VillaSpain Blog

  • Taking your pet abroad in 2021?

    Thu 25th February 2021

    Some helpful inforamation about taking your pet abroad in 2021.

    Extract from MoneySavingExpert
    Taking your pet to the EU or Northern Ireland? What you need to do
    The new rules only apply to dogs - including assistance dogs - cats and ferrets. If you want to take another animal abroad, you'll have to comply with the national rules of the EU country you're going to.
    You also won't be able to take more than five pets to an EU country or Northern Ireland unless you’re attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event - and you'll need to provide proof of this.
    If you want to take five or fewer dogs, cats or ferrets to the EU or Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021, you'll need to complete the following steps the first time you go:
    You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped, if they're not already
    You must vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated
    You'll need to wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel
    You must visit your vet with your pet to get an animal health certificate, no more than 10 days before travel
    In addition, if travelling to Finland, Malta, Northern Ireland, Norway or Republic of Ireland with a dog, you need to ensure it's received treatment for tapeworm one to five days before arrival in these countries. This needs to be detailed on the pet's animal health certificate
    The following requirements will allow you to take your pet away for a maximum of four months. If you remain in the EU or Northern Ireland for longer than four months, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says you should speak to a vet in the EU or Northern Ireland regarding documentary options for onward travel or returning to Great Britain.
    As long as you keep your pets' rabies vaccinations up-to-date, you don't need to get repeat vaccinations for subsequent trips to the EU or Northern Ireland (other than tapeworm treatments for dogs visiting those countries listed above). But you will need to apply for a new animal health certificate for each trip.
    Remember to take your animal health certificate with you when you travel, alongside proof of microchipping, rabies vaccinations and tapeworm treatment (where required), as you made need to show these when you enter the EU country or Northern Ireland.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Welcome back to Spain in 2021

    Thu 31st December 2020

    After a rollercoaster ride of a year, we hope this challenging period is behind us.

    From Spain being in lockdown in March to flight corridors reopening in June, only for them to close again a few weeks later. Despite this, together we have overcome so much. Some of you were able to travel to Spain safely this year, but unfortunately, some of you had to postpone your much anticipated holidays until 2021.

    Now, we are looking forward to the new year and we are enthusiastic and hopeful that good times are just around the corner. With the good news of the vaccines on their way, as soon as it is deemed safe to travel again, we can't wait to welcome you back to Spain once more.

    2021 is being named “the year of travel” with many people wanting to make up for lost time and cancelled holidays. The summer season is set to be the longest one ever and is the perfect time to get your family or friends together and start making new precious memories with a trip to Spain, and private holiday rentals are being deemed as the preferred option. Renting private accommodation means you can have a “vacation pod” and spend time together, limiting your exposure to other people.

    After spending weeks, sometimes months, indoors due to lockdowns and regulations, nature’s calling is being felt by everyone. Spend time with your friends and family outdoors, exploring stunning Spanish coasts and landscapes and breath in the fresh air in big open spaces.

    With safety and flexibility at the forefront of everyone's minds, travel in 2021 will be different from what we all knew previously. We understand the need for assurance that if your holiday plans change, you are covered. That's why you can talk to us about your concerns and we will find a solution.

    The future's looking bright and we are positive that 2021 will be a fantastic year to fulfil your dreams of wanderlust. We hope to see you soon again in Spain and until then, we wish you a happy new year.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Hello from Spain

    Mon 23rd March 2020

     What's happening in Moraira and the surrounding areas here on the Costa Blanca during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak you may ask, apart from restaurants, bars and coffee shop closures?
    Whilst we are staying in Mirador al Sur on the Moraira Benitachell hillside overlooking the valley and Moraira, we are somewhat removed from the town itself so feels like you are in the country. Without seeing hardly anyone walking about each day feels like a Sunday but even quieter.
    The Spanish regulations put in place for this lockdown from midnight on the 14th March include the limitation of movement. To that end only one person is permitted to take a car to the supermarket and one can only go for a walk if you have a dog and on your own. Sometimes you will see a police patrol car parked in the supermarket car park and a patrolman checking that only one person is driving. Although there are severe fines to support the lockdown in Spain and with France too, it appears they are giving verbal warnings, or at least in the initial stages and if it is for a minor infringement.
    I have found the supermarkets are full of produce and there are no queues at all. In fact, the isles of even the big 10,000 sq ft supermarkets may at any time only have 3 or 4 people in. On Saturday 21st March the large Carrefour supermarket had maybe more staff than customers in at 10.30am; considering it was fully stocked was quite odd. At the entrance a security guard ensures you put on a pair of disposable gloves and advises you to keep a distance from other shoppers. Gel is also provided.
    There was a rush, but hardly any panic one would say, before the shutdown, simply as it coincided with a regional holiday on the Costa Blanca, so more products were being purchased than usual.
    Pushing the trolley around the supermarkets is quite strange as everyone gives a wide birth to other trolley pushers. There is no interaction between anyone and clearly none as no partners or family are present. One is just there to shop.

    Chemists, takeaways, launderettes and oddly hairdressers are open. I understand the latter two is due to the government making the concessions in a bid to ‘not do much harm’ to small businesses which are important ‘for the economic structure of the country.’ Ministers also wanted to maintain some elements of daily life to reduce the harm to the economy and the upset to people’s routines.

    Most electrical stores that sell IT products are permitted to open, so you can even shop for a TV or fridge and not have to buy an IT product. Other retailers are all closed, as well as builders merchants, unless with the express permission of the police and have a certificate to open. Trade builders merchants are mostly closed too. Oddly one builders merchant in Benissa has been open. It may well depend on staff considerations as to why some are open but others are mostly closed. Clearly a problem for the self-employed generally, if they are unable to get any supplies to carry on working.
    Only those people who can obtain certificates to travel to work are able to get on with their business.
    Most, if not all professions like solicitors are taking the opportunity to work from home, or just spend time with family.

    The common site of group semi and professional cyclists have had to cease their sport. With gym closures and inability to walk about then nobody is getting much exercise. For those staying in villas with gardens then one can at least enjoy the sunshine outside and maybe do some exercise.
    The new games room at Mirador al Sur has a static exercise bike and ping pong table, which is getting well used.

    Local supermarkets;
    Mercadona is a huge national chain of supermarkets here in Spain and whilst the outlet in Moraira has a great wet fish counter and has staff who hand slice the wonderful selection of cured hams, currently closed off though, lacks choice in mostly all other areas. There is a good sized fresh fruit and vegetable section but lacks choice. There is no open butchery and all meat products are pre packed. The range of wines is extensive at the very cheap end and too many of the same price point and style.
    Aldi is opposite Mercadona and a busy store. Good choice of products and non-food that ever changes.
    Carrefour has its dominant presence but they do no not have an open butchery section either, There is a greater choice of fruit and veg and cheese too. Probably a better selection of wines and international products on offer. The non-food section is quite useful too.
    Lidl is just a few doors away from Carrefour and a much busier store.
    Pepe La Sal has 2 branches in Moraira and located on the main road into Moraira and on the coastal road to Calpe. Both stores have wet fish and an open butchery . The meat in particular is very good and great choice cut to order. The stores have a far greater selection of international products and vast range of wines including wonderful regional Spanish wines from Alicante and Valencia areas. In fact, there is more choice on wine than all the other supermarkets put together. If you want a 1lb of plain flour or say porcini (dried cepes) you will get it here. Pastries everywhere always disappoint. They look good but don’t taste as nice as they look.
    All supermarkets close on Sunday, with the exception of a small Corte Inglais in Moraira town opposite the fuel station. You can buy freshly baked bread there too.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Changes to Mirador al Sur

    Mon 23rd March 2020

     At villa Mirador al Sur during this virus lockdown period the exercise bike is a twice daily essential activity, not forgetting the ping pong table is getting well used too. Daily Pilates is the order of the day with mats provided. The Games room has a router booster, so you can play music or listen to radio if you have your own equipment.

    A new set of dining chairs for the living room and an exterior electric awning was ordered prior to the shutdown, so will just have to wait for delivery and installation.
    New blackout Roman blinds in the salon allow them to be lowered just to the required level to meet the main curtains each side, thus blocking out any unwanted sunlight without losing the view. By drawing the main blackout curtains up to the Roman blinds makes
    The new electric awning is to be positioned on the small upper terrace by the principle entrance. The location is ideal for breakfasts, whereby the sun comes up over the Cumbre del Sol, and lunches too. This is a favoured position off peak as its well protected from any chilly northerly winds, as well as peak periods too. You will now no longer need to use a parasol in this location. A wind detector will detect the wind velocity and wind the awning in, just in case you forget, but we do advise that if it is not in use to close it.

     The new summer kitchen is now equipped with its own superior quality acrylic dinner plate set and cutlery, just to save having to take move items between kitchens.

    The last fridge freezer was icing up and after repeated technician visits, we decided to replace it.
    The new fridge freezer has more space and set to eco.

    The Wifi has 10 mb download speed and good for streaming. In the next few months we understand that fibre optic is being laid, which will give considerably more speed and bandwidth. As soon as we can hook up to this we will.
    We have unplugged the telephone, simply as there are too many scam or telesales. If you want to use then simply plug in again.
    When the WiFi is updated with fibre optic then we will disband with the current Orange network.
    The pool light button by the bar also lights up the palm tree spots for an hour, unless the button is pressed again. Replacement LED lights now shine a better light on the steps descending the stairs from the kitchen.

    The cane fence that separated the parking area from the garden zone blew over during a storm and has been replaced with metal triple gates, thus allowing for the gardener to also pass through now.

    If you have any ideas of how we can further improve the villa, then please let us know.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Avoid this loophole

    Tue 27th March 2018

     It is important to note that when paying for an item or service online that you do so with the individual or firm directly and not pay via  a third party, as you could fall foul of a little known, and less understood, loophole in the  Consumer Credit Act which holds card issuers jointly liable if a trader breaches the contract.

    There must be a direct relationship between the customer/client, the card issuer and the offending merchant, otherwise the protection of section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act is lost.

    Some online companies use specialist payment processing companies like Paypal and Transferwise, and so customers are not necessarily aware of the problem and the implications this means.

    Action Fraud disclosed that nearly 100 people a week in 2017 were scammed by companies that clone legitimate holiday websites, whereby paying with a card via a third party will invalidate your protection.

    If this happen to you and your card issuer refuses to compensate you, then do contact the financial ombudsman to handle your complaint.

    To avoid this use your credit card or debit card and pay the holiday firm directly. Further info on security can be found on our About Us page.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Remember remember the Valencia Fallas in mid March

    Mon 05th March 2018

     I recall the first time I went to the festival of fire some 30 odd years ago and travelled into the city on a motorbike. Not all the way from the UK I hasten to add, but staying with friends outside Valencia was told it was an easy way of getting into the city and fun too. Having not ridden a motorbike since I was a 12 year old (off road), meant having a lesson by a good friend who happens to be a motorbike fan, so a 30 min run around  a disused football area and learning to change gears and lean over on the curve was the lesson. I hour later 2 bikes and a pillion friend on the back of my borrow3ed bike certainly concentrated the mind, especially going along the motorway and between cars in city. A very trusting pillion rider I must say at the time.

    After a great evening out seeing the spectacular displays before they were lit up was most memorable, as well as the return journey  the next day for the central square final day of the big bang, whereby at noon an enormous series of hanging bangers are set off building up to a huge crescendo.

    It was also my first introduction to churros, which are long doughnuts that you can also dip into hot chocolate; fattening, of course, but nonetheless enjoyable.

    Whatever means you use to get into Valencia, you simply get around on foot. Take the map and comfortable walking shoes. When seeing the displays do pick out the one you want to see burn on the final night, should you return for the burning, that is .

    For further info see our Fiestas page and our previous blog

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

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