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BUYING & SELLING YOUR NEXT PROPERTY IN SPAIN

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South Town Fortuna

North Town

Wine Feature

Guadalest

Company Profile

Valdepeñas D.O.

Copper Heeler

ISSUE 18 MAR 2018

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#Edition18 • March 2018

Spanish recipe

How to reduce your Spanish electricity bill... easily. (Final Part)

25

Stewed Clams

6

Wine Feature

Volvo Ocean Race 8&9 20 & 21

ValdepeĂąas D.O.

A life on the course...

Las Colinas Golf

12


Which Type of Property t i u S d l u o W

YOU?

14

Scuba Diving in Spain: Marine life of the Mediterranean Part 2

33

Welcome to the March edition of ALIS. This issue of ALIS is going to take us through Easter and on to the nice spring weather. The Spanish Recipe this month explains how to make Stewed Clams and this months golf feature is on Las Colinas Golf. The wine feature this month focuses on the fantastic region of ValdepeĂąas D.O. This region is well worth a visit for all you wine and foodie lovers. Visit the main square, order a glass of house wine (Corcovo is my favourite) and get a free tapa. Lunch and wine tasting in one go. There is also a great feature on what type of property best suits your needs. This works through the process as to what sort of desires and location you need. Enjoy

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www.alifeinspain.com - MARCH 2018

05


On the previous article on “How to reduce your Spanish electricity bill...easily”. We mentioned that the electric energy bill has risen about 60% since 2007 for the vast majority of consumers in Spain. One of the elements that explain this rise is that the fixed concept for the contracted power within the electricity bill. This measure assured negative consequences to the pocket of the consumer and the environment. In addition to the negative impact on the personal economy, the environment also suffers. It is a kind of quasi-flat fee, where two-thirds of the bill is fixed, and only one, variable. So we embarked on providing some tips on how to make adjustments to our electricity tariff to obtain substantial savings. First thing first. The objective was to calculate the amount of peak power required at on particular time and adjust the tariff accordingly. The power is controlled by the ICP Interrruptor de Control de Potencia (Power Control Switch), which you will find next to the general electric box usually inside the home. This switch, also called limit switch, disconnects, automatically if the contracted power is exceeded. To know what power you have hired you must look for it on any of your electricity bills, there you will see the contracted power in kW. As we mentioned above to be able to obtain some savings, you should know what power you really need. Some electric companies have power calculators on their websites. Endesa or E.on seem more complete than the Iberdrola, but be careful to use them since I have done the same on all of the search and it has given me different results. Free calculators on the web. One of the most completed calculator I found and it is in English can be located at this link: https://services.spservices. sg/cs_services_energy-audit.asp. Or you can just Google: “Calculate electric power consumption” and will obtain thousands of links to obtain a more or less accurate peak electricity consumption in kW. Another method is as follow: One can get an approximation of the power needed in the following way: • We add the power (kW) of all higher power appliances that will work normally at the same time.

How to reduce your Spanish electricity bill...... easily. (Final Part) Here are the savings... As a rough guide, a home with a gas supply for heating and hot water and without equipment such as air conditioning or electric kitchen hub would have enough with a contracted power between 3, 3kW or 4, 4kW. On the other hand, a dwelling that has, for example, an electric water heater for hot water or air conditioning equipment must hire a superior power, about 5, 5kW or possibly more. Let suppose that you have calculated your peak amount of KWs and you wish to lower the hired power, how do you do it? The first thing to check is that the electrical installation is correct and it is well maintained. If the house has more than 20 years, then the installation must pass an inspection and present the electrical installation bulletin (Certificate) in the Delegation for Industry (Delegación de Industria or “Industria” as it is popularly known) and also to the electric company. If you don’t have the certificate, or is not current or has not been registered both in Industry and in the electric company, you must hire an authorized electrician for an inspection. The company has to act in 5 days or else!! If the installation is correct, we will proceed in the following way: • We will call the electric company to lower the chosen power. It is the user who must indicate the chosen contracted power having followed the above-mentioned steps. • The company has an obligation to proceed to lower the power requested over a 5 days period. In that period of time. The company must visit your home and proceed to change of the ICP (Interruptor de Control de Potencia) Power Control Switch and seal it to avoid any manipulation.

• Add to the previous sum a margin of 1kW for lighting and small appliances.

• This job has an associated cost of 10,94 Euros (VAT included). But, each section of power that we go down has an approximate cost of 20 Euros.

• Once this sum is done, choose the nearest upper echelon of standardised powers which can be hired.

• If in five days the company has not processed the request, the company shall compensate the customer with 30 Euros.


www.alifeinspain.com -FEB 2018

07


Wine Focus...

VALDEPEÑAS D.O. A wine-making region in the centre of the La Mancha Region. In the heart of La Mancha, on the road that runs between Madrid and Andalusia, you will find Valdepeñas, a wine-making country with an excellent Designation of Origin. Special mention should be made of the town’s Plaza de España Square, with its white and blue façades, and the Asunción Parish Church, a beautiful Renaissance building. The town also has three museums. You should visit the wine museum. Wine is at the heart of the local economy, and the museum gives an insight into the history and the cultural notions surrounding the drink. Nor should you miss the chance to go to one of the town’s wineries, where they will explain the wine-making process and you can taste the best local produce.


BACKGROUND Valdepeñas is a Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) for wines located in the province of Ciudad Real in the south of Castile-La Mancha (Spain). It is almost completely surrounded by another DO (La Mancha) but is an independent DO due to its long history of producing a distinct style of wine known aloque or clarete which is made by mixing white and red grapes. Valdepeñas is a natural crossroads between the south of Spain, the Mediterranean regions to the east, Extremadura to the west and central plains to the north. To the south of the DO is the Sierra Morena range a natural frontier with Andalusia, and to the east and west there are mountains reaching a height of 1000 m. The most prized vineyards are in Los Llanos in the west and in Las Aberturas in the north. The total area planted to vines is 22,332.11 ha (2016). The authorised white varieties are Airén, Macabeo, Chardonnay, Verdejo, Sauvignon blanc and Moscatel. The authorised red varieties are: Tempranillo (or Cencibel as it is known in the area), Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot Grape growing and wine production in the area was practised by the ancient Iberians and of course by the ancient Romans. During the Moorish era, the area became an important wine producing centre, due to a special concession from the Caliphate of Toledo.

After the Reconquest by Christian forces, there was a huge increase in demand and in production, and wine began to be shipped further afield to cities such as Madrid. Towards the end of the 18th-century annual production was around 200,000 arrobas (3.2 million litres). Fermentation was carried out in enormous earthenware vats (with capacities of up to 1,600 litres) which were partially buried in the ground to help keep the temperature down. During the winter months, the lees would fall to the bottom naturally and it was not necessary to clarify the wine. In 1861 a railway line connected Valdepeñas to the coast and there was a further large increase in wine production this time for export abroad, especially to the Philippines and to South America. In 1895 the ‘Wine Train’ (tren del vino) began to ship wine to Madrid. In 1911 the phylloxera plague destroyed the vineyards, but the producers of the area were able to save their industry by grafting new varieties of grapes (especially Airén) onto phylloxera-resistant New World rootstocks. This moment of crisis forced the different producers to cooperate with each other and a regional federation was formed, which was subsequently transformed into the Regulatory Council of the DO. Official DO status was granted in 1932.


. . . e s r u o c e h t n o e f A li

Las Colinas Golf This gem of a golf course extends across the valley between the hills

The width of its fairways, the design of its extensive undulating greens, and the numerous tees at each hole give it great versatility. In turn, this means that it is suitable for professional competitions, while also offering any player of any level a pleasant, enjoyable and affordable game. This really is a very good course. I would say comfortably the best in the area. It is always in great condition. It is challenging but not too hard for the higher handicappers, and it is in a good upmarket development. The whole operation is very slick, perhaps a little impersonal. Two points to note: don’t even think of walking, this is a buggy course; it is deservedly busy and so please observe golf etiquette

Year Built 2010 Designer/s Cabell B. Robinson Manager Cristóbal Guerrero President Antonio Montoro Alemán Greenkeeper RoqueBuendía Golf Professional Robbert Mitchell Layout difficulty 3 (1 easy to 5 hard) Approx. tee interval 10 min. Buggy recommended Yes Buggy allowed in fairway No Maximum Handicaps Gents: 36 Ladies: 36 Green Fee, normal price 52€. To book, Tel: 965 32 40 04


www.alifeinspain.com - MARCH 2018

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Which Type of Property Would Suit

YOU?

The Spanish property market really does have something to satisfy every preference and purse. So if you do your homework, and a little bit of legwork, you are almost guaranteed to find your dream home in the sun. Once you have selected your perfect location, it is time to start thinking about what type of property you wish to purchase. There are various options available to you throughout Spain and what you decide to go for really depends on your personal preference in property styles, such as whether you want something traditional or modern; and also how long you are prepared to wait before you move in. Unless you really have your heart set on something it is probably best to go in with an open mind at this stage and shortlist a range of property types to get a proper feel for what they have to offer. We have included an overview of each of the property types, to give you an idea of the features and benefits they have to offer. New Build Properties A new property is one which is being sold by the builder and has not been occupied previously. This category can be broken down into those which are still in the planning stages or are currently under construction, and those which are structurally complete and ready to move into. Off Plan/ Under Construction: Following the famous property boom of the late 90’s to early 2000’s, buying property off plan has become the most popular way to buy along the Spanish coastline, and is particularly appealing to the expat market. Unfortunately, as a result of problems with supply and demand, home buyers have often been forced to wait a considerable time for the completion date, which has been over 12 months later than anticipated in many cases. At a time when house prices were rising rapidly, buying off plan was the cheapest way to buy, as the purchase price was fixed at the time of signing the contract, as soon as the stipulated deposit was paid. Conversely, buying an existing property usually carried a premium, which could considerably bump up the purchase price. Banks were offering 100% mortgages to virtually anyone who walked through the doors, irrespective of their credit status, and exchanges were

often at least partially arranged in cash payments under the table before arriving at the notary to exchange remaining payments and legalize paperwork. The good news is that this situation was only short term, and by 2012 Spain saw a considerable rise in property development once again, and now with the growing trend for an ultra modern style of housing, with less emphasis on the traditional Mediterranean casa. The improvement in the market is thought to be due to an influx of buyers from Scandinavia, Holland and Belgium who were keen to take advantage of the “Key Ready” properties waiting, snap them up at rock bottom prices, whilst simultaneously providing a lifeline for the construction industry. The industry is now quite different to that seen a decade ago, with only a small nucleus of well established and respected companies still operating, who have the capital to invest in buying land to develop without the need for financial backing by the banks. This means increased security for the buyer, as they do not have to worry about the bank or other third parties foreclosing on the project if the builder fails to keep up with repayments. In spite of this, there is still far less faith in the new build market than there was ten years ago, especially among the expat community, which has been bombarded with scare stories about buying in Spain by the national press. From the keen buyer’s perspective, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it gives them a wider choice of high quality properties and locations on the coast, and greater pulling power to secure an attractive deal that looks favorable against the resale and bank repossessions markets. Those builders that have been willing and able to deliver on that basis are now selling properties at a very satisfactory rate. Average build times are now around 12 months, but the margin of delay beyond the date forecast has decreased significantly. You should expect to pay anywhere between 30 and 40% of the total price over the first three months, then the rest on completion. In addition, it is important to ensure that your money carries a “Bank Guarantee”, so is being held securely whilst construction is in progress. Most reliable construction companies will do this automatically these days, but we recommend that you get it in writing for increased peace of mind.


Key Ready These are properties that are structurally finished and ready to move into, but still awaiting a buyer. Builders will usually be eager to sell these first, before pushing for off plan sales, as they are often mortgaged and the builder will also be responsible for paying local taxes and community fees for them until they are signed over. For this and the reasons stated above, many key ready homes on the coast are now available at amazing prices, having been reduced for a quick sale. Builders might also offer incentives for the sale of the last few properties on a development, such as a higher quality finish on the kitchen or bathroom, the inclusion of a furniture package, additional land or a swimming pool. As astute investors from other parts of Europe snap them up, the number of bargain key ready properties is diminishing, which is great news all round, as there is nothing worse than seeing brand new properties being left empty and beginning to deteriorate through lack of maintenance. As soon as the finished properties are sold, the builder has a bit of spending money to plough on with the new build projects to keep the whole process ticking over. Therefore, this is an important link in the property chain, with attractive benefits on all sides! Rural Properties and Fincas When people dream of owning a Spanish property, they will often envisage a small holding in the country, with white washed walls, wooden window shutters and surrounded by vine yards or orchards brimming with juicy citrus fruits. It is a wonderful thought, especially if your prime reason for relocating is to escape the rat race and enjoy a slower pace of life. However, the reality is that these types of coastal properties have in recent years been the most problematic, bringing buyers a multitude of expensive legal issues and red tape to overcome. Reliable connection to utilities is not standard with the majority of country properties, which rely on antiquated wells, which are usually accessible from the kitchen, or septic tanks for water, and generators for electricity. In most cases, the property will require extensive renovation work to make it habitable, which could be incredibly costly and stressful, particularly if you do not speak Spanish, as the local tradesmen are unlikely to speak English. Rural properties were selling rapidly ten years ago, but due to the many pitfalls involved in the purchase, along with reports of people, mainly expats, losing their property to demolition orders due to lack of planning permission, there are now far fewer available on the market. The majority of bigger Real Estate companies actually refuse to market rural properties due to the lack of security and legal constraints. In a nutshell, you may find yourself shelling out a small fortune to live a very primitive existence, compared to what you have been accustomed to. Plus buying this type of property always involves an element of risk, no matter how much research you think you have done to avoid any unwanted surprises, so it is really your choice if you are willing to take that risk on a substantial investment, and great deal of blood, sweat and tears.

Resale Properties This section relates to properties that have been previously owned, and operates in a similar fashion to the UK resale market, in that there are endless possibilities available. If you opt for a resale property, you have a wide choice of locations, property types and budgets at your disposal. The previous owners will be selling up for all manner of reasons- they may be upgrading to a bigger place, relocating, selling for financial reasons or even due to births, deaths or marriages, so may or may not be in a hurry to move. The resale market is always worth considering for a number of reasons- you can SEE exactly what you are getting; it is unlikely to require too much work; the legal paperwork must be in order for it to sell; and you should not have to wait too long to move in once a purchase is agreed. Plus, there are currently some incredible offers available at prices which may never be repeated on the Spanish Coast! Bank Repossession Properties This has become a thriving market in itself, allowing both banks and buyers to benefit from the misfortune of a previous owner. This relatively new market is the byproduct of the economic downturn, where hundreds of homeowners were no longer able to keep up with their mortgage repayments and their properties were eventually repossessed by the bank. Many of the properties involved were the product of a 100% mortgage granted during the property boom, although others lost sizeable investments due to spiraling unemployment levels. Do not be fooled into thinking that these must be the best deals available on the market, as Spanish banks are still as greedy as ever and are not interested in market research or being competitive, but only in recuperating the millions of euros which they have lost due to overlending. They will often ask over the odds for a property which is in desperate need of some TLC and which you could buy cheaper from the resale or even key ready markets. Even new build properties can offer better value for money overall so make sure you weigh up all of the hidden costs and long term investment before you commit to anything! If you do wish to look at bank owned properties, then you should be prepared to look at a long list of homes in various locations, as there are likely to be a number that are not worth considering, before you come to one or two which might fit the bill. It is worth noting as well that if the bank that owns the property is offering a higher than normal loan to value (sales price) mortgage it is because the property value does not match up to other homes in the area, on the regular property market. By asking for a lower deposit from the buyer they can make the sale sound more attractive and benefit more themselves in the long run, when what you are actually getting is an over-priced property, which you could buy cheaper 100 yards down the road! Essentially, there’s lots of things to consider, but the most important thing is to take your time, don’t be pushed into anything and explore all avenues before you sign on the dotted line!


South Town...

FORTUNA Fortuna

Not far from the capital of the Murcia Region, Fortuna is famous for the abundance of its hot springs. Water, scarce in this area, flows freely in Fortuna, giving rise to a number of fountains such as la Higuera, la Cueva Negra or los BaĂąos, thermal springs that were already popular in Roman times and which have today converted Fortuna into an important spa town


The history of the town goes back to Iberian settlements, the remains of which can still be seen in outlying districts such as Caprés, Castillejo or Cortao de las Peñas. The Arab domination is still visible in the Castillico de los Moros (Moors’ Castle). The town’s cultural heritage is enriched with the Baroque-style Parish Church of La Purísima, the Convent and the Town Hall (which conserves some beautiful panneaux), all constructed in an aesthetic modernist style. The surrounding countryside (at times desert-like) is covered with the water that flows from its thermal springs. Visitors can admire the Cortao de las Peñas (two mountains split apart by the movement of the earth), or the Humedal del Ajauque and Rambla Salada, protected wetland areas of great beauty. CARESS OF LEANA The Balneario de Leana (Leana Spa Resort) in Fortuna is one of the oldest spa resorts in Spain. It was reconstructed on Roman Therms. It became the most important healing centre in the Region along with the santuario de la Cueva Negra (Black Cave sanctuary), popular for its Tituluspictus (Roman inscriptions in objects). The healing nature of these waters was known among ancient cultures, such as Iberian and Greek. It’s sure that its effects are great if people continue coming here to charge their batteries.

REMAINS OF THE PAST This region keeps many historical treasures that you’ll discover in your visit to the Iberian and Arabian settlements and the santuario romano de laCueva Negra (Roman Black Cave sanctuary). The last one was a place of worship and superstition where magic and sorcery rituals were performed, and, then, drop in the ancient Roman thermal springs where, in former times, water was really abundant. Currently, it‘s still a tourist attraction. Fortuna is the ideal place to go for a walk. In the town centre, you’ll find the iglesia parroquial de la Purísima (the Parish Church of La Purísima), from the 18th century, which has images from Salzillo school and a monstrance made by the Neapolitan goldsmith Carlos Zayadatt. The Casa Consistorial (the Council House) is only a few feet away and its hall is home to a rich collection of pictures that are Asset of Cultural Interest. There’s also the Casa Convento (Convent House), the most emblematic Modernist building in the municipality. It’s characterised by its façade, its courtyard decorated with arabesques and an old library that keeps the household furnishing that belonged to its former owners. Another interesting building to visit is the oldest hermitage in Fortuna, the St. Roque hermitage, from the 17th century.

www.alifeinspain.com - MARCH 2018

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Cyclogical Ladies Cycling Groups

While cycling is becoming increasingly popular with women there are still plenty whose experience of cycling ended at childhood. It’s also a fact that 4 times as many men ride bikes as women. Whether you are a total beginner, looking to ride more regularly or just want to enjoy social cycling we have loads of ways to help you get on that bike. Riding on your own can be great fun, you can go where you want, when you want and stop whenever you want and it also gives you time to think etc. However, riding in or with a group can be even more enjoyable. You can make new friends, learn some cracking new routes, learn new skills and techniques, work harder, cycle further, improve your stamina and generally have more fun and post ride socialising. It’s also a great way to improve your stamina whilst discovering the local scenery. Our aim is to promote Health and Wellbeing through cycling and help women to recapture the thrill of cycling or discover it for the first time. How to get started. All you need is a bike and a safety helmet if you don’t have one we can advise you or hire you one to try and see if you are going to enjoy it. We try and set up, adjust and customise everyone’s bike to suit their size and shape to make your ride more comfortable. We also stock a vast range of ladies clothing and have also designed our own Ladies specific clothing range. Our ladies rides all start and finish at the shop and are organised to go at a distance and speed that suits everyone, we also have a couple of breaks on the route for a drink, coffee and tapas allowing everyone time to mix and get to know each other. After a few weeks, your aerobic fitness will have improved and you will be able to ride for miles without feeling any more than a little puffed out. The more active you are the healthier you are. But whatever exercise you decide to do remember to have fun whilst you are doing it.

We teach the necessary skills to ride safely and confidently on the roads and improve bike handling. We mostly cycle on local, camino and canal roads as far as possible. We have cycled most of the roads in the local area and have also cycled as far as Fortuna, Aspe, Monovar, La manga, Sierra Espuna and Los Alcazares. Safety in numbers. When we ride in a group and where the road conditions allow, we aim to cycle two abreast, ideally alongside a partner you can match the pace with comfortably. We are all responsible for our own safety and the safety of others. If you are at the front take care not to ride too close to the gutter, you’re the eyes and ears for the group, it’s up to you to see the potholes, parked cars, joggers, other cyclists etc, and to tell the rest of the members by use of hand signals. No matter where you are in the group you must pass on all information to the person behind you without making any unpredictable movements. If you fancy taking up cycling or joining us just give me a call to arrange a chat, call into our shop or just turn up to one of our rides. Contact Lynn : 634050225 / 637487377 Lynn’s Ladies Hybrid group : ( Beginners and Improvers ) Meet every Monday at 1pm till 5pm Cover approx :30- 40kms. Ladies Hybrid Group : ( Improvers and Advanced )Meet every Wednesday at 11am till 5pm Covering approx : 60-80kms Mixed Hybrid Group: Meet every Saturday at 2pm till 6pm Covering approx : 60-80kms Gary and Lynn are available at Cyclogical in Quesada , Monday to Friday 09.30-5.30 and Saturdays from 10am-2pm to assist and advise you on all your cycling requirements.


LEG 6: Hong Kong to Auckland

Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel extended to a narrow three mile lead after 24 hours of racing in Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Team Brunel lead the way towards Taiwan. The six boats are tucked towards the southern tip of Taiwan, anticipating a turn to the north after leaving Taiwan to port. On the 0700 UTC position report on Thursday, Brunel had eked out a narrow lead, but most of the teams will be in sight of one another. Team Brunel hit early problems with plastic caught on the boat. The performance hit was too much, and they did a double tack to clear the debris from their rudder. As a result, Brunel had about a three-mile lead for much of the morning on Thursday as the teams race towards Taiwan. After passing to the south of Taiwan, the fleet were expected to head to the north, further away from the direct route to New Zealand, in an effort to avoid a developing area of light wind and to pick up favourable conditions before diving south. It means more upwind sailing, so progress towards the finish looked to be slow and hard-earned for the early stages of Leg 6. Conditions were fast, wet and wild for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on Sunday 11th Feb. as they charge to the southeast, finally heading in a direction where miles sailed translate into miles towards the finish in New Zealand, still more than 4,000 nautical miles away. With the passage of a front, the wind shifted to the north and the boats were on a tight reach in 18 to 25 knots of wind, making 20 to 25 knots of boatspeed. It’s not comfortable. But it’s fast But it wouldn’t be the first time that Auckland has played host to a grandstand Volvo Ocean Race finish. In fact, the City of Sails has seen some of the closest battles in the Race’s history, and this week, we could be adding another to the list.

At 0130 UTC, the leaders, team AkzoNobel and Scallywag have been bumping up against a high pressure system that is slowing their progress. They’re match racing just boat lengths from each other. But Turn the Tide on Plastic, further offshore, had also closed to within three miles, and even MAPFRE and Dongfeng, over 100 miles back less than 24 hours ago, were now less than 10 miles behind and closing every minute with better speed. This leg is going to be a close finish This leg shaped up to be an historic finish, with five boats racing within sight of each other - less than seven miles separating first placed team AkzoNobel from fifth placed Dongfeng Race Team. Team AkzoNobel has won Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, racing 6,344 miles from Hong Kong to Auckland in 20 days, 9 hours and 17 minutes and 26 seconds. It was a tremendous win, and came after an epic final 24 hours, when a ridge of high pressure off the north east coast of New Zealand stalled the progress of the leading boats, allowing those behind to close what had appeared to be an insurmountable gap. For team AkzoNobel and SHK/Scallywag, the buffer they’d built up over the past week was only just sufficient, and they were able to match race down the coast all the way to the finish line in the Waitematā Harbour, usually sailing within hailing distance of each other. In the end, the margin at the finish was just twominutes. Akzonobel Scallywag Mapfre Dongfeng Turn tide on platic Team brunel


Spanish recipe

Stewed Clams

. . . s t n e i d e r g In

-1kg of clams -butter -parsley -eggs -lemon juice -salt pepper

.. . t i k o o c o t How Clean the clams well and then put them to dry roast in a casserole dish As they begin to open, take them out and drain the water into a cup. Remove the upper part of the shell and clean them again. Warm the water that has come off and put the clams into it. Put a piece of butter, chopped parsley, salt and pepper into a flameproof casserole dish; Add the stock and the clams. Boil for several minutes when they are cooked, add a batter of eggs and lemon juice.

www.alifeinspain.com -MARCH 2018

25


CBD And it’s benefits

I recently hear more and more about CBD and its benefits that it tickled my curiosity. A quick search on internet shows how the matter is making the headlights! CBD or cannabidiol is the major non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp (or cannabis sativa as per its scientific name) stalk. This very powerful compound is the complete antagonism of THC or tetrahydrocannabidiol that is the main psychoactive compound of the other species, cannabis indica, better known as marijuana and for giving this so criticized “high�. CBD, extracted from hemp stalk, has proven to have numerous medical effects. Among these, we can find anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, pain-relieving, tranquilizing, vaso-relaxant properties. On top of that, we can find testimonies and even increasing clinical studies about its capacity to inhibit cancer cell growth, promote bone growth, reduce seizures and convulsions, reduce blood sugar levels, reinforce the immune system, relieve anxiety, and the list continues. So I asked myself how one only compound could be that efficient on so many pathologies? Well, I found out that the human body has an entire regulatory system, in fact the largest self-regulating system within our bodies, named the endocannabinoid system. This system consists of 2 types of receptors spread all around the body that produce endocannabinoids very similar to those cannabinoids found in hemp plants and that regulate major body functions. As CBD is reacting with both type receptors, it is not surprising that it is so powerful. A miracle natural plant extract.


North Town...

GUADALEST Guadalest

El Castell de Guadalest, known usually as Guadalest, is a small town in Valencia, in a mountainous part of the comarca of Marina Baixa, in the province of Alicante, Spain. Guadalest covers an area of 16 sq km and has a population of around 200 inhabitants. Guadalest is approximately 25 kilometres inland from Benidorm along CV-70 road. Guadalest Church / Nuestra SeĂąora de la AsunciĂłn. The baroque village church dates back to 1753 when it was finished. It stands on the ground of a former 13th-century chapel which was built after the Christian Re-conquest. During the Spanish Civil War, it was damaged and only rebuilt in 1962.


Orduña House / Casa Orduña. With many museums of doubtful character, which do not deserve their name, the qualitatively best one is not named a museum. Casa Orduña was the residence of the Orduña family which ruled the place for many centuries. It was built in 1644 on the grounds of the former Alcozaiba Castle which was destroyed by an earthquake in the same year. The house shows reconstructed rooms, including the library, bedchambers and the private lodge from which the Orduñas saw the mess in the neighbouring church. Some rooms are used for art exhibitions so that it is likely to see some paintings and drawings from local artists. Casa Orduña house is also the entry to the castles which is described in a separate tip. Surely the best exhibition you can get in Guadalest. Free leaflets in the main European languages such as English, German, French, Italian and Dutch are available. However, these only describe the Orduña House and a visit should not take more than an hour, including the castle. The entry fee of 4 EUR for adults (2015) includes the house and San José Castle. Some of the ruins of Alcozaiba Castle can be seen from there but is closed to the public. If you want a souvenir, look out for the black & white postcards on sale for 10 cents! Viewpoints. With Guadalest being on top of a rock, you have a wonderful view of the surrounding area. There is the blue Gua-

dalest reservoir to the north and Benimantell Castle to the west. The best point of view is from San José Castle, but you will have to pay the entry fee (See Orduña House and Castles) to get up there. The three viewpoints close to San Gregorio Square are however not bad either.

Castles. As only ruins remain of the castles, it is difficult to see that there are actually two of them in Guadalest. Alcozaiba

Castle is the one built by the Arabs in the 11th century to the north of the main street in the old town. This castle was destroyed by the 1644 earthquake. Afterwards, it was decided only to rebuild San José Castle. From Alcozaiba Castle, only a tower was reconstructed which is now used as a belltower. This Castle is closed to the public. San José castle consists of ruins as well, only the chapel and the adjoining cemetery are rebuilt and still in use. It dates from the 12th century. The castle ruins can be climbed by tourists and give you the best view over the old part of the village. San José Castle is the larger of the two, but both castles are far from being large at all. The old village cemetery and a chapel are located within the grounds of this castle.San José castle can be entered through the Orduña House / Casa Orduña, but that also means that you have to pay the entry fee of 4 EUR (adult price as of 2015). However, the combination of the House and the castle is worth the money and is probably the best attraction in Guadalest.

Old town / General Orientation. The old town is actually the reason why you come to Guadalest. It is the nucleus of a

village built on top of a rock. There is only a single street which leads from the entrance tunnel via the square to the viewing platform at the far west. Important buildings include the two Castle ruins, the Orduña House, the Church and the Town Hall. Gregorio Square. There are restaurants, cafés and souvenir shops catering for the tourist’s needs. Many small details are worth to notice such as the former prison (basement of the town hall and accessible to the public for free) and the entrance tunnel gate with the carved coats of arms of Guadalest.

The Castle of the King. A fort incorporated in

the ancient walled grounds of the city and which is accessed through a tunnel excavated in the rock. The highest point of the castle where the cemetery is located. The area offers the visitor, because of its height, the best views of its surroundings like the prairie and the water reservoir of Guadalest. www.alifeinspain.com -MARCH 2018

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REPRESENTATIVE

Opening Hours Tuesday-Saturday 10-2pm


WE HELP PEOPLE THROUGHOUT SPAIN EVERY DAY

The Avalon team explain how different the complex funeral system is here in Spain to both non-residents and those that live here all year round. This affects everybody so we are committed to helping all UK, Irish and European citizens make informed choices. • We also check all types of insurance to ensure each person is covered for everything they need to be. • We offer a tailor made funeral plan to suit every client which is fixed at today’s cost.

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Scuba diving in Spain:

Marine life of the Mediterranean Part 2 The Med is a diverse and abundant sea which has suffered overfishing in the past, but thanks to several marine parks and protected areas such as Islas hormigas in Cabo de Palos, Isla Grosa of La Manga, Cartagena´s Las Palomas island and Cabo Tiñoso along the coast of Murcia, we have a huge abundance of marine life you will encounter on scuba diving excursions.

Greater amberjack (Seriola dumerili) is a jack of the ge-

nus Seriola. It is found living usually between 20 and 70 m of depth (with a maximum of 360 m). It is the largest genus in the family Carangidae, with a maximum length of 200 cm. It is a fast-swimming pelagic fish with similar habits to the kingfish. They are a streamlined fish, silver-blue with a golden sideline, with a brown band crossing over the eye area.It is a powerful hunter which feeds on other fish and invertebrates

Greater Amberjack

Seahorse is the name given to the small ma-

rine fishes in the genus Hippocampus. “Hippocampus” comes from the Ancient Greek word meaning “horse” and kampos meaning “sea monster” Having a head and neck suggestive of a horse, seahorses also feature segmented bony armour, an upright posture and a curled prehensile tail. Three species live in the Mediterranean Sea: guttulatus (the long-snouted seahorse), hippocampus (the short-snouted seahorse), and fuscus (the sea pony). These species form territories, males stay within 1 m2 of habitat, while females range about one hundred times that.They can come in many colours and can be up to 5 inches tall. These can be found scattered around Cartagena in shallow areas and up to 20 m deep, but used to be abundant in the mar menor but have taken a massive decline in recent years due to man-made pollution, But conservationists are trying to reintroduce them back to the small sea to rejuvenate and repopulate.

Sea Horse (Guttulatus)


Octopus is a soft-bodied, eight-armed mol-

lusc. Like other cephalopods, the octopus is bilaterally symmetric with two eyes and a beak, with its mouth at the centre point of the arms (which are sometimes mistakenly called “tentacles�). The soft body can rapidly alter its shape and colour enabling octopuses to squeeze through small gaps. They trail their eight arms behind them as they swim. The syphon is used both for respiration and for locomotion, by expelling a jet of water. Octopuses have a complex nervous system and excellent sight and are among the most intelligent and behaviourally diverse of all invertebrates. They can live in rock pools along the coast but have also been recorded living in depths of over 1000m. They mostly hunt at night preying on crabs, crustaceans and abalone. These are amazing creatures to watch and sometimes interact with divers.

Octopus

Dentex or denton can reach a length of one metre (3

ft), and weight up to 16 kg, Body is oval and compressed. Teeth are very developed in each jaw Adults are sliver with blue scales, while young dentex have a slightly different livery, brown-blue with blue fins.Dentex is an active predator, feeding on other fish, mollusca and cephalopods. It is solitary for most of the year, but during reproduction, it lives in groups for some weeks, fully-grown dentex stay together just two to three weeks during spring in the warmer water near the surface. They tend to live in the rocky reef areas from 10m to 50m deep.

Nudibranch are a group of soft-bodied, marine gas-

tropod molluscs which shed their shells after their larval stage.They are noted for their often extraordinary colours and striking forms, and they have been given colourful nicknames to match, such as pink flabellina, Spanish dancer, hervia and many more. Nudibranchs are often casually called sea slugs as they have slug-like look but are much more colourful than the land slugs. They range from 0,5cm to 15cm in length and crawl slowly along the bottom or on seaweeds and rocks.

Dentex

Nudibranch


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Music in Spain In this issue we will take a wander into Castile, Madrid and León which turns out to have little of their Celtic roots reflected in music and dance. After this whole area had been culturally latinized by the Roman Empire, Celtic influences all but disappeared. Instead, the main influences were a real melting pot including Roman, Visigothic, Jewish, Moorish, Roma, Italian and French. Longstanding influences from the nearby regions and Portugal continue to play an important role. All of this “mish mash” has resulted in the region having many diverse musical traditions. Jota is popular but is uniquely slow compared to the more energetic Aragonese version. Instrumentation also varies much from it’s from the one in Aragon. Northern León, that shares a language relationship with a region in Northern Portugal and the Spanish regions of Asturias and Galicia, also shares their musical influences. Here, the gaita (bagpipe) and tabor pipe playing traditions are prominent. In most of Castile, there is a strong tradition of dance music for the dulzaina and rondalla groups.

7 t r a P

As in many parts of the Iberian Peninsula, ritual dances include, paloteos (stick dances) and charrada and circle dances. Salamanca is known as the home of “tuna”, a serenade played with guitars and tambourines, mostly by students dressed in medieval clothing... Madrid is known for it’s chotis music, a local variation to the 19th century schottische dance. Flamenco, although not considered native, is popular among some urbanites but is mainly confined to the city of Madrid. In our next issue we will cover our final region, Valencia and mention a few of the more popular modern artists, popular here in Spain and some who have made their name outside the Spanish borders. In the meantime keep having a peek at YouTube for the music and dances referred to in these articles. It’s great fun!!

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5 Avoidable Mistakes Buyers Make When searching for your dream home, there are a few common mistakes that you, the buyer, make which can ultimately jeopardize losing out on the purchase of your future home in Spain. Here are 5 errors that are easily avoidable: 1. “We don’t have to decide right now. If it’s meant to be, it’ll still be waiting for us.” Thinking this is a big mistake and whilst there is a good selection of homes to choose from, there are also a lot of serious buyers and investors out there, that are also looking at the same properties as you. So by the time you’ve made your decision, it could be too late! Disappointment, my house hunting friends, is a feeling that could be completely avoided. If it feels right, why wait? 2. Aesthetics – Do you care too much for curb appeal? Hey, everyone would like a home that screams “look at me,” but not everyone has the funds or imagination to be able to transform a bland entrance into Buckingham Palace! Don’t drive past with your foot to the floor! This could be the “hidden gem” you’ve been looking for. Go on, stop the car and get out. Go inside and have a look. There are a lot of properties that are very deceiving from the outside and need to be viewed from the inside, to appreciate everything it has to offer. Every house has a heart, you just have to look a little harder to find it sometimes. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! 3. Don’t look at so many houses! Years ago, well not that many actually, buyers used to look at three or four homes, then decide which one to buy. And buy they did! Now there are some buyers that view far too many homes, and have even admitted having seen between 40 and 60 houses! In the end, they didn’t buy anything, because they were just too confused. I ask them, how can they remember what they’ve seen? Always the same reply… They shrug their shoulders. The more you look at, the more confusing it becomes. You need to make sure you’ve relayed to your Real Estate Agent,

exactly what you’re looking for, and let them narrow your search down for you. Looking at four or more, you’ll never be sure. Look at three or less, you’ll find happiness! 4. It’s not all about the cash! Yes cash talks, but even if you need a loan, you could still negotiate a good deal. As long as you’re a good candidate for a mortgage, or have even been pre-approved, you can make an offer and complete in a few months. It may suit a seller better anyway, as they may need extra time to arrange the move while the bank is sorting out your funds. So don’t let it stop you putting your offer forward.

5. How to make an offer. Okay, so if you’re a British buyer, and the exchange rate may not be all that you were hoping for, but putting in an offer needn’t be an embarrassing time, so don’t feel ashamed if your offer is a little lower than you’d have liked. This is the best time to use your Real Estate Agent, and let them do the negotiations for you. You, as a buyer, need to be open, and as upfront as possible with your Agent when making your offer, so they will be able to make a good case for you. You need to remember, the only person stopping you from making your dreams a reality, is you!

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A life in Spain Edition 18 - March 2018  
A life in Spain Edition 18 - March 2018  
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