Whilst on holiday in July with our good friend Deborah, who lives in Torreguadiaro, we asked Matthew, who we met last year, to let us have a look at a cross section of properties and areas. Matthew had only recently started his own estate agency, so initially he was excited at the prospect, however we quickly made it clear to him that we were only having a tentative look this year with a view to buying next year - the pound signs (perhaps I should say euros) that were dancing in front of his eyes stood still! However give him his due he spent several hours with us driving us from property to property.
Property number four is what we now affectionately call "Casa Sondra" and we immediately fell in love with it. My Dad was known as Sonny and my Mum was called Sandra - hence our choice of name. The minstrel balcony bedroom, lemon tree, grape vine, views to die for, enormous outside living with two terraces off the upstairs bedroom and extensive patio area at the front and side of the house - more than ticked the boxes. Much to the children's delight a fabulous communal pool which is open all year round and does not close for siesta, coupled with an enormous play area.
The house is so interesting and has so much character, on two and a half different levels, taking in two bedrooms, two bathrooms, utility room, open plan kitchen, dining room and lounge with huge open fire for the chillier winter evenings - even that is appealing in this lovely property. When we decided to buy in Spain we knew we didn't want a new apartment, we wanted a typical whitewashed property of character with terracota roof tiles.
One of the large pictures as you come through arrivals at Malaga airport is the white village of Casares, and strangely enough I commented on it this year as we came through, and our house is in Bahia de Casares, in Casares Costa, which is the best of both worlds as we have all the character of the white village but are only five minutes from the beach. Talking of the beach, like lots of others it has it's very own Chiringuto - tried and tested - yummee!!
The look on Alasdair's face as he surveyed the scene from the garden told me that he was seriously excited, then the icing on the cake was the sound of hens in the garden next door - we'd found a property which we loved the interior of, had views beyond our wildest dreams, five minutes from the beach and from the shopping area. It is so convenient however appeared to be in the country.
Dealing with the formalities of buying in Spain proved to be a very steep learning curve. We were recommended a lovely lady lawyer - she is French and has both a French and Spanish law degree, along side a degree in English Literature. She queued with us for an hour and a half the morning we were leaving for home so that we could get our NIE number, and has held our hand during the rest of the process - albeit by email.
We are looking forward to our next visit when we will give "Casa Sondra" a little bit of tlc in the form of some whitewash and a general clean up. Our other holiday home is in Stornoway, an island on the west coast of Scotland where whitewashing is very much against the elements of the severe weather conditions - I'd much rather put my bikini on and have the whitewash dry as soon as it hits the walls.
We hope others can enjoy our home in the sun whilst we prepare to enjoy it long term. What is the difference between holidaying in Stornoway and Spain - 30 degrees! What will be miss about holidaying in Stornoway - old friendships. What are we looking forward to in Spain - new friendships.