Tag Archives: cullar

A bit of information about our Cave House

I often have people saying “you have a cave ?, where do you go to the toilet?, does it have stalactites/mites?” etc etc. so I thought I’d post a bit of information about it.

Our cave has 13 underground rooms, 2 rooms built on the front and another separate block built room in the yard. It also has a covered verandah. Because it used to be 2 houses it still has 2 front doors but the caves are connected inside via a passage that was dug out more recently.

Front Aspect

The door on the left of the picture by the Barbecue is a cave store room (which probably used to be home for a Donkey as there is an old feeder inside) this measures approximately 4 metres x 2.8 metres. Moving to the right is the extended part which houses the shower, toilet, bidet and washbasin plus a utility area. The covered verandah measures approximately 3.5 metres square and although I’m not that keen on the look of it, it’s great for being able to sit outside on warm evenings even when it is raining. You can just see the first front door in the left hand side of the verandah. To the right again there is a covered pathway about 1.4 metres wide all the way to the right hand end. You can see the second front door just to the left of the tree. The jacuzzi is at the far right by the tartan blanket. In the right of the foreground is the other building which is basically a small room about 3.5 metres by 2.7 metres with light and electric.

Cave Plan

At present there are 2 x double rooms (the one on the right is almost 6 metres long), a single room and a twin room. 2 lounges, kitchen, dining roon, breakfast room, 2 dressing rooms, shower room and the room I call the Music Hall which is inside the second front door and contains my stereo and a sofa. On the plan the tunnel that connects the dining room with the music hall is where the two original caves were connected.

Most caves (that I have seen) seem to be laid out in a similar way where one largish room is cut out first and then other rooms are cut out to the left and or right and then carrying on forward in a similar fashion. Our cave has signs of this but I guess because they were originally side by side they were limited as to directions they could dig.

I love the look of traditional caves like Danny and Josie’s see One Foot in the Cave but after spending time mooching about under the verandah, I’m pretty glad it’s there (even if I wouldn’t have bothered with it).

anyway that’s a little bit of information about the cave itself…… please ask if you want to know more.

We Have Water (again)

Early September 2014 everyone I know let me know that the water had been reconnected :-). This was great news as Clive was able to get on with the nasty task of renovating the collapsed lounge (which I know he really wasn’t keen on doing but it made me happy).  I started getting excited about planning the next venture out in the Easter of 2015 this time with my partner and her teenage Daughter which meant more tales of glamping without the glamour. I was really excited about this trip as it was going to be the first time anything major had been done to the cave that wasn’t chosen by my ex-wife and I (not that there is anything wrong with her taste but it was nice to make a mark as it were).

Around February of 2016 my lovely neighbour got in touch to say there was a couple of envelopes at the Post Office that needed to be signed for and she thought that they were from the Ayuntamiento (town hall). Time for me to stress again, I thought everything was on track. It turned out that I had a three of years non resident tax that needed paying, fortunately this was quite straight forward and wasn’t very expensive (about €130 I think).  We were booked to fly out to Malaga from Liverpool John Lennon at 5:30am but the flight time kept being changed with the final leaving time set at 8.40pm, I felt it was better to accept this than lose a day of holiday and I reasoned that at least we would wake up in Spain relaxing rather than in the UK with the thought of another early start and one less day away. We arrived at Malaga at around 11:30pm and had to find the shuttle to the taxi office, typically we saw the shuttle bus leaving and had to wait another 10 minutes for the next one and we did the “first on, last off” routine to find the taxi company hadn’t finished processing the people from the first bus and we were at the back of the cue. Although I’m always up for saving money I do always pay for the full insurance as it includes priority collection and you don’t have to wait to get the vehicle checked over at the end of your stay.

It was now that I remembered that we had Priority Collection and the cue for this consisted of nobody at all (Result) we were in and out before the standard cue had even moved. Feeling happy that for once spending extra cash seemed to have paid off we set out on our 2.5 hour journey to the cave. It was a lovely starry evening but as I had never travelled this route before maybe a little slower than it could have been. We arrived at the cave at around 2:00am greeted by the Jacuzzi that actually had water in it and a powered up fridge that was stocked with lager and wine….. Happy Days !  We set up the beds and then sat outside for 1/2 an hour with a drink to recuperate, the sky was fantastic that night the Milky Way was in full swing and I had never seen a night sky looking so spectacular (I’m not massively interested in space stuff). I promised myself I would get a timelapse video of the sky one evening, I didn’t of course because it was either hazy or cloudy every night for the rest of the week.

Back to car hire……. On Wednesday we decided to have a drive up Mt Jabalcon, the oddly shaped mountain that greets you just after you pass Chirivel on the A-92 when arriving from the East. There are spectacular views to be had here and although I highly recommend the trip, it is a rough drive and most of it is single track with very few passing places…… anyway off we went  and about 1/2 a mile from the summit we got a puncture so I had to do a tyre change (for one of those silly space savers) considering we were on a steep single track road that was covered in loose stone everything went ok but on the way back I thought I’d look out for a tyre place to get the puncture repaired….. and here comes another straightforward event that escalated into stupidity because I was involved ! First off we headed to Baza and tracked down a tyre dealer who hadn’t got any staff working except for a receptionist. Next we headed for another one that the SatNav suggested which turned out to be a house about 1/2 a mile down a footpath. I decided to head back to the cave and then spotted a tyre place on the Baza to Benamaurel road so I pulled in and spoke (loose description of my Spanish communication skills) to one of the guys who tried to repair it and then showed me the 2″ rip in the sidewall after a bit more confusion he disappeared and then came back a few minutes later with an English Girl who was working in the bar around the corner who explained/translated that he didn’t have a tyre available but could order one and it would be there on Friday – Perfect I can drive at more than 40kmh on the way home on Sunday…. Yes Please. She took my number and said she would ring when it was ready. We spent Thursday relaxing at the cave. Friday arrived and I surfaced at a reasonable time with the intention of picking up a new tyre, by around 12:00 I was getting concerned about siesta as I hadn’t heard from the garage and I sloped up to the village to ask Mario if he could ring them for me…… Mario rang the garage who said they weren’t able to get a tyre the correct size…. he then chatted for a bit while I shrank away with a pale face and then finally looked up and said “would a second hand tyre be ok?” “Oh My God yes, anything that means I can collect the wheel and drive the car again”, he said “can you get there before 1:00 as they are closing?” Off I went back to the garage and just made it in time at 12:55. €52 later I was heading back to Cortes with a tyre that held air…… And Relax.

On the Saturday we went down to Mini Hollywood which helped relieve the boredom of a teenager forced to spend a wee bit too much time in rural Spain with not enough Wi-Fi 🙂

 

I should probably show you the great job Clive did of resurrecting the collapsed lounge now.

 

Just Some Trivia…….

In June 2013 I stumbled across an old friend on Facebook called Tania who had grown up near me in Devon, I hadn’t seen her since around 1984/5 as she had spent several years travelling. We got chatting about cave houses and it turned out that she was due to rent one in Spain in the August, It turned out she had booked a place in Cortes de Baza of all places. I didn’t think much more about it until early September when I saw some of her photos and it turned out she was there with her family the exact same time I had been there and she had stayed in a rental literally three doors away. We chatted about this and then one of her friends called Rachel got into the conversation who it turned out had met Tania purely by accident in Madrid a few years previous and it then turned out that I vaguely knew Rachel’s Ex-Husband….. to cut the story down a little Rachel and I got chatting, swapped numbers and hit it off rather nicely.

After a few weeks of chatting we decided we should meet up so the following weekend I drove the 250 miles from Devon to Merseyside and everything went well, after around six months of driving up and down the country I moved to Southport and the rest as they say is history.

The main problem with this was that the cave didn’t get visited at all for a full twelve months…….(I’ll explain the problems that arose in the next update)

the Village Paella that got us talking…..

The First Holiday

August 2013:
my marital status was well and truly over, I’d spent a couple of months in hiding, licking my wounds and sofa surfing. I decided I needed to visit the cave properly on a holiday after all the effort that had gone into getting the place…… where do I start?  Facebook of Course 🙂

So I put a status on Facebook asking for a travel companion, typically I got next to no response.
The first was from a friend who runs a tea tent at festivals…. although she was into the idea of a break she couldn’t get around having time away in the middle of the festival season. I was then contacted by another friend who was able to squeeze the dates in… It was on ! I was crawling out from under my stone and attempting to use the place as it was intended (or as I at least had intended).

The plan was to go for the Fiesta (weekend before last in August). I had heard that Cortes gets really busy during fiesta and the population swells to around four times it’s usual amount which by my reckoning would mean there was likely to be 30 or 40 people on the street at any given time of day or night.

We flew out from Exeter to Alicante which was novel as I had always flown from Bristol in the past. Driving to the cave was interesting as I was with somebody else and therefore I almost certainly spent too much time explaining that it was going to be fun even though it wasn’t by the sea etc etc. On arrival I was greeted by the barbecue that had been made from the remains of the old kennels. I love the barbecue, it was one of the silly ideas I had about having my own bar with a pizza oven and then got embarrassed about thinking it was a typical British thing…. a bar with spirits and a couple of lager pumps, a tv with sky sports on 24/7, a place for fat red people with their skin falling off to congregate and a place where I could be the landlord…… fortunately Clive had excelled my expectations tenfold.

On entering the cave it turned out that Clive hadn’t stopped at the barbecue but had also removed the ugly shelving in the shower room and replaced some parts with wood giving it a lot more of an organic feel (I was Very Happy).  I sorted everyone out with their rooms and set about drinking a nice cold lager before we headed off to the fiesta. The fiesta was very busy, there was people everywhere and of all ages. I love the fact that families spend time together in Europe much more than they do here, Babies, Toddlers, Teenagers, Parents & Grandparents all enjoying each others company and not being embarrassed by each others behaviours. I imagine it’s down to having a little more respect for each other ?

I also got the jacuzzi (it arrived on the previous trip) fired up and that was a rather odd experience because I had imagined spending family holidays splashing about in it.

This was to be the first holiday ever and the last holiday for about a year, during this period  there was a lounge collapse disaster and I found love again <3

I apologise for the rubbish fiesta photos below…..

Delivering Furniture (and the final visit with my wife) Pt. 1

March 2013…..
Winter in the UK is over (just about) and we are all set for the first ferry crossing and first drive to Cortes 🙂

A week ago I had loaded a man with a van whom we were meeting at Cortes next Wednesday to unload. Yesterday I had collected and loaded another van that we were driving down ourselves via the bay of Biscay.

The 22 hour crossing followed by the 10 hour drive seemed daunting but exciting all at once….. It was the first proper step of making the place our own. The satnav had said it would take 10 hours from port to cave and it was exactly that, we left Santander at 12:30 and arrived Cortes at 10:30 in the evening. We were greeted by Bob with a couple of cold lagers for a wind down after the tiring but ultimately straightforward journey.

The ferry crossing was a little choppy but nothing serious considering the stories we had heard about the Bay of Biscay and how the ferries don’t run in the winter due to the weather. The drive was ok and it was great seeing the changes in scenery, the worst bit was the fact that as we neared our destination it was dark and I hadn’t a clue about the road layouts (approaching from the north).

After a good undisturbed sleep (caves are very quiet) we headed over to our cave, we were greeted by lots of exciting things and in order of appearance they went something like this:
1) the kennels that filled half of the yard were no more so we had gained a sun trap.
2) the kennels were now in a neat pile on the other side of the yard.
3) the electric was on.
4) the strange shelving in the kitchen had been removed and rearranged.
5) the shower room had been revamped.
6) several odd square things had been made into arches and curves.
These things were all great, I was happy and this was how I imagined I should feel :-).

We got on with unloading and at some point around mid morning I heard a dog whining, it sounded like it was above the cave but I couldn’t see it. A bit later on I heard it again and just happened to glance up at the drain from the canal (a channel that leads water away from the roof so as to stop it working it’s way into the cave) and saw something move. I went to investigate and there was a small black and white puppy, probably no more than 10 weeks old. I brought it down and we fed it some food and let it wander about while we got on with unloading and moving stuff around. That evening I heard the guy from next door arrive home and tried to explain (with next to no Spanish) that the puppy had appeared in our canal and he took it away.

Note: unfortunately the Spanish don’t treat dogs or pets in the same way as the majority of brits do, a large percentage of people see them as pets until they outstay their welcome because they have grown too big, the school holidays have ended and the kids don’t need this amusement in their lives anymore, they don’t work to their full capacity because they are too old……etc etc etc. I would love to see this change and it is changing but far too slowly.

So day 2, shower at Bob’s and back to work unloading.
Most of the furniture is roughly where we are wanting it and we need to make space for the other van load that is arriving around midday tomorrow. Then the crying puppy in the canal starts again…… again we bring him in and let him roam about, he seems calmer than yesterday but spent all his time hiding behind things and under things….. The guys turned up at around 2:00pm with the second van full of furniture.

To be continued……..

 

A Day Trip with Sean and Mat

 

On the 3rd of September 2012 we arrived in Galera to meet our estate agent Sean, he said he had 5 caves for us to look at….we headed off on the A-330 but had to stop for some petrol at a little garage where the lady who greeted us must have been at least 90 years old, her Guard Dog (who was also getting on in years) barely lifted an eyebrow and certainly wasn’t coming out from under his bush to investigate us further.

First stop was a cave that was owned by a couple of artists (somewhere along the road from Galera to Cullar), it was a great place and finished beautifully the only problem was that it was smaller than we were hoping and there was no amenities nearby.
Next we headed for Benamaurel (a rural village with about 300 bars). Here we met Mat KT who has since helped me immensely in my seemingly endless path of mistakes (Thanks Mat). The cave here was really nice  It had amazing views up the rambla (riverbed) and it had a reasonable amount of space indoors and outside. The main thing that put us off this property was it had shared access with a neighbour and had other caves in every direction including one that was directly below and it’s chimney was in the garden of the property we were looking at. It was however great to get an idea of the contrasts between how remote and how on top of each other these caves can be.

The next trip took us to Cortes de Baza (a sleepy place that reminded my of the Comic Strip Presents A Fistful of Travellers Cheques) to see a large “YELLOW” cave (that I had previously seen on the website) This place was really big, originally two houses that had been knocked through into one, It had a big secure courtyard with a lovely big Ash Tree in the middle. This cave was our favourite so far as it had plenty of space and was about a five minute walk to the village, the only thing it was lacking was a view….. but it did need some work doing, nothing serious just things to make it more like a home and less like a cattery, there was a big area of purpose built kennels for dogs and cats that would have to go.

Onward, this time to Cortijo del Cura to see an “ECO Cave” as we were running recycling centres in Devon at the time this cave sounded the most interesting as it featured Hemp Brick for Insulation and some new fangled heating system. This was another nice cave and had some lovely rustic wooden features but again it was very small and was nowhere near a shop or more importantly a Bar….. The would be next door neighbour here had a Jacuzzi that was set in it’s own cave looking across the valley which would have done nothing more than make me envious every time I went past.

 

Our final destination was Huescar.
Huescar was the only village on this trip that we had visited previously and not particularly liked (for no reason that I can think of). The Cave here was Massive, It had a few really big rooms with really high ceilings, It also had a big outdoor area that had stunning views  across the Rambla and onward to the Sierra de Castril Mountains. This property also had another separate cave that was in need of full refurbishment. Overall loads of space and loads of scope for  the future but all these things cost money and we weren’t really taken with Huescar anyway.

So we headed back to Sean’s office in Galera, said our farewells and promised that we would be in touch………..

We were both thinking about the “YELLOW” Cave in Cortes de Baza….
and then the questions started: how many people could comfortably stay in it? could you put a pool in the yard? could the kennels be removed? would the two “craft rooms” be better converted back into bedrooms? would it need an extra toilet? how many cars could you park at the front? etc etc………