Unless you are extraordinarily lucky, having fun doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it. In Iceland that sometimes meant enduring cold and wet weather, getting up early with a full day’s schedule ahead of you, driving long distances, doing chores such as cooking and washing up, and every day packing up, putting up the tent and converting our van into our sleeping quarters. Every day. We had such an amazing time but it was time for some sun again and some downtime.
The day we arrived at the airport in Málaga, we had breakfast in Keflavík, lunch in Stockholm, and dinner in Málaga. Pretty good going! It was fun but all quite tiring. We had a trouble-free journey but were happy when we arrived on terra firma again.
We had received a very kind invitation to stay for a few days with Megan and her husband Peter in their property in Competa; we hadn’t previously heard of it to be honest but travelling into Málaga took us very near so we very kindly accepted. The shocking part of this story is that we had never actually previously met Megan or Peter. We had interacted on Facebook a few times; I think at one point we belonged to the same FB Scrabble group. We often commented on each other’s posts, but we didn’t know each other any more than that really. Her original invitation was followed up with a reminder several months into our travels, that the offer remained open, with no time limit. She even offered to make us a sandwich 😊 I thought it was a wonderful act of human kindness and I was quick to reply that our intentions were to accept her exceptionally kind offer… and here we were 🙂
By the time we met up with Megan and Peter at Torre del Mar, we were exhausted. We had chosen to spend a little under £50 to Uber from our hotel in Málaga, because we were simply too tired to contemplate lugging our bags around to and from bus stations. We were greeted warmly by them and it was if we were old friends 😊😊 We had a drink in a coffee shop before setting off on the mountain roads, expertly driven by Peter, to the rustic town of Cómpeta.
We arrived at their charming house nestled in the mountains of Cómpeta and given their really lovely guest room to stay in. The house was unique in its layout, something which added to the charm. They also had an amazing rooftop garden, a location we quickly acquainted ourselves with. We had previously discussed our food preferences, and our lifestyle choices. “Don’t worry” she was quick to say, “we have very few rules here, we came here to get away from rules” I knew immediately we would get on well.
For the next few days we came to see a lot more of Competa; the local shops, the square, the charity shop where Megan worked and indeed more about how they lived day to day in this lovely little haven. Peter was right; they had everything they needed on their doorstep and therefore there wasn’t too much need to venture further outside. We helped to diminish Peter and Megan’s wine stocks, and we happily replenished them with a trip to Eroski; that’s their local supermarket, not what the name may suggests a place where eroticism meets skiing. Alcohol here is extremely reasonably priced! What also struck us was the sense of community; some people love this some not so much as they prefer to keep themselves to themselves. For us however it was lovely to see how friendly everyone was with a cheery ‘good morning’ or ‘good evening’ everywhere we went. It was easy to see why they loved it so much here.
We had a couple of meals and drinks out including meeting up with a friend of Megan and Peter’s, Davina, and celebrated her birthday with her at Balcón de Cómpeta a restaurant known for its fantastic view. We got on well, at one point Davina said “I knew I’d get on well with you, because you’re friends of Megan’s, and I know the type of people she likes.”. Well, as Megan rightly pointed out “we hadn’t actually met before!” Davina looked shocked. No more shocked, very pleasantly I hasten to add, than we were to receive the invitation from Megan in the first place. It was a fun afternoon with great company and we had a really good giggle with Davina; hopefully adding to the enjoyment of her day.
Another restaurant we visited was La Taparia in the main town square. The food, in both cases, was excellent. We had a great meal out here with Megan and Peter on a Saturday night; it was busy and a reservation was required but it had a really good ambience to it.
We also had a guided tour around the village and learnt more about its history. The village dates back to Moorish times and is located seven hundred metres above sea level with stunning views of the surrounding mountains, countryside and Mediterranean. The centrepoint for all of Competa is the Iglesia de La Asuncion, the church located in the main square Plaza Almijara, with a 30m high bell tower.
Just next to it you will find El Paseo de las Tradiciones or ‘the walk of traditions’ where ceramic murals and traditional moorish patterned tiles are found. The murals tell the tales of the old traditions of the village people through the ages and the history of vine collecting, olive pressing and also give historical context to some natural disasters which have hit the village over the years. Mostly; however it shows the resilience of the villagers and how they have overcome austerity and made Competa into the town it is today. The walk was completed in 2009 and was designed by José Antonio Rivas a local potter and sculptor. It took some Spanish practice, and a little help from Megan, whose language skills are par excellence, to read the murals but was actually a really interesting place.
We went out together in the car a couple of times, and we just stood and admired the absolutely beautiful scenery around us. One place we visited was a viewpoint at Puerto Collado; we had views across the different peaks, the valley sheltering the River Torrox and on a good day you can see all the way to Africa (Morocco). It wasn’t clear enough on the day we visited but it was amazing nonetheless!
Thoughts on our time in Competa
We got a lovely warm welcome, and far more than just a sandwich. In fact the food was absolutely top class and I couldn’t pick out a favourite between the lasagne, the Thai green curry or the coronation chicken, all of it was absolutely delicious. We wanted a bed and a sandwich, but we got the rest we needed and so much more from our time in Cómpeta, including lots of laughs, great conversation and silliness!
We had amazing few days in Competa with the best hosts, food, wine and are in awe of the hospitality us two virtual strangers received from Megan and Peter – thank you so much from us both, please keep in touch and let us know when you visit the UK next for us to return the favour 🙂
We also grew very attached to Megan and Peter’s doggies Ruby and Badger who were such characters. Unfortunately Ruby fell ill whilst we were there which was a very worrying time for both of them. Sadly she was unable to recover and crossed the rainbow bridge just after we left . We were so pleased we were able to make her acquaintance as the sweetest little lady during our time there. Our thoughts are with Megan & Peter on the loss of their lovely little girl xx
Carol & Nigel xx