Today we travel to Almeria from the UK. The flight is quick - a little over two hours. As the plane descends into Almeria airport we have clear views - the blue sea of the Mediterranean and the white sea of plastic from the greenhouses that shroud the fertile land of the region.
The first thing that hits us getting off the plane is the heat, as we hurry into the terminal to collect our luggage and begin the holiday proper. First stop the car rental office.
This was the first time I had driven outside of the UK and I was a little apprehensive about driving on the other side of the road, but I was sure to pick it up in no time. "Why do you keep opening the window?" asks Helen. "I'm trying to change gear" I reply.
We had been given foolproof directions from the airport to our self-catering apartments in Roquettas de Mar. An hour later we arrive back at the airport to attempt the route for the third time. I was a little hot and bothered, not only from the stress of getting lost twice, but also because the air-conditioning doesn't work to full effect when you open the window every time you stop at a junction.
Finally we're happy that we're on the right track, and soon we find ourselves surrounded by landscape so familiar from the Spaghetti Westerns. It is not long before we arrive at the apartments. "Did you find us OK?" "Yes" I lie. A brief introduction to our surroundings, pointing out the nearest supermarkets etc.
We ask where we can park the car and are given foolproof directions to the car park. Half an hour later we've found it. By now it's getting on for 11.00 pm. Fortunately the Spanish seem to eat very late, we have no problem finding a restaurant that is still serving. At last we can relax with some good food and a few San Miguels.