La Vista

3 days in Cómpeta, Spain

When the plane doors open on the tarmac at Malaga airport, the 37 degree heat pours in.  

We trip down the steps and into the airport, basking in the heat, smiling in the sunshine ... and it's already late afternoon.

Pick up the hire car and set off on the very good road along the coast, turning off at Torrox and following the signs to Competa, one of those beautiful pueblos blancos or 'white villages'.

It's so high up in the mountains our ears pop on the way up, and yes - I confess to being a bit terrified by the hairpin bends snaking up, up, up into the mountains ... 

But about 20 minutes later, 20 minutes of climbing round and round and higher and higher, we reach Competa.  

We last came here 27 years ago, me and my oldest and bestest friend, when her parents took a house for a summer and then for Christmas and New Year the following year, which is when I joined them for a week, having then met my friend Kefi at Uni.

Competa has grown bigger but it's still just as beautiful and there's still something special about it.

It's so hot. The views are incredible.

We park and walk to the square.

It seems smaller than we remember it but that's because the chairs and tables from the square's restaurants cover it and when we were here last for New Year only a small area had outside tables.

At that last visit, we had joined in local custom with fizz at midnight and eating 12 grapes each, one for every peal of midnight, from the church's bell.

The church is in the square too. We sit and look at it and order gin+ tonics (which comes to be our drink of this holiday and are served in the most enormous fishbowl glasses) and a couple of tapas - a slice of tortilla and a tiny dish with three meatballs.

Rachel Redlaw Competa travel holiday Spain
Rachel Redlaw Competa travel Spain

We call Graeme, from the B&B we have booked, and he says he'll walk to the square to meet us as it's difficult to explain which back streets and roads we need to take (although it's only a couple of minutes to walk). When he arrives we learn that he and his wife Jo have only just taken over running the B&B and moved to Competa just a week and a half before!

We drive round and park and Graeme kindly takes our bags on the very steep walk from the car to La Vista. It's a 200-year-old townhouse, lots of stairs and low ceilings and levels of little terraces. 

0ur twin room is exactly what we need.  it's small, but has two huge windows open on two sides and it's clean and pretty with space to hang our clothes and a nice bathroom with shower. Yep, everything we need.

And up more stairs, right to the top, is the plunge pool, plenty big enough and so very needed in this heat. Lots of places to sit and read - and an honesty bar with beer, wine and soft drinks.

Rachel Redlaw Competa Spain
Rachel Redlaw Competa Spain

We head out for dinner and eat in the square - more gin + tonics, gambas pil pil, squid, salad, ham, bread ... and back to La Vista for a few drinks on the terrace.  

The light is so beautiful as we look down the mountain to the sea, and then there's the most spectacular sunset.

Rachel Redlaw Competa Spain
biggest sunset.JPG

And that was basically it for three days.

Sunbathing, reading, pool, chatting, lots of G+Ts, lots of gambas pil pil, lots of squid ('squidlington' it became known ha!).

Great breakfasts at La Vista with bread (from the bakery literally opposite), ham and chorizo and salami and cheese. Yogurts, melon, tomato, And good coffee.

I love this little town.

Love the cobbled streets, the narrow passageways, the steep walkways, love it. The beautiful tiles around the doorways. The sun on the white houses.

Rachel Redlaw Competa Spain
Rachel Redlaw Competa Spain
Rachel Redlaw Competa Spain

At the market on Saturday morning, there's incredible produce with enormous spring onions and peppers and tomatoes. We buy pil pil spice mix and some bowls.

Rachel Redlaw Competa Spain
Rachel Redlaw Competa Spain

We found the disco that we'd been to (so often) during our last visit - but despite waiting 'til 11pm on the Saturday night, it wasn't open that day. Maybe for the best ... 

One lunchtime in the square we found ourselves in the middle of the most beautiful wedding.

We kept eating the same food as it was so delicious!

The gambas pil pil at one of the restaurants in the square was absolutely perfect, with cloves and cloves of sweet garlic in the oil that we mushed onto the fresh bread (and ate them all). The squid was perfectly charred, sometimes served with rice and sometimes with chips. 

Rachel Redlaw Competa Spain
Rachel Redlaw Competa Spain
Rachel Redlaw Competa Spain

They brought mini choc-ices instead of chocolates with the bill (an idea I'm stealing for The Tiniest Thai). 

The sun shone, the views were amazing, the food was great, and our hosts at La Vista couldn't have been friendlier or more helpful. 

If we'd had longer we'd have made a trip down the mountain for a day at the beach, but as it was we were having such a nice, relaxing time that we stayed in Competa until it was time to brave (slowly) the mountain road and head back to Malaga to come home.

It's easy to get to, very beautiful and makes a perfect short break from the UK. La Vista is, I think, the only B&B in the little town itself and I'll definitely be back. It's also exceptionally good value.

Can't recommend highly enough.

I also just can't recommend highly enough going away for a short break with an old friend.

We laughed and talked and came up with so many new ideas. We read and ate and slept and talked and laughed more.

So good for you!

In just three days I put on a little weight (!), got a tan, totally relaxed and had the best time chatting non-stop with a dear friend. And drank quite a few G+T's. 

After a very delayed flight, a long journey home arriving back at 4am, a little sleep and back to work ... I get home and cannot resist eating more holiday food. 

I made a gambas (prawn) pil pil with the spice mix, a favourite tomato + onion salad and cooked the chorizo I'd bought in Spain with red wine. All with fresh bread and a bottle of Rioja. 

Rachel Redlaw tapas recipe
Rachel Redlaw tapas recipe

Gambas pil pil recipe to follow!