March 24, 2015: Cañar

We are finally living in Spain!!  It is so hard to believe.  This morning (well, really this afternoon) we awoke in Cañar, Andalucia, España and this is where we live.  We really cannot believe it.

It was just after noon when we woke up.  We were so tired last night, we just slept and slept.  We really needed that.

We started today by exploring the house now that there is light.  We figured out how to make coffee and how to get up to the terrace which was breathtaking.  There is a door from the kitchen that leads to metal stairs that takes you up to the terrace which is on top of the kitchen.  The views are just amazing.  We can see the entire valley with Orgiva from there plus we have views of the mountain behind us, the village, the plaza and most of the region with only our view to the west being obscured.  We took a lot of pictures while we were up there.

Dominica made bread with butter for the girls.  They are both very excited to be here.  They love the house.  Liesl is just bubbling with excitement.

I went to the market at one to see what they have.  The market is right next door to us, just step out the front door and go in the door directly to our right.  So easy.

The market is tiny, just one room with shelves on the walls and a single freezer in the middle of the floor.  The whole place is only maybe twice the size of our lounge in our house.  I was able to find the basics.  I got yoghurt in sweet and strawberry flavours, mayonaisse, fresh bread, two frozen cheese pizzas and chocolate milk!  It was a good haul of food.  And cheap too.

The market closed for siesta at one thirty.  Something to get used to.  You really have to get up and get shopping if you want to have any food.

We mostly relaxed in the middle of the afternoon.  I did some work, we did some setup around the house, the girls played all over the place.  They played in the kitchen some and they set up with a movie on DVD on the television in the lounge and played with their toys in there.  They were very happy.

Dominica tried taking a shower today and had a very rough time of it.  She is not good at the finesse necessary to use a small, curtain enclosed European shower.  She had the pressure too high and it blew out the curtain and she kept turning the water off by accident when she would turn around.  She made a bit of a water mess in the bathroom.

Around five we went out for a walk to explore town for a bit.  I walked Dominica and the girls around to the places that I had found while dealing with the car last night.  Dominica did not even know where the car was since I had to go park it on my own.  I showed her where the bar was that I wanted to try tonight, where the kids’ playground was and then we hiked up to the top of town where there were some amazing views and a little stream that runs down into town.  It was good exercise walking up there.

I had to get back to the house at six as that is when the day starts in California and I have my “morning” meeting.  While I was doing that Dominica took the girls to the playground for twenty or thirty minutes.  They had a lot of fun and came back and told me all about it.

Luciana asked to take a bath this evening.  There is a bath tub as well as a shower here so she was able to take a normal bath and that kept her happy.  If I owned this house the first thing that I would do would be to remove both and replace them with a single, nice shower and bath combo unit, more like we have in the States.  There is room to do it and it would make the whole house so much nicer.  A relatively minor construction project that would take the house from generally quirky and slight difficult to manage to modern and super comfortable and convenient.  I would actually open up the bathroom a little too making it just a few inches more spacious while adding functionality.  I can’t imagine that people want to shower and take a bath with two people at the same time as it is, so not sure if there would be any negative at all to the project.

The kitchen in the house is awesome.  They completely redid the kitchen and it is completely modern with brand new everything.  What is really awesome, though, is that everything is done in a very old, classic 1950s European style so it looks like a brand new kitchen from sixty or seventy years ago.  There is a fridge, freezer and even a dishwasher all hidden behind old fashioned looking facades.  All of the drawers and cupboards look old but have modern fittings and have the “soft touch to close” feature that is popular now in many American kitchens.

My second update to the house would be running Ethernet, obviously, to major rooms and getting more wireless access points, including an outdoor one up on the terrace that would let me use my WiFi anywhere outside and even out in the plaza. That would be super easy to do.

Other than those minor changes, the house is really awesome.  We could totally live long term in a house like this.

I worked for a few more hours and then around eight thirty I took a shower while Dominica got the girls ready and at just past nine we went to the Menos Rural Los Ángeles Bar just a few doors on from us.  The girls asked if we had to drive somewhere for dinner.  They were pretty surprised when we didn’t even walk halfway to the car.

It was a bit of a challenge ordering dinner.  We had been expecting a normal tapas bar which would have been a bit more straightforward.  This was not.  We got menus which had no tapas and there was only us eating and two guys sitting at the bar.  Not quite what we were expecting.

We ordered two raciones, one tortilla españa and one plato de queso and we ordered two glasses of wine, we though.  Wine, however, was not by the glass but by the bottle.  This confused us, partially because we had assumed that the prices in the menu were glasses and partially because nothing was explained.  When a full bottle of wine arrived we were pretty afraid that we had ordered incorrectly and that we were getting a bottle of wine that was priced at ten Euros per glass!  This could have easily gone from a small evening out to a hundred dollar dinner.  That was a little scary.

The wine was excellent, a local rioja.  After a little bit they brought out a large plat for ensalada rusa, one of our favourite southern European foods.  It was delicious.  We could not convince either of the girls to try it, however.  They were content just colouring for a while.

Then out came our large orders of local sliced cheese with bread (queso con pan) and our Spanish style tortilla (tortilla Española) both of which were excellent.  We really enjoyed all of the food and the wine.  And it was great views down over Orgiva.  We are loving the local cuisine.

The moment of truth came when I asked for the bill.  We were really worried that it was going to be at least eighty Euros and more than we had cash on hand to cover.  But the total ended up being just twenty five Euros total!!  We were so relieved.  Not just because we had plenty of money for that, but also that eating in town is going to be cheap.  The ensalada rusa was the traditional free tapas that comes when you buy wine here.  So while not nearly as cheap as we have heard that tapas can be, we got an excellent bottle of wine (a full bottle!) plus a tapas (or more, that seemed like maybe it was a racion) with it for ten Euros.  That’s very cheap.

What we got was more than enough wine for the two of us, Dominica was tipsy from her portion, and enough food for the four of us!  Not bad at all.  We can go out to eat all that we want with it being that cheap.  Might not normally get a full bottle of wine, though, that is a bit excessive.  Maybe the other bar in town has wine by the glass.  Next time we come here we might try the local beer instead.  it is made in Granada.

We walked home and the girls played for a while.  It was probably ten thirty when we got back.  I spent much of the evening working on getting pictures uploaded to Flickr. We are having a lot of struggles getting things to post.  Our Internet has been mostly solid, although the DNS failed this morning but once we figured out to switch to Google’s DNS servers everything has been fine.  I have lots of pictures taken with the Nikon AW100 that we have with us that I wanted to get posted tonight before going to bed and I wanted to be pretty much caught up with SGL updates too before turning in.  It is hard enough to keep up with us even if all of our media channels are updated.  So I am making that a priority.

It was about one in the morning when I got to bed, but all of our current pictures have posted at this point.  Took probably sixty or seventy pictures today and two videos that are up on YouTube.  We might have the Internet speed increased soon, this is pretty tough to deal with.

With needing to sleep in so late today was a very short day for us.  But after our first real day in Cañar we are both so excited.  All four of us love it here.  We love the house that we are renting and we love the village and the views and the region is just amazing.  This was a truly remarkable choice for our first time really living in Europe and while there were and will continue to be struggles this was a great choice for not having an unbearable number of factors to contend with.  Most things have been pretty easy to deal with.

We are extremely happy with our decision to come here.  This is turning out really well.