A good nights sleep and on Monday I intend to start as I mean to go on with an early morning walk. It is raining so I abandon the idea. I don’t mind walking in the rain, actually I like it. However, I’m not keen on starting out in the rain.
After breakfast Dave and Fi (D&F) drive me to Senija. I am meeting Leo and Marja (L&M) at 10:00am. They are the couple from Belgium who are renting our house in Senija and will be for the next couple of years, hence the reason Sarah and I are embarking on a housesitting adventure across Europe. Its been about 10 months since I was here and the route starts to come back to me slowly as we navigate from Javea through the small towns of Benitatxell and Teulada. Once we enter Benissa it is possible to look across the valley and see the village of Senija, identified clearly by the church tower. This marks our home as it is only several metres from the Church of Santa Caterina.
At the front door the blind is up and I am about to knock when I notice a small plastic shape with a button positioned at head height on the concrete frame. I reach out my hand to press it when the door swings open with a greeting from Marja. After the small talk there is a barrage of information and things I should do. I don’t quite understand it all, just trying to string some sense into the words that L&M between them are spraying despite the fact their English happens to be quite good.
Sarah and I had been emailing them and the main reason for meeting L&M was that they had offered to help me with obtaining an “Atest” from the local Ayuntamiento … Town Hall. None of us know what L&M mean by this and I’m guessing that the translation from Spanish to French and then English has been distorted. But they are keen to help and so I go along to find out. The waterfall of information continues. Registrations, taxes, cars and mobile phones. Then a water bill is waved in front of me. Apparently this is outstanding from when we purchased the house and so we must go to Benissa to pay it at one of the nominated Banks. My head is spinning. My eyes glaze over and I look at Dave and Fi like a bruised dog. They abandon me and I am left with L&M who now lead me around the corner to the Town Hall. The air is cool here in Senija, particularly in the shade. I am with people I know, but feel alone.
Apart from the occasional exchange in English between L&M and myself, I sit there while Marja carries on a conversation in Spanish with the lady behind the desk. Spanish seems to be a language that you speak in several sentences with only one breath. It goes on and on and on. I sit there like a dummy as all these words fly around me. I ask a few questions, I get a few answers. I produce my NIE and passport. More paper shuffling and photocopying. Eventually something is printed and I am presented with a ‘Certificado de Empadronamiento”. The “Padron” is a local certificate that you receive when you register at the Town Hall. I will need it for buying a car etc as proof of address in Spain and it is the foundation document for a string of other things such as obtaining a driving licence etc. My registration also helps the town. The more people the more funds they receive. I hope they are grateful!
Marja advises that there is another document that I will receive … to be honest I’m not quite sure what it is .. hopefully not another Bill. No. Apparently it is something that the Mayor must sign, but he is at school. He must be very young. Then I realise that he is probably a teacher. Marja says it is not urgent so she will collect it when I need it. Because I don’t know what it is I don’t know when I will need it. I guess it can wait until August!
Things calm down, we agree there is no need to go to Benissa as I will sort out the water bill. L&M drop me off in Benissa. They have parked their car on the outskirts of Senija as the streets are too narrow for cars. Dave and Fi are waiting outside the Iceland supermarket. L&M are travelling so Sarah and I will see them again in August when we are back from France and the UK.
Next stop is in the old port town of Javea to sort out a Spanish SIM card for my mobile phone. The 3 main shops are in a row in Av. de Lepanto. The girl in the Orange store speaks English and gives me a quote. We go into Vodafone. It is clinical, like an old bank and there is a queue so we go next door to Blu. They are a local company just operating in Javea.
There is no one in the shop. Then I see a figure in the window area arranging a display. I ask if she speaks English and clearly she does because she is English. Arrived in Spain at the age of 15 and has been here for 15 years. She thinks her Spanish is better than her English and is starting to forget some English words. Very helpful and a better deal than Orange. 30 minutes or so later I have a new Spanish mobile number!
For months I have been monitoring several car sales websites in the javea and Denia region. One of those was EuromartCars and I had made a few enquiries with the owner, Martin.
And so it was that after sorting the phone we stopped on the Carretera Cabo La Nao to view some cars. The website is quite well presented. It is easy to navigate, professionally designed and the cars are presented with great photos. All taken on gleaming white pebble with the Mediteranean in the background. The cars looked great. The “Car Lot”, however was a big disappointment. Basically a patch of gravel with a small mysterious hut. It was interesting to see the cars in the flesh, but it was a major disappointment. They were not, or should I say, nowhere as good as the pictures. It was oversell, under deliver. The particular car I was interested in looked almost brand new in the photo, but tired and worn on closer inspection. I guess I set myself up for disappointment and succeeded.
Fi’s phone rings and Eileen is asking what we are up to. We are now on our way to see Keith and Eileen (K&E) who we will housesit for during August while they are in Florida and Canada. The main reason is their Poodle-Cross, Rosie, needs looking after while they are away. They live just around the corner from D&F. In fact from my bedroom window I can clearly see their house. They have been there just over a year and have done a lot of work on the house which is now looking lovely. They have done a great job.
At 6pm I am waiting for Nick, a housesit host based in Andalusia to call. He doesn’t. Thats because he didn’t read the email from Sarah. Later in the week he texts, but it is too late because we have been offered a housesit in France from mid May through to when we travel to the UK in June.
Another big day ahead as I continue the search for a car in Denia. We park on the Ctra. de Nord Denia and immediately I recognise the garages that I have been viewing online for the past several months. I even recognise some of the vehicles like the bright yellow Hummer at Quality Cars. They are all here, Moll, Global Cars, Auto Denia and the list goes on …. We walk up one side and down the other. I expected more at Moll, but these are the guys who are not good at maintaining their Website. There is the impression of a lot of stock online, but next to nothing at the garage. We talk to a few of the sales staff at the garages. There is no hard sell here. In fact not much sell at all, which is refreshing. I have a short list of 2, but I there is a car I want to see in Ondara, just off the motorway so on the route. Dave and I think we are heading for the same garage, but we are not. We arrive at the shopping centre, drive up the car park ramp to an empty space. Dave’s car dealer has packed up and moved to other premises. Unusually they were using the top floor of the car park as their show room!
We Google my garage and find they are in El Verger, just 6 minutes away. We arrive at a small workshop. The Car Outlet sign is clear, but just a service shop and a few cars for sale along the side of the road. We enquire. The main car sales are back where we just came from. Apparently you can’t miss the flags next to Aldi … but we did. Back we go and realise why we missed the tissue size flags. The car I want to see is a Suzuki and it is a pretty turquoise colour. I had already made an enquiry and received a perfect English response from Natalie. We meet Natalie who is an English rose, speaks beautifully, is stick thin like a model and looks like a model. She seems out of place selling cars from a car lot in a small Spanish town. The Vitara is the new version, not unlike the Range Rover Evoque, but the sleek style, a sexy car, not quite big enough for all of Sarahs shoes.
We take a break for lunch and over coffee decide that the Mazda at Valgauto Motor tops the list. It is however siesta time and they will probably be closed until 4:30 pm so decide to return tomorrow having chewed on it overnight.
Time for a walk to meditate and clear my head. I have planned my walks and take a slightly extended version of the short route Sarah and I did last year. If I don’t do the short version at 7:00am then I do a new long walk at midday to take advantage of the Sun. So on returning home I set out from El Tossalet and head for El Arenal Beach which is lined with restaurants. Crossing the bridge over the inlet I walk the Av. del Mediterraneo along the shore to the edge of the Old Port town, swing a left and basically begin the return along the Ctra. Cabo La Nao-Pla towards Ctra. del Portitxol and home.
I do a final online review of cars and come across a Nissan Navara at Javea Auto Sales. I have seen this before, a bit left field, but thought I would send it to Sarah for her thoughts. Surprisingly its not a no so before I go back to Denia tomorrow I plan to call in on the way to have a look at it.
Tuesday night is Quiz Nite at the Bull and Bear in Benitatxell. K&E pick us up and we go in their car. There are 4 teams tonight. Entry is 2 Euros. Sausage and chips 3 Euros … for about the same price a large beer. Its loud and funny with many a joke and teasing of the quiz master. Questions are interpreted in several ways and often misunderstood. Everyone is right. The noise gets louder. The Quiz master Steve often having to repeat questions and questions are interpreted in a variety of ways causing even more confusion. Eileen is secretly feeding someone’s dog chips and spaghetti. The young team on the table next to us are desperately trying to hear our answers. Their answer to every question is Iron Maiden. As we mark the papers there is pain as we hear the obvious answers, now that we know them.
Exhausted we retreat to charge our batteries for another day.
Until next time 🌏