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This is the Spanish website for Peter and Maureen Scargill. When in Spain we live in Galera in Andalusia (for clarify that is the English spelling - Mid-Spain they spell it Andalucia and pronounce it "And-a-loo-thee-a").

We've had a home in Spain for more than 14 years and are currently working on making the country our permanent base.

If you're familiar with what3words (if you're not now you soon will be) we live at dossier.bath.sawn

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Archive for the ‘tourism’ Category

If it can go wrong….

Well this certainly has been an interesting holiday…

Refugio De JuanarTuesday morning we set off in two cars with our friends Karen and Dave and Karen’s parents Shirley and Cyril, on a journey to Marbella (313km). The flu has come back to me with a vengeance and so we filled the our car with loo rolls as the other four headed off in their own car. Around teatime we arrived at the Refugio De Juanar, a really nice secluded little place up in the mountains, in Ojen – just inland from Marbella, on Tuesday evening. By then the weather was not that good – it was getting cool and raining. We got ourselves settled into the hotel and had a light snack.

Excellent scenery at the RefugioThat evening the plan was for the 6 of us to visit our ex-neighbours, Kristine and Richard who now run a bar in Marbella itself – the “K Lounge”. It would not have surprised me if we’d had issues with our car after the last time but it was an absolute star throughout the trip – sadly Dave’s car was not quite so helpful and as we readied ourselves to head down to Marbella, it promptly gave up the ghost, the gearstick refusing to connect to anything.

Cyril and Shirley stayed at the hotel as Karen, Dave, Maureen and I went off down to make the best  of things – keeping our appointment down at the coast. We had a good night, Richard is obviously enjoying his job as bar owner and we ordered an Indian meal in from one of the many nearby restaurants. Excellent despite the continued rain. Good food, drink and company.

Refugio De JuanarWednesday morning was different again – the weather was really great for the time of year. 9am on the spot a particularly miserable pickup-truck driver turned up to take their car down to the nearest garage on the coast. The trip to the coast was no more than 14km downhill and so with 4 people crammed into the back of our car we followed the rather speed-crazed driver down less than ideal roads to the dealer.

At that time, first thing in the morning the dealer had no idea how long it would take to fix the car and of course we were worried in case it was going to take all week.  Cramming everyone back into our car, we headed off to a sizeable shopping centre in Marbella where we spent much of the day.

Lunch at a German cafeWe separated up and Maureen and I had a nice relaxing lunch at a German cafe within the shopping centre, outdoors as by then the temperature was around 20c and sunny. Dave and I both agreed the centre was mainly oriented toward women – the best we could manage was an Apple store and there was nothing new in there, not even the iPad mini which clearly has not been introduced to Spain yet.

rip off pricingTo clear up a mis-understanding about Spain – it is NOT cheap. Fuel is approaching the price we pay in the UK and anything that smacks of electrical is HORRENDOUSLY overpriced, especially when compared to the (understandably numerous) Chinese stores. In the shopping centre was a large electrical discount store – I guess the equivalent of our B&Q – I went off to look at solid-state lighting and was so horrified by the pricing I took some pics. On the left you see the price of a simple transformer – 240v mains to 12v 1amp to drive LED strip. Yes, that’s 23 Euros each. Typically on EBay you’ll see these for around £3 or so. Worse, the strip itself, which can now be found on EBay even from UK suppliers at around £10 for 5 metres (300 LEDS) was sold double-spaced – hence 300 LEDS taking up 10 metres, priced at a stunning 103 Euros – I had to take a pic to make sure my flu-infested eyes were no deceiving me. All of this leaves one wondering about the clientele of the shopping centre – which certainly would not include the 40% unemployed. Dave and I came away empty-handed but of course the women went shopping, as they do.

Sunset on the way up from MalagaI spent most of the day wishing I could sleep despite excellent weather, clear blue skies and good company and by mid-afternoon we knew that Dave and Karen’s car would be fixed and ready to go at teatime at a not-unreasonable cost. 5pm we crammed back into our car and headed off to the dealer before starting off on the long trip back to Galera, arriving back here around 10.30pm, stopping on the way for dinner.

We no doubt will have another trip to see Richard and Kristine in the summer sometime, hopefully without car troubles and maybe fitting in a trip to Tangiers while we’re on. Marbella is massive and we saw only the smallest part of it.

Click on any of the pictures here to see a larger version. The panorama below was taken most likely of Ojen during one of our trips up and down.

Malagar area

Weekend Mid-August 2012 – The Granada Airport Trip

South of GuadixSaturday night we were kindly invited to a party on the outskirts of the village and a very nice time we had – but we had to cut it short thanks to the need to get up in the early hours of this morning wherein we headed off early to drop our friend Marsha off at the Alhambra in Granada via the airport to drop off her bags. To fill the day, she’s planning the Alhambra tour followed by the bus tour around Granada before heading off, via Madrid, to the USA.

Negratin - far endAfter dropping her off and after failing to get even a McDonalds in Granada (it’s like a graveyard on Sundays unlike the seaside resorts which of course stay open pretty much seven days a week), we headed back via a diversion to see a swimming pool somewhat south of Guadix – turned out to be a damp squib because of the fact that it’s a Sunday and everyone and their aunties were out – WAY too noisy.

Granted we did take in some nice new scenery on the way – so after taking a few pictures and using up a lot of fuel, we headed back up to Embalse De Negratin (the lake) for lunch at the lakeside. At 36c the temperature was just right for quietly enjoying the sun from an air-conditioned restaurant:-)

We then headed back to the ranch for a clean-up, blog update, phone battery charge and email catch-up before heading off the medieval market in Galera Sunday evening – and I have to say, it was very good – these fairs are a great way to get people out and talking – we met loads of people we know and chatted with them before finished the night chatting to friends at the usual local bar.

Meanwhile I’ve been experimenting with converting a standard Ikea PIR LED lamps to solar power with success… just finished modifying the first to add a charge diode and solar panels on the back – the whole lot held together and sealed with 2-part resin adhesive – that’s been sitting boiling in the sun now for 2 days and it’s now sitting on my desk blasting out free light! If this stands up to some weather I have several of these to convert over.  Lamp £3, diode 5p, 2 solar panels £1 for the pair.

This morning (Monday) after a brief trip to the post office to FINALLY get some mail from the UK, we’re back at the cave. I’ve just finished repairs to the gatepost and now I’m sitting looking at a pile of emails. No great plans for the day.

Fireworks on the bridge in GaleraFor an updated image gallery of our visit so far,minus the 3d pics as I’m having trouble reading the SD memory on the camera – check out this link. http://goo.gl/qe6Yj 

Before I forget – I took some pics of the fireworks in Galera the other night – here’s a composite – very good entertainment (and free).

A Day by the Sea

Castle at Velez-BlancoAfter spending Wednesday largely working (as I am today), we went off in search of sea and sun yesterday, starting our trip here in Galera with a visit to the post office and then heading off down through Maria to Velez-Blanco to visit the old castle.

Castle at Velez-BlancoThe castle has had quite a lot of re-building done on it so it’s not just an old ruin. Well worth a look and free, just drive straight up and into the entrance.

Once we’d had a good look around we then went off down through Velez-Rubio and onto the motorway.

Castle at Velez-Blanco

After maybe an hour, we arrived at VERA (down on the coast) at the PLAYAS at lunchtime and had a nice lunch by the beach, temperature was fine at around 33c but as the sea was a little choppy and I have memories of being bashed all over the rocks down there, we skipped swimming there and then headed off down to Garucha for a little sunbathing (no showers on beach – bad idea) before finally getting to Mojacar (showers on beach, good idea) late afternoon. By then we were running short of time but managed to find a superb hardware store and made the decision that we need to give the place a couple of days.

GaruchaAfter driving along the sea front looking for suitable hotels and restaurants for a while and generally checking the place out (Mojacar is very touristy but non-the-less looks well worth a stay and the beaches look nice) we headed off to Lorca to pick up a printer at the big shopping centre there.

MojacarWe settled on an Epson – cheap printer, expensive supplies but the supplies on Ebay were among the least expensive of the lot, totalling £5 for a complete replacement set of black and 3 colours. As we only infrequently use the printer over here that made a lot of sense. It’s all installed and working – and not that bad, really!

By the time we got home and got the printer working it was really too late to go down and join the G7 at the pub and so an early night.

Today as well as doing various work duties and answering a ton of emails,  I need to get some more cement on the driveway gateposts to finish off that job after some pretty poor work by our original British builder who put the gateposts together originally. Still, it’s important to have a challenge.

A Typical Market Day – Huescar Market

After a very busy day yesterday which ended up with an early night, we headed off to the Huescar market this morning (Thursday) – had our cafe con leche and Churros and did a little shopping – after a LED flood-lamp blew up last night I looked in vain to find one in Huescar, seems no-one does them so we’ll have to manage until our next trip to a larger town (no shortage in San Javier but that’s 2 hours away). For those looking in for the first time, the Huescar market happens every Thursday and is a relatively large market with fruit and veg, clothing, shoes, kitchen stuff and more – no-where near as good as the better French markets but a nice trip out for the morning. Takes about an hour at most to get from one end to the other and back.

Huescar market

This afternoon we spent indoors as it was a TAD HOT out there – 37c (98F) and I’ve been doing a little research on Android media players. We bought a car radio for the car here with USB connector for music and it’s basically useless with only limited support for folders – so I came to the conclusion the best way would be to put the music on Maureen’s HTC ONE X phone with a suitable player and feed that to the car radio. That is now all done with thousands of tracks on the phone ready to go. Ultimately I picked GoneMad Music player for the phone.

Right now they’re busy setting up lights and sets in the village for the August festivities and we’ve grabbed a list of events from the town hall.  Still awaiting first proof that the posty actually delivers post here in the mountains!

Embalse Del Negratin

Maureen Scargill enjoying lunch by the lakeOur last day for a short while and the weather is absolutely marvellous, accordingly Maureen and I went off to the lake so she could collect some rocks…

In the process we ended up having lunch at the excellent lakeside cafe, NOT CHEAP I hasten to add but the view is magnificent (and I skipped breakfast and so was GAGGING for something to eat).

That’s where we spent the morning. Some of you looking in here might think I’ve pulled the same trick as the holiday companies with the editor on some of these shots – but I’ve not. There are two types of photo here, panoramas and HDR (to capture the range of dark to light) and that’s about it – cropped and dumped into this blog.. Amazing what you can do with an iPhone, the right software and just a little time and effort.

If I could have stopped here for another week, this morning alone was worth the trip as you’ll see. Enjoy the photos and please do click on them to see larger versions.

Embalse Del NegratinEmbalse Del Negratin

Embalse Del Negratin

Embalse Del Negratin

And if you want more.. I’ve put the whole series up onto Google Web Albums. Enjoy.

The Day of the Omelette

Día de la Tortilla occurs on the Thursday before Lent – and apparently this means everyone goes off into the countryside and eats Spanish omelette in a communal picnic.

Or, put another way, the BARS are closed. We found one bar open thankfully and had a nice drink with some of the Brits.

TODAY (Friday) we went off to the Renault dealer in Huescar in search of a replacement radiator pipe – a simple looking item but guess what – you can’t buy the PIPE, you have to buy the ASSEMBLY – which means replacing a load of kit that works perfectly and shelling out £140 in the process. Thankfully the dealer managed enough English to point us in the direction of duct tape! A trip to the Ferreteria and we’ve a radiator pipe that works as good as new – though it does look a little Heath Robinson. I’ll find some proper pipe somewhere when we get back.

We then went in search of lunch and on the way spotted a procession marching through the town… no need for explanations so here are a bunch of photos… marvellous. Feel free to click on the images for larger versions.

February Procession in Huescar

February Procession in Huescar

February Procession in Huescar

February Procession in Huescar

February Procession in HuescarFebruary Procession in Huescar