Goings on in Spain!

Well, Lizzie and I had a most wonderful holiday this year in the mountains and valleys of the Andalucia region of southern Spain.  We are very fortunate to have made friends with a super group of people in the region, including an English astronomer by the name of Tony Angel, and we are currently working with Tony to develop our mutual interest in astronomy.  A highlight of this visit was an invitation to Tony's 60th birthday party, and there are some photographs of this splendid event in the columns below.  We also stayed in a most beautiful hotel, called the Hotel Los Berchules, which nestles high above the village of Cadiar in the foothills of the High Sierra.  The owners and staff of this extremely comfortable hotel helped to make our stay extra special.

But the most important news is that on this return to Andalucia we managed to buy a property for ourselves.

In spite of prices in the region rocketing due to the large numbers of English and other nationalities moving there, we were lucky to find a small farmhouse with some land which we could afford.  The house was the family home of one of our new friends in Spain, and we bought it during this and subsequent trips.  It is very old, has not been lived in for more than ten years and has had to be totally renovated.  But it is a lovely house, in a most beautiful area, and Liz and I are looking forward very much to being able to live and work from here.  We took several photographs of the house, and they can all be viewed via the links below.

The House in Spain

On this map of Europe you will find Spain at the bottom left corner, and Andalucia is right at the bottom of Spain, near to Africa.  

A red arrow marks the site of the house.  A big attraction for us is that the house is at 36 deg north, excellent for astronomy.

On this close-up the red arrow indicates the location of the house, which is about 3 hours drive from Malaga airport.

And the region is all fairly high - the house we are buying is 4,000 feet up in the foothills of the "High Sierra".

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The farm we are buying is called "La Divisa".  The 2.5 acres of land associated with the house are planted with many varieties of tree

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Plus vines, figs, plums, almonds and many other interesting things.

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We particularly liked the vines, on their steeply sloping field

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And of course there are thousands of wild flowers.  Here Lizzie braves the bees for a photo

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Our first view of the house was from the track leading to the general area.  It looked lovely, nestling in the valley

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The track down to the house is secured by a chain, and we had to walk the last quarter mile

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The roads are in fairly poor repair following a hard winter and some work will have to be done on them if we are to be able to reach the house without difficulty.  

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And at last the house comes into view, as we walk between the fruit trees and vines

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As you can see in this photograph, although the main part of the roof is sound, another part has collapsed and will need to be rebuilt. 

The white building behind belongs to another family, and they are our only neighbours.

Although the roof has collapsed in places it is still substantially sound and intact for the most part

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With some grass growing in places.  We plan to replace the whole roof as soon as the purchase is complete

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Yet inside the house is in super condition.  Dry with a bright, airy feel.  This is the kitchen

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Lizzie particularly liked the house and she is looking forward to the challenges we will face as we clean it up

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This is the most seriously damaged part of the roof, and we plan to make this into an open courtyard, with vines growing over the roof beams

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The house has four bedrooms, a garage, several other rooms and is supplied with water from a spring

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The views from the house are simply lovely, and there are many walks through the fields

A final look at the house from the other side as we leave to go, wondering how we will get electricity connected

The signing of the intent to buy at the seller's home in Motril.  We were made to feel very welcome

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Is the house any good for astronomy?  Well, it isn't perfect, but then Tony owns this hill - and maybe.........

The Great Birthday Party
Speaking of Tony Angel, this is his farm, site of the "Great Birthday Party".  Tony owns a lot of land which is a mixture of grapes and almonds and figs and, and, and - simply too many to name.  It is a beautiful place and Tony is working hard to get it all together.
There were a lot of people at the party, and all who were there will know who they were!  In this picture we see several of the guests, including some of the younger ones, sitting on Tony's steps in the sunshine and enjoying the local wine.
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He also received several fine gifts, and here he is seen holding a painting.  Could that be wine he is holding in his other hand?? Tony_with_Gift.jpg (101872 bytes)
Just to prove that the Earthlings were there - here we are on those same steps chatting to some astronomers who have moved to Andalucia from Wales, where they operated an observatory and gave local training in astronomy.  We are also looking forward to working with them when we have moved to the area ourselves.
More discussions on the patio, and the more eagle-eyed among you might just spot the mount for a Meade LX-200 on the balcony.  This is where Tony has been doing a bit of casual observing in the last several months.  The man in the middle facing the camera is Jose, who owns a lot of the vineyards in the region and it is his wife's parents from whom we are buying the farmhouse (called a Cortijo in Spanish).
Gracie is the pretty blond haired girl, and Erin is the cherub in the push chair.  As we said previously, there are a lot of English families in the region, and they all seem to be agreed on one thing - moving to Andalucia was the right thing to do!
And a photo of us sitting chatting to some of the visitors, including a lady Estate Agent who has been helping us look around the area and trying to find us a property.
There was even time for a stroll through the fields of flowers of Andalucia, dog trotting along behind.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TONY!

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The Clouds Below Us
Finally, in this fascinating picture you can see the banks of clouds as we look south towards the Mediterranean and the Costa del Sol.  One of the distinct advantages of being more than 1200 meters up a mountain!  A simply wonderful place.

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