Archive for August, 2015

In France

Our drive up from Saragossa (Zaragoza) has taken two days (which were planned).  We’re at Billy and Angela’s place now near Roussines in France.

The bit where we drive over the Pyrenees to Pau was supposed to be scenic and beautiful, but the weather was a bit unsettled to say the least.  Spain must sit a good bit above this part of France as there was a lot more ‘down’ from the Spanish Tunnels than there was ‘up’.  The torrential rain made some of the journey quite scary (bends etc.) and the same didn’t help when it came to looking for our late lunch in Pau. We were allowed to park in the hotel car park before we booked in and at that time, the sun was shining, but as we sat for lunch in a very busy restaurant (we’d moved on from Two saladsyet another very busy restaurant because outside rain was dripping from the brolly AND people were smoking), it started again in earnest.

We asked to move tables (one had just come free under the canape) but the waiter said “non” with a quite serious expression. I thought he was joking, but he then proceeded to say something which my poorly educated ‘French’ ears interpreted as “of course not, the kitchen has your order and table number“.  At exactly the point at which I’d formed the French to say (I paraphrase of course) “then stick it up your posterior and bring me the bill“, he saw that we had in fact NOT ordered yet and rather sulkily grabbed our drinks and commanded “allez” as he sashayed himself inside the bar and sat us at a table there. It had taken some time to get our drinks and now it took some time to get our food, but (and I MUST say this) the food was delicious and plentiful – so much so that we didn’t eat again that day.

Pau may well be worth another visit, the bit of it we saw was OK and interesting, but with so many places closed for holiday and the weather being AWFUL, it rather spoiled our visit. We woke early on Friday for the last leg of this stage of our journey.  The weather had upgraded from awful to ATROCIOUS!

The entire journey was plagued with torrential rain.  Even when we got to Roussines, the rain was still persisting.  This made the house feel quite cold, so we set off for a supermarket to buy warm clothes (we’d packed in +34° heat and not given a thought to changing weather). One of the beauties, and one of the main reasons for breaking our journey in this way, is so that we can cook for ourselves and eat normally. Some of the portions we’ve eaten this week, driving back have been huge and, more meaty than usual. Neither of us are or want to be non-meat eaters, but we don’t eat much meat and often don’t have any at all. Our first meal at Billy and Angela’s was such a meal: Spanish Omelette and Salad.

Today’s will be different – it’s Sharon’s birthday.

We’re off again

That’s it we’re setting off back to the UK tomorrow – 9:00am ish.

We have a shuttle booking on 22nd August from Calais to Folkestone so we’re going to take our time returning, unlike our less than relaxed dash down here. Despite the heat, it’s been great to be here and to begin settling in to what we can do around here and what’s expected of us from community and commune alike. Looking forward to the next (Flying!!) visit in October.

Our first stop will be in Toledo, just south of Madrid, the Spanish capital city. Hopefully we can get there in time to visit some of the historical sights and (at least) get a feel for the place. The same applies to our next stop on Wednesday evening: Zaragoza (Saragossa). I planned this two cities to a) avoid Madrid and b) to see a little more of the real Spain before heading back to France. Hopefully, like Segovia and Jaén on our way down, we may choose to visit one of more of them for longer, in the future.

The other reason for visiting Zaragoza is the route it (almost) forces back into France – over the Pyrenees. We’ve booked a hotel in Pau for Thursday night, so, we’ve never been there, or over this bit of the Pyrenees, that should be fun.  Then, on Friday we head for Billy’s place in Roussines. We’ll stay here over the weekend and then drive a long day to Mark’s place in Normandy.

We decided that Mark’s would be a good place to set off back to Calais from and hoped to catch him and Jean there, but sadly they leave the same morning. Hey ho.

Here now

Being here, at the apartment (at last), is really rather strange. It’s as if we’ve walked into someone else’s home and taken it over. 

Jo NesboWe knew, from our flying visit in April and the various legal shenanigans, that most of the furniture would be left as part of the sale. Yet, we were both surprised and pleased to note that everything we had seen had been left. That included towels, sheets, quilts, candles, tea lights, drinking glasses, T.V. – the lot!

Of course, we’re very grateful, as it means there’s so much less trailing about to do this week. We’ve also got a full set of Jo Nesbo books – in Danish, along with around 50 other Danish tomes. [Monday 3rd August – we’ve donated Jo Nesbo and some of the others to Marlene’s library at Monte-Mare)

We’re meeting our lawyers on Wednesday and will then (hopefully) receive full documentation for our purchase and accompany them to the local notary (not so local for us – as they [solicitors and notary] are in Marbella) to complete formalities and get our Spanish Will approved.

Titisee in Spain

Titisee in Spain

One purchase we really need to secure is a freestanding rotary fan – it’s so hot here at this time of year.  What we’d thought were a/c units in the apartment are not, they are in fact wall-mounted fans, which simply do not cut the mustard. We have talked about a self-condensing (plug-in) a/c unit, but I think I need to be convinced (that one would not blow the electric or make too much noise). . [Monday 3rd August – we now have a freestanding fan].

Another purchase is Internet. In fact it’s the most important!  We have Internet in the apartment, but as yet we don’t know who supplies it. On Monday we aim to visit the WiFi-Blue office in Fuengirola to see if they have the apartment listed. I guess they will have, as most of the apartments here in the ‘block’ use WiFi-Blue. If not, we’ll negotiate.  [Monday 3rd August – done!]

So that’s it really, it’s taken us a few days to settle in, mainly through Sharon’s valiant efforts at the DIY and plumbing stuff (I cook, I don’t do DIY). The main sink was blocked and after she removed and cleaned all of the plastic gubbings, it was still blocked, so we had to buy some ‘chemicals’. They did the trick [ish].