Saturday, 8 February 2014

Oh what a hard life

So what’s it really like here, living the dream?  Firstly I have asked the question of our intentions – is this lifestyle choice to spend the winters in the warm or is it to travel Europe and see as much as we can? 

Well it’s both really.  So the plan is to stay here for a while and then spend a couple of months travelling back to the UK, probably getting back late June. We both fancy going a bit further south and seeing Granada, the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada before we come back this year.  I can promise you however that after doing the Ardeche Gorge in France a few years ago, we won’t be doing much mountain driving.

Apart from Iain’s return to England and our going back on Monday for a few days we have been here for just over a month now.  We’ve never spent so long on one site before, even on holidays we usually moved on at least after 7 days to make the most of the time available.

Still I don’t know if we’ve been spoiled, landing here at first or if maybe it’s like this all over Spain – I suspect the former.

Every morning when we walk the dog we are greeted by the sight of the sun rising up over the sea and the beautiful Spanish marble promenade and palm trees. I feel so privileged to have been dragged here to experience all this and even first thing in the morning the temperature is somewhere between 11 to 14 C and it is only likely to get better.  The highest it’s been during the day is 23C and everyone here is moaning about how bad the weather is.  Well all I can say is that the ferries from Santander have been cancelled due to bad weather (it’s 6C there)  but we are on the Mediterranean coast so it’s pretty good here.  Quite windy though and sometimes you need a jumper during the day – but I’m still refusing to wear a coat.

It's official - 22C and still January - Albir seafront - just along the road from the campsite

The campsite is full and we’re hearing that all campsites around here are full.  That’s why we have decided to stay until the end of April, certainly until after Easter.  What is the point of leaving such a beautiful and friendly place and moving on to find that maybe we don’t like the place as much, the pitch is awful or the campsites are full.  After all, we’re not in any hurry to be anywhere particular.

As I’ve said before we’re not really into “Brits Abroad” stuff but we have found a nice bar that is mainly filled with British people.  It’s really friendly and the campsite people are welcomed by the ex-pats here.  Gill and Mike have been very welcoming and they are going to look after Connie the dog while we return to England.

Iain has been playing a bit of pool at the bar, but he’s a bit rusty and this hasn’t gone too well so far, being “7 balled” after just a few days. So his photo is now on the wall of shame – still wearing the beret of course.  However this doesn’t bode well for his new career as a pool hustler.  

As for me, I brought so much stuff with me to while away my time with but I have hardly touched it, I just don’t know where the time goes.  I’ve also managed to get myself an invitation to a private gym and fitness class so at least I’m doing something.  I feel a lot fitter than when we left as we’ve been cycling and walking quite a lot – but we could still do a lot more.

We still haven’t cycled into Benidorm yet, the actual town  looks horrible but I’d at least like to see it.
View from the Church in Altea, across to Albir and on the horizon (right-hand side) you can see the horrible high-rise hotels in Benidorm some 5 miles away. 

 We’ve decided to wait until we get back from the UK, go out in the morning and get a full English Breakfast in Benidorm – you know just for the fun of being Brits Abroad.  Trouble is that there’s no hurry to do anything so we’re not doing much at all.

Old town Altea

We do like to eat out, preferably authentic local food, but here there’s so much choice of different types of restaurants and we haven’t yet found any proper Spanish tapas restaurants so we have rather been availing ourselves of what we can find.

We understood that it would be cheaper to live here but we can’t believe just how much cheaper.  If you look around, it’s so cheap to eat out that we’ve hardly cooked indoors.  You can get fish and chips (yes I know that’s typically Brits abroad but they are really tasty) for 6 Euros (or just 4 for a smaller size portion) and we went to a Chinese and had two courses, coffee and a bottle of wine for 10 euros 40 – yes that’s for both of us. That’s cheaper than cooking ourselves. 

Again if you go to the right places, just a couple of streets away from the seafront you can get good prices – beer at 1Euro a pint and wine at 1Euro 50.

Wine in the supermarket is anything from 79c a litre, and it’s pretty good, I’ve been splashing out and buying expensive wine at 1.10 Euros a litre though as I rather like that stuff. But even that’s less than £1 a litre. We also found that 8 cans of lemonade is more expensive than 12 cans of beer.  How can that be right? I wonder what we’ll be filling that space under our bed with when we do come home – well it certainly won’t be lemonade. Whiskey is about 8.50Euros as is Brandy (for the better stuff) and having consumed some of the former, we’ve bought a bottle of the latter, however haven’t tried it yet.

Well the time is now 4pm and Iain has gone to the bar to watch the rugby so I’d better walk the dog, deliver her to the bar and then go and get a bit of shopping for tea, but on the other hand, perhaps we’ll eat out – again!!!!!!!  As I said - it’s a hard life.