Morning Rituals

When we moved to Arizona from Seattle in 2016, initially we loved the weather and how different the vegetation was from the Northwest. But of course, we moved there in March after a particularly drippy winter in Seattle. We were ready for a change. But when the thermostat hit 124 Fahrenheit on June 21st – the first day of a summer in the desert – the bloom was off that rose. Or more to the point, the bloom had shriveled up and died in the blinding inferno coming from the bright orb in the sky.

So after spending the summer in Spain last year – where people were complaining that it was a scorcher – it didn’t seem that hot to me. And now it’s begun to heat up here again this year. But we have the Sea to dip our toes in. And sand to exfoliate our feet without burning the soles off. And the views? You can’t beat them.

We’ve decided that every morning we will be walking on the beach, so we’re getting up early and catching the tram for the quick trip to the sea. We now have our routine of the direction we walk, picking up shells and coral and then sitting down for our morning drinks while looking out at the water.


We’re starting our new shell/rock jar. We’ve always had one of these in our house. They’re a collection of sand/rocks/shells from the beaches we’ve visited with our family over many years. We’d bring it back and add it all to the jar. The kids loved these jars and I’d catch them looking at the sometimes, remembering where each layer came from. Our old jars are at my parent’s house in Portland. In a box. Em was sad when she found out they didn’t make it to Spain, so it’s time to start a new one. Many of these shells I’ve never seen before.

Sometimes now, there is a cruise ship in town. This will mean the beach will be busier during the day and we should get our lounge chairs reserved if we have a hope of spending the day under a tiki umbrella with food and beverage service. You learn the ropes after a couple of days of observing the cadence and missing out. Emilie will be starting Beach Volleyball camp soon so I’ll definitely want to stake out a spot early on those days.

We have developed our favorite beach time haunts. There are the upscale restaurants, which by US standards are laughably cheap to eat at, but are considered by locals to be expensive. The views from these place are probably in the photo rolls of every tourist who visits the city, especially by cruise ship. And for good reason. We like Panorama to have a Sunday brunch drink and to watch the fishermen and the surfers. Or at Sunset.

View from Panorama

Then there are the typical beach standbys. And yesterday, Emilie and I discovered our favorite ice cream place was on the beach. We had packed our beach bag chock full, and made our way down to enjoy the water on a late afternoon, only to have a thunderstorm move in. Booming and flashing. What can you do but sit inside and eat the best gelato and sorbet of your life and wait for it to pass? The coconut flavor is like eating an actual coconut.


We like Jijoneca – they’re everywhere in Spain, especially on the beach areas –  when we have a craving for Helado. It’s really nice inside and the servers are excellent and friendly, and they speak English – cause it’s the beach.

For our morning coffee, we usually go to a small cafe on Patacona playa. They know us now and they’re friendly and happy to have us every morning for our usual. I’m sure we’ll return to our local El Horno, near our house, when the weather turns colder in the fall. To see the ladies who just shout out ‘The usual’ and bring it to us.


But for right now, we’ll be enjoying our daily walk, watching the happenings on our beach as tourists from around the world, and families, come and go. Picking up our shells, as the boats sail by, and just slowing down. I can’t wait until I’m tired of sweeping sand out of our house. Then I’ll know we’re settled in.


4 thoughts on “Morning Rituals

    • It is wonderful. When I came in November to rent a flat and prep for our move, I had some criteria from Jeff that was a ‘must have’. I wavered a bit while looking at some listings but I held fast. So it was good we had discussed it before hand and wrote it down. My big ‘must have’ was ease of transportation. I wanted to be close to a Metro stop and the Tram to the beach. We didn’t find a flat on or right near the beach so it was important to me. We live in Benimachlet. It used to be it’s own village, has a very old, very charming section and it’s close to the Jardin de Real. It is also right on the Metro to anywhere – including the airport – and on the tram to the beach. It’s about 10 minutes on the tram so walking on the beach every morning and enjoying the views over a morning cup of joe is completely doable. It’s so affordable to travel on public transport here it’s crazy. We are not of retirement age (65) but if we were it would be about 18 euros per year for a pass. We love the area we live in. It’s not Russafa, but then again, it’s not Russafa – with the noise, bars and no parking. Joe, you inspired me – I’ll write more about it in my Lessons Learned. Thx!


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