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Only Joe King

A light-hearted look at life in Andalucía and Spain in general. Its good points and its bad. This blog doesn't pull any punches.

Serendipity IV – a Cancellation, 2 TVs, Chateaubriand and the Palacio de Mondragón
Tuesday, December 21, 2021 @ 5:06 AM

Once again “serendipity” has intervened in the life of Joe King.

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, “serendipity” is the fact of finding interesting or valuable things by chance. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary goes for the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.


The Ronda Reading Group

This newly formed group was due to meet for the second time last Saturday. However, the get-together, to discuss our first book choice, “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate, became the victim of a funeral, members away abroad, work commitments, illness and apathy. With only four of us left standing we decided to postpone until January.

Slightly peeved at this turn of events, this freed up my day, however, and gave me the unexpected chance to drive down to Casares Playa (Cádiz) to buy a couple of second-hand TVs I’d seen on Facebook Marketplace.

The missus and I decided to make an excursion out of this opportunity, so we programmed our satnav and off we set. Two hours later, Google Maps once again failed to deliver us to our destination*, so we had to resort to the use of old-fashioned communications technology, ie the vendor and I using our voices talking on our mobile phones!

*In recent times Google Maps has failed to get us to La Mezquita in Córdoba, our hotel in Toledo (Castilla-La Mancha), and Leroy Merlin in Mijas (Málaga). What is going on?


Two TVs

We wanted the TVs for our newly renovated holiday rental, Casa Real, as an extra hook to make our property stand out from the rest by offering a TV in each bedroom.

We viewed the TVs, both LGs. One big, one smaller; great pictures and sound and in good condition. We paid the man the money and squeezed the tellies in our car.

Loaded up we set off for Manilva Playa (Cádiz) where there’s a great chiringuito, El Garito de Juan, but it had closed up for the winter.



I’d spotted an Argentine grill, El Estribo, back on the main road, so we headed there. It looked a bit pricey, and the cars parked outside were all better than ours, but what the hell! The dining room was pleasingly full – of Spaniards – usually a good sign of the quality of a restaurant.

I quickly chose what I fancied until my better half talked me into sharing an ensalada de la casa followed by a chateaubriand.

I’m glad she did, for it was outstandingly good. The salad was fresh and well-dressed and the beef fillet, grilled poco hecho as we had requested, was amazing.

A couple of glasses of Argentinian Malbec from Mendoza and a coffee and we were good to go. No need for dinner that night!

Serendipity or what? Expensive serendipity at over 100€, but what a fabulous meal!


Palacio de Mondragón

Earlier in that week, I had become aware, quite by chance, of a concert of 16th Century music to be held that evening in the delightful surroundings of the newly re-furbished Palacio de Mondragón in Ronda. I had not been inside this magnificent Moorish palace since the wedding of my “step-daughter” there in 2006.

I applied for and got two tickets, so, despite being tired after our unplanned visit to the coast, off we went to the concert.

The group, Carmina Terrarum, which comprised: Aníbal Soriano, player of medieval stringed instruments (a lute and a precursor of the Spanish guitar); César Carazo, medieval viola and tenor voice; plus Álvaro Garrido, medieval percussion, was fabulous. They trawled us through a repertoire of 16th Century music from Portugal, France, Italy and Spain, interspersed with explanations and humour.

A thoroughly enjoyable 90 minutes, which capped our serendipitous day perfectly!

So, a day which began with disappointment turned out really well in the end. A couple of hundred euros poorer, because of lunch and the TVs (the concert was free); nevertheless we enjoyed a drive through the eastern part of Cádiz province. Down to the coast via Gaucín and Casares and back home via San Roque, Castellar de la Frontera, Jimena de la Frontera and Gaucín.



Information about Restaurante El Estribo in Manilva is here []

Information about chiringuito El Garito de Juan in Manilva is here []



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