Monday, 12 November 2007
Let me cast my mind back, it’s been a hectic but very good couple of months over here with more local fiestas (they know how to party here!) and lots more mountain bike adventures. The kids went back to school after a whopping 3 month summer holiday and the Sunshine Breaks Movie Collection on Youtube has grown again (see below).
September kicked off with a visit from Chris & Anita. Mary was on hand to ensure they had a great time as they explored Las Alpujarras for a few days. Apparently they’re not bad Monopoly players either (according to our 6 year old!).
Next to visit Casa Escocia were Lynne & Tanya who were having a good look around the area and hoping to find a perfect spot to buy a holiday home. We hope you found something of interest and glad you enjoyed the walk back from Valor!! Then some Spanish guests Carman and Miguel stayed at Casa Escocia whilst visiting the area for the fiesta down in Valor.
I unfortunately missed these guests as I was back in Bonnie Scotland on other business but I did manage to purchase another six mountain bikes to add to the fleet at Casa Escocia. I bought Specialised Hardrocks in a range of sizes. These are great solid all rounders and anyone coming over for a bit of cross country and downhill fun can be assured of a decent ride on the Sunshine Breaks hire bikes. We have a good selection now between these and the other bikes we already had.
We then had a busy week or two with guests from England, Australia, Russia and Scotland.
Mark from Edinburgh joined us for a night as he toured his way around Andalucia on his BMW motorbike. Then Doug & Jon came to do some mountain biking. Both managed to scrape a bit of Alpujarran dirt although Doug does have a Spanish bee to use as an excuse for his impersonation of Superman in flight!
Arthur and Ola then became the first Russian guests to stay at Casa Escocia. They too were touring Andalucia although they opted for a four wheel vehicle. Next to visit were another couple over to do a spot of mountain biking. Adrian from Australia & Laura from London enjoyed a bit of downhill action from Casa Escocia. There was no holding Laura back by the end of the day!
It was great to meet all of you and hopefully we’ll see some of you again over here at Casa Escocia.
Then the Stevensons, Philipsons and big Sam arrived and a full on week entailed. Mountain biking, walking, wine tasting, the beach and a good old sampling of the local tapas were all part of the festivities partaken. The new bikes were given a good test as I headed out with the motley crew who were joined by locals Iain and Jane. We drove up to the Puerto de la Ragua (thanks Phil & Karen) and made our way back to Casa Escocia via the route in the Sunshine Breaks Mountain Biking in Traditional Spain video on youtube.
With the movie in mind some of the above demanded a role in our latest movie venture Follow the Dog which stars Storm the dog as he shows the route through the village up to Casa Escocia. It takes away the surprise for guests as they negotiate the narrow streets of traditional Spanish villages but I’m sure you’ll agree Storm plays his part well!!
It was great to see you all again and it was a fun week as usual.
Next to visit for a second time were Andy & Jen who this time brought their latest arrival in the form of their baby daughter Aimée. They had a great week and fairly got around the region visiting Granada, Almeria, Berja and Adra to name but a few places.
Cliff kept the adventurous side of things going as he headed out Gorge Walking with some visitors who headed up to the mountains from their home down the coast.
Mary’s menu in September & October included locally grown aubergines, chestnuts, almonds, walnuts, mandarins. Dish of the month for September was Mary’s Moussaka and October saw a delicious chocolate mousse with crushed walnut topping hit the tables at Casa Escocia.
Casa Escocia is the Sunshine Breaks Mountain B&B.
Sunday, 16 September 2007
It was nice to meet Mary, Mike & Toby our first guests of the month. A friendly family with an interesting variety of career choices!! Hope the new challenge is going well Mary and glad you were able to have a relaxing time at Casa Escocia.
Next out to the Mountain B&B were the Tyrers. They made great use of their week to get out and about the area, cramming in a lot of activities in a short space of time. Wadge was keen to get out on the mountain bikes and joined me on a couple of high altitude route finding missions. These were hard work but great fun. Horse riding was next on the agenda for the Tyrers and Wadge and Carola thoroughly enjoyed a day out in the high Alpujarras with our local stables. Half way through this week they were joined by the Duffys and despite Bob's best efforts the house next door is still standing!!
Everyone enjoyed the Nechite Fiesta and all the kids loved the latest foam party to hit Las Alpujarras. Our high living neighbour Ian joined myself and Bob for some more mountain biking and a great loop from Mecina Bombaron took us over some high tracks before a few thousand feet of downhill brought us back to Casa Escocia. Both Ian and Bob are more used to bikes with engines and despite Bob insisting he wouldn't have agreed to go out had he known about the uphill I know secretly he loved the 14km uphill start!!
Meena, Mehul & Zeeta were our next guests and they had a great time driving around the area and enjoying the cooler temperatures of the mountains. It was great to meet you and you know where we are now if it gets too hot down on the coast!
Virendra, Rita, Rahul and Harsh had a brief stop at Casa Escocia on their tour of the south of Spain. Another family who made use of the nearby stables to sample some adventure in Las Alpujarras.
On the business front, Cliff Lowther and his company RoXcool have joined forces with Sunshine Breaks to offer lots more adventure options for anyone coming out to Granada. Rob & Cliff were able to get out the mountain bikes and make plans for a huge variety of activities in the Granada region ... watch this space!!
Mary's menu in August included dishes with locally grown tomatoes, figs, nectarines and onions which are all in season at the moment. Dish of the month as voted by those that devoured it was Marys fig and lemon pie!
All in all a great month ... hasta luego.
Casa Escocia is the Sunshine Breaks Mountain B&B ... www.sunshinebreaks.com
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
Monday, 27 August 2007
I grew up in a big family so I've been cooking for a long time. I learned to make spaghetti bolognese when I was about nine.
I generally make them up as I go along although I do get some ideas from the internet and various cook books.
I do make a fine Lasagne.
Chicken curry, if I had to choose just one thing to eat for the rest of my life, that would be it!
At the local market. Sometimes my neighbour gives me stuff from his garden. He grows everything and spends half his life in there, a proper old fashioned local Alpujarran man who is self sufficient.
No, I use my own imagination to to make whatever is suitable as things are seasonal.
I once made a cheesecake that didn;t set. It looked great but when the guests cut into it, it all fell apart! Still tasted great though!
Very, I try and cook new things everyday. I copy things if I see something nice and if I don't have the ingredients I just add my own and try it.
Yes, I do like watching chefs under pressure and seeing what they come up with.
Gordon Ramsey, he's just so passionate and full on. He's good at what he does, has character and is a great entertainer!
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ... and so on!
Seafood Paella, I love it.
Lasagne, Rob & one of the other guys who lives near us are going out on their mountain bikes so they'll need a good carbo load when they get in. Lasagne always goes down well.
Always use fresh ingredients, allow time to prepare, plan ahead and always ensure you have good wine to accompany it!
Tuesday, 7 August 2007
Then it was off to Granada city for me and a week of intensive Spanish lessons at the Escuela Montalban. This was a fantastic place and if you are thinking about learning the language then I can highly recommend this school. They run intensive courses for whatever standard your language is at. I only had time for a one week course but at least now I'm fluent (I wish!!). Thanks to Jose, a great teacher and despite my complete lack of anything resembling the native tongue I was able to communicate enough to share a few stories, have a good laugh and actually learn and improve my Spanish. The set up at the school is very relaxed yet the lessons are intense and you progress very quickly. They can also arrange a choice of accommodation for you to stay in.
Back at Casa Escocia we welcomed the Disher family to our humble abode. Pauline, Tommy and the kids had a brilliant time and we all enjoyed their company. The choose a great time to visit as the 21st Cultural Fiesta was on in Valor. This is a week of theatre, music, sport and the infamous Foam Party! A few extracts of the foam party were caught on camera and put on the new Sunshine Breaks Video Collection on Youtube. Click on the link and watch for the particularly good aim that young Grant has as he got his mother Pauline right on the nose!!
Sunday, 5 August 2007
Initially the track takes you uphill for about 15 minutes and normally I just cruise up this but I was thinking that Simon may have turned from Lance into Steve Peat now that the road had turned into a dirt track and I really pushed it, hoping to see him in front of me every corner I turned. I climbed to over 7000 ft and reached a great spot which allowed me interrupted views of the mountains running all the way down to the Med. This is also where the first downhill section of the route begins. Still no sign of Simon. "Bloody hell", I thought, he must be really going for it. I pushed on as fast as I could, slowing only for the sharp turns. As I turned one bend I caught sight of two foxes playing on the track in front of me. At least they were playing until they spotted me, at which point they scurried off sharpish into the trees next to the track.
I kept my pace fairly high just in case a third one was waiting for me and this was some kind of wild boar ambush tactic. Thankfully they didn't have me on their menu and it wasn't too long before I was back on my bike and heading for the safety of Casa Escocia.
I have done the next part of the journey many times now and every time it just gets better. From the summit of Alto de San Juan there is almost 6000 feet of full on downhill fun. There are several different options but all of them involve a rapid descent which even the fearless aforementioned cartoon hero would get a buzz out of. Steep tracks, winding bends, loose gravel, rocks, dips, culverts are all taken in top gear as you literally go as fast as your body and mind will allow you to go and you're always hoping that your brakes will kick in when you need them as the slopes here have rather large drops off the sides.