Archive for the ‘spain’ Category
Our first trip of the year to Galera could have gotten off to a better start – because of the relatively short duration of this stay to set up the place for our much longer stay this year, we flew over.
Well, I don’t know why, but Newcastle Airport more closely resembled a cattle market on Friday morning. The length of the queues for customs was un-believable – I’d hate to have bad legs. Despite all of this the airport was no-where near fully staffed! Treating paying customers like this is completely unacceptable and the airport should remember it is a commercial operation and not a make-believe extermination camp!
At the actual testing area, we were asked if we had any lithium batteries. I informed the lady that the only ones I had were in my charger, phone, tablet, PC and watch. She told me not to worry about the latter as they don’t have Lithium batteries. Had we had more time I would have educated her – but hey, life is too short.
Having discovered I had a laptop in my main bag (remember this for next time Peter, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT) she insisted it had to go into the carry on. I did point out that I have nearly ALWAYS put a laptop into the big bag as it saves getting it scratched up going through the usual scanning procedure. So, we shuffled our kit around and put the laptop in a carry-on bag and Maureen went through the detectors before me.
When it came to my turn I opened my bag to pass the laptop through separately – and lo, we’d screwed up and the laptop had gone into the wrong bag and hence through the detectors without a peep – in her bag. What a waste of time and energy but that’s how I generally feel about the UK about now – I’ve been so looking forward to this trip – to “get away” from it all for a while.
Anyway, onto the plane, Ryan Air, an uneventful flight, I was in the isle seat and the guy next to me was the same size as me which meant I was leaning slightly toward the isle, which meant in turn that every time I tried to doze off, the meal or drinks trolley bashed into me. Still, better than getting bored I guess. The most exciting part of the trip was the landing, a real winner which must’ve scraped inches off the tires. While the passengers were recovering from near heart-attacks at the severity of the landing, the usual Ryan-air automated musical fanfare came blasting through the Tannoy to proudly inform us this was yet another on-time flight – hurray! I’ll bet it still plays after accidents. I could imagine the plane lying at the bottom of the ocean, bodies slowly and silently floating around in the carcass and the Ryan Air speakers blasting away its cheerful message regardless.
I think most of us would have accepted a few minutes delay to not shorten the lives of our hearts!
Once inside Alicante airport, all went accordingly plan. We hired a car as ours is at the cave. If you’ve not done this recently – car rentals are a daunting experience these days and if you don’t have a credit card, forget it. You have to agree to pay (in our case) £900 which you get back on return provided you don’t bash the car AND you have to pay up front for the full tank of gas which again you get back it you return with a full tank of gas. You can bypass the £900 if you pay them £150 insurance which is WAY more than any external company would charge of course. Damage included a few scratches but they neglected to note that the entire rear windscreen wiper was missing. We took photos.
Weather at the coast was quite nice and we headed off to the hills. Our first stop was for some supplies and back in Murcia we found a Carrefour. I love Carrefour, it puts Tescos absolutely to shame when it comes to sheer variety of meats, cheeses, wine etc.
One bottle we picked up was £2 and we had that last night – absolutely lovely. You could not buy an empty bottle for that price at Tesco. The funny thing is all the online articles you see show these companies side by side – well, I’ve been to Tescos all over the UK and Carrefour all over Spain and France and there is absolutely no comparison. As usual I spent ages mulling over which olives to buy.
After spending far too much (enjoyable) time in the huge store, we headed off to the cave, arriving mid-evening. Despite being 16c during the day, it was 7c back in Galera at night. By the time we got the wood fire running and heaters up to full power – oh and recovered from the scorpion in the bedroom (he ended up in the fire) we were too tired to go out to meet up with folk, so we watched a TV show, sunk some of our cheap Carrefour wine and had an early night.
The night before, back in the UK, sleep had been something of a joke due to the arrival of five new kittens in the middle of the night and their mother was not going to do this without waking everyone up so, this morning we didn’t get up until mid-morning and headed off for lunch at El Parador before visiting friends Debbie and John in Huescar. Weather was great and late afternoon we came back just in time for an unscripted get-together with more friends back at the house – the day has just flown.
Almost all of our lighting is back in operation, the odd solar light crunched up due to UV degradation but that’s to be expected. Tomorrow I have to check the outdoor shower system which (it would appear) some idiot disconnected in our absence – I think I’ll wire the thing up to the mains next time we’re away. Bastards. Thankfully, neighbours had spotted this and turned the water off. Said neighbours are back tomorrow – it will be great to meet up with them (and others) again after our winter break.
This evening we popped down to Pizzeria La Posa, met up with another couple of friends and spent the evening catching up with what’s been happening over the winter. It’s great to be able to wander down to your local in a foreign country and feel as much at home (if not more so) as you do back in the UK. Marvellous. Some jobs to do tomorrow but for now… perhaps a movie.
We have just enjoyed two days in the north of Spain in the province of Aragon in the village of Valderrobres and just now arrived home back home to the sun.
Valderrobres is a charming and quaint mediaeval village that sits in an unspoilt area in the mountains of Aragon. The village comes complete with cobblestone streets, knobbly old oak doors and a considerable amount of EU funded resurrection.
We were visiting the area to see our friends Aidan and Helen who are buying a sizeable portion of land in order to resurrect an old ruined building and build a new home there for the summer months.
The area is totally off-grid and so we expect to see some impressive solar power there in the near future as Aidan, like myself, is particularly fond of the idea. Having managed to source the panel importers he has secured good pricing on the 250w units so I expect lots of it. A side effect of this means that next year I will be able to almost quadruple the solar power at our cave which I’m really looking forward to. I’ll test one of the 250w units in the UK but in the Northeast of England I’ll be lucky to get enough to light one bulb most of the time.
Right now the place needs a lick of paint (but actually will be levelled and they’ll start again)
Surrounding towns are wonderful.
On our way back we discovered a new garden centre on the way down to Caravaca De La Cruz
Working on the album but some pics here – https://www.flickr.com/photos/scargill/albums/72157675203701585
Of course – that didn’t last long and by lunchtime it was, once again too hot to do outside work – but the signs are there. Another few weeks and the trees will start the magical process of turning through orange to bright yellow before going to sleep for the winter – and here in this part of Spain I mean BRIGHT yellow.
We’re off to Seville this month so I’m hoping winter doesn’t come TOO quickly – I’m sure it won’t but it certainly would be nice if it was cool enough to walk around all day. In August, visiting a big city like Seville would not have been a lot of fun.
Meanwhile we’ve been getting jobs around the house and garden done, I’ve put together a new media centre with a considerable amount of memory (now putting together a second unit for my own TV in the office) and we’ve been painting the area from the roundabout upwards to make it all look more spiffy.
We’ve had a few quiet days now the August festivities are over. Not so the summer however, it has been very hot here touching on 40c from time to time. We had some showers in the middle of all of that but they never last long. Hiding from the sun has given me ample time to get some mor home control experiments done – all of which is blogged elsewhere – and to start off the new photography blog. Yesterday we headed off to Orce pool for a dip which was excellent and then last night we had an unexpected trip down to see our neighbours – as always, lots of fun and involved lots of Cava.
So today we are off to Almeria – the reason being we’re dropping a couple of friends off at the airport (which we’ve never used). On our last expedition we did much of the coast to the right of Almeria, From all the way up at Vera, through Garrucha, Mojacar, Carboneras, Las Negras, San Jose, San Miguel etc. but by the time we got to Almeria, we headed straight up the main road to home as it was getting late.
This time we get to check out Almeria and beyond. We’ve also been to Motril and various places through Nerja (which is wonderful) and on to and beyond Malaga and Marbella – but right now there’s a gap in our experiences from Almeria to Motril – hopefully we’ll fill that gap this time. Expected temperatures around 35c so no doubt we will end up in water at some point…
Been very quiet since our friend Simon left. Maureen and I headed off to Albox on Saturday to go to the hardware store there for some bits and pieces. We happened to go to the market while we were there (Saturday – I would not say it’s an up-market market – but it’s fairly big and there are some gems if you can spot them) and noticed some chairs going cheap – and the result – they are now in our new Pergola – and saved us a trip to Vera where we’d originally planned to go for chairs.
Yesterday was HOT and I got some work done but we eventually just ended up in town with friends at the Music bar for their new tapas evening – I have to say, quantity-wise – sorry – not impressed. Nothing wrong with the food but most of us were left wanting and when I ended up at the bar near the end of the night – a glass of wine seemed to have shot up by nearly 50% – needless to say I left and ended up at, of all places, La Posa bar. Maureen caught up with me and we ended up walking home up that steep hill in the early hours.
Today we were Pergola-building when friends Jackie and Roly popped over – as always Roly was in like a shot to help (THANK YOU) and that enabled me to get the side panels finished off – marvellous.
Note the new light chairs – and on the left our new wooden external shower – yet to be plumbed in properly as I know sod-all about plumbing! Not 100% happy about the blinds but there you go. We had to move our grapevine and that meant cutting the root which had buried itself into the concrete. Time will tell if we’ve killed the plant which is currently covered in nice-looking grapes. Hmm, that and our Stevia plant… a little genetic engineering…. hmm..
Tonight they had the fair in Galera with lots of stalls and a band playing – not quite the level of excitement of earlier in the week but really fine non-the-less – we were only out for a couple of hours so had to split our time between groups of people we know.
So much better than walking down to the pub in the UK and hoping there is someone, anyone there not wanting to talk about football (though I have to say I really AM missing going out with our friends over there for an Indian – can’t have everything I guess). Anyway, it is after midnight and I keep promising myself a proper night’s sleep.
Six of us went to La Mimbrera restaurant in Orce – just off the main square and enjoyed Abadia Del Roble and Finca Besaya Rioja in somewhat large quantities.
I think we all thought the place was rather pleasant but the food average which could account for the somewhat empty main restaurant area (below)
I had a plate of Iberica ham and some other meats and it was just that – absolutely nothing else and no imagination put into it.
Thankfully I received a contribution of roasted green peppers from others.
A fine night, lots of laughs… and plenty of other places to try in Orce. Today a short trip to the airport as Maureen is off home to look after property over in the UK and to visit friends and relatives.
Meanwhile my first job is to find out why the power went off last night and why my screwdriver glows when I touch the equipment on my desk!!!