Tag Archives: negratin

A visit to Cortijo Búho (The Bird of Prey Experience)

April 2018 and we visited Cortijo Búho’s Bird of Prey Experience.
Not being seaside attractions kind of people: Kiss Me Quick Hats, Slot Machines and Benidorm Karaoke (you get the picture) we were very excited about this trip, particularly because it is only 20 minutes away from our cave.

Cortijo Búho is just outside Benamaurel, a reasonably large and typically rural Spanish village in cave house territory with quite possibly more bars than people. They run what they call a “Bird of Prey Experience” which is aimed at small groups and families, forget waiting around for 20 minutes for the people in front to get a move on so you can have a look in the next cage….. This is actually Really Quite Special !!!

We were booked in for the 12th April, It was a dull grey and cloudy day but it had at least given up raining.
On arrival we were greeted by a Mat and Lawrence who immediately invited us in to their fantastic Vaulted Cave House which dates from the 11th Century, I’ve yet to see two identical cave houses but this one is spectacular. We were given a rough itinerary as to what we should expect…. It Pretty Much went as follows: 1: Meet some Birds. 2: Have some Food. 3: Meet Some Birds. (I must stress here that this is nothing like meeting birds at a Benidorm Karaoke).

First of all we got to meet and handle the Barn Owls Molly and Magic, a lovely pair who quite happily demonstrated their silent indoor flying skills and their ability to chose who to land with, somewhat dependant on who had a little treat for them. Next up was Mystic a gorgeous 2 month old White Faced Scops Owl who has recently learned to fly but seemed to quite enjoy walking around on the table and being very attentive to anything that moved.
Time for Dinner……. WELL WOW ! Three Course Thai meal, created with organic produce from Mat and Lawrence’s own garden….. This was certainly one of the best meals I have had in Spain in the seven years I have been visiting. During dinner Mystic fell asleep on top of a candle but had to be woken up so she could be put away as it was time for Matty to arrive.
Matty is a young European Eagle Owl, Eagle Owls are really impressive to see and handle up close, their sheer size and power is really evident when you are nose to beak with one. Amazingly given her size and weight (2 metre wingspan and almost 6.5 kilos in weight) Matty was able to fly with total confidence inside the cave and land happily on the chiminea at the far end.
Lastly It is the turn of “Sasa” the Harris Hawk, again really impressive up close and a so obviously a true hunting bird.

Just to summarise:
Mat’s Cooking is second to none and the fact this unique experience is aimed at small parties means you won’t get forgotten and will get looked after superbly.
Lawrence is a total mine of information about these creatures and he loves to share his knowledge, we found ourselves totally immersed in the whole experience and time literally flew.

The Birds are exceptionally well cared for and are quite obviously part of the family as are the other animals you will almost certainly encounter (Dogs, Cats, Tortoises and even a newly acquired Pony).

Important: Due to this experience being set up for small groups Please Make sure you book in advance as you will not be able to just turn and expect to be fitted in.

Links:
Cortijo Búho Website
Follow Cortijo Búho on Facebook

The Week after Fiesta in Cortes

Late August 2016

We arrived for our second visit this year the week after the Fiesta, this is the time that the whole village seems to go in to limp mode, not surprisingly as the whole place will have been buzzing for the previous couple of weeks.
We were greeted by the newly built hot tub step/counter that Clive had built, I had asked if he would be able to build a step with maybe a place to put drinks and my iPad so there was somewhere within reach to change music without getting out (I love being able to leave things in his capable hands and know that he can grab an idea and run with it).

Hot Tub Step

We had arranged to put on a Barbecue for Bob and our newly found friends Rachel and Sean on the Wednesday so it was all systems go, mainly because I love the idea of getting together with people but I’m not actually that bothered about getting together with people. I am somewhat introverted ! I can’t really be bothered with having too many people around me and I don’t feel I need many people around me, all said and done though It was a great evening and I thoroughly enjoyed it and I totally enjoyed the company of people who If I’d been them I probably would have said “aww sorry, I’m cutting my nails that day”. The Barbecue was a success not because of Bob’s barbecue skills or Rachel’s Schnapps but because of my Cous Cous (that I always get from Lidl) :-).  As well as Schnapps Rachel brought Daisy along (one of the street dogs she had rescued and the reason we met in the first place) Daisy was looking very happy with her new pack, she also brought Lenny who is from what I can make out a six foot tall puppy crossed slightly confusing himself with a teenage human, anyway enough of that.

This was to be a pretty boring holiday because the weather was lovely and nothing out of the ordinary happened in the way of “set backs” so we made the most of it and visited the local communal swimming pools.
First up was Los Olivos, I think it cost 2 euros each (for as long as you like) and we had to put up with about another 20 or so people.

Los Olivos Pool

Next we headed to Orce for the pool (the one with the fish) which was equally busy.

Orce Pool

Finally Cortes which was again very busy…..

Cortes de Baza Pool

This was to be the first time I really thought about adding to the decor since splitting up with my ex-wife.
I found a guy on eBay who printed canvas prints so I had some album covers copied and then I found some cheap album frames for real albums so I now spend a lot of time in charity shops looking for album covers to put in them. It’s quite nice not having to worry about the condition of the records themselves as I’m not likely to play them as all my music these days is digital.

Album Cover Canvasses

The First REAL Album Cover (Hats off to the Spaghetti Westerns)

All in All this was the most normal and straightforward trip to the cave 🙂

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.