Euro Tour Guide… What’s On?

If you want to know what events, fiestas and entertainment is available across the Costa Blanca then our friends at Euro Tour Guide are experts on events and tourism for the area.

Euro Tour Guide Logo

» Euro Tour Guide : They have an excellent website, video guides, events calendar and books. Their website is well worth subscribing to if you want to get more from your time on the Costa Blanca.

 

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has been linked with good health, including a healthier heart. A Mediterranean diet incorporates the traditional healthy living habits of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including France, Greece, Italy and Spain.

It was awarded the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity designation in 2010 because it is much more than just healthy food, and because it has been consolidated as culture that promotes social interaction, respect for the land and biodiversity, and preservation of traditional and craft activities connected with agriculture and fishing.

In general, it is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods and a lot of seasoning and spices. It is usually consumed with wine, water or infusions. The UNESCO mentions Soria, in Castile-León, as a clear example of a city that is committed to the Mediterranean diet, even though it can be enjoyed all over Spain.

The Food Is Really Fresh

You won’t need to roam the frozen food aisles for the Med diet…. like the locals hit the bi-weekly markets for fresh seasonal food and keep it simple & mouth-watering such as salads, soups and stews. The Med diet in general is no-fuss and family food. You can build a yummy salad from market garden spinach, spring onions, asparagus, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Add classic Med’ ingredients like olives and local cheeses or cured hams or make a fresh cold soup such as Gazpacho.

Tapas

The Mediterrean Diet - Tapas!

The Greeks have meze, Spain has tapas! We love ’em! A tapa is an appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine and translates to small portion of food usually to accompany a drink in a bar. You’ll find dedicated tapas bars all over Spain but Andalucia is famous for them. Tapas may be cold or hot. In some bars and restaurants in Spain, tapas have evolved into a more sophisticated cuisine. Many tapas are often combined to make a full meal. Some of our favourites are Tortilla, Serrano Ham, Manchego cheese, grilled asparagus, chorizo in red wine, olives, Pinchos (small open sandwiches) and of course Patatas Bravos! And the garlic dip Ali-Oli served with fresh bread is pretty much the law in this area.

Olive Oil

Healthy Meditterraen DietYou cannot have a Med Diet without Olive oil, a good green virgin type is a must. It’s healthy than other oils or fats.

It is extracted from olives, the fruit of the olive tree which, together with wheat and vines, makes up the triad of Mediterranean plants.

The oil composition of this fruit varies, depending on the type of olive, the soil, the climate and how it is grown. Olives are composed of about 30% oil. All olives can produce excellent virgin oils, each with their particular characteristics. They need to be picked carefully and they must be processed the same day they are harvested. Olive oil has exceptional properties for human health and its consumption is essential in most of the culinary creations made nowadays in Mediterranean countries.

Saffron

Saffron is a deeply rooted condiment, both economically and culturally, in many parts od Spain, traditionally used in Paella. It should not be considered just another agricultural product, rather part of the historic and cultural patrimony of the region that must be protected and preserved. It has enjoyed a Protected Denomination of Origin since 17 March 2001.

This plant was introduced to Spain by the Arabs. Cultivation has been maintained ever since its arrival to the region of La Mancha. Saffron is obtained from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus: Crocus sativus. It is used as a condiment, providing dishes with a characteristic orange colour and slightly bitter taste, as well as an exotic aroma. Saffron from La Mancha under the Denomination of Origin must always be saffron from the current harvest, since it loses quality over the years.

The Spices Are Delicious

Whilst Med food is not “hot” like asian food they do use simple herbs and spices such as bay leaves, cilantro ( coriander ), parsley, rosemary, garlic, pepper and cinnamon to add so much flavour… rarely will you need to reach for the salt shaker. Some have health benefits, too. Coriander and rosemary, for example, have disease-fighting antioxidants and nutrients.

You Can Have Wine

A glass of vino with meals is common in many Mediterranean countries and Spain is no exception (and so cheap!), where dining is often leisurely and social. Some studies suggest that for some people, up to one glass a day for women and two for men may be good for your heart! And despite the wine snobs aversion to Spanish wine, there is excellent quality and variety to choose from and priced a fraction of French or Australian wines.

Research Sources:  Spain.info / Wikipedia /  WebMD /

Retirement Villas in the Hondon Valley

The Hondon Valley inland Costa Blanca South is  a popular choice with Expats who come from all over northern Europe to enjoy retired life. The “buyer’s market” and low house prices at the current time attracts 1000’s for bargain villas to the Spanish sun and culture. 2 Bed villas with all mod-cons can start from as little as €100,000!… and 3 Bed with a pool around €170,000.

Retirement means different things to different people and everybody has differing ideas and priorities about how they want to live during this stage of their life. There is no single ideal retirement destination that will suit everyone. But the Hondon Valley as proven popular with the 55+ age groups… the “baby boomer” generation are here and loving it!

Spanish Lifestyle, The Good Life!

There are a few common factors that most retirees look for in a location they would consider relocating to, such as plentiful and varied recreation, affordable living costs, the availability of high quality health care facilities, low crime rates, safety, community services, good climate, beautiful landscapes, adequate transportation facilities, volunteer and work opportunities.

You can cherish every moment of your new life in the best possible way, when you spend it in Spain.

» For Sale: Villas for Sale in La Montanosa Urb, Hondon Valley.

Spain, the land of bull-fighting, sangria, the paella, the siesta and the large number of fiestas has something for everyone. You will not have one moment of boredom as the Spanish celebrate life throughout the year. To help enjoy your retirement life and your stay here in an excellent way, you can rent or buy a luxury villa in Spain.

Mountain Views

The Hondon Valley in the Costa Blanca South is a ‘best kept secret holiday and retirement destination in Spain. Whether you are planning to visit this area in summer or winter, there are plenty of luxury vacation rentals and apartments to rent at Hondon Villas in Costa Blanca which will perfectly suit your requirements, whether you’re looking to holiday on a budget or you’re happy to spend a little more for some added luxury.

You can have your own luxury Hondon villa within easy driving distance of the wonderful beaches in Costa Blanca South or in the heart of any of the many top class golf resorts. You can also go for luxury villas in the rural areas, to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Spanish countryside and mountain regions. Apart from these, there are many good locations where you can decide to have your luxury villa in Costa Blanca South. Not just luxury villas, you can also choose to own a coastal apartment, a comfortable apartment with shady veranda or individual houses with private pools and all the luxuries you want to have. Now you can take the help of Hondon Villas to find your dream home in Spain.

Hondon Valley Property AgentHondon Villas is a great place to rent or buy a luxury vacation rental in the Hondon Valley area for a fantastic summer holiday. Or these modern luxury villas are designed for permanent residence as well as for vacations in Hondón Valley. You can choose as per your requirements to enjoy a hassle-free life in Costa Blanca South.

» Visit the Hondon Real Estate offices:
Central Plaza Hondon de los Frailes 03689 or
Central Plaza Hondon de las Nieves 03688
or TEL: +34 965 075 357

Hondón grapes and more grapes!

Grape Bagging in HondonThe Hondón Valley is to have a bumper grape harvest despite the reported activities of high numbers of wild rabbits!

Harvest time does seem to vary a lot across the Hondon valley and the Costa Blanca. Near Hondón de las Nieves it seems to be anywhere between September and New Year. The late grapes are used for the New Year Celebrations when the Spanish tradition is to eat “12 grapes and drink cava” to the toll of the midnight bells.

The grape harvest creates about 10,000 temporary jobs across the Costa Blanca and local growers have had a good year, despite a new “plague” of wild rabbits which have threatened the harvest in some areas. The early and heavy spring rains and glorious summer sun has created some fat juicy grapes this year. The farmers are generally happy. Although many acres have been changed to more profitable market garden crops such as spring onions and chillies in recent years.

In the main they grow table grapes in the areas of Novelda, Aspe, Hondón de los Frailes, Hondón de las Nieves, La Montanosa Urb, La Romana, Monforte del Cid and Agost. (most wine grapes are grown further north in the Jumilla / Pinoso areas).

You will see millions & millions of grapes wrapped in paper bags to protect the grapes until they are picked from September onwards. Last year production in the Hondón region was more than 40,000 tons according to the Spanish newspaper “La Informacion”.

SO EAT MORE GRAPES – They are good for you and the local economy!

Tax & Residency Guides for Spain

Whilst we cannot vouch for all their advice or practises, Blevins Franks, have a long and respected reputation for financial advice, tax, BREXIT and the Spanish legal maze.

They offer books, videos and free basic guides to paying taxes in Spain. They often advertise free seminars in the area where you can meet and quiz their experts in relaxed surroundings.

Use the link below to find an array of published guides (PDFs) and books. e.g. Franks & Blevin, AIPP, etc

https://www.blevinsfranks.com/download/tax-guides/

 

Elche, City of Culture and Fiestas

Elche (Elx) is well worth the visit. it’s only 20 minutes from the Hondon Valley, so our nearest city. As well as an vast array of modern shops and services you’d expect in a city it’s  clean, beautiful (“The City of a Million Palms“) and offers a rich historic culture.

Image c/o WikiPedia

Steeped in religious history, Elche has centuries of architecture, museums, a central park & old rambla with more than enough varieties of palm trees to keep you intrigued for an afternoon. This Palm Grove is just one of Elche’s three cultural assets registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

But Elche’s centrepiece has to be the Basilica De Santa Maria, a landmark church built over the ruins of a Muslim mosque in the city centre. It features an ornate baroque portal with square towers. It was built in various stages from mid 14th century after the Christians conquered the Moors long before (1265).

You will see many copy busts of La Dama (The Lady of Elche) around the city. She has a unique headdress. There’s a painted one at Alicante Airport too. Discovered in 1897 at L’Alcúdia, an archaeological site on a private estate two kilometres south of Elche, now a museum and worth a visit. The original bust is kept in the National Archaeological Museum of Madrid. The fiesta day of Our Lady of the Assumption is on the 15th August

The lady of Elx
Image c/o WikiPedia

In August you can see The Mystery Play, or Festa d’Elx, the most authentic symbol of the city´s identity. It is a chanted drama of mediaeval origins and performed in the City’s Basilica. It’s a sacred part of the local heritage. Check YouTube for footage.

If you want a real taste of Elche life of old then visit the Museum of Pusol. Created in 1969, as a celebration of local rural trades, crafts, farming, traditions and the environment of the Campo de Elche. They have interactive workshops, events and historic exhibits. Many Spanish schools use this in their history curriculum.

Thousand’s will gather to watch and take part in Palm Sunday. Locals parade their carved white palms from Elche’s Palm Grove to the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Also popular is La Burreta and Easter Sunday, when millions of little pieces of coloured paper, known as Hallelujahs are showered onto the image of the Resurrected Jesus. Search YouTube for “Procesión Aleluyas Elche“.

Also in August, in addition to the Moors and Christians Festival, which recalls the conquest of the city by the troops of King Jaime I in 1265, is the Nit de L’Albà, on the night of the 13th August and la Nit de la Roà, in the early hours of the 14th and 15th, which take place on the same dates as the performances of the Mystery Play of Elche. THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED if you like lots of fireworks… the finale display “Palmeral de la Virgen” is an awesome sight… a firework launched from the Basilica so big and spectacular people oooh and aaaah in awe!

In December, with the celebration of the Coming of the Virgin, the origins of the Mystery Play are commemorated, when the legendary, sacred image of the Virgin Mary, arrived by sea in an ar brought by the coastguard Francesc Cantó, who on his horse  gallops the city to announce the good news.

And there is much, much more to see and do in Elche. Go and immerse yourself in the festivals, the sights, the history and its people. Enjoy yourselves with the men and women who make possible one of the richest festival programmes in Spain.

» Elche main Tourist Information

Correfocs Fireworks in Hondón de las Nieves

Well WE WERE THERE! How about you?

HONDON VILLAS got some great footage of this year’s Correfocs Firework Fiesta in Hondón de las Nieves. Always exciting, dangerous and colourful.… and a late start at MIDNIGHT!

It’s a loud, it’s smokey, scary and a spectacular event … dark and menacing but fun to join in with every year!

If you missed it … shame but here is our 2 minute video montage to remind you of the madness that unfolds in this sleepy ol’ Hondón village during Fiesta time 🙂 LOL!

Hondon Valley? On yer Bike!

Almost without fail many Spanish cycle clubs visit the Hondón area each weekend. The local mountains are ideal for cycling, mountain bikes or walking enthusiasts. And Hondón has been part of the country’s major tour “Vuelta España” tour.

Bike Ride. Albatera to Hondón

These are serious “peddle pushers”, all geared up, with bikes that probably cost a few months wages. They most often come over the very long and steep Albatera mountain ranges into the About the Hondón Valley. That’s one hell of a climb (even for a car) so it requires a very good level of fitness. They then stop off at the local bars and restaurants in Frailes & Nieves for refreshment and a rest. It gives the villages a real buzz on weekend mornings.

Bike Ride Alicante CoastNow on to the coast ... Do you fancy a relaxing cycle ride overlooking the Mediterranean sea? This 26-km (16-mile) route from San Juan beach through El Campello village is ideal for bikers of all ages. Get to the finish line and cool down at Coveta Fuma cove before taking the tram back to the city center.

Holy mackerel…the Mediterranean diet reduces ageing

New study sheds more light on benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

HV Editor: We agree on the whole! Except on weekends of course when G&Ts, Brandy and patatas bravas are practically the law around here. LOL! And remember Hondon de las Nieves has a great market and al fresco vice on Saturday mornings in the Village Plaza 🙂

med-diet[Source: AngloInfo]  To many expats the headline may seem like old but good news to those who already eat a Mediterranean diet, based on findings from years ago.

However, a new study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) this week, reinforces the previous findings that following a Mediterranean diet helps prevent or slow down ageing.

The health of about 5,000 nurses in the USA was followed with a controlled number placed on a Mediterranean diet for more than ten years. The nurses on the Mediterranean diet showed fewer signs of ageing than their counterparts on a ‘normal’ diet. Specifically, it seems that microscopic ‘caps’ called telomeres, which protect our genetic material as it divides, get shorter and less protective on a normal diet. Whereas on a Mediterranean diet, the nurses’ telomeres did not shorten as much; and they showed fewer signs of cell degradation, or ageing.

What is a Mediterranean diet? According to the BMJ it involves eating, “a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and grains; a high intake of olive oil but a low intake of saturated fats; a moderately high intake of fish; a low intake of dairy products, meat, and poultry; and a regular but moderate intake of alcohol (specifically wine with meals).

Three cheers for following the Mediterranean diet then.

One of the best places to find fresh food that fits the Mediterranean diet is at local markets (whether you live in the Med area or not). To find your closest local market, go ‘What’s On’ on your local AngloINFO site and then choose ‘Markets’ from the drop down menu.

» by AngloINFO World editor