Posts Tagged ‘apartment’

Easter 2017

This is not our first visit to this region at Easter. IMG_3809I know that we have been here at this time for the last two years, but it might be three – probably six times in all.  We like the weather here and the chance to get out and do ‘something’.

The weather at home, being what it is, means that doing ‘something’ is less likely to happen than it is when we’re here.

We’ve been here about ten days now and we will have been a month by the time we fly back.  We’ve already had a couple of good walks and explorations up in the hills behind us. We’ve had a picnic up there too.  A picnic! – I can’t remember when we managed to have one of those at home. We caught the bus up to Mijas one day and then walked back down the track via the wild-west Cabalista bar, where we ate jamón y queso. We’ve also been scootering a couple of times and we’ve been to Montemar (on the train) near Torremolinos so we could explore the park there and then walk back to Benalmadena.

IMG_3814

Apart from today (our second Saturday) we’ve been out and done ‘something’ every day.

Today, we’re resting before setting off for a few days to visit the Costa Tropical. This part of Spain is where the Sierra Nevada mountains come down to the sea and is about 130km away, about 90 minute’s drive.

More on this later (maybe)

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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].

Southern Germany

Blaichach – w/c 29/06/15

As I said on the previous post:

The apartment is in-between Sonthofen and Immenstadt, in a village called Blaichach. We’re on the top floor of a large three-storied house. There are three bedrooms; we’re using one as a sitting room, two W/Cs, one with bath and one with shower and a huge kitchen-diner. All rooms have magnificent views over the mountains just to the south and west.
See: http://www.urlaub-alacarte.de/index.php/en

Sharon, hidingWe spent most of Sunday loitering around the apartment. I had, as stated previously, walked into Blaichach to forage for bread but then later in the day Sharon and I walked up and over the hill opposite us, back down into Blaichach and back to the apartment in what was turning out to be a cracking day weather wise. I made a ratatouille pasta for tea, with salad and it was right delicious.

On Monday, we decided to try out Immenstadt for size. It’s not a huge town and seems to be fairly work-a-day; busy but not especially tourist orientated. We did a little shopping and then drove further up the road to Alpsee. We parked up down the river and went for a walk, (not quite) around the lake. The weather was now gorgeous and looked like setting in for the week. We then had to take Sharon and Jo to a place where they could throw themselves off a mountain. See: http://www.alpsee-bergwelt.de/spass/neuer-alpsee-bergwelt-film.html

Mike, still suffering with his back, and I, stayed at the bottom and had the most unlikely, fart inducing German sausage so far – Landjäger.  You have to remember that our translator had gone to throw herself off a mountain, so given the option of weiner (hot dog) or weiss (mostly yuk) we thought we’d picked winner. It turns out that landjäger is a cross between jerky and pepperami – not the most sought after food in my culinary universe ;-(

Anyway, once the wanderers had returned we moved back into Immendstadt to go up the Mittagbahn. This is a ski-lift thingy that took us to the top of Mittag, the mountain we can see out of our apartment’s western looking window.  This takes you up in two stages and the views from the top are magnificent, we thank only thank our lucky stars that the weather was kind to us, or it might not have been so good, or so warm ☺

Jo_Mike_Chair_lift-2

Tuesday, we lounged around again until we thought the sun might have cooled a little. Then we went into Blaichach, parked and took a walk along the river towards Immenstadt. This is a lovely walk, with river on one side, the German version of allotments on the other, and for part of the way a small lake. Bought bread and then back for tea – salad I think.

Today, Wednesday, we drove to Lindau, to spend time on Bodensee, or what the Swiss (and most other countries) call Lake Constance. It’s only about an hour away from us, so not a great hardship, and we were under way just after nine. We parked on Lindau Island, had a coffee and then strolled around the Island until time for lunch. We’d booked tickets on a 90-minute boat trip, which en route, passed by Switzerland and took us into Austria before returning to Lindau. These boundaries are, by the way, apparently, arbitrary!

All the time, the sun shone brightly and all in all, this was a great day.  To see the mountains behind the mountains that line the southern shores is quite a thing to see and to see the River Rhine at its point of entry to the lake is quite surprising. You can easily see the flow as it enters and there is a difference of the water’s colour at that point. Interesting.

Diesel has been around €1.20 – €1.21 throughout most of Germany and France (we paid more in France, but that was because we were on a motorway) but in towns like Lindau and Fussen the prices rose to around €1.24 – €1.25. Sneaky. The car is averaging just less than 50 mpg, it would be more, but the first fill up, after driving through the UK, was not so good.

Spain – October half term

As some readers will know, Sharon and I bought a share in a small apartment on the Costa del Sol last year. Furthermore, as we also have a good amount of air miles (which is a longer story than needs repeating here), we decided to visit during last week’s half term holiday.

We arrived in Spain fairly early on Monday, following a very early flight from Manchester. We’d left home at 4:30am, with less than three hours sleep (and I had a sore throat), so the overcast weather we saw upon our arrival was a little foreboding. Still, it wasn’t far to the car rental place, Malagacar.com, and we were quickly on our way in a Toyota Auris.

The first thing we did was park the car in front of the apartment block and unpack. Once we’d done that, I went and moved the car into the official car park but when I got back to the apartment the door-key wouldn’t work! Luckily, Sharon was still inside so we were able to strip the lock apart and to confirm the lock’s knackeredness. Luckily (again) we found ex apartment-partner (and close neighbour) Bernard in and he was able to tell us that there was a spare lock in a drawer (we’ve no idea why). So we found that and fitted it!

The cloud didn’t lift all day and my throat simply got worse, so after shopping we came home, had tea and went to bed (8:30pm – slept through to 7:30am).

Tuesday

Click to see full sise pictureWe were much less tired by the time we awoke, and actually saw the sun rise for about 10 minutes, as it lifted itself out of the sea and then disappeared behind the shroud of cloud that had not left since yesterday. A sort of ‘hola’, ‘adios’!

Since we were too cold, we thought that we’d pop into Los Boliches and see what they had in the way of ‘appropriate’ clothing (this was our first autumn in southern Spain – so our guess at what was required was way out).

We found a chemist easily enough and bought a spray for my throat, then trawled round looking for something a little warmer than a shirt and some more socks. Sharon needed socks too, and something warm to sleep in. We DID manage (ish) but because of the rain that had started, we were drenched through to the skin by the time we got back to the car.

  • Lunch was the same as last night’s tea: salad, anchovies, roast red peppers, Serrano ham, slices of Gouda cheese and crappy white bread squares.
  • Tea was: pan-fried cod with honey and garlic (and peanuts), asparagus and a jar of chickpeas/spinach. Lovely.

And that was that for Tuesday. We just stayed in and read for the rest of the day – the rain never let up and although the temperature gauge said 20° we needed plenty of heating to dry our clothes and to stop our teeth from chattering.

Wednesday.

This was a much better start to the day. With very few clouds in the sky this morning, we had a magnificent sunrise once again.

We went into Los Boliches during the morning, to get new keys cut for the lock we replaced on Monday. There are ten partners in the apartment, each requiring two new keys, so when we found a fereteria we had to wait for twenty keys to be cut, filed and finished! €1.40 each. So that was the morning gone.

– Lunch was much the same as before and after eating, we drove back down the hill for a long walk along the front. It got colder as the afternoon wore on, so when we’d had enough and fancied a coffee, we decided to come back to the apartment and make our own!

For tea, we ate at Pepe’s across the road – ok, nothing to write home about. 🙂

I stopped using the throat spray today. It HAD helped but it was ferocious. Each spray felt like someone had climbed inside my mouth and slashed it with a razor blade.

Thursday

Straight after breakfast we set off for Alcaidesa, to meet John and Carol at Michelle and James’s place. Now that Michelle (Jon and Carol’s daughter) is stationed in Gibraltar, they are setting up home there and John and Carol are visiting for the week. We’d arranged to stay there with them overnight and to have a trip around Gibraltar on Friday.

Once we got sorted out in the afternoon, we drove up the coast to a marina somewhere, where we had a drink and a nice walk in the hot sunshine. It had rained on the way to Alcaidesa, but was much better by the afternoon. In the evening, once James had got home from work, we all went into La Linier for tapas. James explained the difference between tapas and raciones, so whilst visiting a couple of places, we enjoyed a number of ‘raciones’. Lovely.

Friday

We had a steady start to the morning and after breakfast John and I cycled down to the beach at Alcaidesa for some wonderful views of the Rock. The ride back was MUCH harder!

Michelle had arranged for us to have a tour of ‘The Great North Road’, part of the 34 miles of tunnels to be found inside the Rock. We were met at 3:00pm by Gary Mitchell who then took us on a very interesting and informative tour of the longest straight road in Gibraltar. This area of tunnels is not normally open to the public and can only be arranged through the military. Thanks Michelle.

By now, it had started to rain so, following a drink and some snacks at Michelle and James’s house, we set off home. The weather was horrendous and resulted in a fairly nervous drive. This was the first time I’d driven a left-hand drive car in the dark, in such weather.

We had pizza for tea, from downstairs – it was coolish by the time we got it up to the apartment (ninth floor), but tasty enough.

Saturday.        

Today was an absolutely appalling day weather-wise. We drifted into Los Boliches for some last minute stuff and then came home and festered in the apartment with all of the heating on. By now, we had the sense to wear shorts and sandals in the rain – so there was much less drying off required when we returned.

For lunch we had sautéed new potatoes and chorizo with pueblo bread

For tea, we had tuna steak, poached in garlic butter, with fresh asparagus and sauté potatoes. Yummy.

Sunday

Had a lazy start to what turned out to be a cloudy day.

Then, as it hadn’t rained, we walked down the hill to Torreblanca and along the front through Los Boliches. The cloud did disperse a little down on the front, so it was nice to walk (and have a couple of beers) on the front. It’s quite a steep climb back up to our apartment block, but not unpleasant, given the way the weather stayed fine.

For tea, we visited the pizza place underneath the apartment block and had an enjoyable, filling meal.

en Route a’ Sancerre

There’s not a right lot can happen on that day of your holiday which has been planned to be the day you spend driving. Sure enough, we set off from our hotel just outside Lyon and drove to Sancerre without too much incident.

‘Geoffrey’ got us around Lyon and on the right motorway, heading for Macon, where we turned off to cross-country and head up into Burgundy. The most exciting bit of this part of the trip was our first use of Telepeage. Sharon had bought the kit last year and this was the first time we’d had chance to try it out. It’s absolutely brilliant! When you reach a French motorway ‘toll’ (peage) booth, the queue for Telepeage is always the shortest and quickest and so it was. Simply drive up to the barrier, it recognises you and up the barrier goes. No credit card, cash or non-English speaking chaps or chapettes to deal with. In years gone by I’ve queued for hours (actually and on aggregate) at the peage near Villfranche – it’s a real bottleneck (bouchon) there (and next Saturday, Fete National will be one of the worst days!)From Macon it was pretty much just us and the odd Frenchman out for a Satuday drive. Blissfully empty roads with no stress at all until we hit Sancerre, which I’m sure, can be more easily approached, but Geoffrey decided we could climb the steep hill via the narrowest of winding roads – Grrr. Still, what a pretty town! We’ve not seen much of it just yet; but it is very old, has very narrow streets, lots of bars and restaurants – and importantly, Boulangeries.

We have just written to Avis, our car rental folks, to tell them that they have provided us with none of the essential emergency kit in the Citreon C4 they have loaned us. These are demanded by French law! We are now driving illegally!!!

Anyway, we’re here now and it looks delightful. Our apartment is very French, with magnificent views across the valley. The town is slightly above us and we will go and explore that shortly. But for now, it’s just good to be here.