Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Albatera: Cava Me In Sunshine and Feed Me a Doughnut

Albatera, Spain (Albatera, España)
December 2015
It was around this time in our road trip that we were growing weary of fast-paced travel, so we decided to book an AirBNB in a little town called Albatera for eight days to rejuvenate. Meeting our hosts in the centre of town, they immediately greeted us with "Are you tired?" and then followed that up with "Do you want to see a concert?" We were game! An orchestra was in town playing various Disney songs for the evening, and the music was so moving that I actually teared up when they did a rendition of a Lion King song. Great childhood memories were relived that night. We stood during the performance as a few Spaniards had reserved seats for hundreds of their friends and family members using bags, scarves and other articles of clothing. Mickey Mouse ears had been handed out, and several children paraded around saying cute things in Spanish (one girl even sang a translation of the famous Frozen song Let it Go: "Suétalo! Suétaloooo!"). After dinner at the pensioner's club, we retired for the night.
The next few days were spent lounging on the rooftop terrace, looking out over the surrounding hills.

The wifi signal reached up there so we contentedly lazed from 11am to 4pm each day, as those were the warmest hours. I caught up on much of my 'to-be-read' pile.

In the evenings we cooked simple meals and drank rather a lot of cava. Our hosts were English, so of course there was a kettle! I appreciated the ability to make myself tea.
We were invited to watch a film with our hosts one night in the lounge, but unfortunately the low-budget disaster movie he selected was frankly terrible. Their VFX were so shoddily done that it looked like something out of the Sims (not even Sims 2). In one scene where they were driving away from an earthquake, they accidentally hit a baby hippopotamus. The baby hippo turned out to be unscathed, but then the mama hippo came after them! Perhaps a zoo's fences had fallen down in the earthquake? The protagonists somehow ended up in the sewers but escaped after another earthquake opened a path for them. After that, they found a helicopter pilot willing to give them a ride and were about to heli-flee to safety when an airplane fell from the sky onto the parked helicopter. Sucker punched right in the deus ex machina! In the end everyone was happy because all of the main characters survived and California fell into the sea.

One day we ventured into town and meandered through streets teeming with market stalls - knickknacks, clothing, duvets, flowers, pastries and more. We also discovered that the local bakery, Pyter Pan, do a wicked glazed doughnut. They are possibly the best in all of Spain. So soft. So fluffy.
We got the sense that there was a large UK expat community in the town as we saw many signs, some stating "English spoken here", others "Mushy peas sold here".

Sunday meant market day, so we rode with our hosts to get churros. Well, we got churros and they sensibly bought their fruits and vegetables for the week. At one stall a man kept shouting "euro euro euro" on repeat, followed by "uno euro uno euro" and then "euuuuuuuuuuuuuro!" He was clearly proud of his inexpensive wares.
The market, and the area in general, had more of a North African vibe than much of Spain: stall keepers crying out for patronage, men browsing the market dressed in long desert-coloured robes, and street signs written in Spanish and Arabic.

Watching the churros being made, we saw the stall owner using a syringe-like device to squeeze out long swirling strands of the churro batter into hot oil and then use scissors to chop them into manageable sizes. The dough itself is very plain, as it's only made using water, flour and salt, so sugar is poured liberally over the churros, and we also ordered a hot chocolate for dipping. 

We enjoyed our eight days in Albatera, and especially the hours spent on the rooftop terrace in the sun. What a life to live in winter.

Today's post was almost called: Summer - I Can’t Suéltalo!