Mud. What is mud? By definition, it’s a soft, sticky matter from the mixing of earth and water – AKA wet dirt.
For us lads it’s the result of a good sliding tackle. For the people of Murcia, it’s a healing aid and the ultimate secret to good health. But not just any old mud.
San Pedro del Pinatar is a small town in Murcia, southeastern Spain. Home of Europe’s largest salt-water lagoon (Mar Menor) and the famous Las Charcas mud baths.
It’s also where Vicky’s parents have a lovely little apartment, which sits minutes from the sacred healing waters.
I try to avoid Europe in the winter due to the weather being equally as unreliable as Chelsea’s failing defence… But with little persuasion (or choice) – I’d been convinced to spend the long weekend with my future in-laws.
On arrival, we was welcomed by blue skies, glorious sunshine and two tanned parents.
Janine and Rich had arrived a couple of days before us, but their golden skins was more than promising.
Murcia airport – one of the smallest I’ve ever seen – shares it’s facilities with the military.
I spent the 15-minute journey to our temporary residence with my head outside the car window like a dog – watching the red arrows dart across the sky, while taking in Murcia’s gorgeous landscape.
On arrival, we was greeted by a temperature gauge that read 35°C…
Within minutes we were stripped off, creamed up and sipping cheap Sangria on the apartment rooftop – while listening to that “Let’s Marvin Gaye and Get It On” song, by Charlie Puth – which was repeated over and over and over again.
It’s expensive to buy in San Pedro, but cheap to eat. Which is great news for me – a full-time eater.
The Hornsby’s – well aware of my addiction to food – had already stocked up their cupboards and fridge with a huge variety of carbs. God knows how much French stick I’d eaten. I blame that addictive Aioli garlic dip – no wonder Vicky kept her distance.
Amigos – which means Friends, in Spanish – is a nice little bar which lives directly opposite the apartment.
They serve an array of cheap cocktails, with measurements which must have made the drinks almost illegal.
Needless to say, we were more than tipsy when heading out for dinner.
The first night we demolished an all-you-can-eat Chinese a la carte. Not exactly a Spanish dish, but certainly more filling than Paella or Tapas.
Vicky, as usual had the smallest portion you’d ever see (literally twelve noodles, two pieces of chicken, one spoonful of curry sauce and less than 20 grains of rice).
The rest of us made the most of the menu and feasted on almost everything – with the exception of squid.
We did well. Very well in fact. And to think the entire meal, plus two bottles of wine and a handful of beers come to less than €50 was incredible.
Throughout most of the second day, Rich (Vicky’s Dad) had been talking about this meat place, El Gallegio.
He’d challenged me to take on their biggest steak (the T-Bone) and if I completed it, he’d pay for my meal – if I failed, I pay for his.
The trusty plumber tactfully tried filling me up with bread, jugs of creamy cocktails and starters – but it was all in vain, as it wasn’t long after the giant slab of meat arrived, Rich knew he’d be paying.
Minus the fatty bits, the meal was lovely and there was absolutely no way I was leaving any – a similar attitude Janine (Vicky’s mum) shared when the waiter poured her a super-sized Brandy.
It was at least four ordinary measures or more and no doubt the reason she wasn’t able to remember much about the night.
The restaurant certainly got my “unbendable” thumbs up.
Vicky, who wasn’t so impressed, shamefully ordered a well-done fillet steak and was horrified when served something that looked half alive.
Needless to say she sent it back, only this time, reordered in Spanish.
Our last day I was taken to San Pedro’s number one attraction, (according to Trip Advisor) the Las Charcas Mud Baths and Salt Lake.
There’s a rumour that for maximum benefits, mud soakers should coat their bodies in the stinky sludge and walk 3km down to the Molino de la Calcetera, before returning and washing it off. This is supposed to be done nine times.
Well, sadly I only had one day left, and was hungry so I ditched the long walk and settled for just a quickie…
Sadly by the end of it I was left cold, smelly and my stomach ached for food (again).
Not exactly what the locals promised.
Talking of trust, have you ever been to a Spanish barbers?
I asked for a haircut and shave, but there was no cutting about it.
The creative “barber” used a comb and shavers to chop my mullet into shape.
Not convinced the lad had ever used scissors before, but for £6, I wasn’t going to complain.
By the end I was left pleasantly surprised, but felt it was cut a little short… Just like the holiday.
Look forward to coming back – wonder if Janine will still be pissed on that glass of Brandy?