|If you are thinking of renting an apartment in Spain, it can be a un nerving experience especially if you have young children to keep amused, as well as safe and entertained, all at the same time in somebody else's house for a week or two. We have a property in Sitio De Calahonda (Photo right) which is halfway between Fuengirola and Marbella on the fabulous Costa del Sol in Southern Spain and much of this blog contains information which is more or less local. However there are general items which should be of help to travellers going to Spain. I hope?|
I think a word about security is a worthwhile place to begin. Not that Spain is worse than anywhere else in the world, but tourists are always vulnerable and can be easy pickings, not speaking the language and being in a relaxed mood at the same time. Over the past 3 years or so Calahonda Village / Town, has enjoyed the benefits of a new security provider company called Franjus Seguridad They now have security points at both ends of the town with a security guard on 24/7. On my last visit I have never felt more at ease. It feels that the scallywags have all gone missing. Despite this, one should always remain vigilant, especially in public places like airports, markets, not leaving valuables on display in the cafe. car, or on the beach. Common sense really.
Under this heading I would like to mention that from 2016 all rental property owners have to be registered for a license with the Andalucian Government. Once the license is issued, we have to provide certain standards to our clients within Junta guidelines and keep records of every one who stays there for the police information. Spain sees this as a major step towards anti terrorist activity and will benefit all holiday makers in the long run.
Bookings boom to safe destinations........
Which will be
the winning destinations in 2017? We’re only a few days into the New Year
but it’s already becoming clear which will be the winning destinations in
This year (2014) it seems that virtually all the bars, cafe's and restaurants have installed free Wi-Fi, even supermarkets! It was dead easy to log on night or day to collect email, surf the web and you won't get Face book, or Twitter withdrawal, plus, you can enjoy a glass of your favourite tipple at the same time! in one of the many welcoming bars and cafes on the local strip.
|Internet and TV
The apartment boasts a superfast 100MB fibre optic Internet & Wi-Fi conection and these days most of the bars, golf clubs and restuarants have the free service, so you are never far away from getting on line.
We have a full Freeview UK TV service and a wall mounted 42" LG HD LED TV with integrated sound bar and sub woofer for virtual theatre surround sound and a bluetooth connection so you can play your personal music from your own devices.
|Prices in the Costa
With the exchange rate of around 1.24 to the pound for the Euro, Spain has become a cheap holiday this year! You are getting like 20% off the cost in pounds and lower prices to start with. We had lunch at a beach restaurant, between the two of us, had 1 pint lager, 2 red wines, bread and ali oly, platter of mixed fish (more than we could eat) and an avocado salad. €31.00 That's like under £12.00 per head. How much would 2 Cuppachino's and 2 egg sandwiches cost at Prêt A Manger at Stanstead? You can by decent wine in the supermarket for 3 - 5 euros' Riojas and Vina Sol's, get a pint for about €2.00 and full English for around €4 including toast and tea! Not worth doing the washing up! Cheers! (Since writing this and Brexit, the pound has dropped considerably, but don't be put off, still cheaper than the UK. Suits me!)
|For the past 3 years or so, most of the "cheap flight" airlines have been restricting hand baggage and only allowing ONE item per person, which must be within a particular size. Stanstead AND Malaga have both been doing major construction work to their terminals over this period of time and the shops and Duty free shops at both are magnificent! But it has not been possible to take a duty free bag on, unless it goes into your already crammed hand luggage, so for the past three years or so, these shops, have been stood, devoid of customers, like ghostly Aladdin's caves, or museums of things you can only look at. God only knows what sort of rent the have to pay the airport for the privilege of showing their wares, without the actual benefit of not actually selling anything! Well I think the shops must have raised the point, as I guessed they would eventually, so now airlines are allowing one duty free, or handbag bag and one, size conforming hand luggage per person. That makes sense, perhaps now the shops can afford to pay their exorbitant rents!|
|It is quite amazing, I still see
people lugging their suitcase on the scales at check in, this time the
bloke in front of me had over 26 Kilos with a 20 K allowance. Off come the
case and to one side he performed unpack repack, put extra clothes on daah
de dahh, or if not possible go and pay an extra £16.00 whatever, or trying
to force a big hand luggage into and out of the bag measure trough. The
they complain about the hassle the crappy airline gave them. We have flown
many times with Ryanair and Easyjet, both, I think recently are upping
their game, more courteous and helpful this year, but look, it is so
simple at the end of the day; Read the rules, check the bag weights and
sizes. You can but a digital electric case weigher / scale on line for
about 12 quid! AND take it with you to weigh the return bags before
setting off for the airport. Rocket science it aint, aggravation it is!
|DUTY FREE ALLOWANCES|
|I'm not going to list all the
information here, if you want that you can find it on
for Spain, I, however would like to deal here, with the common sense
issues if you genuinely want to buy cheap abroad and bring home with no
hassle from HM Customs. Although there are HM guidelines they are only
"guidelines" basically there's nothing to stop you filling your suitcase
up with cigarettes, providing they are for your personal use. This would
be based on the presumption you wouldn't smoke 2 or 3 different brands and
hand rolling tobacco, as a couple you may well smoke roll ups and a single
brand of ready made, but bare in mind if they think your getting them at
it, they may produce some Rizla's and tobacco and ask you to roll one in
front of them. However, if you brought in one brand for yourself and a
couple of sleeves of another brand AS A GIFT (no money must change hands)
This is acceptable. Just don't go mad and use your common sense. There is
no need to declare if you obey as above. Remember The Canary Islands are
under the Spanish Government, but is not in the EU, the tobacco has
not been taxed there, so will be half the Spanish price, but you are only
allowed 200, or 250 Gr. of tobacco per person, after that, tax and duty
applies in the UK.
|MOBILE PHONE IN SPAIN PLUS DATA|
Most providers in the UK are doing great free minutes deals which means a call home costs no more than a call to your mate in the UK now. Data can be varied, so check with your provider before you go. I'm with EE and get 1000 free minutes from anywhere in Europe to the UK including the USA and a couple of others. Thats calls TO the UK from there NOT FROM the UK to there!
Shopping on the Costa del Sol
We have 3 sets of clubs in the apartment for your use, all right handed 1 Lynx steel and 1 Lynx carbon and 1 set of Calloway carbon, saves you paying to fly yours out! Our apartment overlooks the 9th tee of the La Siesta Golf Club. All par 3's from the apartment to the clubhouse is about a 5 wood. It has a great restaurant, bar and balcony with a view down the 9th. all the way to the sea.
In the local area it is wall to wall golf with premier quality courses, giving fantastic cheap deals in summer for 2 with a buggy, all within 5 to 25 minutes drive. Check prices before you go and you can book on line in many cases before you leave the UK, or home. Check out here http://www.golfinspain.com/golf-courses/costa-del-sol/green-fees.html
When I arrive in Spain my first port of call is the supermarket, for crusty baguettes, fresh prawns, mussels and clams, onions and red peppers the size of rugby balls, mayonaise, garlic and parsley to make ali-oli and some plonk Rioja for about 3 quid or so a bottle (remember in the UK it would cost nearer £6) I do the cooking for her Majesty and it's out on the terrace for supper in the sunshine
|We also replaced the old plastic patio set with a posh smoked glass six seater dining table and chairs. If your dining in on a warm Spanish evening it will make the experience all the merrier. With the produce in the supermarkets being of great quality,many varieties of wonderful fresh fish, steaks, chops, Spanish sausages available, dining in is a must!|
We have lost our communal rubbish facility at the top of the drive due to recent moves all over Spain, to be more environmentally minded and dispose of glass, paper, plastic etc. separately. Whilst no so convenient we can't blame the Government for making this greener move. Now each community has a site on the side of the road where the paladin's are placed and we are asked to separate our waste. They are only a few yards further on and we found it was not a problem, nor overly inconvenient.
A lot of us get cold sores break out on our lips when exposed to the sun. In the UK we pay about £7.00 for a tiny tube of Zovirax. In the Pharmacia (chemists) in Spain it's about 3 or 4 euros! A lot of medications can be bought over the counter in Spain at the chemist, so make this your first port of call if you know what you need. Much cheaper than the UK for most medications!
What is a chiringuito? I hear you asking. They are bar / restaurants built on the beach and on the Costa del Sol there is one about every quarter of a mile or less along the coast, so you are never far away from one when you are on the beach. The staff speak decent English and many are open from about 1.00 pm till late night, so lunch or dinner is often a choice. I like a late lunch into dinner so I can watch the lights of the town come on, down the coastline with the sea lapping up alongside. Serving fresh fish and seafood from the wood barbecue, often from their own boats with warm crusty bread and a nice bottle of wine and the bill will not kill! Make this a feature of your holiday in Spain! Have a look here http://www.mydestination.com/marbella/restaurants/312673/chiringuitos
Story so far
By spring in 2017 the community had renovated all the pools on the site adding good showering facilities and a toilet block for each pool, so no running back to the apartment for a pee. Planting seed grass round the pools rather than turf they were all ready for the start of the summer and as usual, all chrystal clear and inviting in their environment of beautiful gardens. We celebrated by replacing the well used leather sofas with two new comfy, smart new ones.
And ready to go for a dip