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This is Peter and Maureen Scargill's Spanish website. We live in Galera in Andalusia (for clarity, that is the English spelling - Mid-Spain they spell it Andalucia and pronounce it "And-a-loo-thee-a").

We've had a home in Spain for more than 14 years and it is now our permanent base though we retain a small home in the UK.

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Archive for the ‘wine’ Category

The annual Wine Tasting Expedition

Town Centre GaleraLast year we starting mid-afternoon (as I recall) visiting various wine production facilities in and around Galera, tasting the wines and learning about wine production in the area – a very ancient tradition.

This year started somewhat later. On Thursday June 16, 2016 we started off at 5pm in the middle of the village – stopping at 2 facilities in the village before heading off out of town and then coming back on to our final stop as we learned all about local produce.

When I say “we” – seven Tapas and drinksof us walked down to the village together and met up with others, some of whom we’d not spent time with before, in the town square –  maybe 20 or more people in total – a very friendly bunch.

The atmosphere throughout the night was good and for the most part, the wine was good – though I’m not a great RED drinker.  The award-winning sparkling white wine, of course, was excellent.  I should stress this is LOCAL stuff made in and around the village and some of it is world class.

We started off in the local museum as we learned how wine has most likely been in production in the area for up to 4,000 years before moving on to actual wine production facilities. In the basements we saw both ancient and modern wine production equipment – as you can imagine much of it is made in stainless tanks today at surprisingly cool temperatures.

folk enjoying the talk

On the way we tasted red, white, rose and sparkling wines from the area as well as a decent set of tapas – all for 18 euros a head.

Galera wine

wine production

At the end of all of this, some of us ended up in the local bar (La Posa) until the early hours of the morning and so yesterday was a very quiet day…

Suitably added to the June 2016 Flickr album.

A Night to Remember in Spain

wine cellarsLast night we enjoyed a fabulous dinner with the friends and family of our Spanish neighbours, Cosme & Celia in downtown Galera, in Andalucia, Spain.

We enjoyed wine and tapas in the ancient wine cellars of Celia: a hundreds of years old Spanish house where they make wine in the cellars below the house. It was truly amazing and despite our pigeon Spanish, all the people were very kind and friendly.

How nice it was to be included with locals for their Saturday night dinner! We’ve discovered new foods to take back home including a new cold soup (Sopa de Ajo Blanco). A fantastic and relaxing evening – but more importantly, it was striking how friendly everyone was even though there was a language barrier.

A night to remember indeed. Today we’re off to the Baza market to look for a chair and then a little spot of painting – the hailstones made a bit of a mess of one of one of the walls!! Last night near midnight the temperature was down to a stunning 16c – it’s not been that cool since we got here – and I don’t expect we’ll see that again for a while – sun tanning weather today no doubt as first thing there is not a cloud in the sky.

more wine making history

Another Fine Weekend in Andalucía

The PergolaA great weekend so far, but not entirely without it’s issues. For the second time in a year, after lots of flawless, smooth driving over the past few weeks, the car has decided to have a fit – the gears and wheels won’t talk to each other and so it’s dead in the water, as it were. The gears and clutch work – but there’s a disconnect between the power train and the actual wheels.

This time, thankfully, it packed in locally (and not on the motorway like last time) so  it is now languishing at the Renault dealer in Huescar and we’re picking up a rental car on Monday – having no car for a week is great for exercise but pretty much a disaster otherwise.

SunsetAll of this happened on Friday and the guy at the Huescar Renault dealer was very helpful despite our language incompatibility – when I called in armed with my Google translation to find out what the damage was, he had the thing up on the ramp in no time and after prodding with a various metal rods for a while he managed to get one of the wheels to turn for about 2 seconds so I’m hopeful it’s not a new engine or something equally traumatic… but hey, you buy a cheap second hand car, you expect issues. It does make you wonder about the benefits of owning a car and having this hassle as against rental.

The GrubAfter a little rain around Huescar which we missed here in Galera, the weather here has been fabulous – the mist has cleared and there’s a great view of the mountains in the distance. Yesterday, Maureen spent much of her time putting bits and pieces together for our party while I built a music playlist on the computer – that of course and spending as much time as possible in the (cold) hot-tub.

TintoMy new lights never did turn up from China but then I was probably being a little optimistic – they’ll probably turn up Monday. We borrowed (with permission) tables and chairs from absent neighbours, ice came from La Posa thanks to incredibly helpful neighbours and we kicked off at 7pm, finishing around 2am – despite having a slightly fuzzy head this morning I’m pretty sure everyone had a good time and thanks to people helping clear up, this morning was not the usual post-party nightmare.

The ViewJust as well as it’s quite hot, with clear blue skies again and I foresee a very lazy Sunday ahead of us. The first neighbours up this morning took the garbage away – what more could you ask for…when I’m done here I’m off to soak in the (cold) hot tub and work on the tan.

Tomorrow I’m planning to catch up on emails and work while Maureen and Alison head off to Granada to get a rental car while we figure out what to do with our own slightly disabled Renault.

Regards – Peter Scargill

Something for the Weekend? Capileira for Example?

Map from Granada to CapileiraAs promised in a previous blog, first thing on Friday morning, Maureen and I set off on the just-under-3-hour journey to Capileira, the most northerly of the 3 villages in the gorge of the Poqueira river in the Las Alpujaras district of the province of Granada.

The whole journey is interesting as, once you get past Granada you go through Lanjaron and other villages each with their own unique character and then start up the steep incline up the mountains to Capileira. Note in the map it LOOKS like Orgiva is on-route but actually you have to take a turnoff so that’ll have to wait for another day.

Capileira near top of the villageWith temperatures rapidly approaching 40 degrees C we only briefly stopped off on the way at a restaurant in Calle de Eras Del Seleco in Lanjaron – you’ll see it in the new built-in street view in Google maps – simply says “restaurant” which we dubbed the “cafe for noisy people” as we couldn’t hear ourselves thing for most of the otherwise excellent lunch.

Once you get past Lanjaron you spend far more time going up and down mountains than travelling in a straight line so that part of the journey takes longer than it might at first seem. We encountered a road-slide where the entire right side of the road had simply dropped off into the valley – fortunately the road-crews had sorted out the mess before we got there.

Heading off it took us the best part of an hour to get up the mountains. Capileira is around 5000ft up but our hotel was even higher and about 1 km above Capileira. 

In the mountains above CapileiraAs we were in no rush we kept on going as I wanted to see just how high up we could go – but in the end, we gave up as the road went from superb to, well, something you might find on the moon perhaps – used only by logging trucks and insane cyclists but even then by the time Maureen finally insisted we turn around (the road at many points is on the edge of the mountain with very little between you and death) we were well in excess of 6,500ft above sea level – and it LOOKED that high. You have to do it once but take good tires with you.

Capileira village square

Chaep boozeThe town is just superb and at multiple levels (as it’s up a mountain!) with lots of shops and restaurants to keep one busy and the whole feel of the place is very clean and of high quality (which is more than can be said of construction you might see elsewhere). One shop we went into had a very old wooden weaving loom in the back room and drink is cheap enough as you can see from the photo on the right. Maureen bought lots of bits and bobs and I bought a new t-shirt… well, you have to, don’t you.

snow-capped mountains?The thing I can’t figure out is the snow on the mountains – we had temperatures of around 40 degrees C and going up to 6,000ft had no effect on Viewsthat whatsoever – and yet – here’s the photographic evidence – snow – I just don’t see that peak being more than 8,000ft and yet…. there it is. I DID think it was just some kind of calcium but winter shots of the area show that peak being completely white.  If anyone knows the answer to this please do let us know.

The hotel – well, I’ll not say much here as we’ve already displayed our displeasure on the relevant travel website but when we got there after travelling up the only access path which was an assault course, all looked perfect – the pool overlooks the valley, it was wonderfully cool, scenery was great but the pool could have been cleaner and better maintained. A Spanish gentleman guy showed us to our room without giving any other information away.

Hotel pool abover CapileiraNever seen anything like this beforeThe room was nice enough but FAR too hot and within seconds of opening the door we had a bunch of flies in there…

We headed off back down to the town and found in a small square a nice pizzeria simply called “La Pizzeria” and had a very pleasant pepperoni pizza – the Spanish aren’t that good generally at making pizza bases so this was most welcome. We spent the evening simply taking in the mountain air and enjoying a nice bottle of rose.

Maureen enjoying a pizza, rose wine and a phone call back to the UKBack at the hotel after an enjoyable evening we got off to a bad start as one of the guests had far too much to drink and kept trying to sing – like us he probably had a room that was too hot and so with his door open we could hear him loud and clear.  After a very unsatisfactory sleeping night which included listening to presumably the same person throwing up in the morning… we got up at 8.30am only to see the very modern, efficient looking dining room empty and devoid of staff with last night’s dinner plates still scattered around, We simply left, vowing next time to go elsewhere – which given the potential is a great shame – maybe they’ll change in the future. We’ve been in touch to pay the bill but they’ve yet to come back to us.

The view from our hotel private verandaThe reason we came here on a Friday night was so we could travel back up through Guadix market which is held on a Saturday and that we did, arriving at Guadix around 11am.  Great market and large but a little short on food options (fried chicken or nothing) – as we’d had no breakfast this was important so we only stayed for an hour before heading off home, but not before Maureen bought a new quilt for the bed.

Note the spelling of “Lennon”….. just because someone CAN print on t-shirts doesn’t mean they SHOULD 🙂

Guadix Market and a t-shirt maker who can't spell and finally just outside of Guadix on the way back… a nice church…

Church outside of Guadix

A Pleasant Surprise

Galera WineA pleasant surprise this evening – we were sitting watching David Attenborough “Life on Earth” – probably one of the best TV programs ever… and we had a knock on the door from our Spanish neighbours from over the hill.

Cute creatureCompletely unexpected, they brought us a case of wine from GALERA! As you can see from the photo, there’s white, rose and red wine. What a pleasant surprise and a really nice thing to do! Quite made my day!

So all in all not a bad day, sorted the broadband out (cable replacement), discovered where to get cement for fixing pavements – really cheap (under £2 a sizeable bag) and soon we’re to the village for some tapas… there have been a few clouds today but other than that it’s been generally sunny, maybe 34 degrees… just the job. I’m all ready for my meeting tomorrow, the most complex videoconference I’ve done to date….  fingers crossed…

tmp36FETPeter Scargillhe little fellow you see on the right was at our doorstep yesterday, if I’d included his tail the photo would be well over twice as long – absolutely massive!   I’m hoping no-one is going to tell me they’re poisonous as they really are cute! The nasty on the LEFT however, I’m quite sure if I was smaller and he was bigger… he’d EAT me.