Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure

Shown on BBC 2 on 8th February

Hairy Bikers Mud Bathing

On the final leg of their Mediterranean journey, the Hairy Bikers are travelling through southern Spain in the footsteps of the Moors, heading for Costa del Sol and the midsummer festival of San Juan.

They begin their exploration of the Moorish influence on the culture and cuisine of Spain in Valencia. Renowned as one of Spain’s most fertile areas, crops have been cultivated here since Roman times, but it was the Moors who perfected the irrigation systems that allowed farming to flourish and, to this day, Valencia is a destination for those seeking out world-class produce.

The bikers head straight for the market to taste a local speciality, horchata, a non-alcoholic drink made from tiger nuts. They meet food enthusiast and amateur historian Anton, who shows them how horchata is made and fills them in on the basics of local history. Inspired by the Moorish influence they are beginning to discover, they cook ajo blanco (a white gazpacho) and pataquetas (crescent-shaped bread rolls).

Back on the road, the bikers head inland to a secret valley where the Moors cultivated crops on dramatic hillside terraces before they were evicted in the 15th century and replaced by Christian families. They meet the descendants of those families to cook a local twist on paella – a rice dish with rabbit and cherries.

In the pursuit of the perfect surf and turf diet, they head back to the coast to an out-of-the-way restaurant with a reputation for seafood. Here, they get involved with the preparation of freshly caught octopus, which is washed and stretched out on washing lines to dry in the sun. In the restaurant kitchen, they see how the dried octopus is cooked. An octopus stew also makes an appearance on the dinner table – the full flavour of the Mediterranean on a plate.

See their web page here.



Asprodalba is one of our closest neighbours. What is Asprodalba? A good question. It was started in 1979 and was the first facility in Andalucia for people with disabilities, mainly learning disabilities. ASPRODALBA offers specialized, comprehensive and personalized attention, maximising the skills and abilities of people, promoting normalization and integration and defending their dignity and rights as citizens.

Amongst other things it offers:

AN OCCUPATIONAL CENTER: where occupational and work skills are worked through with different workshops (ceramics, plastic arts, theater, gardening, computer science, permanent adult education, waiter assistants, etc.) as well as different programs of personal autonomy, social skills, cultural, sports and leisure. Our Finca Arboleda sign was designed and made by Asprodalba many years ago.

A DAY UNIT: for people in need of permanent and widespread support, not limited to a purely assistance work but concerned about developing the potential, skills and abilities to the maximum through different pre-workshops and personalized programs. Has a multisensory room for relaxation and stimulation sessions.

A SHOP: located in the Plaza Mayor de Vera, where artisanal works are displayed and sold in the workshops of the Occupational Center, attended directly by the clients from the center.

See their facebook page here. We are off to support them and and other similar people today. When you come and stay at Finca Arboleda you will pass Asprodalba and now you will know about the great work they do.


Created by Michael

Fancy A Yoga Fix On Holiday in Vera?

Fancy A Yoga Fix On Holiday in Vera?

Whether you are experienced in yoga or have just always fancied trying it, why not make it a must do on your holiday.

We have a friend who is a very highly qualified instructor and we can help you with details of where she has her classes in Vera or other places close by. It is also possible that she can visit here and give private tuition under our Orange trees by the swimming pool, sounds idyllic doesn’t it.

If you would like more information just contact us through the web site. I will post more details on this when I have spoken with Ashlí.

Created by Michael

Travel Man: 48 Hours in Valencia.

Not exactly Almeria but only 4 hours up the coast.

Travel man in Valencia

If you haven’t seen this long running channel four series you are missing the best travel show since Rob Brydon and Alan partridge climbed aboard for “The Trip” This week he has the lovely Sara Pascoe for company, lucky man!

This week the sarky but entertaining Richard Ayoade is soaking up the history and culture of Spain’s third largest city with Sara Pascoe. Among the highlights: a paella lesson-turned-Wicker Man-style ritual, which Ayoade says is “a compelling argument for Deliveroo”; discovering the super-alcoholic Agua de Valencia, which leaves them both worse for wear; and ditching the city’s cultural centre to go zorbing. Hannah J Davies in The Guardian.

If you haven’t seen the show this clip gives a flavour of what to expect.

Fiesta Nacional de España.

Spain’s National Day celebrates Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas on 12 October 1492.



King Ferdinand of Spain sponsored the expedition west in the hopes of sailing to India. In August of 1492, Columbus set off into the Atlantic; two months later he would set foot on the Bahamas, establish settlements on Hispaniola Island and spread Christianity to the New World. Upon his return to Spain, he spoke of gold and riches and thus the Americas were opened up for European colonisation.

This day is a holiday in many countries, but it’s known under other names. October 12 is widely celebrated throughout Americas as Columbus Day (in the USA) or Día de la Raza (in the countries of Latin America).

The Spaniards began celebrating National Day in 1935 as Dia de la Hispanidad, that emphasized their connection to international Hispanic community, the Hispanidad. The name of the holiday was changed in 1987 to Fiesta Nacional. The holiday became one of the two major Spanish national celebrations. The date of National Day had been moved for several times, until a compromise was achieved.

Between Franco’s death in 1975 and 1981, October 12 celebrations remained very much attached to Francoist and imperialist values. King Juan Carlos’s solemn speeches to mark the day repeatedly painted Spain as a civilising force in South America.

But by the 1980s, a redefinition of October 12 was needed. There was a push for it to be used to renovate the old idea of a “Spanish nation”, despite the fact that the nation was comprised of a multitude of culturally differentiated populations, blended uncomfortably into the new democratic consensus.

The different historical nations within Spain (Galicia, the Basque Country and Catalonia) had, by 1981, declared their own respective national days. Catalonia even declared October 12 a normal working day in its territory. What’s more, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) wanted to celebrate Spain’s national day on the December 6 instead of in October, as this was the day when the constitution of 1978 had been passed by referendum.

Since Oct 12th 2000 it has also been celebrated as a military day with parades of the armed forces.

Anti-colonial and anti-fascist protests are held every year in Bilbao and Barcelona, partly to counteract the rallies of Spanish ultra-right groups arriving from outside these cities on the national date, we hope it all passes off peacefully in Catalonia.

I imagine something will occur in Vera but it is not being publicised as far as i can see, but it’s a holiday and the weather is still fantastic. Enjoy!

Relaxing in the peace and quiet, by the pool, was exactly what we both needed.

My Wife and I have just enjoyed a wonderful holiday at Finca Arboleda, in the Old Stables.

Our thanks to Pirkko & Mick for your wonderful hospitality. The villa was excellent, the pool delightful and the weather perfect. There is so much to do in the area, we will return, but the trip into the mountains, a day relaxing on the wonderful Playa Des Carolinas beach (recommended by Pirkko), Murcia Cathedral and Cartagena are highlights that will live long in the memory. But, relaxing in the peace and quiet, by the pool, was exactly what we both needed. See you again, all the best, Mike.

New Flights, B.A. Heathrow to Almeria

Great news about flights at last.

BA have announced a new route twice a week from April, Saturdays and Tuesdays from Heathrow to Almeria. The prices are fantastic only 33 pounds with hand luggage for most flights excluding public holidays of course. There are even flights in August for less than 50 pounds.

You really can survive a week with hand luggage, we have washing machines for your use or you can check in 23Kg for 16 pounds.  I can’t imagine these deals will be around for long so get on board before they all go.

BA say

You can fly direct from London to Almeria with British Airways.

With our twice weekly flights from London to Almeria, getting to this wonderful, historic Spanish city couldn’t be easier. We fly direct from London Heathrow (LHR) to Almeria Airport (LEI). Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure – find the cabin to suit you. Our economy class offers excellent value for money and a range of benefits. While business class offers premium levels of comfort, style and service.

Use this link and pop in the Almeria code “Lei” and we look forward to seeing you here soon.

Living Is to Spend The Summer in Vera.

Summer may be over in most of Europe but it is still gorgeous down here, in the sunniest part of the continent.

Vera Playa
Vera Playa

Now is the time to start checking out holiday plans for next year, we are getting enquiries so don’t leave it too late. Check this promotional video for an idea of what this fantastic region has to offer.

We’ve Got it All….

I woke up this morning with a great “Earworm” We’ve Got It all….

I know what triggered it, we had a dishwasher installed in the “Old Stables” yesterday. Our current guests are in fact two friends and their wives from primary school days and Richard joked that every time he stays at Finca Arboleda there has been some improvement. I joked “we’ve got it all” and walked off singing the well known Mott the Hoople song  We’ve got it all, you’ve broken every code”

Bowie and Ronson

So this morning the earworm has well and truly taken hold and it got me thinking about what we do have to offer in the Old Stables and what do you need on holiday whether it is a sun filled summer break or a long stay in the mild winter.

You almost certainly will want to check email and to post what a lovely time you are having to make your friends and family jealous and the dedicated internet connection is perfect for this. There is UK TV  and radio so you can keep in touch with Corrie, The news, your favourite morning radio and Match of the Day or you can leave it off if you prefer to enjoy the peace and quiet. Spanish TV is also there for you as well.

You certainly don’t want to be too hot and the Old Stables has ceiling fans and air conditioning. For the chilly winter  evenings there is central heating and the inverter heaters in the air con units. You will resent paying Ryanair for lots of hold luggage that you may not use and there is a large new Bosch washer if you need it. You will probably eat out as much as possible but when you do have an evening in the new dishwasher will take care of the washing up.

Of course there is a good quality shower, comfy beds and sofas. Outside there is a bbq and sunloungers and table and chairs. We’ve got it all…

The earworm  (An earworm, sometimes known as a brainworm, sticky music, or stuck song syndrome, is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind after it is no longer playing) needs to be exorcised and it was proving hard to find until I discovered the song is actually “Come up and see me” by Steve Harley, you remember it…. You’ve done it all…..

We Quickly Settled Into A Relaxed Way Of Holiday Life.

We we are just coming to the end of our two weeks here -our first experience – and will sadly be flying home tomorrow.

holiday beach We are just coming to the end of our two weeks here -our first experience – and will sadly be flying home tomorrow. When we first arrived we didn’t immediately know what to make of living in a rural house away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy areas of Spain. We quickly settled into a relaxed way of holiday life.

You have everything you could wish for here, without venturing too far. Vera town is but 5 minutes drive away where there are some nice restaurants and many supermarkets. Iceland Overseas supplies just about any British food you could want, from Waitrose products and other brands. They even have their own meat counter with quality meat cut to order. Bistro gravy? Yes, that’s there too. If your coming from the UK, you don’t need to bring your own bacon or mustard, it’s all here. Lidl and Supermercado complete the selection of products available.

There are also some scenic drives along the coast road up to Aguilas and in the other direction too taking you to some tiny, quiet coves all to yourself. The nearest beach is Puerto Rey which even at weekends is fairly empty and quiet.

Being a truly rural Spanish farming area, many locals eat late, so as we tend to eat early, we tended to have the local menu del dia at lunchtimes, with a snack in the evenings. I have to say that the owners, Michael and Pirrko, are always there if needed, and their fresh eggs from their ‘girls’ have orange yolks and are lovely. The pool area is quiet and the only sounds to be heard are the breezes rustling the olive, limes, lemons and fig trees as you kick back and enjoy the sunshine.

Enjoy, Meg & Derek (Cambridgeshire)