Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Los Villalones

Our lovely friends, John, Kathie and Amy, who we haven't seen for quite a few weeks, kindly invited us out to their house in the small hamlet of Los Villalones.
We were also invited to bring our "cossie's" to make use of the swimming pool.

We arrived at about 10.30 after the short drive from Olvera for coffee and some lovely homemade cookies, served on the new veranda which had been completed since our last visit.
This veranda will eventually form part of a self contained apartment within the house which John and Kathie will have available to rent out in the not too distant future.

The location, views and tranquility are fantastic. Watch this blog for future availability.

After a short while without too much prompting, we all changed to take advantage of the invitingly cool swimming pool.

The view to the "Campo" from the side of the pool.

Anne, Kathie, John, Donald and Amy.

John's favourite flotation aid.

Looking toward Los Villalones.
The family have all worked hard over the last five years to create a beautiful home in idyllic surroundings.

As we have said before in many previous posts, we are extremely privileged to have met so many lovely people and made some smashing friends since we arrived here and John, Kathie and Amy are no exception, showing us huge generosity of spirit, warmth and friendship.

Linked posts:Kathie, John and Amy

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Olvera in bloom

At the request of our friend Russ, now back in Canada, we bring you today images of what's blooming in Olvera at the moment ......and what's not !

These grapes were growing on a vine attached to a lemon tree on Calle de Bellavista.

Not so long ago these thistles were in bloom but the heat of the last couple of months has taken it's toll of the wild flowers.

I make no apologies for not knowing the name of the individual plants but a "reliable source" from distant parts has identified some for me.
Morning Glory.




The true flower of Olvera.


Thursday, 24 July 2008

Restaurante "El Peñón"

The "El Peñón" Restaurant had been recommended by a few of our friends so without needing a lot of encouragement we set off this evening to take a look.
Located just outside the village of Algámitas, we arrived at about 7pm to be told that dinner was not served until nine. Typical of us - we should know better by now but it's still difficult to get into the "eat late" culture, even after a year here.
So we went outside to the balcony and sat down to enjoy the warm evening and the spectacular views east towards Teba and north toward Osuna and beyond.

Looking towards Teba.

We went into the restaurant at 8.45pm after having studied the menu on and off for the last two hours - that steak was getting juicier with every passing minute.
We were the first to sit down but shortly afterwards the peace was shattered as we were joined by about thirty or forty children and teenagers.
The restaurant is part of a larger complex involving camping and chalets so we assumed that they were on a summer camp type thing.

Believe me, the steak tasted a lot better than the quality of this picture !!. Anne had lamb chops which were equally delicious.

And the ice creams weren't bad either.

If you are ever in the area we can highly recommend a visit both for the fabulous food and the spectacular location.
More information about Algámitas and El Peñón can be found in the following link:

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

A year gone by........

Anne reminded me today - I'm useless at remembering anniversary's - that it was a year today when we landed on Spanish soil in Santander and started the journey that would lead us to our new life in Olvera.

It has been a busy twelve months as the number of posts on this blog testify. We seem to have done so much, seen so many beautiful places, met so many lovely people - both Spanish and English - and made good friends with quite a few.

True, we have struggled with learning the language, me more so than Anne, who has been terrific in just "having a go" and because of this we have both reaped the rewards and hopefully a little respect from the Olvereños. Thanks are due to our tutor Estibaliz at the Adult Education Centre, our fellow students and to José who comes round to the house once a week to extend not only our language skills but also our understanding of the history and culture of Andalucia.

A special thanks must also go to José and Carmen at the Pensioners Centre, whose endless patience has been such a bonus together with the welcome we have received by all the members.

There are so many others of course, both here in Olvera and those resident elsewhere in the world whose paths we have crossed along the way. You have all contributed to our lives and made our time here that much richer.

We have taken so many pictures over the last twelve months but I think these two reflect where we are now.
Our lovely former house in Ruscombe, Gloucestershire with our faithfull Mondeo "Mavis" parked outside, two days before we left the UK.
So many fond memories.

This picture was taken on the last day of our first visit to Olvera.

After this, our destiny was sealed.

Linked posts:
Arrival in Olvera

Old Olvera

One of our favourite walks with Peppie our dog, and an area that I have sadly not photographed in any previous posts is the " Casco el Antiguo" or old part of Olvera.

This is the area at the top of town, contained within the old walls of the castle, whose streets and alleyways date back to the 13th and 14th centuries.

Our walk starts just around the corner from where we live and winds up the narrow streets to the Plaza de la Iglesia.

Until recently, this area had been spoiled by graffiti but we were glad to see that it had now been re-painted and cleaned up.

Looking across Olvera.

Properties waiting for new owners. Once reformed, the views from here towards El Gastor and Zahara would be fantastic

We entered the Plaza de la Iglesia at the top of town and rested for a while on a bench under the shade of a tree.

The temperature must have been at least 35 degrees.

The castle and the Church of Nuestra Senora de la Encarnación.

Leaving the Plaza and heading back down towards the Plaza de la Ayuntamiento and home.