I always suffer a complete sense of gloom at this time of year in the UK, partially because I know I won’t be going back to Spain until the spring and partially because I know it is going to get darker and wetter here for the foreseeable months. It’s usually about now that I will start practicing learning Spanish again, I find it much harder to concentrate between Spring and Summer because I am always too excited about flying out again. So this week I have been back on DuoLingo and also catching up on the British TV shows about people moving to Spain (A Place in the Sun, A New Life in the Sun etc). These little things just make me feel closer to this part of the world that I adore.
Anyway…. Yesterday I was having a little break from moping and spotted a facebook post from Cuevas Helena which is about 15 minutes from my place, talking about a TV show that they were featured in.
Channel 5 – Our Dream Hotel. This is a great watch if you are interested in Cave Houses (or of course holidaying in one). Lovely to see such passion not to mention a fantastic finished cave. I am always grateful to see Mt Jabalcon too as it reminds me of another home 🙂
Well we popped over for 11 days in early August for our second and final holiday of 2017.
I was armed with bits and bobs along to decorate a little and put a bit more of a mark on the place (mainly vinyl albums in frames but also some other junk I had collected from charity shops over the past few months). The weather was brilliant, mid to high 30’s the whole time and the jacuzzi was even at 35c when I first turned it on…. more importantly though, My first bit of Great News was that Clive had fitted the new hot water boiler so we now have Hot Running Water, this might not seem like much but it has never worked properly since we bought the place, partially due to me not having cash and partially due to other things that were more important. The excitement of having hot water forced me to buy a portable washing machine from Amazon and have it delivered to one of the local bars so this was also waiting for us at a friends house on arrival. This was a great addition to the house and meant I was able to leave a full 10 days worth of CLEAN clothes behind thus meaning I can take more junk next time. Clive had also worked on the arch in the large bedroom and made some nice little cubbyholes with sockets inside (just big enough for a cup of tea and a mobile phone).
Our neighbour had told us that “Donk” the Donkey had reappeared and was living in the Old Bullring so we bought a big bags of apples and carrots from the Mercadona in Baza and took her an evening feast (the following day she got sold to another farmer so we ended up with a heap of apples and carrots we had to throw out).
We didn’t really have any plans for this holiday other than going down to Granada for a night. Granada is about an Hour and a Half from Cortes de Baza and we had booked a little apartment on the hill below the Alhambra. I’m not really a city/town person but I loved it there and really look forward to exploring further, our main goals were to visit the Alhambra and Placeta Joe Strummer (Joe Strummers memorial plaza). However I have recently taken an interest in the Spanish Civil War and the story of Federico Garcia Lorca which means we have far more exploring to do in the future. Granada is very hilly and when we visited the temperature hit 44c so I would advise using the busses or taxis around the town (even though we didn’t). There are mountains of interesting Bars and Restaraunts and the Alcaiceria is certainly worth an hour of your time. We pre-booked tickets for the Alhambra (and I would strongly advise that you do to, if you want to guarantee entry) but by the time we arrived we were so hot and tired that we didn’t queue for the palaces but instead had a cerveza and partook in some much needed people spotting. There are some fantastic views of Granada and the surrounding area from the Alhambra so it is definitely worth taking the time to visit.
Granada Photos Below:
Day 1: Went to the Supermarket
Day 2: Fed Donk and got Got Burnt
Day3: Donk left 🙁
Day4: Went to Granada, got Hot and Tired
Day 5: Came Back from Granada
Day 6: Went to Rachel and Shawn’s for dinner (Lenny the giant dog did not steal my food)
Day 7: Our other friend Rachel arrived from the coast for a few days.
Day 8: Had a look around Baza.
Day 9: We all went to a Barbecue at Bob’s House.
Day 10: One Rachel left and one of the other Rachels came out for lunch at Hotel Galera (for my Birthday).
Day 11: Drank and Ate too much.
Day 12: Did some tidying and washing before setting off home.
I managed to get the drone out briefly but it was a bit breezy and I got scared (footage below). Drone Footage August 2017
and finally the most recent Cave and Holiday Pics. ….. Thanks for taking the time to have a look.
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.
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 🙂
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)