Jun 302013

Family Mountain Bike Skills Training

We were contacted by Dave Warrington of Mountain Biking Valencia asking if we could accommodate a family from the United States who were going to be visiting Valencia as part of a tour of Spain. The group consisted of Bob and his wife Wendy, along with their 13 year old twin boys Mitchell and Griffen, their 15 year old daughter Claire and her friend Andi, and they wanted to spend a couple of days mountain biking in the Costa Blanca. We were happy to have them stay with us, and they arrived on the Tuesday morning from Valencia city, all ready for their 2 day mountain biking skills training course.

Wendy decided she wanted some rest and relaxation, however, so she was happy for the rest of the family to go for their skills course whilst she spent the day taking it easy around the pool. Dad & the teenagers had a great time learning mountain biking techniques in a shady wooded area across the valley from here – a lovely spot and an excellent place to be on a hot and sunny day. They returned during the late afternoon, just in time to join Mom around the pool for some cooling off after their exertions and before joining us for our evening meal service. They had decided this was a much easier option than trying to find a restaurant that would be open rather earlier than most Spanish restaurants – and of course they had not had time to familiarise themselves with the town of Gandia at all.

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They much appreciated the opportunity to dine on the terrace, and then to relax in the garden before heading for bed and a well-deserved rest. The following morning they were up and ready to go for their next mountain biking trip – this time giving themselves the opportunity to put some of the skills they learned the previous day into practice. Wendy again took the chance to relax in the gardens, however, and had a light lunch with us during the day whilst the others set off to the start of their designated route for the day.

The trail begins on the outskirts of Villalonga and follows the route of the disused railway that used to run between Alcoi and Gandia, for much of the way also following along beside the river Serpis. It is a great route, and scenically very beautiful, and the group thoroughly enjoyed their day and were able to test themselves and their new-found techniques. There is a mixture of tracks and trails along the way, with different surfaces and levels of difficulty so by the end of the route they felt they had learned a lot – and had a huge amount of fun of course too.

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They returned to us in the late afternoon, in time to spend a while in the pool before leaving for the next leg of their trip. As a complete contrast to their time they spent here with us on an adventure break in the northern Costa Blanca, they were heading south to Benidorm for a couple of days’ fun at the water and theme parks there. After that, the youngsters were intending to take part in a week’s football camp under the auspices of Valencia football team, whilst their parents spent the week relaxing in Majorca. They felt they would have liked to spend more time in this part of the country, however, so maybe we shall see them back with us at some point in the future. It had been a pleasure to have them visit us, so we shall look forward to the possibility.

Jun 292013

Costa Blanca Property Viewing TripsCosta Blanca Property Viewing Trips

They came; They saw; They bought!

We recently received a booking from Colin Mason and his family, wanting to take up our offer of a Property Viewing Package of three nights’ accommodation with a late check-out on the afternoon of the fourth day. They had already made some appointments to view property in the area, and wanted some friendly accommodation for their stay – possibly with some suggestions and advice thrown in at the same time!

Colin was coming with his wife Christine and grown-up son Mike, and they were looking for a holiday property that would be easy to lock up and leave during the time when they would be in the UK. They only wanted a modestly sized home, although they were well aware that much larger properties could be purchased for only a small amount of extra money. However, what really suited them would be a villa with about three bedrooms and a pool, and preferably situated not far from the beautiful beaches of the northern Costa Blanca. It had to be near amenities that would suit them and their three grown-up sons and mutual partners for daily requirements, as well as being within striking distance of airports and the attractions of Valencia City itself.

They booked in for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, with their return flight departing on Monday evening, and their original intention was to look at some properties with the idea of assuring themselves that this area was to their liking, but without any real intention of committing themselves to anything at this early stage. They had already spent some time eliminating other parts of the country further south – mainly because of arid landscapes or a lack of any authentic Spanish “feel” – and wanted to see if this area lived up to its reputation of being a part of Spain still largely undiscovered by the foreigner, but where many Spanish people come for their own holidays.

After arriving at lunchtime on Friday and settling in to our self-catering apartment they met up with their estate agent and began viewing properties in the area, spending the rest of the day seeing a cross-section of what was on offer. Like all property hunters on the Costa Blanca now, they were aware that prices have fallen throughout the country and have reached levels that make buying Spanish property a much more attractive proposition than during the latter years of the boom. Houses can now be bought for prices similar to the time when Spain was seen as good value if you wanted to either move abroad or buy a holiday home. Colin and his family arrived back in the early evening and seemed to be very impressed with some of the properties they had seen – it was a question of deciding if the right property was also in the right location!

Saturday was more of the same, with more villas to look at, but also with some time set aside to explore Gandia town itself as well as the beach area. When searching for a property, you have to make certain that the general area fits your criteria as well, and they soon came to the conclusion that the La Safor region met all their requirements. Sunday was spent with some time allocated for relaxation around the pool, but also with a couple of viewings booked as well – second viewings of homes they had seen earlier in their visit. They had in fact decided that two properties would suit them very well indeed, and they were particularly keen on one of them, so decided to put in a verbal offer to the owner during their second viewing. However, this was refused – but Colin had thought he might as well try and see what the result would be. They did like the villa very much indeed though, so then submitted a slightly higher offer – and heard later in the day through the estate agent that this second offer had been accepted.

Sunday night was therefore something of a celebration – a tentative property viewing trip had turned into a decision to purchase, and one which seemed likely to go ahead! We therefore joined them on taking part on the fiesta of San Joan which coincidentally was taking place that evening – a celebration of the solstice down at the beach during the evening, with a real party atmosphere. Families build bonfires on the beach and have barbecues there, before fireworks at midnight and a general celebration of the true start of the summer season. Colin and his family were really pleased to be able to see another aspect of Gandia life at first hand, and experience the delights of an authentic Spanish fiesta for themselves.

Because of their quick decision, it was possible for them to set things in motion properly for their purchase to proceed before their flight left on Monday evening, so they saw an English speaking lawyer on Monday morning to give her instructions concerning the contract for the purchase. It is anticipated that they will be returning to us sometime in August for the next stage in the buying process, with a view to the property becoming theirs in early September – a timescale that suits them as well as the vendors. We very much look forward to seeing Colin and Christine again at that time, and of course to meeting the other members of their family, who are also intending to make use of the new home as a holiday base for many years to come.

If you are interested in Spanish Property in the Costa Blanca region of Spain, why not book one of our Costa Blanca Property Viewing Trips. We offer you the opportunity to come and see the area without any pressure or obligation.

We are not property agents, solicitors or vendors – we operate a successful accommodation business, but made the move ourselves seven years ago, and have all the contacts if you decide you need them.

Jun 172013

Mountain Bike Skills Training

Mountain Biking Skills Training Week-end

We were delighted to welcome Raul and Eva to our casa rural in Gandia last weekend. They had booked one of our all-inclusive mountain biking packages which we offer in conjunction with MountainBikingValencia.com . These are available as a weekend break of 2 nights with one day’s guided mountain biking, a break of 3 nights with 2 days’ biking, or a week’s holiday of 7 nights with 3 days’ biking. Of course, if guests wanted a different length of stay, or more or less biking included, we would be only too pleased to tailor-make a holiday to their specifications. In any event, breakfast and dinner are included every day and packed lunches are provided on mountain biking trips, as well as the services of a qualified and experienced guide.

Raul and Eva had previously used the services of Dave Warrington for single day excursions whilst they were already in the area for professional reasons, but this time they had decided they wanted to spend longer enjoying the surroundings in this lovely part of the country. They drove down from their home in Catalunya, arriving late on Friday evening, with the intention of spending the day on Saturday out biking. However, in accordance with our undertaking to tailor-make a break to our guests’ requirements, they had specified that they would prefer to have 2 days’ Mountain Biking Skills Training during the weekend. With this in mind, we had arranged for them to bike not only on the Saturday, but also on the Sunday before having the usual late check-out from the casa rural.

Raul is a keen biker and sportsman generally and had already arranged to have a road biking ride with a friend of his who lives nearby. He was therefore up very early on the Saturday morning to meet up and go for a road ride of over 60kms on his own bike that he had brought for the purpose, before setting off with Eva and Dave Warrington after breakfast for a mountain biking trip of another 40kms which also included an element of technical skills training along the way! They all had a really great time and a thoroughly enjoyable day before returning to us for dinner and a very well-deserved early night to recharge their batteries for Sunday’s trip!

Sunday was a less strenuous day, however, as their plan was only to bike during the morning in our valley here, taking in the monastery of Sant Jeroni, as well as practising considerable technical skills in the safe environment of a wooded area nearby. Although they would of course have been welcome to spend the rest of the day here enjoying the gardens and pool, they reluctantly had to leave in the early afternoon – Raul heading to Madrid for work reasons and Eva driving back to Catalunya. However, they had thoroughly enjoyed themselves here with us and very much want to come back for more of the same. We look forward to welcoming them back to us here at our casa rural when they can take advantage of one of our all-inclusive mountain biking packages again. Maybe they will be able to stay with us for longer the next time and see even more of what this beautiful part of the Costa Blanca has to offer the outdoor enthusiast.

Please contact us for more details if Mountain Biking Skills Training might be of interest to you, and we will be delighted to send you full details of what we have to offer.

Jun 172013


Bargain Spanish Property for Sale

Property Hunters from Far and Wide!

In line with recent trends, we have seen more property hunters come to visit us in a quest to find a home in our part of the northern Costa Blanca. In the last few months we have had an increase in the number of guests coming to look for suitable homes – either as permanent or holiday accommodation – but now they are coming not only from the traditional places such as England but also looking to relocate here from other parts of Europe as well.

John and Pamela for example are an English couple who spent three days with us on their second visit to the area. Although from England originally, they have lived for the last ten years in Italy but are now wanting to move on again. This is not because of any particular dissatisfaction with Italy, but rather because they feel it is time for a change and they are aware that Spanish property values have now fallen to a much more realistic and affordable level on the Costa Blanca. Easy access to the UK is a consideration for family visits too, but much more so is the feeling that Spain is again becoming an attractive country in which to settle and invest in a home.

Likewise Malcolm spent some time with us recently on a Spanish property search. He had already investigated other areas of Spain, but preferred our part of the country because of its verdant scenery and climate that is less extreme than further south. Although Malcolm lives in England at the moment, this is only a temporary situation as far as he is concerned, as he moved to a property he already owned there after selling his main home in Greece about a year ago. He has decided that England is not where he wants to live for any prolonged period however – largely because of the climate – and has therefore decided to settle in the Valencia area. He is currently considering properties he has viewed here, and is also giving serious thought to renting a home here in order to be absolutely certain before committing himself to a purchase. Quite rightly, he wants to be sure about the exact property and the location before making a final decision.

Another guest looking for a home is Keith, who stayed with us briefly last week. Keith’s wife Lucy had visited us the week before and had seen a couple of properties she had thought might be suitable so Keith was following in her tracks to see if their ideas coincided – which they did! Now it is a question of deciding between two Spanish properties that meet their requirements. It is true that Keith and Lucy are relocating from England rather that from southern Europe, but again they feel that Spain now represents all that it did before as far as long-term property investment is concerned and once again offers value for money as well as a more suitable lifestyle for them.

Spain does indeed seem to be making a certain amount of recovery in its property industry compared to only a few months ago. Many parts of northern Europe seem to feel either that they have come through the worst of their economic woes, or else that this is the new reality that everyone has to get used to, but either way Spain presents itself as a very attractive destination for those wanting to change their way of life. Hopefully for the health of the Spanish economy, this really is the beginning of a long-term revival of the property market over here, the benefits of which would of course be felt (and greatly appreciated) throughout the whole economy.

If you are interested in the Spanish Property in the La Safor region of Spain, why not book one of our 3 or 5 day regional inspection tours. We offer you the opportunity to come and see the area without any pressure or obligation.

We are not property agents, solicitors or vendors – we operate a successful accommodation business, but made the move ourselves seven years ago, and have all the contacts if you decide you need them.

Jun 122013


Family Reunion in Spain

We received a contact from Clare via our Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, to ask if it would be feasible to organise a family reunion at Villa Florencia. The situation was that Clare permanently lives near Alicante with her Spanish husband and four year-old twin daughters, and two sets of her aunts and uncles were going to be having their holidays near Castellón – the next provincial town north of Valencia. The idea was that they could all possibly meet up somewhere between the two points (so on the northern Costa Blanca) and spend some time together. Clare asked if we had overnight accommodation available for the whole group, which we had, and also whether we provide an evening meal service, which of course we do also!

She therefore reserved sufficient accommodation for everyone, and the stage was set for a family reunion on Saturday, with dinner and everyone staying over on Saturday night before departing during the day on Sunday. Clare, her husband and their twins decided to stay in our self-catering apartment, although this was only for their sleeping accommodation as they were fully intending to join the rest of the family for breakfast and of course for dinner on the Saturday night. It suited them very well, however, with the extra space that was available to them and the feeling of extra independence that they also experienced.

Everybody arrived on the Saturday afternoon, and a great time was had catching up on family news, and generally spending some time in each other’s company. It had been a long time since they had seen each other, so the opportunity to meet up in a relaxed atmosphere was very much appreciated by everyone. The twins loved playing with our cats and dogs and swimming in the pool as well, and the weather was perfect for a great day in the garden. Evening meal was served at half past eight on our terrace overlooking the garden and pool, and provided further opportunities for conversation.

The next day, Clare and her family intended to leave in the late morning, but her relatives asked if they could have a sandwich lunch here in the garden before departing to resume their holiday in Castellón. That is exactly how it worked out, with a fond farewell to Clare and her family before settling down to lunch in the shade by the pool. They then felt ready to leave on their journey north – about two and a half hours – and bade us a reluctant good-bye. They would really have liked to stay for longer, as they loved the surroundings in this part of the northern Costa Blanca, and although they had spent many holidays in Spain in the past, they had never explored this part of the country. They said they would almost certainly return to us in the future kn order to do just that, and of course no doubt take the opportunity again to meet up with Clare and her lovely family. We certainly hope they do, as it was a pleasure to have them all stay with us and to see them have such a good time.

Jun 052013


Spanish Property Viewing Trips

For the last few years – since 2008 really – foreign property hunters wanting to buy a home either for holidays or for a permanent move have been a rare breed indeed in Spain. However, in recent months we have noticed a distinct rise in the numbers of guests visiting us on one of our Spanish Property Viewing Trips, with the thought of looking for a property in the area.

More such guests are Adam and Helen, who spent a week with us very recently, bringing their 7 month old son Zac with them, and they had their entire time here arranged around estate agent visits and property viewings. They were already familiar with the southern part of the Costa Blanca, but felt it was not typically Spanish enough for them and had too large a proportion of non-Spanish residents for their liking. They therefore decided to acquaint themselves with our part of the northern Costa Blanca, where there are properties of all sizes to choose from, and often at comparatively bargain prices. They had visited the Place in the Sun property expo in London before deciding to come out here, so were in a good position to have made contacts and formulated their ideas.

They spent almost every day out and about viewing many different properties, although they knew that theirs had to be a reasonably large house, as they now have a total of five children. Their intention for the trip was to settle on an area that they felt would be right for them and hopefully find a suitable property. They were well aware that prices have come down to levels not seen in Spain for many years and so were looking for a home that reflected this trend in the market. By the end of their time here they had made a shortlist of two that matched their requirements – ones that already had sufficient accommodation or which could be easily extended and improved – and they were considering whether to submit offers to the owners.

During their time here they decided the Gandia area suited them very well indeed, with sufficient entertainment and recreational facilities to suit their growing family in the years to come, but also within easy reach of Valencia city either by car or train for times when they might feel the need for all that Spain’s third city has to offer.

The very day after they left, we had yet another prospective house purchaser stay with us for one night. Again, Lucy had come very well prepared for her Spanish Property Viewing Trip and although she only stayed the one night, she arrived in the early afternoon and promptly met her estate agent and went house viewing, and then the next day, when she was only due to return on an evening flight, she again spent the large part of the day looking at yet more Spanish properties. She also felt that the area was right for her and saw at least two properties that might fit the bill. She plans to return in the near future – or possibly send her husband to see if their ideas coincide – and decide if one of these houses is the one for her, or whether to continue the search. Either way, we look forward to seeing probably not only Lucy and her husband, but also Adam and Helen again as they all move their property search forward in our part of the Costa Blanca.