Our first week on holiday in Andalucia started off on the right track. We collected our hire car, plugged the route to Galera into the GPS and hit the road. All but the last 25 kilometers were on motorways, the roads were in great condition and literally empty of traffic, making the drive a painless experience.
An hour and a half after leaving the airport we pulled up outside Spanish Inland Properties, finally meeting Sean in person. We followed him to ‘Cueva Salat’, our rented cave house and home for the next 3 weeks.
After ‘oohing and ‘aahing’ at the uniqueness of each room in our abode, we wandered into the village to buy some provisions. Choice was limited, it was obvious we would have to visit the main town of Baza for a proper shop, however, it served us well enough and we got some basic necessities. The 24 hours of travel eventually caught up with us and we crashed.
Next morning we sat on the terrace, coffee in hand, enjoying the view of the many cave houses dotted around the hillsides. Meeting up with Sean, we set off to visit the cave properties we had shortlisted from his website.
After a busy and exciting half day of cave house hunting we returned to Galera. Stopping off at ‘La Posa’ restaurant we relaxed over pizza and a couple of glasses of the local brew (Cruz Campo). Then back to the hobbit hole, where we polished off a bottle of Rioja whilst discussing the properties we had seen.
We slept late and once fortified with coffee decided to go out check out our 2 favourite cave houses to get a better feel for their surroundings. Baza (main town in region) was a couple of miles from the second cave we visited, so we decided to head to the Mercadona supermarket there. Thank heavens for the car gps as it was a series of one way streets and twists and turns before we got there. We spent ages in the supermarket, checking out all the unfamiliar products, local delicacies and wonderful freshly made breads. Our basket soon filled with chorizos, jamons, cruz campo, rioja and local fruits and vegetables.
Back in Galera we walked around the surrounding hillsides just taking in the scenery and enjoying all the different cave house styles. We found ourselves looking down on the main village as the sun began to set. Returning to our own cave house we cooked, drank and relaxed.
The next morning we got up reasonably early so that we could go to Huescar Market.
In the afternoon we revisited the 2 properties on our shortlist with Sean and returned to Cueva Salat with a decision to make!
Straight after breakfast we met up with Sean and put in an offer on the property we had chosen to be our new home in Spain. Returning to Baza we started to familiarise ourselves with the shops and services available to us, whilst enjoying the plazas, alleyways and side streets.
We got back to Galera mid afternoon to find out that the sellers had accepted our offer – it was only our first week on holiday in Andalucia and we were already on the road to being Spanish cave owners 🙂
It’s amazing how relaxed this area makes us feel, the pace of life just seems to slow down. Our friends Kes, Sarah and their daughter Charlotte were all arriving this evening. They had also rented a cave house in Galera and it would be the first time we had seen them in nearly 2 years. With no real plan for the day we decided to head to Lake Negratin. The drive along its shore offered amazing scenery, huge groves of gnarly olive trees and orchards of almonds. We stopped and picked a couple of almonds off the trees, cracking the hard shells open caveman style with a rock. The landscape surrounding this huge oasis is simply spectacular with its semi desert setting and many gullies. We ended up at ‘Los Baños de Zujar’, an outdoor thermal mineral water pool in a slightly raised position on the edge of the lake at the base of Mount Jabalcon. The constant temperature of the bathing water, maintained from the mountains natural hot spring, is said to have therapeutic qualities ! We didn’t partake as we hadn’t bought any bathing attire with us – mañana !
We bought some basic provisions for Kes and Sarah and waited their arrival – they were late and tired, so it was a brief welcome with a promise to catch up the next morning.
It was Sunday – almost the end of our first week on holiday in Andalucia. Wait a minute … do the shops open on a Sunday in rural Spain ? A quick google search revealed that all the shops would be closed – and we needed food for the day ! Another google search revealed that there was a market in the village Benamaurel (every Sunday), which was only about 20 kilometers away. As has become the norm here, the journey took us through some wonderful scenery. We easily found the market which was just off the main road running through the village. I don’t know whether it was because we arrived late morning but it wasn’t too crowded. We got a good supply of fruit and vegetables (everything is priced the same and weighted together), fresh eggs (I loved that the guy inspected each egg before putting them in a box), olives (from a large tub), a couple of chickens (roasted on site) and sampled churros for the first time.
We stopped off at ‘restaurante Casa Emilio’ (on the outskirts of Castilleja) on the way back to Galera for a spot of lunch. Taking a table outside we just opened the menus when we heard a familiar voice greeting us. It turned out to be the expat couple living next door to our rented cave house. They told us that they came here every Sunday as Emilio’s served the best English Breakfast in the area (every day, all day !). Now I know we were in Spain, but you have to understand that I have not had a proper full english breakfast in maybe 5 years – so for 5 euros I ordered a large full English (2 sausage, 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, 2 slices of toast and a fried tomato), all washed down with a couple of bottles of Cruz Campo.
We spent the rest of the day chilling, eating and drinking. A perfect way to end our first week on holiday in Andalucia.
So … Who are one foot in the cave ?
We (Danny and Josie) have spent the last 10 years living and working in the Caribbean. In 2015 we decided we wanted to move closer to family and friends so bought a cave house in the Granada region of Andalucia, Spain. We moved there full time in January 2017. Now we write about our experiences of cave living and how we are adapting to life in Spain.
We also have a Facebook page full of pictures, experiences and information that we have found useful along the way. If its your thing, you can also follow us on Instagram 🙂
5 words related to this blog entry …
Motorway – La Autopista
Village – El Pueblo
Town – La Ciudad
Supermarket – El Supermercado
Lake – El Lago