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  • Weight difference on fuel cost

    Tue 14th November 2017

    A recent trip included returning to the UK with some of my favourite Spanish wines including some great Riberio del Duero crianza and rose wine from Somontano, although on this trip I had returned with 20 cases of 6, which is 10 fewer than normal.

    What was interesting, is that 10 cases is the weight of the average person at around 80 kilos, whereby considerably  less fuel was used on the journey. In fact, I normally fill up with diesel fuel in Spain just before the French border at   Biarritz and have to refuel again  north of Tours on route to Dieppe.

    Being 80 kilos lighter, the car was able to get to Dieppe without refuelling and fuel left, so in all it allowed me a further 120 miles of distance than usual. Moneywise it worked out roughly as 20 Euros to carry that 60 bottles, or extra person through France, or 30 Euros from Moraira to Dieppe.

    It was simply interesting to know the differential in cost when carrying either less or more weight over a 600 mile stretch.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Mosquitoes and best ways to combat them

    Tue 14th November 2017

    Wherever we travel in the world to warmer climes, we can be subject to the bite of the female mosquito, and even from my experience to lesser warmer climes  like Scotland, whereby we can fall victim to the swarms and bites of the mighty midge.

    The Southeast Asian Tiger mosquito has now become more prevalent in Southern Europe including Spain, for which this insects wings are not heard and being very small are necessarily seen, unlike the regular mosquito.

    The facts about mosquitoes can be found in this very helpful in depth guide, but if you do not have the time to digest this then  the most important consideration is point 26 as follows;

    DEET is considered the 'gold standard' of mosquito repellents. Endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), DEET doesn't mask the smell of the host or jam the insect's senses - mosquitoes simply don't like it because it smells bad to them. A product containing 10 percent DEET can protect you for up to 90 minutes. Two other repellents, picaridin and lemon-eucalyptus oil, have also proven effective and are now recommended by the CDC.

    A useful guide as to products, reviews and their Deet content can be found here, thus underlining the need to get a repellent that has at least  a 30% Deet ingredient for a good level of protection over time.

    ·      Mosquitoes are more prevalent between the months of May to September and get attracted to darker clothes, perfumes, sweat and even ones breath.

    ·      If you see any stagnant water in flower pots or bird baths at your holiday villa, then do discard the water as it can be a breeding ground for them.

    ·      Supermarkets do not tend to sell the higher quality products with Deet in Spain, so you need to go to a pharmacy to buy them. Ideally, do your research and buy sufficient quantity before you travel.

    ·Importantly, do buy the liquid plug-in for a peaceful night’s sleep, which can be purchased in supermarkets everywhere in Spain, or the UK. If you’re anything like me then just one mosquito is enough to keep you awake until it’s dead, that is.

    ·      Villas that are more elevated tend to get fewer mosquitoes than those located within an enclosed area lower down in a valley, whereby  being a few degrees cooler and more exposed to the wind keeps them more at bay.

    Tip. If you have no mosquito nets on the villa windows, or even if you do, simply close the windows in the bedroom and any adjoining ensuite and spray the room at a high level and around curtains and wardrobes, as well as putting a single liquid anti mosquito plug-in into the socket.

    I find that even with the windows open at night without a mosquito net, the plug-ins work perfectly. However,  do ensure, for your own piece of mind, that your mosquito blind is in position in the bedroom.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • A Perfect Day

    Wed 08th November 2017

    A perfect day for me on a Sunday, or for that matter any day you’re free, is to encompass a picturesque walk with dog in hand followed by a traditional takeaway paella in its own cooked pan.  Importantly, you must first pre-order your paella takeaway early, to ensure there are sufficient burners to cook your meal, in order that you can collect your dish at the agreed time.

    My favourite paella takeaway is from El Paso located by a large roundabout on the Javea, Gata, Benitachell junction roundabout. Address: Ctra. Data, 1, 03730 Jávea, Alicante.Tel 965 79 04 48 and open from 6am to 10.30pm.

    Do pre-order by phone in the morning and give the exact time for pickup, whereby it will be ready on the dot including the traditional paella and covered to keep the dish hot.

    The cost is a 10 euro deposit for the pan that you need to return. The Paella itself costs 10 euros per person and sold according to pan sizes 2,4,6 etc, so simply state the following in Spanish preferably;

    Puedo encargo paella mixta por llavar por (x number of people) and state exact time for collection, so for 2 o’clock say a las dos hora. Name and tel number required. Translated means “can I order a mixed paella (mixed is shell fish and meat combined) for takeaway for 2,4 or whatever number of persons.

    Alternatively, pop into the cafe/restaurant and order, whereby they will understand you, then go for the walk and return on time.

    A paella for 2 is really enough for 3, or if you have too much leftover you can reheat it in a microwave  and introduce either roast rabbit or chicken breasts to accompany an evening meal.

    One of my favourite drive come walk in the mountains with views is at Bernia_mountain_walk

    Being lazy, however, on occasions, which one is more so on holiday and depending on the ambient temperature and weather, does only warrant a short walk. 

    My perfect lazy day  would be to take a drive up towards the Montgo Mountain behind Javea old town. This road skirts the old town and takes you up and over the mountain to Denia. Take the CV734 towards Javea then take the Av Ondara road, which you can see on your left but have to go past to the mini roundabout and double back where you see a petrol station. Continue  past the Silvasol building on your left and straight on past the mini roundabout up the hill on calle Jurados until the next roundabout sign posted for Denia on the CV736. Continue up the windy road and take the first turning right on the CV 7362, being just a mile out of Javea town. About 3/4 mile along the road there is a monastery on the right. Park under the trees and walk for about 300mts along by the side of the monastery through a conifer tree lined avenue until you reach the historic windmills. There are several pathways and fabulous views over Javea and the port. You can enter the historic monastery on Sunday’s and fiesta days.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • 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

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