February came and we were thrilled about our holiday on Costa Tropical. Especially because it was really cold (minus some degrees) in Finland at the moment and we knew that it would be around +16 where we were going to. We had booked a villa in Salobrena, a few kilometres from Almunecar (a bigger city close by). My husband thought that the size of Salobrena would be just about right for us to be living in, so we had to check it out. Oh how nice it was to take a walk in the sun! The Spanish people wore jackets and long trousers and we had shorts and t-shirts. We must have looked like tourists;)Our villa was a few kilometres from the centre, really high above with some nice views to the old town and the sea. We had a heated pool and jacuzzi which were used a lot during our stay. We took a walk on the beach and in the centre. The beach was long, but somehow out of touch to the centre. We didn’t like the fact that there was kind of nothing between the centre and the beach. There were some shops in the centre, but not many. And there was a nice park for the kids. We actually never went to the old part of the town – we started concentrating more on Almunecar. Almunecar had it all. The beach, the promenade, the shops and restaurants close by the sea. We visited a bird park called Loro Sexi and there was a playground right next to it. The kids enjoyed playing without the thick overalls on them. We looked for bargains in the popular Friday market next to Mc Donald’s and dined in some nice restaurants. Our all time favourite was a Chinese restaurant on the beach Puerta del Mar. There was also a cafe where we enjoyed some mouth-watering ice-creams time and again. As we went back to Finland we didn’t know where we should move. We thought Almunecar was our best option, but decided to book a hotel close to the next town called La Herradura for June. When we moved to Spain in June, we were first living in a hotel called Best Alcazar, quite near la Herradura. La Herradura is smaller and more quiet than Almunecar. At least during the summer months the beach isn’t too crowded like it might be in Almunecar. There is no bigger food store, so if we decided to live there, we’d have to do our groceries in Almunecar. There is a nice big playground for the kids and an Italian restaurant with some delicious, cheap pizzas. La Herradura has this nostalgic small town feeling that I like.
So the hotel was a bit crowded for us and our suitcases to be living in for the long haul, let alone the price. We had to start looking for a rental flat/house right away. We started asking around in the rental agencies in Almunecar. The first thing that the realtors always told us was that it’d be almost impossible to find rentals during this time of the year, because all the landlords are renting short-term for the summer for a much higher price than for the winter. So there weren’t many options to choose from, even though we must have been to a dozen agencies.
We had a look at some nice rental houses in Los Pinos, a residential area around one kilometre from the town, high above on the hills. It was really quiet there though, so we weren’t sure of how many kids there’d be around…and if it was a ghost town in the winter. The views and the pool areas were really nice and the price was around 700 a month. We also had a look at two flats (block of flats), the first one was near Mc Donald’s and the second one near the beach and the school in San Cristobal. Both were ok, they had communal pools (used in the summer) and the prize was around 500 a month. Of course a house would be nicer than a flat, but the location on these two flats was a plus. Then we almost had a look at a nice house somewhere in Almunecar, the emphasis being on almost, because the landlord cancelled the offer to rent it on the last minute. By that time we were really fed up with living in a hotel, so we decided to go for the flat in San Cristobal. We agreed to rent for 11 months. If we then decided to stay for a longer time, we could start thinking about buying a house of our own.
Now we have been living in this apartment for almost three months. Luna has made some friends and likes to hang around with them in the backyard. They even play at nights, our doorbell usually rings around 10 o’clock in the evening. The pity is that these kids are here only during the summer and then they go back to Granada (a bigger city around a 100 kilometres from here) where they go to school. I have no idea how many of the people in this block of flats do the same, only spend the summer here. Hopefully we won’t be the only ones living here in the winter. The sea breeze is nice – we only have to open the windows to feel it. We can even see the sea from our bedroom window. On the other side (balcony side) there is Luna’s (and maybe Isla’s) future school, so no need to walk the kids to the school. The people in the building have been friendly, even though most of them don’t speak English. All in all I think we have adjusted well to our everyday surroundings.