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The Andalusian Mania
This is part 2 of The Andalusian Mania..
2. Hola Spain
From Denmark To Spain
Whether our departure from Denmark and our arrival at Malaga airport was some kind of clue of what our new life would be like, I will leave unanswered for the time being. I will however confess that the thought occurred to me several times during the first few weeks in Torrox Pueblo.
We drove from Jutland to Copenhagen in our old Skoda "Amanda" which we had sold to a man in Copenhagen. He was going to pick it up at the airport. Already on the island of Fyn, Amanda refused to start after a breakfast break at a motorway cafe, so we had to push it. I think the starter motor had gone which meant that we dared not stop again, until we reached the airport in Copenhagen, even though some of us had an unbearable urge to visit a certain small room. We had a flight to catch!
In the car our black cat, Viktor, was fighting to resist the impact of the sedatives, prescribed by the vet for a peaceful journey. He turned the whites of his eyes, while he moved around restlessly. First, he wanted to lie on my lap, then on the lap of my daughter and two minutes later, he crawled into the driver's seat, just to repeat the whole performance over and over again. Would he go to sleep? No way!
We reached Copenhagen airport and kept the motor running, while the car deal was handled. The new owner was instructed not to turn off the engine, before he reached a garage. Phew!
Wildly stressed we found the check-in desk and handed over the luggage and a now almost dormant Viktor in his crate with a "See you in Spain".
In spite of the fact that we had planned everything you can possible plan before taking off - the chaos and the hectic atmosphere seemed to continue as soon as we sat foot on Spanish soil. After an exhausting search for a luggage cart, we arrived at the conveyor belt just to discover that we had to compeet with a British Football Team for space to pick up our luggage. A battle that seemed predetermined. In the middle of everything we heard some heartbreaking sounds and saw Victors crane passing by among the luggage on the conveyor belt. I quickly released him from the box and onto my arm, where he loudly expressed his trials all the way out of Malaga airport.
There we were, 14 hours after we left our Danish home forever, outside Malaga airport - feeling the warm Spanish evening air and the gasoline fumes, while waiting for the pre-booked private taxi that should bring us "home" to our rented house approx. 50 km east of Malaga.
A Danish Cat Moves To Spain
Torrox | Malaga | Spain
Torrox by Midnight
It was close to midnight, when we finally after months ... no an eternity of waiting, drove into Torrox Pueblo and saw the sign that advertised "The Best Climate in Europe" and all the narrow, winding streets with tall white houses, green wooden blinds and roof terraces and a rich flora of palms, bourgonville and citrus trees.
We were dropped off about 100 meters from our new "casa", since the road was so narrow that no car could drive up there. My parents, both approaching their seventies, were eagerly moving along up the extremely steep and winding "bicycle route" between the houses and after much huffing and puffing getting the luggage up, we were suddenly faced with "Calle Cebadillas Baja 7" - our new home in Southern Spain.
The first floor was majestic with two whitewashed arches in the living room and access to a closed patio in the middle of the house. My parents were happy to show us the house and they immediately discovered that a copper pipe had been installed from the water gas heater in the patio and all the way into the kitchen. Yes! We had had hot water installed in the kitchen while my parents had been away.
The excitement didn't last long though, because the electricity was not fixed as promised. It should have been upgraded, so the several hundred year old house could accommodate an electric water heater for me and my daughter’s apartment upstairs, a washing machine, a dishwasher and the individual needs of 4 Northern Europeans for computers, televisions and electric toothbrushes.
Certainly, there was a new pipe from the old water heater to the kitchen, but it had no effect, as there was absolutely no pressure on the water. It took more than 15 minutes before the first drops of hot water dripped down the kitchen sink.
We were exhausted and decided that a good night's sleep would enable us to get on top of the situation!
View From Torrox Roof Terrace
Learn to speak Spanish
Hot Water & Electricity?
We arrived late one Saturday night and our removal van from Denmark was to arrive on Wednesday morning. Until then we had to manage with what was already in the house.
There were some furniture, most of it flee-market-standard, and a few kitchen tools, but there were hardly any hot water. My daughter and I had no water heater - as promised and on the lower floor, where my parents lived, only the barely working old water heater.
The day after we arrived, we were introduced to our Spanish landlord; Salvador. He arrived with his wife and showed of the copper pipe with pride. We tried to show him that in fact there were very little hot water coming out of the tap, but his enthusiasm about the long copper pipe knew no end.
As Salvador did not speak neither Danish nor English and we did not speak Spanish, we agreed to postpone the chat about the hot water and electricity until we got hold of an interpretator.
Despite the practical annoyances we had finally come to Andalucia , and we enjoyed the warm and wonderful views from our rooftop terrace, where we could see the pueblo, the mountains, the sea and a pale glimpse of the outline of Africa.
We also enjoyed to eat a late three-course dinner at the local village square, under the citrus trees in the velvet warm darkness at the incredible price of 6 Euro per. person - mind you, with drinks! (2001)
Torrox Plaza By Night
Moving in the Heat
Wednesday arrived and so did our three local English movers. Since it was impossible to drive up to the house and also quite impossible to park near the house, while we onloaded, we chose to empty the removal van on the mountain road above the house and then carry it all down the steep hill. It sounded easy and we figured that it probably would take 1 to 4 hours in total. There just happened to be one single factor that we had forgotten to take into consideration; the heat!
It was not so bad to carry a heavy box or a piece of furniture down the slope, that was okay, but the poor movers had to climb 100 meters up the fairly steep slope in the blazing sun . . and it was about to kill them. They could handle about 3 trips up and down the mountain, then they had to have a drink and a break in the shade.
10 hours and 90 boxes later, the movers left with our piano in their van. The piano had to wait to the next day and it was certainly not going to come down the bank.
The Andalusian Mania
This is part 2 of The Andalusian Mania..
2. Hola Spain
The Concept of Mañana
During the chaos of moving, our landlord arrived with a translator and an electrician. We understood from the interpreter that Salvador did not believe it was all that important with all that electricity we probably only needed, because of our "obsolete" electric machines and computers.
The electrician went through the house quickly and declared virtually all installations for unlawful and dangerous. We explained to Salvador, that he would not be paid rent, before we had a house with electricity and hot water. That he understood .
What we only gradually came to understand was what "rewiring" meant. The entire electric system in the house had to be re-done. All the cables in the walls from the ground floor to the rooftop, which meant that somebody had to cut with a chisel into the walls.
Salvador promised the work would be done by three men in three days and the electrician promised to install wiring, electric water heater and ground connector to the washer on the following three days. Overall the inconvenience would only take 6 days and then we would have a house that worked. We just had to cover our furniture and the things we had already unpacked.
"Rewiring" meant noice, dust, mess, wet cement and loads of work. How much work we were fortunately quite unaware of at the time, just as we were blissfully ignorant about the value of Spanish agreements and the concept of "mañana".