Our success at selling properties started when over 14 years ago we decided to sell our cottage, office premises and 2 businesses back in the UK. We wanted to relocate to Cyprus but imagined it happening in 6 months to 2 years allowing us time to sell. However, fate had other ideas and everything sold within 2 weeks! The cottage was sold unbelievably quickly, it actually went through within 11 days, that’s from viewing to final completion. Yes, 11 days, honestly. He was a well known footballer looking for somewhere to stay in the area whilst he was seconded to another local team. Apparently…. the whole cottage could have sat in his lounge within his permanent home!
Then, after 11 years in Cyprus, we decided to relocate to Spain the same thing happened. Both our Cypriot properties, Villa and the beautiful rental apartment sold very quickly,
within weeks. It was brilliant but quite scary as we had nowhere to move into. If you have been following our story you will know that we had purchased a beautiful unreformed cave. A cave that was certainly not livable. So the search began for a cave in Spain that we could actually move into.
Now we are selling again but, I hasten to add, not our home. I love my cave home far too much. As I had explained in the last blog (28), we are looking to slow down and not work so hard. I sometimes feel that I am playing catch up everyday and getting nowhere. So, the decision was made to advertise our 6 rental caves on Facebook. Well, I was absolutely amazed at the overwhelming response I received within the first 24 hours. It was a complete surprise.
On the same day as the advert went live I answered a message from one couple who actually told me they were so interested that they were driving over as we “spoke” to take a look. We agreed to drive up and meet them so at least they could look inside and….. they are now the new owners – or will be shortly. Contracts have been signed today, deposits paid but, due to their work commitments abroad, they will be unable to take over officially until 1 April 2021 (may make that 2 April for obvious reasons!)
We cannot be any happier, for us as sellers and for Debbie and Bryan as purchasers. They are an absolutely lovely couple and I have no doubt whatsoever that they will make a roaring success of the business. The ideas they have will only help the business to continue growing making it even more of a success than it is now. Please don’t forget that bookings for Cuevas de la Paz continue so if you would like to take a look please visit http://www.caveholidays.com. When the sale is finalised I will keep you up to date with the new web address giving you choices for your future holidays in cave land.
How do we feel? Being truthful… quite sad in as much as we have worked hard to get the business to where it is now but I also feel a huge relief as I can now put my energy and time into Cueves Limòn which is our rental cave next door to our own cave. Up until now it has only been used for family and friends although it is fully licenced for tourists. Our hesitation has been about our three dogs that share the outdoor space. Should we separate the outdoor area or advertise for dog lovers only? We decided on dog lovers only! So, a new launch of the website for Cuevas Limòn will be happening very soon ready for the 2021 season. This will keep me busy enough but in a more relaxed way if that makes sense.
Take a look at http://www.caveholidaysspain.com but please remember it’s not quite ready yet as there are lots more photos to add and plenty more to say. However, it should give you a taste of what’s to come.
So… please bear with me as I finalise the website of Cueva Limòn. I am truly looking forward to sharing our own piece of cave land with some great people.
Again, congratulations and a huge welcome to Debbie and Bryan. We look forward to good times together.
All good dog owners will tell you without any hesitation that dogs have feelings, thoughts, intelligence and are filled with love. They ask very little from their owners – just the basics – food, water and to be cared for.
Cave life in Spain is just perfect for our three boys, just as much as it is for us. The grounds that we have surrounding the cave, together with the wonderful area around our land, are ideal for the boys to explore and enjoy. And they certainly do, with tails wagging, noses sniffing and a sprint down to the river, it has to be a dogs idea of paradise.
Good walk for smells.
Back of cave and roof.
When we have the heat of the summer, all three dogs find the cave the perfect resting place as it’s cool and comfortable (until the local goats pass by or the bread lady’s van appears and then it’s a quick sprint outside to let them all know they are being watched). In the winter the cave is warm and cosy especially when we light the log burner on those particularly cold nights. Most dogs love to sit close to a fire so they can warm certain parts of their bodies! Anyone who dares to drive or trot down the track can still receive a stern warning from at least two of our boys. There has to be a special visitor or passerby for Barney to leave the warmth of the fire and go out to give them a what for.
Life was different for us when we lived in Cyprus. As the temperatures went up, the days and nights were far too hot to be inside just as much as it was outside. Aircons and fans were a must. If we did decide to venture out we would get dressed as late as possible because as soon as you considered putting on clothes you were wet through due to the high humidity. It was definitely no fun. Cave life in Spain is so different and I now find that I welcome the heat of the day. I work early mornings outside, and as soon as the heat gets a little too much, I carry on with my long list of jobs to do indoors within the cool walls of our cave. Perfecto.
I am convinced that if you could ask either of our three boys where they would like to be they would choose their home within cave land. Thinking about it, the caves here in Spain were originally shelters for the local animals, (sheep, goats and cows), during the heat of the day and home during the cold nights that we get during the winter. I believe our cave was used by goats and their shepherd for many years. Human inhabitation came much later when a local family moved in (with their herd of animals). The sisters of this family now live in a cave next to our property (minus the animals). Actually, there are caves on the other side of our track that are being used today by the local goat herd.
For those of you that aren’t aware of our three dogs background here is a brief resume.
All three of our boys have different stories to tell, good and bad, but all three have such huge hearts which they give freely, especially when given the smallest amount of attention.
We were living in Cyprus when we had our first dog Charlie. It was not our intention to adopt a dog but I had seen an advert in a local paper asking for people to give a home to one of the 6 golden retriever X pups they had just found. It was for approximately 2 weeks or until more permanent homes were found. The picture that went with this plea was what appeared to be adorable fluff balls. I immediately fell in love with the ‘all white’ fluff ball and decided to go and take a look. I did quickly mention to John what I had planned and just as quickly retreated before he could voice an opinion. Deep down I knew he would have concerns!
Well, the fluff balls where truly adorable particularly the white pup running around like a live wire. They had all been well looked after during their first 3 month of life and appeared to enjoy all that life had to offer, no matter how small. I was there for 45 minutes watching the antics of the white fluff ball but not once could I get to pick him up. Every time I got near he disappeared with another pup. He was enjoying his life of mayhem and nothing was going to stop him. However, during these 45 minutes there was one particular puppy that would not leave my side. He was absolutely golden from head to toe including eyelashes and nose. I could not help but cuddle him and I even tried to get him to join in the fun of racing around in circles with the other pups but no.. he only had eyes for me. My head was telling me I had come for the white pup but my heart was telling me something else. You guessed it. I went home with the golden pup who had, in hindsight, chosen me. Off we went for his two weeks vacation at Villa Horton.
Charlie, (his name was originally Sandy but after seeing him play for a while I was heard repeating “you are a Charlie aren’t you!), so it stuck – it was the perfect name for him. He was adorable and within a few hours John and I knew he had found his forever home – with us. That was just over 10 years ago!
Charlie’s ambition in life has always been to clean anyone he can get in contact with. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body just this obsession to clean. Some people like having their legs and feet washed but others don’t and that’s when we have problems. Charlie just cannot help himself. He will sit when told but you can see his body tremble as he is trying so hard not to pounce on the nearest human to continue his washing program. So, if you do visit us please be prepared. If you don’t like dogs licking you, wear an all in one outfit with hood and face mask.
Charlie is also a protector and will wait for me outside the bathroom door just in case something happens while I’m taking a shower or on return home from a walk he’ll wait at the gate before entering to ensure we were all home safely and only then will he trot in behind everyone. He talks too, oh boy does he talk. Sometimes he never stops and when you are trying to watch tv it can be a little frustrating but we would not change him for the world. Charlie is the oldest but smallest dog we have.
18 months went by and we had discussed whether Charlie would benefit from having another canine friend as he appeared to be getting a little too attached to us humans. We had a local dog shelter nearby so we popped down to take a look at the 100 or so dogs they were desperate to rehome. We thought perhaps we would find another Charlie type dog so that’s what we looked for. There were three similar dogs at this particular shelter and we played and went for walks with them all. Is it wrong to say that not one of these three dogs did anything for us? We did not feel any spark of excitement or feelings for them at all. As we were ready to leave we found ourselves standing by this large cage full of mixed puppies. It was then that I noticed one particular pup that sat in the corner. He was patiently letting all the other pups run over and around him. He was white with golden patches (or perhaps more like splodges) and had huge floppy ears and large dark eyes. My heart went out to him. I turned to John who had uncannily also noticed this one pup and we both said instantaneously, ‘could he be the one’.
I am a spontaneous person and would have taken him home there and then, but John is not. He needs to consider things, do his research, consider things again, more research and lots of looking at pros and cons. So, off home we went empty handed but I just knew that by the next morning we would be back for this beautiful big eared big eyed pup.
Well, I was wrong. We had been home for only an hour and John said ‘do you think we should go back just in case someone else takes him?’ I didn’t need asking twice. Back we went to see the pup in the same position being climbed over and knocked about by other more excitable pups. We were told that he was one of a large litter of Lemon Pointers that had been severely mistreated of which only three pups had survived. Barney (as we named him later) was not thought to survive but survive he did – against all odds. That was 8 1/2 years ago.
When we picked him up he was thin and had a number of bald patches on his body but he was adorable and funny. We had no idea of the cruelty he must have lived through during his first 6 months but it must have been horrendous. It took a shorter time than we had expected for us to gain his trust, with the help of Charlie of course, but trying to get him out of the house was not so easy. Each time we had to carry him out, closing the door behind us so that he could not dart back in as soon as his legs hit the floor. Eventually the garden became just another safe haven for him but the sound of any children or Cypriot men from the other side of the fence got him in to total panic mode. To this day he will not pass children without getting as far away as the lead will allow and as fast as his legs will take him. But at least, and it’s only been fairly recently, he does not hide for hours when new people arrive at the house. When I say hide I mean putting his head into a plant or bush. His body and large tail are in plain sight but Barney doesn’t know that, bless him.
During the first 18 months his body grew to fit his ears. But he was in obvious pain when he walked which only grew worse. The vet agreed that he needed two separate operations to remove both hips due to dysplasia caused by past trauma. Whatever had happened to him had, and was continuing, to cause him great pain.
Both hips were operated on within six months of each other and each time Barney was an absolute star. Both operations did not go as straightforward as we had hoped and we spent many nights on the settee with him, cleaning infected wounds and giving him as much love as we could. Not once did Barney cry out, yelp or disagree with anything we had to do to him to help him heal. I could not believe it, most humans would have lashed out and hit the roof during the cleaning of the wound and the physio we had to perform.
Barney is now a ‘little’ overweight due to not being able to walk too far hi but other than that he is healthy, happy and a beautiful addition to our family. He also has very clean ears, eyes and nose thanks to Charlie.
Then came along the polar bear!
After moving to Spain we had discussed having a third dog but, for all the right reasons, we decided that it was not a great idea. Walking three dogs would be a problem and we are not getting any younger, money for food and vets bills was another consideration and we had the perfect pair already. Then I saw another advert! Note to self – stop reading adverts!
Eight Spanish Mastins X (supposedly) about 8 hours old had been found abandoned in the hills about an hour away from our cave. Within 24 hours only 2 had survived. The lovely couple that had taken these two home were looking for permanent homes as they already had 2 Alsatians. I decided it would do no harm to go and take a look at the pups who were now 4 weeks old. One pup was pure white with a brown nose and the other was white with a slight creamy tinge to his back and a jet black nose. Me being me, it was the pure white pup I was going to look at.
Within minutes of us arriving we fell in love with both pups. I have never known John to be as certain so quickly over anything but he wanted them both, there and then. The pure white pup was adorable but if I tell you he had been named Speedy, it may give you an insight into his behaviour. He sped everywhere, was into everything and was a puppy maniac. Adorable but truly a maniac. His brother had been named blacky due to the colour of his nose and, although still trying to run after his brother, appeared to be a little more calm. He was what I would call a normal pup, playful and inquisitive but not at 100 miles an hour like his brother. The couple had been told by the vets that they were a cross and would not be more than 30kg. We could manage that we thought but I was not happy with having both pups. I could sense trouble ahead if we did. The two dogs we already had were technically our set limit which we were breaking by having one of these pups so having both was a total over the top and breaking all the rules of sensibility.
After a while the the couple agreed that if we adopted one they would keep the other which made John a little happier about splitting the brothers up. We agreed to go back in 4 weeks once all the injections had been given and collect our new addition to the family.
We purchased a bed which we thought would be just the right size to keep him cosy and warm and help him feel secure. It was perfect for a couple of days! What we had not realised was how quickly Alfie (ex Blacky) would grow and did he grow, rapidly. With hindsight the paws gave him away. Within a few months we had realised that he was actually a full Spanish Mastin and they grew to approximately 90 kgs and are huge. He was already 30 kgs and he was growing by the day. Don’t get me wrong, if we had known this from the start we would have still chosen Alfie to be part of our home – yes we are mad but we had fallen for him and that’s when all common sense goes out the window.
Alfie is now 2 and he is my beautiful polar bear of some considerable size. He sleeps next to my bed, he snores like a man, (he lets out wind like one too), and he loves his walks. When I say walks I should say he loves taking us for a walk – where Alfie wants to go, you go, and he is an inquisitive beast.
Charlie and Barney were not keen on Alfie at all for quite a while which was seriously beginning to worry me as I wanted everyone to get on. Thankfully with time that changed but they are still wary of him and often have to move quickly out of the way when Alfie decides he is sitting down. He gets half way down and collapses so anything that happens to be underneath him gets squished, well and truly. My foot has often fallen victim to the weight of Alfie and once they are under him there is no getting them out. My grandchildren have called him the polar bear which is a perfect description of him really. He is huge, white and has black skin. It has been a while since I was at school but I think that describes a polar bear pretty well.
Alfie often comes home with tree trunks and large thick branches to throw around. It’s what he loves to do. At 6 months he decided to have a look at the pile of twigs we have conveniently added to our front patio. He had great fun with these twigs for quite awhile until we realised what he was doing. Alfie may have looked upon them as a pile of twigs but we called them something different. These ‘twigs’ made up our lovely and expensive outdoor cane furniture that we had purchased for those warm nights when we could sit and enjoy the sound of silence and be amazed at the amount of stars there were above our heads. Luckily, with the help of snippers, I managed to make the furniture a little less of the chewed look, and as it has weathered with time, it is not so noticeable as it was. But as we said, Alfie was being a normal huge dog and playing with the pile of sticks we lovingly left for him. Who could blame him. Gladly the teething period is now well and truly over and after purchasing many hardy large toys (on a regular basis as they still didn’t last very long) he is leaving the twigs alone. As I write this I am crossing my fingers hoping that he doesn’t remember how much fun it was tearing the twigs out of the pile. Bless him.
All three dogs are different from each other. Their personalities, their fur, their eating habits and their routines. Charlie is the one to look after you, Barney is the quiet one who loves to watch and Alfie is the bouncer of us all. And, although so different, they all fit perfectly into our lives. We would never be parted from any one of them. They are part of our family just as much as our children and grandchildren.
If you are considering having a dog, please stop thinking about it and just do it. They ask to be fed, watered and to be kept warm. That’s it. In return they will give you all the love you can handle and with the loyal companionship that a dog is born to give us humans. That will be your reward.
So our life in Spain is never boring. There is always someone to clean, brush and play with and we can never be short of love. Our boys would not allow it!
Is it me or does anyone else feel that 2020 is racing towards 2021 at great speed?
It is now a full 12 months since we opened our cave rentals, Cueves de La Paz (Caves of Peace), to guests. What a year that’s been!
Before we arrived in Spain we lived in Cyprus for 11 years where we had a modern rental property so we came here with a good basic knowledge to start us off – or so we thought! I knew the first year, (and probably the next two after that), would be a steep learning curve. We now know that the knowledge and wisdom we had gained in Cyprus was kind of useless to us here in caveland Spain.
Location – The apartment in Cyprus was close to several lovely beaches and had 180 degree sea views. It was located within a holiday hotspot. The apartment had two large bedrooms with spectacular views. Guests had use of a shared gym suan and a large shared pool with changing room, (being only a small apartment block the pool was often private). It was contemporary designed with a roomy feel. We were continually booked with UK guests looking for 7 to 14 days holiday accommodation each year.
Here in Spain, our cave rentals offer a completely different holiday. Caves provide quite an unusual experience, (you need to sleep in a cave to find out why). We have tried to keep a traditional Spanish feel to the interiors whilst adding all mod cons. As the caves are within the Altiplano area of the Granada province, the location has a completely different feel and provides a contrasting type of holiday. The area is not particularly a holiday hotspot especially for the UK market as Benidorm or Malaga may be…I could go on but I think you get my drift!
Advertising – In Cyprus we received all our bookings from Owners Direct but here in Spain this particular site appears to be fruitless (again, perhaps targeting the wrong holiday market). After trying several other companies we are finding that Booking.com gives us the majority of our bookings together with our own private advertising on facebook and blogs.
Amenities – In Cyprus the gym was very popular and was a booking incentive for many of our guests but not here in Spain. The cave gym has been ‘played with’ for a few minutes but not actually used as a gym. Guests were amused but not excited by the equipment. So, we have now decided to relocate the equipment to our own home, I’m not saying it will get any more use now but all the good intentions are there.
The swimming pool in Cyrus was well used by most of our guest for 6-7 months of the year. So, we have considered adding a swimming pool within the large garden area. However, with the diverse weather we have here on the Altiplano we feel that the weeks in the summer where the pool would be utilised to its full potential does not justify the cost of installation and upkeep and would not increase our sales to take theses costs into consideration. Instead we advertise the local village swimming pool which is minutes away and is one of the best in the area but, again due to the cool nights, it is only open from the end of June to the end of August.
Language – One of the main challenges we face, particularly with our guests is communication as the vast majority are Spanish citizens. We are both attending lessons and can now communicate on a basic level which is ok however, we intend to improve our Spanish with each guest we welcome to our caves. Our guests appear to appreciate that we do try which is great and we are thankful that they in turn try and help us as much as possible when explaining about jacuzzis and gas bottles!
Maintenance – The general repairs to caves can be totally different to houses and apartments for obvious reasons. A cave is a living thing, it needs air circulating around and caves especially need to be lived in. Ongoing maintenance is a must in most properties but without doubt one of the most important jobs when you have caves. This keeps me very busy and I can honestly say that I do not have smooth hands any more! Sorry John but that’s life!
But, the future is looking good – We have most certainly learnt a lot during the last 12 months and I know we have lots more to learn. However, I will say it has been fun (mostly😎). We have received wonderful reviews from our guests during the first year and had the honour of meeting many lovely people. The lovely comments we receive keep us moving forward knowing that we are getting most things right. Hopefully this will continue throughout 2020 as our diary begins to fill in. Watch this space.
We cannot say that life over the past weeks has been boring or uneventful. Far from it. I’ve only just stopped spinning.
We have now been living in Spain for 6 weeks, rented 4 different properties and made endless phone calls and appointments trying to get all our Spanish paperwork in order etc etc etc. We have even had problems with a large bank here in Spain who, in their wisdom, decided to block our account. Why? Well, the head office deemed Cyprus as a money laundering paradise and not bound by EU law! We had been living and working in Cyprus for the passed 12 years we have all our residency papers, tax registrations and sales contacts for our home and apartment which we sold so that we could move over to Spain. Nothing we sent them has so far unblocked our account. They know where our money has come from and what we are going to spend it on but …no.
It really does not matter in which country you live in, there is always endless red tape and silly errors made by all government departments and head offices. I think we have seen and dealt with them all (seems that way to us). Living in Cyprus we are used to things happening slowly and being far more complicated then is necessary but in Spain there seems to be another dimension to the mix. Government or local offices may start work at 0900 but at 1030 it’s breakfast at a local cafe, return at 1130 to finish for the day at 1400. That’s a good working day in anyone’s book.
So, where are we now on the cave front? Let me summarise. Originally we bought our dream cave in the Cueva de Luna area to reform into a wonderful living space. The cave named ‘Cueva de Limon’ is still there and looking just as grand and exciting.
Then our plans grew. As we had sold both of our properties in Cyprus sooner than we thought, we decided to buy a second cave where we could live whilst our original cave was being transformed. This second purchase would give us a base for the short term and, when we moved out and into our dream home, we could rent it out giving us a small and hopefully steady income. After a week of full on searching we found this second cave in the Rio de Baza area. However, over the past few weeks, this second cave has become more and more problematic. The owners, although wanting to sell, would not set a date for completion. Why, I can hear you ask? Pass! After 6 weeks of waiting we decided to cut our losses and restart the search for a new second property.
This time we raised our cash limit and widened our search. We looked at cortijos (farmhouses) and caves. But this time we wanted something fully reformed giving us little or no work to worry about. And then….. last Wednesday, with lots of help from Chris, I found the ideal cave in the Puente Arriba area of Benamaurel. It is larger, fully
Before shaded area had begun
renovated to a high standard, has 6 bedrooms at least, 4 bathrooms, half of the rooms are fully furnished (minus a washing machine) and lots of land and secret gardens full with beautiful grape vines. In fact we have approx 2.5 acres or 10,000 sqm of land around us. Much more cave for our money than the problematic cave – it was surely meant to be. Perfecto!
Today, exactly one week later, contracts have been exchanged and we are ready to move in. How good is that. Is this a record?
The other beauty of this cave is that it can be used as a large home or can easily be divided into two properties by locking a dividing door. Each side would have its own separate entrances (times 2), a separate driveway and its own outdoor areas. The only work that would be necessary to divide the cave into two would be to fit a second kitchen (pipes are already installed in one of the cave rooms). The rest is all there. One room is so large it could easily be decided into 2 bedrooms with one being en-suite if required. My only reservation in making this property into two rentals is that we may enjoy living here so much we will want to make it our forever home.
So, the plan for the near future – we are going to live and enjoy our time in this new cave
and make our decisions in the new year. (Yes Chris, your advice was duly noted). We have choices and can be flexible. That is what life is all about – being flexible and making decisions that are right for you.
Life can be tough but it can also be good. At the moment life is……sorry not going to tell you as I really don’t want to jinx it. It’s also called Sod’s law and I really don’t know Mr Sod but he needs a good strong talking to.
How we’ve survived the last few weeks I will never know. It has been seriously hard! Chris, my son, asked me how and what was so hard and I just couldn’t put into words why we felt that way! Perhaps it is our age, perhaps our health or perhaps we underestimated the energy we would need to move lock stock and barrel to a new country, again. Perhaps it was due to all three.
It all started with saying goodbye to some very good friends. We have been lucky to have a handful of people we could rely upon in Cyprus. The kind of friends that are there for you no mater what. We all know that true friends are like gold dust and we truly feel blessed. Bill and Sue, Dave and Doreen, Hercules and Effi, Gay, Christakis, just to name a few.
In the short time we had to prepare for our journey, we made detailed plans to ensure our move from Cyprus to Spain went as smooth as possible. However, plans can only be as good as the people involved. If those contracted to do a job or made promises to deliver don’t, then your plans have to be adjusted. Sometimes our plans got adjusted on a daily basis! We have been so disillusioned by others being money orientated, power mad or just plain devious. We are honest people and pay good money for a fair job – but it is not that straight forward sometimes, is it!
The only ‘plan’ that sailed through the process without hiccup or change was for the accommodation and transportation of our two dogs, Barney and Charlie. We went ahead of the boys by 11 days. Annie’s Animal Ark (Anne Parsons) made all the arrangements to get the boys over to Spain, resourced giant crates and kept us informed all the way. Her fee for the work she did was not just fair but brilliant. Then there was Tony and Gina Potter. Tony cares for visiting dogs in his own home and the boys simply love him. For us to leave the boys with Tony and know that they would truly have a great 11 day ‘holiday’ was such a relief. Charlie has one mission in life which is to clean everyone and is a fairly confident boy but Barney is, and always has been, a very fearful boy. Walking with Barney outside of his own safe domain can be a nightmare. God forbid if there is a parked car on the street that is not normally parked there. He would simply refuse to pass this highly dangerous situation and use all his strength to return to the safety of his domain. Being 38 kilos and having a strong front end (having 2 operations on his back hips made the front half a power pack), if Barney wants to go, you go to. This is all down to him having a bad start in life in Cyprus as a pup and we were very worried that he would not survive the journey but with Tony and Anne taking charge all went so much better than we could have imagined, Thank you so much to you both. You come highly recommended by us all.
We have now been in Spain for 2 weeks and each day we get closer to getting our paperwork and general life sorted. We will have our new car on Friday, (fully insured with a tracker fitted hopefully), which will allow us to return the hire car – hooray!; with a good wind we will be official residents of Baza when we get our Padron at the end of the week, (we need an address which is registered with Baza town hall and, as we could not use our first cave’s address as it is not yet registered with them, we were stumped. However, we should be proud owners of another two caves by the end of week which are registered); and we will have internet in the new caves within a week – now breathe.
If you recall one of the caves is fully reformed and is almost ready to move into. This will be our home until our original cave is complete. Once we are settled in we can work on the front area of the caves to transform it into an area of peace and tranquility with sun beds, hammocks and outside eating areas. The second cave next door is unreformed, but once complete, will provide us with an additional rental cave for anyone wishing to stay in a truly amazing area. These two caves will be known as Cueva de la Paz 1 and Cueva de la Paz 2. (Cave of Peace).
When the contracts for the new caves are signed (we are crossing fingers for the 3rd November) we will have 5 days to clean inside and organise any small repairs that are necessary before we have to move out of our rented cortijo (farmhouse). I then need to arrange for delivery of mattresses (bases are built in), a couple of chairs, microwave and bedding and we can move in. Our container from Cyprus should be arriving sometime after 9 November (we hope) so we should have a homely cave by then. More fun to look forward to! Chris is flying out hopefully on the 16th so it will be all hands on deck. Did I say he could have a holiday? I lied!
We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our future in Spain can begin and I will work hard to ensure we enjoy every minute. Hopefully the family can come over as often as their lives allow, which will be wonderful for me as I do miss them loads, and it will be something different for them. New experiences to share and enjoy.
I am ending this blog now as my Cerveza Limon is ready to be consumed. Enjoy, I know I will:-)
It’s happening. We have sold our two properties in Cyprus.
The sale of the house is going through ok after the many meetings and phone calls to get the house deeds amended. The one missing piece of paper actually arrived and has been approved, stamped and lodged with the correct department. That left us with the apartment still on the market. Until, on the day I was flying out to Spain to view other cave properties, I received a phone call to say an offer had been made on the the apartment. This offer was raised slightly and duly accepted by us both. Wonderful. My trip to Spain was starting off well.
In my last blog you may remember that we discussed whether to rent for 12 months in Spain whilst our own cave was reformed or whether to buy a second cave which was ready to move into immediately. The later would give us somewhere to live for the 12 months and, when we moved out, would provide us with a rental property which would give us a little income. Win, win.
Well, during my visit to Spain last week (with our great friend Dave Nelson), I found the perfect 3 bed cave for us to move into immediately and…..it has another 3 bed cave next door which just needs finishing off! Two large caves, 6 beds, 2 lounges, 2 kitchen, 2 bathrooms and a large expanse of outdoor space all for a great price of €83,000. The second cave even has stone steps that lead nowhere!!
The properties had been on the market for €135,000 but they had been reduced a matter of days before we arrived. A great deal of interest had already been received by the estate agents in the area and I was not to sure whether we would be the successful purchasers but…. we were. The phone call came from Sean at Spainish-Inland-Properties to confirm we were the proud owners, as I arrived back at Birmingham airport.
What a week that was. Thank you Dave Nelson for going through it all with me, sharing the ups and downs and wearing out shoe leather. I hope all the great tapas we endured went a little way towards compensation.
In less than 12 months we will have not one but two great and unusual rental properties. I am over the moon.
There may be a little work to do and a certain amount of planning of the outdoor spaces but that is going to be fun especially when we will be living there. Inside needs a coat of paint in certain areas and each room needs a good clean . The outside area of the new caves is quite extensive. Part of the area has trees which will need to be cut back and hedges that need to be taken out. We will need patio areas, stone tables and benches, hammocks, four poster sun beds….. and maybe a pool? We are undecided about that, (sorry Dave), as a pool is quite work intensive, expensive to run and maintain and is it really necessary? Jury is still out. We do have a few volunteers keen to help us get settled. Chris, Dave, Tracy… fancy putting your rubber gloves on?? Block you diaries for the second half of October!
But for now we have the hard work that only John and I can do. The planning, arranging, dealing with solicitors, packing and moving contents of a large house and 2 wonderful dogs to Spain. I will admit that it is all rather scary as we do not have a sales agreement for the house signed as yet – apparently that happens on the day of exchange which is to be 10 October. This all happens a few days before we are due to fly out of Cyprus on the 15 October.
As I write this update we have had a couple arrived to look at our two cars. Within 5 minutes they were sold and all within an hour of advertising them on Facebook. One has been taken away and the other we can keep until the 13 October! How good is that? Only John’s bike to go now. Help! So far everything has had perfect timing ….long may that continue.
Thank you for following our exciting journey and I hope you will continue with us all the way. x
We have a buyer for our house in Cyprus. Well, we have him on one condition and that one condition has proved to be a bit of a hurdle. It is a long story but to complete on the house we need to provide clear title deeds with no conditions. When we purchased the house we knew that we would need to give a corner of our land to the Pyrgos Council when and if (and it is a huge if) they decide to build a road down the side of our property. Our corner, as pictured and includes a huge fig tree and two fir trees, would become a 1/4 of a cul-de-sac. Fine. This road is very unlikely to be built but it needs to be recorded that if at such time…. etc etc etc. It has been a nightmare to sort out, what we thought was an easy process has turned out to be a little wrong and that is putting it mildly.
We had two options. 1. To build the 1/4 of the cul-de-sac ourselves or pay the local council an over the top amount of money so they have the funds to do it when and if. We asked our local Pyrgos council to accept the cash, which had been agreed by the main planning office, and they refused. This is not the norm so we have been told, as local councils will accept these offers as a matter of principle and because the main planning office has given their blessing. So why did they refuse us? Who knows, it’s all a secret.
We decided to go to plan B and look into building the cul-de-sac ourselves. Fine .. no problem at all and it would cost us less money. However, just before we went ahead we were told that the service companies would need to be consulted to where their pipes should be laid in our corner of the cul-de-sac. That is where it all fell apart. As the road has not been built, and the design of the proposed road keeps changing, the service companies (sewerage and electricity) would not be able to agree to where we should lay their pipes in this ‘may never be used’ cul-de-sac. Stalemate.
So, back to the next council meeting a month later to ask again for their help. The answer came back, yet again, no. We were at a loss. Why were they refusing us when it is apparently normal practise? This is when the sale should have fell through but as the maybe buyers really want our lovely home, at its rock bottom price, they are hanging on. We tried the council a third and last time but I added a begging letter with our request. The answer came back yes. At last we can move forward.
Yes, a move forward but Cypriot style… very slowly or “siga siga”. What should have taken a day has now gone into its second week because everyone is on holiday (Cyprus shuts down in August) but we are at the last hurdle and have been informed by our local Mukhtar that all is well and it is now being sorted. Our buyer is pleased and all systems are go – well almost – we still need the confirmation from the council in writing, and pay over a wadge of money. But, we must now begin to make our plans so as not be be left high and dry when we do receive the said letter. Notice I said ‘when’!
So we have to assume we have sold. What do we do know?
Our first consideration is where do we live for the six months that it will take to reform our cave in Spain. Do we rent in Spain? It is an option but we both believe that renting is dead money. Do we rent in the UK? Same thing applies with the additional costs of going backwards and forwards from the UK to Spain, hiring cars and accommodation every time I need to go over to speak to builders or architects.
Do we buy a caravan and park it on our land next to the cave? We would be on site which would make our lives so much easier. However, John will need to continue to work and with his ‘office’ and two large dogs, a caravan no matter how large, would not work for 6 months. A week or two yes! Our next thought was to buy a ready reformed cave to move into and then, when the time comes to move into our new home, we will have a property to rent out as a holiday home. There are beautiful reformed caves for €40,000 – €50,000 to be had. This option is our favourite. It will provide us with an income for relatively little money and money that would be invested in property rather than sitting in a bank. Here is just one example of the caves in the area.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This particular cave is finished to a high standard and is on the market for a little more but with a bit of negotiation you just never know. I really like this particular cave, it would look great with the right interior design, and I cannot wait to see it.
Another property is two in one. The first is a well appointed 3 bed cave ready to move in to (white building) with a second cave to the left (brown building) that needs a reform. All for around €40,000! You just cannot go wrong.
The area we are moving to, Cuevas de Luna (Caves of the Moon), is close to several conservation areas, Baza, Castril and of course the Sierra Nevada, and many popular and beautiful lakes, Negratin being within minutes drive of our area. With a little interior design we should have little problem in renting and, if family and friends want to come over, we will have somewhere for them to stay. Win win.
As I have said our buyers are in a hurry to move in to our home which makes it necessary for our ‘moving forward’ plans to be organised and ready to put into action at a moments notice. We need to view properties in Spain, so that if I find the perfect cave, we can begin the process of buying as soon as our house in Cyprus is safely off the market. That should happen in a week or two and then in and around October, we need to be out – only weeks away. So, I am flying to Spain on the 5 September to view 24 caves in the area ranging from ‘no work to be done’ to ‘little TLC needed’. By this time the house should be firmly secured in the sale.
I am very excited and freely admit to being totally scared. It is a new chapter in our lives and one that is, in the main, new to us. Caves and Spain. Saying that we have lived in Cyprus for 12 years now and Spain is very similar to Cyprus in the way things work so we are not going with our eyes closed. It is all very different to the UK, that we know.
Now we have made the decision to buy another property in Spain to move into, it makes the next consideration an easy one. What to take with us? We have a 5 bed house here in Cyprus. A 5 bed house will not go into a small 3 bed cave especially when most of the cave furniture will be built in. Seating and beds will all be concrete/brick based. However, now we are looking for a further property (or maybe two if the prices are right) we can afford to take everything with us to help furnish it/them. But that then leads to the problem of how to store some of our personal items and items we need for our own cave. Answer – buy a container. We can use our own container, instead of renting, to ship over and then have that container delivered to our cave. We will have the storage for now and for when we move in. It will be very useful, of that I am sure. I have a knack of filling empty spaces so my husband tells me!
The other huge consideration for us is our two rescue dogs.
Until very recently, for animals to fly from Cyprus to Spain, it entailed 2 flights. This has been a huge issue for us. Charlie (golden colour) would be OK – he would get over the ordeal quickly but we don’t think Barney (white and golden) would. He was seriously abused as a pup and was not expected to survive. Although now he is absolutely great and a wonderful placid pet within the safety of his own environment, due to his bad start in life, he has a few major issues. He has suffered two hip operations which have left him unable to walk too far and he is a nervous wreck of a dog. He is absolutely fine when there is no-one around or nothing unusual about. When I say unusual I mean a parked car that is not normally parked in our road or a child’s voice which can be heard in the distant garden or a man half a mile up the road walking towards us. He goes into major panic mode and drags us all the way home. Being a 38 kilo dog with a powerful front end, you don’t really have a choice, trust me.
So, Barney would be a problem with two flights. He would suffer, of that I am sure. However, good news. Cobalt have just announced that they are to start transporting animals on its flights. Hooray. This means that both dogs have to endure one flight from Larnaca to Madrid. The only downside is that they will have a 5 hour car journey from Madrid to the cave. That we can manage, as they will be with us and we can stop regularly on route, so it should not be as bad as it sounds. I am really pleased about this news from Cobalt. It has happened at just the right time for us. It makes the uprooting of our boys much easier and puts our minds more at ease.
So…. We have not yet completed on the house sale, I’ve booked flights to Spain to look for a second or possibly third property, I’ve reserved a container and organised how we are going to move our goods and pets over to Spain. All I need now is money!! Anyone willing to help out?
Friends have asked me, ‘How is the cave coming along?’ My honest answer is, ‘I really don’t know’. We are making progress albeit very slowly with tiny steps.
My latest trip to Spain was for a dual purpose. I needed to meet with the architect and builder to discuss alterations and extensions to the original plans we had been given when we purchased the cave but most importantly, to discuss the boundary of our land. If you recall from my previous posts the deeds for the cave still have the original map detailing the plot as it was back in the Flintstone days. Plots of land had been verbally exchanged, (farming land for extra scrub land), but nothing was put down in writing and no alterations had been made to the drawings. This apparently happens a lot in Spain and according to our solicitor – nothing to worry about. I sit here with crossed fingers! The new updated drawings would then be attached to the deeds of the cave to make everything clear and legal.
As the builder spoke no English, (but had most lovely eyes), and the architect very little, Matilda agreed to meet up and help out. Matilda will be overseeing the reform of the cave when we are in a position to begin.
The temperatures were in the late 30’s as we walked around outside the cave, but as we went inside the cave, the temperature dropped to a lovely 20 degrees. That is what cave life is all about. Cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
As we walked around it was getting more and more obvious that some of my plans for the reform would need to change. The builder was not happy with the idea of digging into the cave any further than had already been done which was rather disappointing. However, the lounge area that I had imagined to be on the left hand side of the cave was achievable pending planning permission. This is where we are hoping Matias, the architect, will be worth his money. Matias was born in the area and worked within the planning department until recently when he moved towards the coast. If anyone can get plans passed we are hoping he can.
The lounge area will be designed to appear as part of the cave apparently – I cannot wait to see the plans.
The urgency of the drawings to mark out the land has been put back slightly as the planning offices close during most of the month of August so it is unlikely that we can get anything finalised until September. Hey ho, so be it.
So yes, we have moved forward but….as I say, it does appear to be with tiny steps. But, as I always say, those tiny steps all add up and in this case add up to us living in a cave. The problem is that the older I get the less patient a person I am, especially when I have set my mind at something.
The second purpose for my trip to Spain was to give my granddaughter Megan a holiday. Megan has been revising none stop for her exams so I wanted to give her a break away (and for her to see the cave in person). Ryan (Megan’s twin) has also had exams but he had flown off to celebrate with friends on another Spanish island.
So, it was decided to have a girlie week with me, Megan and Sharon (Megan’s mom). We had a lovely 4 days near to the cave. I did all I could with the people I needed to see and we toured around the area visiting villages and shopping centres! We found a wonderful centre close to Granada which had every shop you could dream of in a surrounding that was second to none. It truly was amazing and one that I will certainly go back to. You could certainly make a day of it even if you don’t shop. The last 3 days of our trip we decided to move nearer to Malaga Airport as we had an extremely early flight home.
We chose a converted nunnery about 10km inland, which was a lovely spot in the mountains, but I must admit to feeling a little pleased that we had chosen the Granada area to live. When you are not so near to the coast you get great daytime temperatures, cooler nights and ….no humidity! Wonderful.
Now we wait for the drawings to be completed and continue to advertise the 5 bed house and 2 bed apartment in Cyprus. Spain awaits.
Here is another little video we made during our last visit. I cannot wait to show you a video when the work begins. It will be amazing – I hope.😉
How Do You Name A Cave? That is not an easy questions to answer!
Naming your cave is a necessity if it is located within the Campo, (countryside), in rural Spain like ours. There are no roads or streets only dirt tracks, and miles of them. Tracks that do not show up on any sat nav or map. Hence the quickest and easiest way the postman can identify you with your address is by naming your cave. Don’t get me wrong…. you will not get a delivery once a day or even once a week. Certainly not! You go to the local post office (which could actually be located in a butchers shop, tapas bar or a local business office) and sort through any post they may have. Apparently, I have been told that neighbours, (and I say that in the widest sense of the word), will be asked to pop the post round to you if they happen to be passing!
Our original idea for a name for our cave was a good one we thought , Cave of Dreams’. We came up with the name because the web site is called http://www.makingdreams.me. We truly believe that the cave will become our dream home and we are absolutely in love with the whole project. So…. It sounded just about right to us. Cueva de Suenos our cave of dreams. However, looking on the internet I found at least 3 caves in the same area with that exact name. We would be looking for trouble and lots of confusion too so… we had to rethink.
Lots of suggestions came up and cast away just as quickly. Then I thought about the style of the cave I was looking for. I want white, smooth, curvy walls, nothing straight, nothing rough and only white. How about ‘The White Cave’. Immediately I went back on the internet and found nothing in the area that was similar. Or….how about ‘Cave With A View’?
It certain does have a view all around and one that we love. This started the ball rolling, we had lots of thoughts for a name. Now comes the hard part, which name to choose and which name would be appropriate for our dream cave?
The White Cave – La Cueva Blanca.
Cave With A View – Cueva Con una Vista
Cave With Views – Cueva Con Vistas
Cave of Poppies – Cueva De Amapolas
Our Cave – Nuestra Cueva
Cave of Susanne – Cueva de Susana
I will let you know soon, but if you have any suggestions (clean ones please) get in touch. X
It was love at first sight. It was love over the Internet. I had seen the perfect home for John and I to ‘live out’ the rest of our lives.
Was it a villa with a pool? No, already got that in Cyprus.
Was it a farm house in Tuscany? No, France can be a little too cold and wet.
It’s a cave! Yes, a cave. Thankfully, John instantly fell in love too and that is quite surprising from a man who weighs up all the options a million times before committing to anything, (even going to the cinema).
We talked for hours about ‘what if’, ‘when’, ‘how’ and all the things you both need to work through when processing such an idea or project. After much debate and many many unanswered questions we both came to the same humungous decision – we both agreed we wanted to buy this particular cave. This is where it all began. We contacted the estate agent in Spain, made an offer and waited for a response back.