Posted by: Dee Andrews | June 25, 2008

La Herradura

The morning is a cacophony of sounds. Two roosters crow “wake up,” the birds chirp incessantly in the background, the neighboring dogs compete with barks, and some sort of whipper whorl of a bird jumps in with its long drawn out call. The rest of the morning is peaceful enough that these sounds assault me; it’s like an orchestra that’s a little off key.

It’s 8:30am and Scott and the girls are still sleeping. I’ve been up a half hour and had a cup of coffee on the porch in the morning sun, savoring the memory of our evening last night. We discovered La Herradura, a beautiful beach about 15 minutes up the highway toward Almuñécar. I read it means “horseshoe,” and it is indeed a perfect horseshoe of a bay with cliffs and the town and urbanizations rising up around. After the hustle and bustle of Nerja, with its tourists and traffic, La Herradura is a refreshing sleepy little town. Hardly any cars, no one in line at the tourist office, and only a handful of late afternoon sun bathers dot the rocky beach or nap in the lounge chairs. We park and start along the boardwalk. It’s about 6:30pm, the sun still up and casting intense sparkles across the water. There is one yacht anchored off shore, a pair of divers near it exploring the sites under water. Several shore fishermen have planted their poles and relax on blankets with their families, waiting to see if dinner emerges.

The restaurants and shops and apartments along the boardwalk are mostly empty, the apartments that outline the bay all have their garage door like louvers pulled down. While Nerja is full of early June tourists, beating the rush of summer visitors, it could be mid-winter in La Herradura. We wonder what mid-winter is really like if this is June. The boardwalk ends at a sizeable beach restaurant, with a large fire pit area and what looks like a small stage. Flamenco dancing is advertised on a flyer “every Monday night.” Weekends bring the “largest outdoor paella” made and pictures show a man stirring a dining room sized table of the regional rice and fish dish. We find a table to sit for a cold beer and juices. A plate of chips arrives as well, the girls greedily grabbing them up. Half of the plate is full of crunchy looking thick circles, kind of an onion ring looking chip, though they look like sea shells with their texture and divots. Grace promptly says they are dried-up octopus legs. She could be right.

The girls down their juices and head for the beach to explore. Scott and I sit and watch the beachgoers, the waves, and the boats and wonder what the town in actually like. It is nearer the one international school in the area. We have realized that Frigiliana is just too far away from that school to consider it a living option, and there is nothing about Nerja that we like. As we discovered yesterday with mobile phone companies and trying to get internet service, without a residency card, many things are not allowed, such as registering at the local schools. A “stamp of approval” from the Department of Education of the girls Colorado school records is also needed; apparently a six-month process that begins once you have…you got it…your residency card! I suppose for people moving abroad with a company and HR department, visas and residency cards are expedited through a HR manager. For the likes of us, who came on our own, a year lead time is only enough if you apply for your visa immediately, which in our case, we spent the first six months just figuring out what country to move to. So, long story short, we are most likely looking at international schools for the girls and are now exploring towns closer to the school in Almuñécar.

The girls are ready to collect their swimsuits from the car and take a dip in the sea. We lounge on the pebbly beach to cat nap and they decide to bury my legs in stones. I imagine it’s a hot stone massage at the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess spa and resort! We decide to try dinner at the beach restaurant behind us. It’s about 9:00pm by now and two other tables have diners beginning their wine and “primo platos.” I have been encouraging the girls to share meals since the portions are large and kids’ menus are an American thing. Grace and I actually decide to share the octopus in garlic sauce. Pulpo, we learn, is how to say it in Spanish. Emma chooses chicken soup and Scott the durado fish. It’s an excellent meal but more savory was the long-drawn out evening, hanging out together, watching the sunset. I’m sure we’ll be back to La Herradura for more.



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