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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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A Day at the Beach in Aquilas


Today we set off early to go to the beach – specifically, Aquilas! We took the pretty route via Orce, Maria, Velez Blanco and Velez Rubio, determined to get the sun first and perhaps check out these places on the return visit.

Dead Man's GulchNo pictures of the beech? Well, the camera failed – or rather the cheap Chinese battery failed – all hell will be taken out on the supplier from Ebay! On the way we ended up on a back-road – the D19 – TRULY an excuse for a road and about half way along we noted what I can only describe as dead-man’s gulch…. here’s a pic on the right – yes, that’s a goat’s head or similar on a stick – and not the only one. We got out and tried to take pics with our mobile phones tmp93but 2 rather nasty dogs appeared out of no-where to scare us off – clearly someone wanted some privacy. I’ve never been cruel to dogs… but if I could have gotten away with it…

Anyway, off we went to the beach. Aquilas has some fine beaches – not exactly up-market – but the water is shallow and warm and by the time we got there, around mid-day, there was plenty of room on the beach despite temperatures of around 32C. It was that nice I didn’t want to come out of the water once I got in.

However perhaps 3pm we set off back but decided to have a trip along the coast and ended up down in VERA and thereabouts – next time I’ll have the camera, some fabulous scenery. Well worth a trip. As we came back, we discovered that at 5pm Velez Rubio – which has a FABULOUS town centre was closed… and when we got to Velez Blanco – the castle there was just stunning as was other scenery – but our phones just can’t do this justice, so the plan is to get up in the morning and have another trip back to both towns (less than an hour away) and do them justice when the shops are open, armed with a working camera.Castle at Velez Blanco

A quiet night tonight, I can smell something like prawns on the go downstairs, we’ve bought some of those expanding silicon beads to ensure our new olive grove has water while we’re away… and that’s about all for today. Smashing day all-in.

Oh, if anyone knows what VELEZ means – let me know as we can’t find it…. the two towns must have SOME literal translation.

Tonight the moon is quite bright and so any ideas of seeing the “cloud” of our galaxy are probably out of the window now – good job I took shots the other night.

I’ve just realised – the latest Google Earth – if you hover over the sea… the WAVES move. How weird is that! Whatever next… froth on the shoreline? Bring it on!

A little Background on Galera

Scargill on a WallI recently stumbled upon a website with some information on Galera in Andalucia – but the translation into English left something to be desired… so here is my attempt at a better job!

CASAS CUEVAS GALERA is a large area, perhaps l00 kilometres long, where the Granada province forms a passageway between the mountains that mark the boundary with other provinces including Jaen, Almeria, Murcia and Albacete… and is one of the world’s most captivating and exceptional natural regions.

Ancient siteGALERA is small and ancient; rich in natural, historic, cultural and impressive human heritage. Much of the area comprises hard and dried-out land broken up by the grooves made by the rivers, of dug-out caves full of life. The origins of Galera disappear in the dawn of humanity, with remnants of old civilizations that make this region an authentic open-air museum. Despite being a small town, Galera has plenty to attract naturally, culturally, historically.

Geographically located in the middle of the Natural Parks of Cazorla, Castril, Maria Los Velez, and Baza – Galera has all kinds of open-air activities as well as excursions to the neighbouring villages. Nearby archaeological sites reveal the first human presence in Europe and represent practically all cultures (historic as well as prehistoric) of mediterranean origin.

Thanks to the initiative of a group of local entrepreneurs, Galera completes its tourist offering with an interesting type of accommodation – cave houses which are unique and outstanding in every way. Carved out of the rocks, they are a magnificent example of man’s integration with the landscape and nature. In the Altiplano (high plateau) they have always been a common dwelling and now, after being reformed, are something that everyone including visitors can enjoy.

The population of Galera is eminently rural, the majority of people working in cattle farming and agriculture. For example,  there are vineyards which produce "Vino del Pais de Galera" which is a general-consumption wine.

You can have a getting more detail if you’re interested but be warned it’s not easy reading…

The Stars at Night – Spanish Version

Edge of the GalaxyIn this photo I’ve done my best to get rid of camera noise. What you’re looking at here is a photo taken at midnight up in the mountains – no that’s not cloud – going up what you’re looking at is the edge of our galaxy on a crystal-clear night.

If I could have taken a panorama you’d have seen a glowing “cloud” cutting right across the sky – sadly even my modern digital camera still can’t beat the naked eye (give it time).

The images were taken with a 60 second exposure in the darkest spot I could find on a moonless night (and it was DARK). I’ve seen the “cloud” back home but never so clearly and never managed to Flowers outside of Galeraget it on a picture before. After you’re eyes get used to it, it’s quite possible here to see a sky packed full of stars – utterly fascinating.

On the other hand – mid-afternoon – sunflowers just outside of the village  – really the photo does not do them justice.

On a long and windy road we took just for the sake of it… and on the way back… we spotted some wine in the making – red wine unfortunately (I used to drink tons of the stuff but Maureen and I went off the idea at about the same time. Later on we did Grapes outside of Galeravisit the Necropolis just outside of town – but it doesn’t open until late at night and involves lots of walking so we’re going to have another go tomorrow, once I get a little emailing and survey processing done first thing for the Fed.

A Pleasant Weekend

Peter and Maureen Scargill - Peter and Yvonne RomainA nice weekend was had by all. On Friday night friends Peter and Yvonne came over from Alicante to stay with us. Here we see myself, Maureen, Peter and Yvonne enjoying the sunset at Bistro 23 in El Margen. Very rarely I’m in-camera so thanks to Peter for that one (and notice the template above)

After a lazy day taking in the sun, on Saturday night we walked down to the village and after a few drinks to the town square. The pictures below pretty much speak for themselves. Bear in mind this is a very small town the entertainment is at times excellent and of course, free.

Entertainment in GaleraEntertainment in Galera

Entertainment in GaleraEntertainment in Galera

Sunday with our friends gone, we spent the rest of the day relaxing, taking in a little sun, I did some more work on my new hobby (the PHP programming language) and enjoying one of my all-time favourite movies – Fantastic 4 – Silver Surfer (“all that you know is at an end”). In the evening we went down to the village and met up with our neighbours and others we’ve met locally and a new (to us) fellow called Peter – he’s been here for several years and seems to be enjoying life here. A nice relaxing evening sitting outside chatting with good company, good beer and I’m guessing the temperature was in the mid-20s all evening. Marvelous.

Sunset in Galera

Our first grapevine, the hot-tub and more

GrapevineWe went off shopping yesterday for a grapevine and a suitable pot. Bring back B&Q, all is forgiven – the gardening centre near Baza is SOOOO very expensive. To give you an idea – they sell single solar lamps – the type you get at B&Q for maybe £30 for 10 ie £3 each max.  Well, they’re 15 Euros EACH at the garden centre!  Anyway we got our grapevine and it’s up and running.

GrapevineThere’s a lot more to this than it looks at first sight of course – first there is the large hole in the ground needed for the roots – then the large hole in the bottom of the pot…. then the stringing arrangement. Of course this has SO VERY FAR to go…. but ultimately our pergola should be nicely shaded with it’s very own grapevine!

Karen and Dave's CaveWhile I’m on – a request for a picture of Karen and Dave’s cave (our neighbours) – don’t say I’m not helpful…. 🙂

AND a picture of our newly re-positioned hot-tub!

Scargill's Hot Tub

A trip to Granada

Road to GranadaYesterday we took a trip out to Granada. Another 38 degrees day, perfectly clear skies – you couldn’t ask for more… took us not much more than an hour to drive down to Granada and we started with a trip to Macro – not something we’ll do again – waste of time.

Macro hasn’t been up to much in the UK for a while but here, it’s worse… fortunately nearby there’s an excellent Carrefour and a Brico-Depot and so after an hour or so the car was full (mainly thanks to Carrefour which has to be my all-time favourite store)!  We had some lunch and headed off slowly back up North… but not before noticing something that looked distinctly like a modern castle just off the motorway. Brico Depot

Breezeblock CastleArmed with sat-nav for safety we went off-road to discover a small suburb with some of the most delightful buildings I’ve seen in months. Here are a couple of examples, one looking like a castle (and there were several) and the other – well, I don’t know how to describe it other than “eastern”. REALLY nice.

Breezeblock Mosque?Absolutely marvellous….and just to round the day off we ended up stuck in a herd of goats. On our way back up to Galera we stopped briefly in Guadix – and I have to say, it looks like it is worthy of another visit. We popped into a local garden centre to get a cement tortoise for Maureen (for the wall) and then a quick look at the shops but Guadix is one of those cities that is just chocker full of side-streets with interesting-looking shops and restaurants and so it’s going I think to take a full day to give it the attention it deserves. Maybe next time we’re here.

Holding up the traffic