The second coming at Gucci

3 Apr

I used to have boots like that – that’s me turning into my mum and aunties who say this about something I’m wearing whenever I see them. It is reassuring though to see a much loved garment or item returning to the fold.

Said boots appeared reincarnated, albeit in a far more luxurious and expensive form, in Frida Giannini’s impeccable and truly wearable update on swinging London (to steal the experts’ description) collection. The flattering cigarette trousers (sadly only for the skinniest of legs), the a-line minis, the smart tailored thin-leather dresses and blouses, the seventies swept hair, a bit of sparkle on long sleeved dresses and those sunglasses (!), I can’t fault it one bit.

On my return from this fabulous road-trip I’ll be indulging in a long consolatory rummage through second-hand and charity shops for pea and mint greens, soft blue wools, yellows, brown leather everything and maybe I’ll rediscover those long discarded sleek, cling-to-your-calves, block heeled, fake snake boots while I’m at it.

What’s more – I have a yeti-style faux fur jacket waiting for me in the loft, made lovingly by my very clever mum (with pockets and everything) but rarely sees daylight outside of parties and festivals, which I’ll soon be showing off down town (so to speak). I’ve waited a long time for this.

The lessons: 1. Never throw anything away. 2. Mum and aunties know best.

Pics from style.com. For the full collection click here.

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A welcome in the hillside

2 Apr

Now I’m obsessed with our French motorhome neighbours. They’re the cutest two couples with long-haired kids – all cotton fresh and outdoorsy – and a big olden days dog with a look on his face like “why is life so hard?”.

It’s kite surfing central here today with perfect sunny and windy conditions. Sadly I forgot to pack my wetsuit (ahem), we’re staying on nonetheless.

I’m really posting this though to show you some pics of Ronda – an appropriately rainy day a week or so ago (time flies) – and some other inland villages we visited to avoid the busy southern Costa’s. I’m normally ok with heights but the sheer drop on the edges of Ronda made me giddy – breathtaking.

On our way we stopped at Alora, where I asked a guardia if it was ok to pitch up in the town’s car park “no problema” (I wasn’t a girl guide but was born one), Ardales, Arcos de la Frontera – another ancient village on a steep hill – and a beautiful lush green natural park with a huge lake and an aqueduct – El Chorro – John was in his element.

Alora was also where I experienced a mini culture shock for the first time in Spain. It’s a pretty, albeit a little faded, working village, hardly touristy, set on a hill overlooking a stretch of valley and overlooked by a steep mountain with a cross on top. Exploring the narrow streets up to an ancient church we turned a corner into a large square, cars bumper to bumper, tiny kids weaving their bikes between them, groups of people of all ages standing, sitting on steps, chatting, drinking, chastising, laughing, dogs roaming around. A hive of laid back activity.

I’d just finished Laurie Lee’s A Rose for Winter, set in 1950s Andalusia, and had a feeling of the evenings he spent drinking wine in the plazas up in the hills, listening to guitars, whaling flamenco and women putting flowers in his wife’s hair.

That didn’t happen though. Hasta luego.

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Two continents, two seas

31 Mar

I’m half expecting to wake up with ‘English pig’ scrawled onto the side of Jeronimo (the motorhome) after unwittingly offending our French neighbours who were chatting outside their van: “Listen to the frogs” said John, “the what?” I asked, “the frogs” he replied this time louder, “the frogs?” I repeated as if just to rub it in. Then stifled giggles at our ridiculous faux pas (pardon the French). I’m sure it was crickets we could hear anyway.

So, we’re camped on the edge of a wide open expanse of beach (playa de valvaqueres) with views across to the twinkling lights and mountain silhouettes of the very northern tip of Africa. This evening’s sunset reflected a shimmering metallic glow on the water’s edge – surfers still out and Toto pawing the rock pools. Two continents, two seas.

The very best plan when free to roam is no plan. Today we stumbled across an impressive archeological site of a roman city – not marked on the map. A gem for any lover of the olden days.

Yesterday we drove through a surfer’s paradise, we think it was called Trafalgar, and came across Zahara, intending to get to Tarifa – still a bay down from us now – but got taken in by the rocky coastline, one horse saloon type town overlooked by what appears to be the Beverley Hills of Southern Spain (built on tuna apparently). The car park we shared with a German Larry and Sheryl David looky-likey couple did just fine for us.

I love hearing the nature before falling asleep (frogs, crickets, donkeys – whatever) and I think I’m okay with wild camping.

Sweet dreams until next time. Better try to restore relations with our closest allies.

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