mediterraneo Restaurant Telephone 950 47 22 68

Moors and Christians Festival, Mojacar

28 Jun

The fantastic Moors and Christians festival in June is not to be missed and certainly helped to put the town of Mojacar on the map.

It’s a noisy, colourful fiesta and celebration where during the processional part of the event seven different armies march through the town.

It starts late in the afternoon and carries on until they have all marched from the top of the pueblo right down to the bottom. Be prepared for lots of bands (great drumming), amazing costumes, horses and this year, camels.

It’s a great opportunity to literally watch the world go by whilst enjoying food and drink from many of the temporary bars and stalls.

The Moors and Christians event celebrates the story of Mojacar’s defeat in 1488 and how the two sides managed to turn the battle into a companionable ‘draw’.

The Christian Kings, as they are known in Spain, were camped on the doorstep of the fortified town.

They had broken through the Moorish lines and sacked the next door town of Vera.

There are activities on the beach part of Mojacar, but the main action, including a medieval market in the main square, is in the village where the fun continues over the weekend with fireworks, live bands, thunder-flashes and musketry.

The final incredible parade takes place on the Sunday evening. Well worth making a note in your diary for mid-June to take this all in. It’s very Spanish and great fun.

Treasure Island beach walk

21 May

Last weekend we wanted to do a morning walk before the weather really gets too hot to even think about walking – so our friends Mike and Gill, who are very keen walkers – told us about one particular route they had done which gave you two options.  The first one is a much more challenging walk over quite big hills above the beaches beyond Mojacar; the second is a coastal walk, but along a decent, flat track for the less ambitious. Both start from the tower at Macenas beach as you head for Carboneras.

Meeting point at Macenas tower

We didn’t have to start too early, although the forecast was for the high eighties on the Saturday that we went.  But anyhow, we agreed to meet at an acceptable 10.30 and promised Gill that we would be on time as we always seem to be 10 or 15 minutes late when going to theirs for lunch!  So, we set off extra early, and they still beat us to it.

Signposted all of the way

We were hoping to be 6 or 8 but everyone else cried off for various reasons, so with it just being the four of us, Mike gave us the option to either do the more difficult, over the hills walk (I hasten to add there was a promise of a beautiful beach and tapas lunch in the chiringuito at the end of the two hours that it would take to get there!) or to do the easier coastal walk to the same point, but which would only take an hour or so.  I thought as it wasn’t too hot, that even I would brave the hills.

The sea view

Shelters on top of the hill

This is where someone having done the route already pays off, as Gill kind of kept me up to date with what to expect; it was tricky here, steep there, over the worst bit – that kind of thing!  Not being much of a walker myself, it all helps to keep you going.  There were several gorgeous natural stops on the way where the council have put up seating areas and little cabins to get a bit of shade while you catch your breath and have a glug of water (which obviously is essential to take with you).

Keep going!

The way down.

It was as challenging a walk as I would like –  a few quite hairy bits going down some steep slopes with nothing to hold on to,  but nothing that phased our 70 something companions!  They are quite amazing and remained undaunted, but seriously, if you are of a certain age and not used to walking, then take the coastal route which is just lovely too.

The beach before Treasure Island beach

2 hours later we arrived at Treasure Island beach (yes really they shot the Orson Wells version here in 1972).  It is just lovely, unspoilt and with just one chiringuito, Manaca,  to have drinks, tapas or lunch.  You could quite happily spend the whole afternoon here – and the good thing is that it can be reached by car too, so you could pack everything up and come for the whole day, away from the more popular beaches in Mojacar.  You need brollies and something to lie on though as it really is a natural beach with no other facilities apart from the beach bar.

Treasure Island beach

Chiringuito Manaca

He was a bit thinner then

We arrived for lunch and of course a much needed drink, tinto verano in my case (summer wine a bit like sangria) – just lovely.  Then the owner came out with the menus and a chameleon – (see the picture!) who live naturally here in the trees.  He was very friendly and unphased by being handled by us (the chameleon, not the owner).

Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma etc.

The walk back to Chiringuito Macenas is a about 40 minutes long and passes past the old lookout point. Very dramatic scenery here.

 

The walk back

The old lookout point

Walkers delight – Chiringuito Macenas

So maybe from now on, if you do want to try this walk, you would need to start by 9 in the morning at this time of year, a little earlier as we go through to July, or even go when the sun is setting and have a swim and a sun-downer atTreasure Island beach.

Life doesn’t get much better than that.

 

 

 

 

 

El Cid Beach Bar, Mojacar Playa

28 Jul

Now that summer’s here there’s nothing we like better than cooling off by the beach, taking in the breeze, having a couple of drinks and watching the world go by.  There is a fantastic beach bar section on Mojacar Playa and it is a great place to go and kick back when we get the chance – hardly at all at the moment!!

One of the oldest beach bars around is El Cid founded in 1978 and still run by Californian couple Lloyd Dean and Tish and we like to go there for a change – somewhere that has a bit of “history” always feels good.

This chiringuito may not be the trendiest beach bar on the strip but it’s certainly one of the friendliest and is very popular with locals and visitors alike.  They all do a great trade at this time of year and standards are pretty high in all of them.  During late July and August, there seems plenty of business to go around and they come into their own later in the evening when the heat has gone out of the day and that wonderful cool sea breeze takes over.

They serve the usual fare of fish, meat and pasta dishes with a good selection of freshly made veggie meals and great salads served every day from lunchtime onwards until late.  El Cid is yet another relaxing place for us to chill out by the beautifulMediterranean Sea.

El Cid Beach bar, Mojcar telephone number 950 472 063

Bbme Beach Bar, Mojacar Playa

19 Jul

Ok, it is now seriously hot and all we want to do is go to the beach.  Unfortunately we can’t as my job is to look after lots of people who can!  However, on Sunday after running around, serving and clearing breakfast, tidying up, making sure the hounds were walked and happy we eventually went off at 2 p.m.to catch a few hours reading and swimming – it was so warm really the only place to be was by the sea as there is nearly always a breeze.

Mojacar beach is not the quietest beach around but we like it as there are many, many great beach bars here as regular readers of my blog will know and also only 20 minutes away.  One of our favourite bars is a serious chill-out place, bbme.  Ok, they have actual BEDS in the restaurant – it is just fantastic – you can have your lunch and then go and lie down and go to sleep or sip a cocktail and read.  I have been quite tempted on occasion to actually move in here for week’s holiday as they pretty much stay open all night anyway.

The food in all of these beach bars generally is pretty good, and they cater for more or less everyone.  Even if you are vegetarian they can normally make up a great big salad for you and leave out the tuna if you are really really vegetarian.  Order a lovely glass of ice cold Tinto Verano (summer wine) while you are waiting – it is a little like Sangria but I think it is nicer, and not so heady as ordinary wine.  Be careful though as it does not taste very alcoholic, but is still probably 4 or 5% so drivers beware.  During July and August, I recommend finding your place on the beach and then immediately going to book a table for lunch at 1.30 – Spanish people all eat at 2 pm and so if you get there a little beforehand, you won’t need to wait for tables of 20 Spaniards to order and be served.  If you don’t book, don’t expect to eat until 3.30 or 4 pm!

If you only make one trip to Mojacar beach, make sure you visit this one.

 

Lola’s Restaurant and Bar, Mojacar Playa

28 Jun

On Saturday Mick and I had a real day off – unless we leave the Cortijo, we do all kinds of worky things which we just can’t resist!  “Oh I will just do this or that for half an hour” but it never is – it always ends up being half the day or more!  So, I reminded him that ‘we’ had decided to go to the beach for the day.  All we had to do was pick one.  So we chose Mojacar as it is lovely and lively at this time of year, without being unbearable.  We have lots of favourites down there, and the great thing is that you can hire beds and umbrellas for a few euros each (I think it is 7 for 2 beds and a shade right on the water).

Mojacar beach is a mere 20 minute drive from here and it is truly gorgeous.  Seldom in other parts of Spain are you able to drive right along the coast adjacent to the beach without there being at least one line of property all along the front – well you can here and as you drive around the corner from Garrucha, there it is – the beautiful, turquoise Mediterranean and an expanse of sand which stretches for miles and miles.

To reach all the beach bars is around another 5 minute drive, past the little shopping centre and the Parador – and there are the beach bars – lots of them and all good. Mauiis a favourite but on Saturdays it gets incredibly busy in the late afternoon with lots of good looking kids taking a look at each other!  So we park up on the beach (how fabulous is that!) and then walk along the shore to Lola’s, the third or fourth one along.  They have comfy beds both on the beach, and yes, chillout beds in the restaurant itself if you want to lie down with a cocktail in full shade!  It is just fantastic fun and puts you in mind of a Californian beach restaurant, with its bleached driftwood style.

You can have a great lunch at most of the bars it has to be said – Mick and I were good and had salads and mineral water as I am on a bit of a bikini diet!!!  But there are lots of delicious things to choose from if you want a long, lingering lunch.  Be warned, in Spain it is advisable to turn up for lunch at 1.30 or 3.30 – the Spaniards descend at 2 p.m.pretty much on the dot, and you can wait a long time to be served and forever if you don’t have a reservation.  What Mick and I normally do, is arrive at the beach, pick our restaurant and reserve a table anyway.  That way there are no disappointments and if you are new to the area it is fun to mooch along the beach looking at menu’s and maybe stopping for a coffee or a beer before a bit of sunbathing.

No wonder this is my favourite time of year!

Maui Beach bar, Mojacar

6 Jun

It’s that time of year when by now all the beach bars are opening up again – I love sitting by the sea having lunch and there are not that many places that open during the winter and many don’t open until Easter time. Maui on Mojacar beach is one of the few that open even earlier in March time and we went there on a blowy, but sunny day.  You can tell when it is early in the season as the bars on the beach that are open have protective covers, a bit like being in a marquee.  But we don’t mind as we are still in the fresh air, being waited on by friendly staff and being served lovely fresh food, watching the waves roll in.

Maui is always good whatever the weather and you can pretty much find something for everyone on their menu, from fresh fish to hamburgers and pizzas if your lot really won’t eat anything else, to fantastic meats and, of course, paella.  Like most of the beach bars here, their prices are very reasonable and you can linger as long as you like, whilst watching your children play on the sand or in the surf.  Another thing we like aboutMauiis that you can hire beds and umbrellas for not very much, if like me, you are no longer keen on lying in sand and burning to a crisp.

On Saturday afternoons in the summer, it is a great spot for older teenagers to party – there are hundreds of kids, really loud music and it will give you a bit of peace and quiet if you go and lay further up the beach!

They open early and stay open pretty much all day, late into the night up until early autumn.  I am looking forward to spending the odd afternoon down here or dropping in for a sundowner before dinner.  Bliss.