The story of our adventure in Spain

In October 2002 we purchased a holiday flat in Guardamar on Spain's Costa Blanca - not far from Alicante and Torrevieja and we try to spend a good part of the year in Spain.

This blog hopefully will contain our thoughts and impressions of Spain - the good and the bad and lots and lots of photographs of not only Guardamar but the rest of Spain as we eventually get to explore it.


Friday, 30 May 2008

Shopping for food ... vegetables

The Mediterranean diet is good for us with its fish, rice, vegetables etc.  - leads to a healthy heart say the     " medical  experts " and we should all be following this diet.  Have these experts actually lived in Spain and shopped for food I ask ? 
I doubt it !

Spain does not abound in a large variety of fresh produce : that we have found from personal experience. 

"Local produce " is cheaper than in the UK  and plentiful in the supermarkets and in the weekly markets - however there is the clue - local - . All the food is grown locally and sold locally - if it's not seasonal then you can not buy it - thus restricted choice ! Unlike the UK -  food does not seem to be imported from all corners of the world . ( Some supermarkets are actually now importing British and German processed food - for the expats - but this usually is sold at highly inflated prices )

Makes being a vegan or a vegetarian very difficult in Spain !!

Quality of food purchased can vary greatly - here I am talking about vegetables - they can often start to rot just a few days after purchase .

Give me Bury Market in Lancashire any day for a good supply of vegetables from around the world - expensive yes but much more choice and far better quality. Whether  this will always be I'm not sure - different experts are now telling us that food will be getting more expensive and less available in the  " developed nations "

Thursday, 29 May 2008

At the corner of the street !

Street corner here in Guardamar

Note the ornate street light - these hopefully add a touch of class to the streets.

Yellow post box and blue and green telephone box - what more could you want on the street corner !

Wednesday, 28 May 2008


An hour north of Madrid lies Segovia the capital of the province of Castilla-León. An UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Segovia has a population of 60,000 plus numerous tourists. An hour prior to this photo being taken this square was completely full - what a change once siesta time arrives ! The streets become deserted.

Famous Segovians include Cayetano Redondo Aceña who was Mayor of Madrid during the Spanish Civil  War and Pedro Delgado winner of the 1988 Tour de France.

Segovia is twinned with Bristol and Edinburgh in the UK and Marysville in the USA.

Central plaza and cathedral - the cathedral was constructed by Juan Gil de Hontanon in the late Gothic style between 1527-1577.

Roman Aqueduct built late 1st to early 2nd century B.C. to bring water into the city from the Rio Frío 18 km away.

View of the snow capped hills ...

Photographs take in 2004 whilst on a coach tour .. enjoyable holiday but not enough time to really discover the places visited.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Seville - southern Spain

Seville - old, modern, busy, quiet - something for everyone !

The old Jewish quarter - busy normally with tourists.

The hustle and bustle of the  central shopping area.

This bridge represents Seville's modern side.

Here is the old - the cathedral.
Pretty flowers ..

For a quite interlude take a trip down the river and lounge as the boat takes the strain ..

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Ciudadanos Europeos

Ciudadanos Europeos is a national association working on a non profit basis for the interests of European citizens in Spain

You can find them at

News and information on living in Spain. If you intend to live in Spain either full or part time then I recommend that you view their web site. Anyone thinking about a move to Spain and the purchase of a property should investigate fully the implications of such a move - tax, inheritance laws and many other regulations/rules are different than in the UK .

Forewarned is forearmed ......

Friday, 23 May 2008


Elche not far from Alicante has a pleasant city centre and old quarter , market hall and numerous shops.

Once famous for its shoe industry  - this is now in decline due to the importation of cheap shoes from the Far East.

Many parks abound in Elche giving it a pleasant green touch .

This is a Basilica I am told - my dictionary tells me that a Basilica is a church that has been granted special privileges by the Pope !
My informant was most insistent that I call it a Basilica and not a Cathedral or Church.

When the Arabs ( Moors ) ruled this area in the Middle Ages they introduced the palm. Today Elche has many thousands of palms growing and is famous throughout Spain for the production of these trees.

Guardamar - The Marina

Guardamar has a small but pleasant marina situated at the mouth of the River Segura.

It's about 20 or 30 minutes walk from the town's promenade through the sand dunes and into the marina - a popular walk in the early evening or weekend.

You'll find two bars there and a boatyard/fish hall  but not much else.

A favourite spot for the local fishermen is the side of the river bank.. 

Guardamar even has a small fishing fleet which can be seen moored in the river next to the marina.

The local dunes abound in bird life - Egrets, Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike and Bee Eaters to name just a few.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Guardamar - Winter day

This picture of the beach at Guardamar was taken on a windy winters day - the sea looks quite wild !

Not a soul in sight .....

This part of Spain can have some nice sunny days even in the middle of winter - and cold nights 


Valenciano a dialect or form of Catalan is spoken in the Valencia region and Guardamar is  the most southerly town in the region where the language is spoken.. When the Moors ( Arabs ) were defeated in the Middle Ages the town was re-populated with Catalans from the north.

The Catalans argue that it is the same language as Catalan but the government in Valencia argue that it is a separate language - hence major arguments about it !

The local council used to give free language lessons in Valenciano but I've a feeling that these may have ended - not seen any adverts for the courses.

Valenciano is now being " pushed " by the Valencia regional government - some schools only teach in this language  . Of course there is regional TV stations broadcasting in Valenciano - Canal Nou and Punt 2.

Many of the old streets are named in Spanish and Valenciano i.e. Calle and Carrer for Street but recently where there is new build only the Valenciano Carrer is used.


Here's the sea front at Benidorm - famous for its thousand of visitors - somewhat larger than Guardamar !

You'll find all the attractions of Blackpool or Margate here - non stop action and entertainment.

Now linked directly to Alicante by the new tramway . In the summer period it is possible to take a boat trip to Benidorm from Alicante just for the day - this is on my list of " to do "

Sunday, 18 May 2008

It's a fallacy - the weather in Spain !

The dictionary defines " fallacy " as an incorrect or misleading notion based on inaccurate facts or faulty reasoning.

Well many people picture Spain as a country of continuous hot sunny days - now that is a fallacy !

The north of the country Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria usually has cold and wet weather throughout the winter as a norm and is very much like the UK.

What surprised us and many others from the UK is how cold it can get during the night down on the sunny coasts of Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol. Just remember the flats and villas are designed to stay cool with their cold tiles - and they do in winter !

The local shops sell numerous types of heaters - especially I think for the northern Europeans - the locals tend to wrap up warm in a fleecy dressing gown ( I think that is a good idea and next winter I shall be purchasing the same )

Carpets and rugs  tend to be expensive in Spain - quite a few people can be seen carrying their UK purchased rug onto the plane at Manchester airport ..

Like everywhere else the cost of electricity is likely to rise in Spain again this year as global energy prices rise. However much we try to save on electric cost in Spain we are always hit by a hefty standing charge ( in the UK standing charges seem to have disappeared ) ..

Saturday, 17 May 2008

The start

In April 2001 we went on an inspection trip to Guardamar on the Costa Blanca, Spain and ended up putting down a deposit for an " off plan " flat - no building had commenced at that stage - there was just a builders hut and a brochure.

Prior to deciding to buy the flat we spent a sleepless night worrying about whether we were going to be ripped off - lose all our money etc. etc.

This is what the construction looked like about 12 months later - we kept visiting Spain from the UK and going to look at the building site.

October 2002 saw the property completed and we were really pleased with the layout and size of the flat.

Our adventure in Spain was about to start ......