Saturday, 19 January 2013


Well after a several hours of looking at Maps, airline schedules and with some assistance from the Mog our cat we eventually established a route for a week in February.  

If I lay here you can measure the distances
Yep thats great put an x just there

There were a few disagreements along the way re the Car Hire, should we get a 4 x 4 but think of the fuel costs, what about a little tiny car…the idea of Blane spinning around those mountain tracks in something the size of a baked bean fill me with terror.  I came up with a People Mover, he disagreed “there’s two of us” eventually a very boring Ford Focus was the decision. A brief look at Blane and we took the top up insurance!    Additional driver, not sure, oh had better… If we get a clear long road you can drive he very generously told me!  Driving on the other side of the road is the one thing that scares me, I have never done it. I recall a trip to the USA with a friend from work 

The following is an extract from a blog trip report I wrote following the trip

So ensconced in the driving seat, Amanda goes over the instructions for driving, it’s very simple she said…..Keep yourself in the middle of the road, and do not use your left foot. #Shucks sounds simple. At this point my lawyer would like to make another brief statement
“My client has never driven on the WRONG side of the road before and has never driven an automatic, as a Nurse she spends all day saving lives and it was never her intention to endanger lives while on holiday, she has been ill and would like to use that as mitigating circumstances…. Thank-you”
SO here we go, drive out of parking space, this is so easy…what all the fuss is about.
“You’re not out of the car park yet Tanya”
“I know, just getting used to the gears”
“There are no gears”
“I know that’s what I’m getting used to”
And we out of the car park and heading down international drive…..ooohhh I’m a cruising down I-Drive. Just as I was getting the hang of the thing a set of traffic lights and for some reason, I do not know why…LEFT foot goes on brake. As Amanda scraped herself off of the windshield she asked me to keep my left foot off of the pedals. So I put a shoe on the left foot and spent the whole journey saying
“Don’t use the foot with the shoe, don’t use the foot with the shoe”
Not doing too bad now, then I spots another set of traffic lights, not wanting to cause anymore injury to Amanda, I gently place my right foot on the brake and pull up at the lights.
“Why have you stopped here?’
OH DUH lights Amanda, lights”
“Yes but you had to stop back their”
So what’s all that about then, why have the lights telling you to stop on a white line the other side of the road…how stupid…? I mean you see lights and you stop…why stop before the lights…. I’m confusing you aren’t I.   Anyway from there on in slowed to a pitiful stop before any traffic lights.  At one point I was in wrong lane, so I changed, and I looked the wrong way and a car had to swerve to narrowly avoid us….god. It was only ONE little mistake…everybody was all right, Amanda’s nervous tick disappeared within a few days.
Arrive at the destination, park car and hand keys back to their rightful owner.
Then back into the car, Amanda driving again, and it’s no longer my job to Navigate, do the handbrake or drive, it’s my job to sit in the car and look Purdy. I think she’s being a bit harsh, but I’ll let it go for now.

So as you can see, automatics and the wrong side of the road are definitely not my thing!!

It took us over 4 hours to work all this out, a quick break for Sunday roast and then we were done.  So then it was only the accommodation to book. I already had places in mind, so that would be simples!.

Our first night is near Puento Genil …

The origin of Puente Genil begins with the construction of a bridge on the river Genii, a work designed by Hernan Ruiz, and paid for by don Gonzalo Yanez Dovinal, Lord of Aguilar.
This new population centre grew up for clear strategic and commercial reasons, not to mention defensive reasons and control of an important passage from the south of La Campina to the Muslim lands, maintaining a close eye on this area close to the border.
In the last third of the sixteenth century Puente passed into the possession of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, with Alfonso de Aguilar who said, according to his testament -1498 - will be repopulated despite being desolate, and also being known as "la puente de Don Gonzalo".
In 1583 they completed el puente del Piedra (stone bridge) with two arches which, the next year, suffered major damage due to river flooding which destroyed most of the Barrio Bajo (Lower Town). The continuing flood damage was so bad that in 1874 a major reform was needed at the hands of the French engineer Lemonier.

We have several properties to see in this area.  The next 2 nights we will be staying with Alan and Lorna at the Olive Mill, just north of Cordoba.

Again hoping to see a few houses but this stop is mainly to see what Alan and Lorna have created. I discovered this couple after reading a book Alan wrote. Basically   Alan and Lorna moved to Spain in 2008 to start Alpaca breeding….. yes,   Alpaca breeding. If you  are thinking to you self   what’s and Alpaca then I suggest you pop along to  amazon  and get the book  seriously Mum whats and Alpaca........................then you will know  They have an inspirational story about moving to Spain.  We are looking forward to meeting them and their Alpaca’s

Plus we get to visit the city of Cordoba, which I am really looking forward too

Following on from there we are travelling to Alcala La Real where we will be staying at this lovely looking  Bed and breakfast 

The next stage will be in the Alpajurras , but I am still looking for somewhere to stay,
This is an area that has always had a pull for me, I have no idea why but it just does

But then when you look at these pictures how
 can you not fall in love with the area

I can dream can't I
You never know I might have a horse of my own LOL
 Once everything was done it came to me it took 4 hours to decide on a trip that could change our lives, how amazing is that.      On the other hand, if it took 4 hours to schedule a trip, think of all the stuff we have to do in the next 8-9 months!

As I sit here thinking about the flights, car hire and accommodation we have booked for out
voyage of discovery, I am always amazed at how simple booking travel arrangements over the internet can be, may be its an age thing, I am still have no idea how it all works, I am not afraid of technology but have no understanding of how it works… how can I be instant messaging someone in Spain when they are halfway up a mountain and I am sitting in rural Sussex!  That the got me thinking.  What about those who forged a path before us….way before a google search brought you up a myriad of ex pat forums, information about NIE, residencies, healthcare, what each area was like, where it rained, where it snows?

Forums that’s another whole other post, which I am writing next

But imagine, leaving your homeland, friends and family and arriving in a destination that you nothing about, pre internet, you do not speak the language etc.  How exhilarating must that be, I am not sure I would use the word brave, as I feel that is a world over used in today’s culture, some may say foolhardy, but I would disagree.  In today’s society we seem to want to know the ins’ and out’s of everything, what the eventual outcome will be, how we get there, its like individual lives have become a corporate company, a business case to be investigated and adjusted, planning for failure, planning for success, it seems to me that we have lost the ability to just let Life happen. Having said all that, I love researching on the forums and reading
. I have already mentioned the book “Bloody hell what’s and Alpaca”. 

The other recent books I have read are by Victoria Tweed. The first 2 books are based on Victoria and Her husband Jo’s move too Spain, where they live in the Alpajurras Mountains. The 3rd is based on their year, teaching in Bahrain.   Alan’s or Victoria’s books are not about the practical side of moving, Tax, buying houses etc., however they are insightful look into the cultural differences  between the two counties, and a lot of these will make you laugh.  See Amazon for details.

 I have refrained from reading any “practical” books as the economic situation in Spain is ever changing at the moment, new rules and regulations seem to appear and then disappear week. Basically we just try and keep up with the news.

Well thats it for todays ramble.  I do have something to say about forums but thats for another day.


  1. Tanya
    Your Blog "Spanish Steps",makes wonderful & intrig-ing reading. Iam looking forward to the next
    episodes. Purr,Purr!!.

  2. Have you now booked somewhere to stay in the Alpujarras? You must be so excited :-)

  3. Hi yes we have... just outside Cadiar. I will post a link later


  4. Very much looking forward to meeting you.... soon!!! xx