Friday, 31 October 2014

Malaga Jazz Festival from 4-10 November 2014

Halloween is barely over and there's the next high light: The 22nd Malaga Jazz Festival. 

In 2014 the festival takes place from November 4th-10th 

National and international names of the world of Jazz will head to Malaga, turning our gorgeous city into the centre of Jazz for a week.

It's a great opportunity to get to know or enjoy this musical genre, in the year-round festive atmosphere of Malaga city.

As always, the Cervantes Theatre (Teatro de Cervantes) will be the epicentre.

But there are not only concerts in the theatre: also outdoors in the historic centre of Malaga you will find many a concert as well as workshop and even dance lessons.

And then there are the 'Off Sessions' in various theatres throughout the city.
For full calendar and concerts visit the website of the Cervantes Theatre.

Jazz fans, have (a) great evening(s)!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Halloween in Andalucia!

October 31st is almost there, so be prepared for Halloween!  

Er, Halloween… in Andalucia

Isn't this a typical Gaelic and American tradition? That doesn't catch on in many European countries, or just half heartedly? 

It's time for a secret: the Spanish, and especially the Andalucians, just LOVE a party. 

And that's a love with a capital L. Any reason to be surrounded by people, any reason for music or dancing or just atmosphere, is a good reason. 

"You live to work, we work to live". That might be the anthem of Andalucia. It's a miracle we've not incorporated most Chinese or Arab festivities yet. 

So, yes, this Friday the 31st of October, many an inland village (if not all) will go bezerk. 

Later in the afternoon, groups of children will conquer any town centre, usually (but now always) under the supervision of a few adults. Expect quite a lot of banging on your door to be demanded for candy. 

And the squares of the small towns will be filled with parents - some of whom dare to dress up now - trying to get away from the noise of it all, with a good glass of wine. 

Where ever you are in Andalucia… you will notice! 

So you too might as well come down to the town centre, and have a great, spooky winter evening… be it in agreeable temperatures. 


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Olive season has started!

Autumn... so it's a busy period for olive pickers.

All over Andalucia small groups of people are working from dust until dawn to get you those olives with your tapas, or your olive oil.

Picking olives is hard work.

In general it's still done as it has been done for a century: hitting the branches with a pole so that the olives drop onto a sheet. 

And then to the next tree. And the next. And the next. 

An olive tree can handle that, for it's a very strong tree. In Andalucia, many of them are close to a 100 years old, and have been providing many a generation with its fruit.

Fruit? Is an olive a fruit?

Yes it is. It is the small, bitter tasting fruit of the olive tree. They are classified as a fruit because they are formed from the ovary of the olive flower and because of their seed-bearing structure.

Where do these olives go?

At the end of every day, the olives are brought to the local Olive Mill.

Nowadays that usually means a cooperative, installed for the protection of all locals who contribute to the process. In this olive mill a part is being processed and turned into olive oil that is sold with a local label on it. 

The main chunk though goes to whole salers, usually in the most nearby city-sized town. These whole salers sell to local restaurants but also the supermarket chains that - trickling down a long ladder - package and distribute it to your local supermarket.

What's the difference between green and black olives?

Well, black olives are actually over-ripe green olives that are then treated with chemicals. This is done to make the olive less bitter and more flavourful. 

A great tip as souvenir

During your holiday in inland Andalucia, go to a local olive mill! 
Or ask the locals where you can buy a bottle of the local olive oil.

It's a great gift for people back home, for this way you are really sure the olive oil is authentic and fresh, and it's up to 3 times cheaper than buying something less authentic at the Airport.

About olives and 'aceitunas'...

The whole world calls them 'olives', except for the Spanish!

For in Spanish, an olivo is the olive tree. 
The tree is named olivo and its fruits are aceitunas

Hence, olive oil is aceite de aceitunas.

The health benefits of eating olives

May you all enjoy your next tapa with olives, think of the hard work that has gone into it, AND of the benefits that are attributed to them. Eating olives is thought to be good for: 
  • Cardiovascular benefits
  • Cancer prevention
  • Skin and hair health
  • Bone and connective tissue
  • Digestive tract health
  • Good source of iron
  • Eye health

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Top 3 festivities in Andalucia

When you live in Andalucia you know: at any given day there's a 'fiesta' somewhere.

Here's the Top 3 of Andalucia-wide celebrations that are also interesting for the incidental visitor. The Real Musts so to speak, that do not just make you visit Andalucia, but live it. 

Real dates to block. When their dates approach, we will tell more about them in detail. 

1. SEMANA SANTA - March 29th through to April 6, 2015

That one week that turns Andalucia crazy. From Sunday to Sunday there are processions in even the tiniest village, turning any city or town centre into a magical environment. Those evenings are most spectacular in the big cities, with Seville and Málaga leading the way.

You are mighty lucky if you happen to have a hotel room in the centre of a big city that week. 

2. THE NIGHT OF SAN JUAN - The night of June 23rd, 2015

That crazy night, summarizing Spain with its colours, vibrant life and surrealism. When you are in Andalucia on June 23rd, head to the nearest beach in the evening! Bonfires, atmosphere, people walking in or diving into the sea. 

An evening not to be missed. Where ever you are in Andalucia, ask the locals for the nearest San Juan beach, site or campsite.

3. VIRGEN DEL CARMEN - Afternoon and evening of July 16th

On the evening of July 16th all coastal towns and cities celebrate the patron saint of the fishermen. It takes the shape of a procession that does not only end near the sea, but in the water. It's one of these spectacles that make people associate Andalucia with colour, music and the sheer pleasure of being alive.

A beautiful, traditional afternoon and evening, that is an agreable experience everywhere along the coast, with Estepona as the town with the most spectacular decoration (fireworks during the procession).

We know we're early... so you won't miss those 3.

Never hesitate to tell about your experiences here below.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Property Market in Andalusia

The property market in Andalusia is slowly bouncing back.

In 2013 one out of five property purchases in Spain were by foreigners. 

The total number of properties bought by non-Spaniards was 55.187

The internationalisation is the most remarkable evolution: 

The Britons are still the ones that buy most second homes in Spain, but they’re now closely followed by the French, Russians and Germans. Belgians complete the Top 5. 

The lower prices are the motor of the renewed enthusiasm to move to or buy a second home. 

Whereas in 2008 foreigners on average paid 2.338 Euro per square meter, this had gone to 1.631 Euro per square meter in 2013. That’s a decrease of 31 percent in 5 years. 

Valencia and Catalonia are the most popular destinations together with, with its exuberant culture, sunshine, healthy environment and gorgeous lifestyle, Andalusia

The lowest prices can be found in inland Andalusia, in the towns and villages of the provinces of Jaen, Málaga, Granada and Seville.

Today is the ideal moment to become the owner of a villa, finca, hacienda or typical Spanish townhouse and live like ‘God in France’. (Be it obviously that Andalusia is more beautiful than France).

Just have a quick look at the featured properties we offer on a daily basis, and you see what we mean.

Enjoy the search for your ideal home in Spain! 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Is a visit to El Torcal worth the while?

'El Torcal', it sounds as a rock in touristy circles.

And yet there are so many foreigners living in inland Andalucia who have never visited it.

I must admit it took me years too, and even then only by coincidence. Only to then wonder how it is possible that we live so close to something special and never think of stopping there.

Now, 'just stopping there' is not possible: you will have to turn it into a half-day excursion. An excursion of the very calm or romantic sort, preferably with a partner or very good friend. 

You will enjoy that zigzagging through the gorgeous countryside and up the hills of Málaga - or combine it with a visit to beautiful Antequera. In most cases you will have to drive through Antequera anyway, for the scenery of El Torcal is located on the hilltops of 1300 meters, high above this city.

What is El Torcal? 

It's the name of a nature reserve in the Sierra del Torcal that is known for its unusual landforms.

These landforms are shaped by limestone, layer upon layer, left behind when the sea withdrew in the Jurassic age (150 million years ago). Quite a playground for photographers! Also biologists will have a field day, with the impressive array of wildflowers, the many species of reptiles and the Griffon vultures circling high above the valleys.

There are color-coded hiking trails of 1.5 km, 2.5 km and 4.5 km, all starting at the main parking and visitor center, that also includes a cafetaria. 

Spring and fall are the best times to visit, since the summer can be too hot for the walks and climbs, and in the winter it can be very cold and windy here. 

To get there, you either drive through Antequera or, on the other side of the hills, via the village of Villanueva de la Concepción

It's the only place in the world where I witnessed this: an old fox coming to beg for food at the tables of the summer terrace. Quite the experience! 

So, yes, go to El Torcal. If you want to turn your short excursion into a long one, you can combine it with Antequera, or the 'flamingo lake' of Fuente de Piedra as well as the 'Embalsos de Guadelhorce' which make for such a gorgeous of swimming or walking.

Enjoy your day!