More on the Mar Menor

Santiago de la Ribera paseo

As well as sight-seeing along La Manga strip we wanted to explore the other shore of the Mar Menor, especially when we discovered that there was a large market at Santiago de la Ribera on Wednesday.  Pensioners on a budget love markets! 

Not having a car, we realised that the easiest and cheapest way to go there was to cross the Mar Menor on the ferry.  We found the winter timetable for B & F Ferrys in Mar Menor Focus (The little mag to keep in your bag), which can also be read online at: http://www.marmenorfocus.es/.  I have to confess to a vested interest in recommending that you read Mar Menor Focus if you are planning to holiday in the area: I write a regular column for the magazine!

A lovely calm Mar Menor

Whenever we had gazed over the Mar Menor we had seen a lovely calm stretch of water, however on Wednesday morning it looked a bit choppy.  I´m not saying that I am a nervous sailor, however the first thing I do when I get on a boat is to check out the life-jacket situation.  Hmm, it wasn´t looking too good as all I could see was one life-belt and lots of people clambering on board.  I did notice a locker in front of us, so no doubt the life-jackets were stored there and we would go through the safety drill before leaving the harbour.

Did I mention that the crew were all Spanish?  Spain isn´t too hot on health and safety….. We were soon on our way, without any safety drill, and a group of Brits sitting behind us were making funny comments about how low the ferry was in the water, and pointing out water pouring in through a gap around the porthole.  As for the locker, one of the crew had pinned up a notice about drinks for sale and I suspected that the drinks were stored there, meaning no life-jackets.  Was I nervous?  What do you think?

Ferry cross the Mar Menor

Fortunately for my nerves the crossing only took half an hour and at last I was on dry land, swearing that we would find another way to return to La Manga.

Wandering around the market calmed me down, and the purchase of a pair of ballet pumps for 5€ cheered me up: markets are seriously good for your health!  The market stretched for nearly a mile, with bargains galore, and the crowds of shoppers made the walk from one end to the other a leisurely stroll.  At least it helped us work up a healthy appetite, for our next goal was to find a good restaurant for lunch.

We were tempted by a couple of fish restaurants on the sea front, however they were over our budget.  We have been told by friends that the food at both of them is very good, so if you fancy splashing out why not try one of them?

Our choice was Bar Centro Mar on the main road, which tempted us with its 8€ menu and the range of dishes it offered.  It proved a good choice and we will definitely go there again on our next visit:  good value for money and friendly staff.  Most of the other customers were Spanish, though we did hear another British couple ordering and were surprised that they didn´t go for the menú del día.  Ordering even a few items from the Carta can prove more expensive than having the menú del día, and the other advantage of choosing the set menu is you probably won´t need to eat for the rest of the day.

We enjoyed walking around Santiago, but at the back of my mind was the question of how we were going to travel back to La Manga. 

“I don´t mind if we have to catch four buses,” I told John.  “I´ll pay!”  However although we saw a bus stop there was no timetable and no sign of a bus, and the ferry was leaving soon.  I didn´t have any choice.

Why had I been so worried?  The Mar Menor was beautifully calm on the way back, and I was able to stand in the bows of the ferry taking photos to my heart´s content.  I loved that ferry, and can thoroughly recommend a day trip from La Manga to Santiago de la Ribera!

I love boats!

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  1. music for contemporary dance’s avatar

    Enjoyed looking into this. Keep it up!

  2. Blisco’s avatar

    No idea from where is the departure?

  3. Marina’s avatar

    And no idea about the price of the ticket?

  4. Sue Walker’s avatar

    The ferries leave from the port on La Manga: Puerto Tomás Maestre. When you go through the main gates you bear right and go to the far end of the port.

    Tickets were 4€ one-way but may have gone up since we last visited. We certainly thought it was very reasonable at the time.