A holly jolly hol­i­day!

U3A Vall del Pop mem­bers spend Christ­mas in An­dalu­cia

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - SOCIAL SCENE - Ar­ti­cle by San­dra Wel­ham

There was ex­cite­ment in the air as, just after sun­rise on a beau­ti­ful De­cem­ber morn­ing, 43 mem­bers of the U3A Vall del Pop as­sem­bled in Jalon to start our spe­cial Christ­mas break in Nerja, South­ern Spain guided jointly by the TCET Leader San­dra Wel­ham and her hus­band, U3A Pres­i­dent Bob Wel­ham.

Ev­ery­one set­tled in to their suite ac­com­mo­da­tion at the Apartho­tel Mari­nas de Nerja, for four nights. Si­t­u­ated on the sea shore but just a short walk from Nerja town, the ho­tel proved an in­stant hit, not sur­pris­ingly, as the trip was booked on a “fully in­clu­sive” ba­sis, the bar and restau­rant soon be­came pop­u­lar meet­ing places.

A se­ries of trips and out­ings, us­ing the Gan­dia Tours bus, was ably and safely con­ducted by driver Pepe, whose con­tin­u­ous good hu­mour added much to the en­joy­ment of all, with the first out­ing to Nerja old town and the im­pres­sive Cueva de Nerja on Christ­mas Eve morn­ing and, in the af­ter­noon, to the pretty white vil­lage of Frig­iliana where many of the group took ad­van­tage of the tourist train to view the more in­ac­ces­si­ble parts. Be­fore din­ner, they gath­ered in the dusk to sing a range of Christ­mas Car­ols in sev­eral lan­guages, an event which was en­joyed as much by the other guests of the ho­tel as by the singers!

On Christ­mas Day, they started with cava and gifts from Se­cret Santa (AKA Bob and San­dra!) be­fore set­tling down to a more for­mal Christ­mas lunch in the ho­tel’s ban­quet­ing suite. With four cour­ses to get through each ac­com­pa­nied by un­lim­ited wine and soft drinks, most of us did not com­plete our feast un­til very late in the af­ter­noon!

After the cel­e­bra­tions of the day be­fore, Box­ing Day got off to a more re­laxed start but after lunch, Pepe drove us into the nearby city of Malaga for a bit of re­tail ther­apy! There was also the sea front and Cathe­dral to visit be­fore 18.30 when we were able to wit­ness the fa­mous Christ­mas light and mu­sic show, a spec­tac­u­lar fif­teen minute dis­play in a spe­cially con­structed tun­nel which ran the full length of Calle Lar­ios, which had drawn crowds from all over Spain and Europe.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end and so the next day, we set off for the jour­ney back to the Costa Blanca. But spir­its were high and some­where near Mur­cia, Bob pro­duced a quiz for our en­ter­tain­ment, which was won by Tony and Brenda Bai­ley.

We all agreed that the 2018 Christ­mas Trip had been a great suc­cess and for­mal thanks were made to Bob and San­dra for their hard work, and to Pepe for driv­ing us safely and smoothly through­out.

Next year’s venue might be to Peñis­cola, so time to get our names down on the list!

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on U3A Vall del Pop check our web­site http://u3avalldelpop.com

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