Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nuestra casa es Su casa

After a month in the hotel, and eating late at night – we were more than ready to move into our furnished apartment in Valverde del Camino. It is brand new and in a great location that allows me to walk anywhere I need to go – plus it has good parking (which is very important here). Our landlord is a very nice man, whose daughter speaks English and has been a huge help to us and acts as her father’s interpreter. The only drawback is that we still don’t have phone, cable or internet as this block hasn’t been wired and we have decided that “manana” does not mean tomorrow – it means next month!

We have 2 bedrooms with 2 small enclosed patios (emphasis on small) but large enough where I can dry laundry in the patio off the bedroom, and BBQ in the one off the kitchen and living room.

Some of you have heard about our hot pink kitchen and it has been fun trying to decorate without having our place look like my Barbie playhouse from the ‘60s!

Note we don’t have an oven (which isn’t too unusual I’ve heard) and our washing machine is in the kitchen. (Good thing I learned how to cook without an oven while living on our boat, and in the Kalahari!)

Spanish tortillas are similar to a potato frittata and muy delicioso! I decided to give it a try, and even managed to flip it onto a plate and back into the fry pan without having it break apart!

Not sure what the proper etiquette is, but on a very windy day this week, a woman’s thong, with its clothes pin still attached, landed in our patio.....Unsure who it belonged to, and certainly not prepared to knock on all my neighbour’s doors like Prince Charming trying to find the owner of the glass slipper, I ended up putting it in a bag and attached it to the railing in the hallway with the clothes pin hoping the owner would recognize the clothes pin..... Just hope that one of the little kids that live in the building doesn’t find it first and use it as a slingshot!

Here are some pictures taken within a stone’s throw of our apartment to give you an idea of what our neighbourhood is like. We live right across the street from Casa Direccion (you can find it on Google maps) which is the former mansion of a mine owner, and is now a museum surrounded by beautiful grounds. As in virtually all the apartments in Spain (and many parts of Europe) the sidewalks are right up against the buildings so everyone has bars on their windows.

Orange trees line the streets, and there is a park across the street from us where at night you can hear a multitude of birds while they feed.

I’ve taken the cue from many and have terracotta plant pots in the window sills which make them seem less “jail-like”. Even buying the plants and pots was a great “Spanish” experience. I went to a small gardening store and over the course of purchasing everything managed to speak some stilted Spanish with the shop owner. By the time I left, we had introduced ourselves and she had come around from the counter and gave me a hug and kiss on each cheek. Muy sympatica!

The supermarket is great and only about 50 yards from the apartment. I use what Roger has dubbed, “my granny wagon” to carry groceries home.

As you can see from the picture taken inside the store, there is an area set aside for these carts as most people use them, and they can even be locked up if you want. Mine is the stylish blue striped one!

I found this church while on one of my walks – it is really beautiful and sits high on a hill so you can see the town below.

Many towns commemorate their unique characteristics by erecting beautiful sculptures. We’ve seen monuments depicting everything from pigs, to mining, to Virgins, and to Valverde’s leather shown in this photo.

Bullfights are still very much a part of Spanish culture and most towns have a bull ring. We haven’t been to one and doubt if we will. In my early 20s I saw bullfights in Barcelona and Mazatlan - I think that’s more than enough and Roger isn’t keen on it either.

Our friends Kathy and Randy Cardon are going to be our first visitors, and we’re looking forward to seeing them. We plan to show them some of the favourite sights we’ve seen so far, and hopefully discover some new places as well.

Please consider this an open invitation to visit a part of Spain that doesn’t get a lot of attention, has lots of character and is definitely not a tourist trap. And unlike our last “home” in the desert – there are no snakes to worry about!

Nuestra casa es Su Casa (our home is your home).

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