Sunday, 30 September 2007

San Luis de Sabinillas

Our previous outings to the seaside had been to the Atlantic coast so today we decided to visit the Mediterranean. On paper, the trip looked straightforward, so we left home about 8.45am heading south through Ronda.

The road from Ronda however was windy and undulating and in places like a patchwork quilt of road repairs. The scenery though, particularly through the Genal valley and villages such as Gaucin and Algotocin, was beautiful. At one stage, prior to choosing Olvera to live, we were interested in a property in Algotocin but for several reasons we never actually got there to view.

Arriving at San Luis de Sabinillas approximately two and a half hours after leaving, the journey was longer than we anticipated and we were slightly the worse for wear so a coffee was in order. The area was obviously popular with the Brits as there were quite a few around and the cafes and shops advertised in english, something we are definately not used to in Olvera. Having said that, it was nice to see the fishing boats on the beach and presumably the local fishermen gathered around one of the boats.

Anyway, as always, just a few pics of the trip showing the beach area of the town and a shot of Algotocin on the right.

On the journey home we stopped off at a small village called Gaucin for a late lunch which at €10 each for a three course meal plus two beers we thought was good value.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Teba Castle

On the way back from El Chorro, we took a left turn to a small village called Teba not least because it was a shortcut cutting off Campillos and saving about 20 kms in distance.

The ruined castle really stands out above the village and can be seen from quite a distance away, so inevitably that was where we headed. The views at the top were tremendous although unfortunately it was a little misty in the distance. The pictures once again do not do it justice but at one time the castle covered quite an area. Unfortunately, we couldn't go right to the top of the remaining intact keep as a gate barred the way.

As there was no information available at the castle regarding its origins and history, we looked it up on the internet when we got home. After reading about it, I wished we had spent more time in the village looking around as it and castle have an interesting and colourful history dating back to the 8th century when the Moors invaded Spain and to the Crusades of 1330. Never mind, we can always go back for another look.
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The following link gives much more detail:

El Chorro

About 50kms southeast of Olvera lies the village of El Chorro, a place I had heard about through reading the various forums on the internet prior to moving to Spain. So, as it was a nice day, we took a drive out.

The narrow twisting roads to El Chorro bore witness to the recent heavy rains, with mud & rockslides 0n the road so driving with care was very necessary........unless you were spanish of course, in which case its a perfect opportunity to practise your rallying skills. Bless'em!!

The pics show the reservoir, one of three artficial lakes created by a dam, which was built between 1914 and 1921. Apparently, for those of you old enough to remember, this was the location for the film "Von Ryan's Express" starring Frank Sinatra. A few of the pics show a bridge carrying the railway line and a walkway, approximately 100 metres above the reservoir, around the mountain.
The link below describes the area in more detail:

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Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Ronda Bullring

The bullring was opened in 1785 and is one of the oldest and ornate in Spain. Although we are not fans of bullfighting, the arena itself is spectacular and well worth the €6 each entrance. There are 136 columns, forming 68 arches and the upper and lower sections each contain five rows of seating.

There is a museum situated underneath the stand area which contains costumes, art and memorabilia depicting the origins and history of bullfighting from times past. Well worth a look but not necessarily to everyone's taste.

A bonus was seeing the young lady with her beautiful puppy, of which she was obviously very proud.......totally spoilt and quite right too.
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Today we took a drive to Ronda, a town about 45kms south of Olvera. We had heard nothing but good things about it, particularly as town for good shops, which pleased Anne no end.

We were not disappointed. We arrived at about 10am and parked in the railway station car park with a view to walking into the town centre, stopping at every clothes, souvenir and gift shop along the way. After about three hours we arrived at the old part of town.....only joking Anne, but there were a good variety of shops and good quality. Luckily, we had left the bank card at home.
As always, the pictures do not do justice but hopefully they give you a flavour of a very beautiful town, in particular the Puento Nuevo bridge over the gorge, for which Ronda is perhaps most famous. If you ever get the chance put Ronda on your places to see.

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Saturday, 15 September 2007

Market day

Saturday morning in Olvera is usually market day........subject to there not being a Fiesta, feria or other social event.

It consists of about fifteen to twenty stalls selling a variety of goods from clothes, bedding, shoes, sweets, fruit and veg, ornaments etc.......most of the things you would find in the UK but at half the price!!.

On this occasion, Anne needed some curtain material to finish off the kitchen and fortunately (for me) they had some on one of the stalls....otherwise we would have been doing my least favourite chore in the world - shopping.

Anyway, just a few pics plus one of the castle which I thought looked good from this angle.

Monday, 10 September 2007

"Mavis" the Mondeo - a cautionary tale

You may recall that our trip to Spain was undertaken in "Mavis" the Mondeo (red car pictured here outside our old house), bought cheaply with a view to giving her a few weeks in the sunshine before taking her final journey to that scrap yard in the sky.

This is a cautionary tale of trying to do the right thing, frustration at not speaking Spanish, bureaucracy in Spain and hopefully some advice to all who come after us.
Shortly after arriving in Spain, we bought a new Spanish registered car. To our delight, the showroom offered to take Mavis off our hands, which was brilliant as it saved us the hassle of scapping her. So they sign off the UK registration document as having the car transferred to them, which next day I send off to DVLA. Off we drive in our new Kia into the Spanish sunset, to return at a later date to pick up the registration documents, which were not ready, although we did receive an official document authorising us to drive legally.

Four weeks later we receive a call from the garage. Could we go and collect the documents.........oh, and also there's a problem with the car which we need to discuss.

Arrive next morning and Mavis is still in the showroom where we left her. Apparently, as she is a UK registered car and had not been "imported" officially into Spain the garage could do nothing with her. The only thing to do would be for us to contact the British Consulate in Malaga and obtain a certificate that Mavis was my car and that she had legally entered Spain......taxed, tested & insured. Only taken four weeks to tell us this!!!!!

OK, off we go back home and send an email off to the Consulate explaining the situation. Two days later we receive a response; if we would like to come to Malaga (2 hours drive) to make a sworn declaration before the Consulate, she will issue a certificate.........cost €188 (approx £130). You've got to be joking, that's probably more than Mavis is worth!!. The long arm of rip off Britain even extends to Spain.
Next day Thursday, we ask a friend to ring the garage and tells them that we will pick the car up in the morning and sort it out ourselves , which we duly did.

Our frustration and bemusement has subsided overnight so calm and collected off we tootle to the scrap yard, approximately 30kms from Olvera. Si, si the manager says, no problemo, come back on Monday and we will issue a certificate. So we left Mavis at the yard and drove home safe in the knowledge that all was well.

We turn up on Monday, no manager......he is on vacation says a very apologetic and helpful employee. Could we come back on Wednesday. OK....this isn't doing much for my carbon footprint or global warming all these trips to and fro!!

Wednesday arrives, so do we. The manager will here in ten minutes. Twenty five minutes go by and the previously helpful employee calls us into the office where he is sitting behind the desk attempting to complete a scrap certificate for Mavis......who by this time is up on the ramp having her oil and petrol drained out. He is copying from a previous certificate and hits a problem as he has to ring somebody. This somebody tells him that before he can issue a certificate, we have to obtain a reference number from the "Trafico" (Vehicle Registration Department) in Cadiz, which has to be taken to our local police station for them to certify that Mavis can die peacefully. By now I am wishing I could die peacefully!!!!!
So off we go back home, and ask a friend to accompany us to the local police station where we can explain the situation and hopefully get it sorted. No says the policeman, as Mavis has not been officially imported into Spain, neither the police or the Trafico need to get involved or want to know. The car can just be scrapped and a certificate issued by the scrapyard. Aaaargh......!!!!!! At this stage I could have a numero quattro without going to the hairdresser.

So we ring the scrapyard and inform the lady that answers, not the helpful employee, of the situation and she says yes....that is correct and they will issue a scrap certificate and send it to us in the post.
The moral of this tale is.........chill, chill and chill again. All this has been caused by our inability to communicate effectively in the native tongue of our adopted country, to a lesser extent by the red tape not always understood by the people of Spain. We will learn eventually.

Saturday, 8 September 2007


For those of you concerned as to how Peppie is adapting to life in Spain, just a few pics to reassure you that she is fine and enjoying her later years in the sunshine. She never ceases to amaze us at her ability to adapt to her changing circumstances, how calmly she adjusts to it all. We love her to bits.

Views from the terrace

Just a few pics taken from the roof terrace tonight, another beautiful Andalucian evening.