Thursday, 28 May 2015

Losing weight in Andalucia: our tips

The healthiest air of Europe, hundreds of kilometers of hiking trails, and steep alleyways galore:  

It seems that in Andalucia you just have to leave the car at home to become slim. 

Sometimes, facing another never ending staircase leading to a church or castle, you wish you'd carry a few pounds less. 

Couple this with the incentive of the beach- and pool culture, and you know why gyms all over Andalucia tend to fill up by March (and are again very empty - and very inexpensive - by the end of October). 

Did you know that most villages, even the small ones, tend to have a small or even very well equipped gym… and that the prices are nowhere near to those in the north of Europe? 

The Internet is saturated with tips to lose weight: with the beach season approaching, we thought of asking around in our office and let you know...

Our most popular weight loss tips 

Popular, for they're either very easy or fun. 

- Eat when it's time to eat.  Do not wait until you're hungry. For the simple reason that you'll eat less and will still feel satisfied. 

Always have breakfast (fruits). Simply to avoid that your body goes into the mode of 'oh my god, there will be a famine, I better hold on to my fat'. 

- Always have a jug of lemon water on the table. Squeeze half a lemon (or a whole one if you prefer) into a liter of water. Besides a dozen other health advantages, lemons contain pectin fiber, which assists in fighting hunger cravings.

- Teach yourself to like healthy snacks. Olives, almonds, carrot sticks… if that sounds like a bore the first time around, it only takes 3-5 repeats for something to become a habit, more: something you really like and start to look forward to (the same applies to: educating yourself to like coffee without sugar, … try it 4 times and you start to love it). 

- Build a little group. You would say it's not difficult to lose weight or get into shape: all it takes is motivation. 

But there you go: self-motivation is a difficult hurdle. It really helps if you can enthuse a few friends. 

To go walking once a week. Why not, slowly turn it into a weekly run. You can teach each other new exercises. Apart from being healthy, this is great fun, a social event you'll quickly start looking forward to. Before you know it this is the highlight of the week. 

- Go to those Sevillana lessons. Dancing is not only a shortcut to happiness and laughter, also to a lean body.  

- And finally… climb that mountain! You know which one we mean. The one you see from your kitchen window or always drive past and that forever makes you say: 'One day I should explore that area'. Forget about the headaches of planning the next exciting excursion: almost anywhere in Andalucia you can see the perfect excursion from your rooftop. 

Even if you don't actually get a lot of energy out of yourself, you are still in that great, healthy air of Andalucia, in a country with one of the highest life expectancies in the world (approx. 2 years longer than in the axis UK-Germany)… and those are very good for your health and morale, even without lifting one arm. 

If you have a fun, easy or original tip… let us know! 
We will share it here.  

Monday, 18 May 2015

That lovely Andalucian highlight: Just driving

Do you really want to discover Andalucia? Not only what the tourist guide says about it but its feel

Then do what many, many a foreigner living here also still does whenever he or she can: just go on a walk about.

For there's just too much to see. You might as well treat yourself to a surprise. 

Andalucia, both the southernmost as well as largest region of Spain, covers an area of 87,268 square kilometers or 33,694 square miles. 

Roughly, this is 4 times the size of Wales, 3 times Belgium or twice The Netherlands

That's so big and covers so many towns and villages that we've started a town guide for Andalucia, summarizing the tourist information for all the main towns. Still it's only 18% of the total landmass of Spain. 

With a population of 8,5 million the population density of Andalucia is of 97 people per square kilometer, which is the same as in Austria or Slovenia - but only one third of the UK. Ergo: plenty of space! 

It's this space that is so attractive for Europeans from the north who want to buy property here: space equals tranquility, silence, lower stress levels when driving, but also less light pollution - in short, things that more and more can seem to be luxury items.

While at the same time Andalucians, always on the look out for a reason to party or socialize, make the villages incomparably bubbly - not to mention the big cities where the feel of a fiesta is around every corner. 

Do you want to discover Andalucia and do not know how or the best way to go about? 

Rent a car and start driving! 

With the flow, according to your mood of the moment. Not only will you see more of Andalucia than when sticking too much to a schedule or guide, you will experience that quintessential Andalucian highlight: being utterly relax. 

There's no such thing as a Must. A 'Must' is the contrary of what Andalucia is about. It's the region par excellence to just drive, stroll, and live according to your personal bioritm - a 'spa' feeling unlike any other. Being, not sightseeing. 

Prefer the secondary roads over the motorways, stop at a 'Venta', the typical roadside restaurants that were originally meant for seasonal workers, offering local food at low rates: drive into a calm village for a coffee (one of the several types of coffees).. 

You are never far away from stunning scenery or the next highlight, be it Doñana Natural Reservation, El Torcal, 'flamingo lake' at Fuente de Piedra, the Sierra de las Nieves, the serrania de Ronda and much, much more.

Many a first time traveler (now you're no longer a tourist, but a traveler) has compared driving through Andalucia as a road trip in the USA: from a diner to a dusty village, roads all to yourself and then all of a sudden in the hustle and bustle of a big city. 

In the towns you often find very inexpensive Hostals, and in the country side there are plenty of guesthouses, in all price ranges. Sure, there are guesthouses that are fully booked months in advance, whereas others still have space on the day itself. Whatever happens, you're never further away than 1 hour from a big town or maximum 2 hours from the nearest big city (Seville, Cadiz, Granada, Malaga). 

In the photos above you see the flamingos at the natural reservation of the village of Fuente de Piedra, as well as the landscape of rocks at El Torcal (both only an hour drive away from each other)... but by now you know...  there's beauty everywhere. 


PS: And if you're thinking about investing in a property in Andalucia, don't forget to pay us a visit in Mollina or Alcalá la Real.

Friday, 8 May 2015

By the way, when it comes to costs of property in Spain

... it's sometimes a matter of days.

This month saw a very favourable British Pound to Euro rate.

For a property of 20.000 to 100.000€ (*) that can obviously result in quite a difference.
With as result again that some home owners in Spain start to increase the price.
Ergo: sometimes it pays off to be very quick.
Bookmark our site to always be aware of the latest bargains and opportunities.
(*) In the last 3 months 80% of our sales were for homes costing less than 100,000 Euros (or 72,000 GBP).