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VillaSpain Blog

  • Vuelta De Espana

    Thu 31st August 2017

     Clients staying in our villas at the top end of Ported Valley enjoyed a  bird’s eye view of the cyclist Chris Froome winning stage 9 of the famous Vuelta De Espana on the 28th August at cyclingnews.com

    If you enjoy cycling, whether it is simply watching the spectacle from relaxed position or taking to the roads yourself, then do consider this area when next planning a trip. As a keen cyclist myself, must confess that I can only do it in Spain when the temperature is much cooler in winter.

    Villas close by, for which you can watch the spectacle of this race are as follows;

    Guapa

    Ladera Moraira

    Amarilla

    Bonita

    Mirador al Sur

    La Madrugada

    Pite

    Magnolias

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • AITO response to government statement on credit card charges

    Tue 25th July 2017

    Whatever your views  on credit card charges, the response here at travelmole gives some balance and facts to the government’s recent statement on the issue.

    Credit card issuers do use their cards as marketing platforms, in which they offer cash backs or freebies of some kind or another. These card issuers then recoup their giveaways by charging over 2% to the merchant, which means it is costly to receive payment.

    It would be simpler and fairer to merchants and consumers if all issuers agreed a set rate, but all cards differ in fee charges and have become increasingly costlier.

    Our credit card fee is 2%, or no charge if you use a debit card. We do advise clients about financial protection on both types of card here at financial security

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Tips on what & where to buy fresh fish

    Fri 21st July 2017

    A few tips about what & where to buy really fresh fish.

    Unfortunately most of the small fresh fish shops are closed, so you either go to the port market in the local coastal town you’re staying, or to the larger supermarkets.

    You’ll find plentiful fish on display at the large supermarkets like Mercadona and Carrefour, but do avoid the cabinets with pre-packaged fish. These tend not to be fresh offerings and have preservatives in. I once purchased some sepia for grilling, but could not get that wonderful burnt singed outer layer served in restaurants, simply because mine had been soaked in water with preservative and would only seep a white watery liquid, regardless of how hot the grill pan was, much to my annoyance. When buying sepia (cuttlefish) or calamari  (squid) be sure you see the word ‘fresco’, meaning fresh alongside the name.

    Like the UK much of the fish on offer like seabass (Lubina in Spanish) is farmed, but look for where it says salvaje (looks like savage) and this is wild caught fish. Dorada (seabream) is very popular and inexpensive.

    To check the fish is very fresh, the gills should be bright red and the eyes bright and have a fresh fishy smell.

    In great abundance and variety are the Gambas, langoustines and tiger prawns.  The latter come in different sizes from quite small to extremely large and as big as mackerel.

     

    Here are a few common varieties you will come across in Spain along with their English equivalent, which you may find  useful.  

                         FISH   

     

       

    Anchoa/Boquerón

    Anchov

    Anguila

    Eel

    Arenque

    Herring

    Atun

    Tuna

    Bacalao

    Cod

    Caballa

    Mackerel

    Calamar

    Squid

    Carpa

    Carp

    Caviar

    Caviar

    Dorada

    Gilt Head Bream

    Eglefino

    Haddock

    Fletan

    Halibut

    Galupe / Mujol

    Mullet

    Lenguado

    Sole

    Merluza

    Hake

    Mero

    Grouper

    Perca

    Perch

    Pez Espada

    Marlin/Swordfish

    Platija

    Flounder

    Solla

    Plaice

    Pulpo

    Octopus

    Rape

    Monkfish

    Raya

    Ray / Skate

    Rodaballo

    Turbot

    Salmon

    Salmon

    Salmonete

    Red Mullet

    Sardina

    Sardine

    Sepia

    Cuttlefish

    Lubina

    Sea Bass

    Trucha

    Trout

     

     

     

     

                        SEAFOOD

    Almejas

    Clam

    Berberechos

    Cockle

    Bogavante

    Lobster

    Buey de Mar

    Edible / Brown Crab

    Cangrejo de Rio

    Crawfish

    Carabineros

    Scarlet Prawn

    Centollo

    Spider Crab

    Cigalas

    Scampi

    Erizos de Mar

    Sea Urchin

    Gambas

    Prawn 

    Langosta

    Spiny Lobster

    Langostinos

    Prawn (large)

    Mejillones

    Mussels

    Navajas

    Razor Clam

    Nécoras

    Small crab

    Ostras

    Oysters

    Percebes

    Gooseneck Barnacles

    Pulpo

    Octopus

    Tellinas/ Coquinas

    Bean Clams

    Vieiras

    Scallop

     

     

    I’ve been in Spain for quite some time now and there has always been an area of language that has always caused me problems and still does today, and that is fish. I have real difficulty sometimes translating the names of fish. The funny thing is my knowledge of fish and seafood before I came to Spain was already pretty limited and when I say limited I mean at most I had eaten Cod, Haddock, Lemon Sole, Trout and Plaice maybe a few others and my seafood was limited to Scampi, Mussels and Prawn, so my fish vocab was not extensive.  We were never big fish eaters in my family so when I came to Spain it wasn’t really high on the agenda of things to learn. However over the years I have come to love many varieties of seafood and fish, the majority of which I have discovered here in Spain and consequently learnt the Spanish name first, it wasn’t until a relative came to visit and asked what we were eating that I even thought about the English translation and that happened so rarely that the English names never really sunk in and I still get confused to this day with a few.  Now, I’m not sure if this is something unique to me but just in case other readers are having difficulty with fish and seafood names, I finally decided to put together a list of the most common varieties you will come across in Spain along with their English equivalent, hope you find it useful!  

    I could have done with it a long time a go!! 

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • A great wine day out within a 30 min drive of Calpe

    Fri 16th June 2017

    I used to import wines into the UK from Europe including Spain some 30 years ago, but in those days quality wines of note were only from the Rioja area and some from Torres in Catalonia, whereas other areas never had the modern vinification methods, nor the technique. In those days, on a trip to Utiel Requena, between Valencia and Madrid, I recall at harvest time that the juice never got cooled in the process whatsoever. As you now know Spain became over the last few decades a top producer of exceptional high quality wines and many are from smaller producers.

    I am not a lover of the traditional very oaky Rioja’s, but I am a lover of a multitude of wines produced in Spain by both large and most impressively smaller producers.

    Within an hour’s drive of Moraira you may wish to include a trip to Enrique Mendoza’s bodega, for which details and maps are shown, below.

    A few experiences have been posted on tripadvisor

    so for a cost of around 20 Euros per person including snacks, you’ll have a most interesting and informative couple of  hours. You need to book in advance via the phone or via their website at bodegasmendoza

    If you are staying in one of our villas in Calpe , then it it just 30 mins away. If you are staying in at one of our villas at Moraira  then it is around 50 mins to drive their via the N332, or quicker if you take the AP7 motorway.

    If you do not get the chance to visit then do try sample their wines from local good wine shops and supermarkets like Pepe La Sal.


    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • 15,394 trees now planted

    Fri 16th June 2017

    We are pleased to say that we have  planted over 15,000 trees, a programme we started back in March 2008.

    As explained here at http://www.villaspain.co.uk/plantatreehomepage.php we plant a tree for each and every holidaymaker on the booking form, as well as a new sign-up to our newsletter. This planting programme is designed to compensate for all the CO2 carbon emissions that will be expended from the combined travelling incurred by all members in the family or group. No matter how many times you return to book your chosen villa with us in either moraira , javea or  calpe  , we plant a tree for each member of your party every time.

    Not only is the planting helpful to the  planet, but the programme is conducted throughout the developing world, where it is most needed in bringing social and economic benefits to the local communities.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Beware ongoing online payment commitments.

    Mon 12th June 2017

    Lesson learnt from companies whose T&C  only offer ongoing payment  commitments:

    A few years ago I signed up for LOGMEIN, which is a software programme that enables you or a nominated person access to your computer, at a cost of some 60US Dollars, although having only used it on one occasion at the time it was needed for a computer fix I’d unfortunately  forgotten about having set it up altogther. What went unnoticed was that each year a charge is made to your credit card without any warning  each year. Unlike your utility provider, household insurance and the likes of pet insurance, whereby the provider informs you of the amount and due date of the charge in good time, LOGMEIN simply carry on charging regardless.

    The last sum charged was 299 US Dollars which I only recently discovered, and  was simply kicking myself for not having noticed previous charged entries.

    What became apparent is that I ticked their T&C box that allowed LOGMEIN to charge annually and that the fine print allowed them also to charge whatever fee rates applied in the future without stating a figure. According to the T&C you can only cancel by phone or email, so you are dependent upon the company being honourable to ensure the account is not charged again.

    After it was brought to the companies attention that the service was only used the once in the first year, they kindly credited the last payment of 299 US Dollars, but not the previous 2 payments that had gone unnoticed.

    I then took this up with my Natwest credit card provider, who informed me that they get a huge amount of complaints from their clients complaining about this type of ongoing fee commitment, not just because of my loss and stupidity but also because others may be unaware of this bad practice generally.

    Natwest advised they could do nothing about it with the company concerned, although very kindly credited me in full for the previous payments and also for the difference in exchange rate on the last charge.

    I enquired to Natwest if this practice can be outlawed by credit card providers, simply as it appears to me unreasonable & unfair that such practices are employed by some companies, but this suggestion did not gather any traction.

    I do think it is incumbent upon all companies to inform their client/customer that a charge is going to be made in advance and each year, in order the client/customer is given the opportunity to be aware of the cost and to cancel the service if they wish to.

    To reinforce this there should, in my opinion, be a credit card regulation that ensures proof of a client having accepted any new higher charge on an annual basis, in the event of a dispute.

    I was lucky in this case and am now aware more so of such ongoing commitments for online services made.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

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