News: Lottery luck touched Hondón de las Nieves

Lottery News: Good luck touched the small municipality of Hondón de las Nieves, in the Alicante, region. Hondon Nieves is a quiet town, so it is big news when a local resident wins 25,000 euros on the Spanish Lottery.

The lottery ticket was sold in the local grocery store in the main Nieves Plaza. The shop owner says “I was very happy, because it is some good news for a change.” he said. The village grapevine was very active!

Town Hall in Hondon Nieves Plaza

The shop has a privileged location in the Plaza de la Villa, in front of the Town Hall, and it is easy to see that Nieves and other local villages ooze the “quiet life of a small town where we all know each other and live well“. Bliss for the Spanish and its many foreign settlers.

After the news of the lottery win, everything soon returns to normal in Hondón de las Nieves, located inland of the Alicante province, in the Medio Vinalopó region. There are about 2,600 inhabitants, of which 58 percent are foreigners. It is a place of habit and practically everyone maintains the same routines… coffee mornings and market days.

Here in the square there are four bars where everyone meets,” says Carmencín, who points out that “if anything happens, good or bad, we all find out” and maintains that “children play in the streets without concern and we can go out into the country for a walk.

“People live very well here,” the mayor of the municipality, Carmen Sellés (PP), who obtained the rod of command in the last elections. In his charge lives a “population with an average advanced age” that, historically, was engaged in “eminently agricultural” work. such as grapes, almonds and olives are the main produce.

The church of Hondon de las Nieves

“Now the situation is more complicated but some young farmers are taking up the tradition,” he points out and explains that there are also owners who “rent their land to companies that grow onions or broccoli” but most of the workers “move away to Alicante, Elche or Aspe “.

The main town areas are currently under renovation, with aid from the Alicante Provincial Council, mainly, or “from any subsidy that we can take advantage of”, said Sellés.

“The health centre is going to be improved, the works of a new school are going to begin” and, even, a new headquarters of the City Council is being enabled. They are also implementing sports facilities and are negotiating to build a municipal warehouse.

“The town has everything you need, it is 35 minutes from the airport and the people are cordial and welcoming, anyone feels welcome,” María Elena Jones, councilor for Foreign Residents.

The tranquillity, the green space of the Sierra de Crevillente and the climate are the main claims for citizens who choose Hondón de las Nieves as their residence.

Many new buyers to the area land in the La Montañosa urbanization, where 95% of the residents are international. “Here there are British, Dutch, Belgian, French and German who mostly arrive shortly before their retirement,” he specifies.

La Montanosa Urb, Hondon Valley.

“Many cultural activities are offered, integration is very good and the few families that come with children say that adaptation to school in Spanish is very easy,” he says.

Hondón de las Nieves split from Aspe in 1839 and was established as an independent entity in 1926. This circumstance contributes one of the singularities of the municipality, since it is one of the few in Spain that shares its patron with another. “The image of the Virgen de las Nieves is kept in Hondón,” María Teresa Senabre, Councillor for Culture, explained “and every two years, the carving is moved to Aspe on foot, after travelling the nine kilometres that separate them, where stays about 20 days.

The COVID restrictions forced the suspension of the festivities last year and probably will not allow them to be held this year, despite the fact that they take place in August. Fingers crossed that fiestas are back in 2021 as they form an integral part of the community spirit and entertainment.

Article by Rafa Burgos c2021 EFE

The picnic area and reservoir, Hondon Valley.

It’s all about … Outside!

An Expat says … “OMG! It’s so hard not to love it here. I mean, your living room is outside! Breakfast… is outside. Dinner… is outside. Even my office is outside!

Living the Dream in the Hondon Valley

@hondonagenthttp://hondonvillas.net for Spanish inland villas. Sorted!

Duncan : I love it here. We have great friends. The panoramic views of the mountain’s never let you down, it’s a delight to get up in a morning!

Adele : Travelled around a lot and this is our 36th house! We have lived here 15 years…. so far so good.

Sabrina : I love living in Hondon because it’s a tight community, friendly and beautiful. I am so glad I get to raise my children here! (And that’s from someone who didn’t want to move here! )

Visit our real estate office in Frailes Plaza, 03689, Alicante Inland.

Cascada Pantano Elche – Vinolopo Waterfalls

The delightful “Cascada Pantano Elche” waterfalls, its lake & nature trails are 25 minutes drive from the Hondon Valley. [Google Map]. These beautiful waterfalls near Aspe/Elche are perfect for a walk.Flowinf rivers are a rarity in the very dry Costa Blanca, so it is a nice change to see the river and its dammed waterfall.

There are various car parks close by, however to actually get to the Waterfalls it is a 20-minute steady walk. We recommend you use suitable footwear for the dusty rugged tracks. Try to avoid the hot midday heat too.

There are no catering facilities so take some food & drink as there are plenty of picnic tables. You can also climb up the steps to see the Rio Vinalopó / Lake which is the source of the waterfall, actually a functioning hydroelectric dam.

Elche Waterfalls / Casada Pantano

Roscon de Reyes – 3 Kings Parade in Spain

Roscon de Reyes is a traditional sweet cake to celebrate the Spanish Christmas & the 3 Kings parade on 5th Jan, Epiphany.*

At this time of the year all across Spain families like to share a “Roscones de Reyes”, a delicious sweet pastry ring, which is shaped as a crown to welcome the Epiphany of the Three Kings on 5 January. This is one of the oldest traditions in Spain, and can be traced back to the 12th century, if not before.

This is usually the most magical night of the Spanish Christmas calendar, especially for the children. The three Wise Men or Kings visit houses and leave presents for everyone or parade local streets & town centres. They can be spectacular with the Kings giving away sweets and presents to joyful , excited children. Loud music is blaring, the costumes are glitzy and theatrical and people dance. In Madrid, the capital, they televise the parade to the country which usually includes some very special guests and celebrations. It’s a HUGE parade and worth a look. Of course all towns and villages, like the Hondon Valley make the effort too.

*Alas. COVID-19 wil curtail mass gatherings and celebrations in 2020 but we are sure the Spanish will embrace and do what they can.

These Roscones are usually decorated with pretty colourful candied fruit and are often stuffed with a cream or chocolate filling and it is lightly fragranced with “aqua de azahar”, made with the blossom of orange. Look out for the little figurine of Jesus or some similar gift, as it brings luck (if it doesn’t bring the dentist).

The Covid crisis is having a big effect on the bakers of these Roscones, with sales down by one third this year, reflecting the fact that big family gatherings are being avoided at this time. if you can support your local bakers, rather than the supermarkets #lovelocal.

Remember that the 6 January is a public holiday to celebrate Los Reyes and children finally get to open their presents on the evening before.

Have you tried a Roscon? Where is the best place to buy one?

*Based on an article by Dino T.

Too Good (Hondon Writers Circle)

Richard Seal, a master of words and the description and of The Hondón Writers Circle has kindly submitted this insight into life in the rural charms of the Hondon Valley. Delightful.

Published by Percy Chattey Books

Bill and Jean love describing to friends back in Wolverhampton how their Spanish villa is tucked away on a mountain road behind an abandoned ruin, beside a forgotten expanse of wasteland which hosts an occasional sheep or goat, with black trees struggling to yield any olives. They excitedly explain that it is too far for the postman to trek, so they have a village mail box – a space stuffed full of old leaflets, and fiesta flyers from yesteryear, parties probably celebrated with customary joy when the aged local shepherd was just a boy.

Flanked by stunning views, lush almond groves, and fields full of oranges and lemons, Bill and Jean often sit together gazing at the landscape and feel that all this is a bit too good to be true. However, they know, through the blood red brilliance of the Costa Blanca sunsets, the occasional dog bark carried on the breeze and the birds which nightly hold the high notes on their twisted boughs, that this is how life is supposed to be.

Sitting in church every Sunday, listening to the service, Bill and Jean are vaguely lost amid Our Lady and saints unknown. They marvel at the Spanish words barely understood but sensed and sampled. A smiling señor and señora on the row in front suddenly turn to clasp their hands, making the couple feel so welcome. Afterwards they enjoy a leisurely lunch with a few Spanish locals, savouring the great value menu del dia with a bottle of vino tinto – Neither dissent at the prospect of time so well spent.

On a late August evening, Bill and Jean stand in the village surrounded by Spanish folk in family clusters, sitting together on rickety chairs hauled out of shuttered houses. The fiesta parade of floats leaves the pair in slack-jawed awe: Flower pot children amble ahead of twenties’ flappers, blazing a trail for Hawaiian gyrators; comic characters herald zombies and an underworld cast before the spectacular midnight firework blast. English village fates seem such distant memories, the couple’s life now is a Fandango; They smile at each other and wonder each day who could have spiked their Earl Grey.

Credits : Copyright c2020. This article was kindly written for Hondon Villas and the Hondón Community by Richard Seal, a member of the local Hondon Writing Circle. ‘Too Good’ is taken and adapted from Richard Seal’s book ‘Living Now’ (2018)

Percy Chattey Books publish Story Telling ® a series of Short Stories and Poems in digital eBooks / paperback formats available online via Amazon and Kindle.

Help for Foreigners to Integrate into Spanish Life

The Provincial Institution (Alicante Diputación) want to help foreign citizens to understand and integrate more into local and national life here in Spain. Some 190,000 euros has been allocated to do this. And our region is involved.

Novelda Magdalena Church
Novelda Magdalena Church

The deputy of International Residents, Juan de Dios Navarro, has highlighted that the objective of these programs is to collaborate with the local entities of our province in the development of projects and activities that “contribute to help, advise and integrate the thousands of foreigners who they have chosen our province to live ”.

If you live here in Spain, you will know it can be different from life in Northern Europe, even quirky to foreigners! Many foreigners do not have the language skills or understanding to integrate or learn about the real day-to-day life here. Of course understanding the language, economy, culture and labour can enhance and facilitate a better lifestyle & happiness.

In this sense, the new initiatives such as Spanish courses, awareness and integration campaigns, care and advisory services, information campaigns on the municipal register, volunteer programs, intercultural participation days or sports activities will be subsidised. “The demand for this type of projects has increased significantly in recent years given the importance that, for their (foreign citizens) full integration in Alicante, have, for example, knowledge of Spanish or legal, legal or labour issues that concern them.” says Juan de Dios Navarro.

So look out for these initiatives in your local Town Hall or on local Facebook groups and get involved. Most will be free!

The benefited municipalities are Aspe, Elda, Hondón de las Nieves, Hondón de los Frailes and La Romana, in the Middle Vinalopó, Crevillent, in the Baix Vinalopó, and Salinas and Sax, in the Alto Vinalopó. Aigües, El Campello and Mutxamel, in L ‘Alacantí, and Albatera, Algorfa, Almoradí, Benferri, Benijófar, Bigastro, Catral, Cox, Daya Nueva, Daya Vieja, Dolores, Granja de Rocamora, Guardamar del Segura, Jacarilla, Los Montesinos, Pilar de la Horadada, Rafal, Redován, San Isidro, San Miguel de Salinas and Torrevieja.

In Vega Baja. Alcalalí, Benigembla, Benimeli, Calp, Dénia, Llíber, Murla, Castell de Castells, Ondara, Orba, Parcent, Pego, Benitachell, Els Poblets, Sanet y Negrals, Tormos and Xábia, in the Marina Alta, and L’Alfàs del Pi , Altea, Beniardá, Bolulla, Callosa d’En Sarrià, Finestrat, Polop, Relleu and Tárbena, in the Marina Baja. In the El Comtat region, aid will go to L’Alqueria d’Asnar, Cocentaina, Facheca, Muro de Alcoy, Lorcha and Planes, while L’ Alcoià will benefit Banyeres de Mariola, Onil and Tibi.

as report on Valley of the Vines

6 easy-to-cook Spanish Tapas dishes. Yum!!

There’s are 100’s of tapas recipes and dishes to choose from. They can be regional or very generic Spanish and portions vary too. In many parts of Spain they are served free with your drinks in Spanish Bars, always welcome. Some can be bizarre compared to northern European tastes but give them a go!

Well one of our favourite cooking channels on YouTube is “Spain on a Fork”. If you are new to Tapas or want to try something new then this channel is well worth a subscription.

Try cooking these very easy but essential Spanish Tapas Dishes yourself…
In the video below you can learn to prepare and cook the very popular and typical Spanish tapas recipes…. it looks so easy and so delicious. let us know how you get on.

Including Warm Salted Almonds
Manchego & Sweet Roasted Peppers
Garlic Mushrooms with Smoked Paprika
Roasted Potatoes with Paprika Ali-Ole
Roasted Asparagus with Lemon
Cheese & Egg Montaditos
… all delicious and at only 3 or 4 ingredients per dish.
The recipes can be printed and followed here:

6 easy to cook Spanish Tapas Dishes

A Montadito is a staple of the culinary arts from Spain. It is a unique tapa-sized rolls of bread similar to a baguette but wider and with a twist. … The etymology of the word ‘montadito’ stems from the word ‘montar’, which means ‘to mount’ in Spanish.

We Love Spanish Tapas !!

You can get Tapas in the Hondon area, but it’s not widely available or of great variety... least not in the league of Granada and the Andalucia region in general. A new Spanish run Tapas Bar has just opened calls “El Charro” in the Frailes Plaza (see Facebook El Charro)

Having just visited my favourite Spanish Language site “SpanishDict.Com” – they now have a blog and have written about Spanish Tapas

Tapas, those delicious little snacks you can get in any bar in Spain, have recently been making quite a splash in the United States. In the past 3 years, I have seen 4 tapas bars pop up in my neighbourhood alone. And people are crazy about them! The thing is, other than serving tiny bits of expensive food and over-priced drinks, these trendy American tapas bars have almost nothing in common with your traditional Spanish tapas bar.

Spanish Tapas

In many places in Spain, dinner is not served until 9 or 10 o’clock at night. So many people like to “tapear” or go out and eat tapas at a few different bars to meet up with friends, discuss the day, and in general just relax in a fun social atmosphere. In a lot of the major cities and in most parts of Adalucía, when you order a drink, often you get a tapa for free. Or sometimes it is the other way around; if you order a tapa, you get a free drink.

Now, how this tradition came about is debated among a few popular theories. First, it is important to know what “la tapa” means. Literally, it means “cover” or “top,” so it is important to keep this in mind when thinking about its history.

Some say that some sneaky tavern owners from Castilla-La Mancha found that a strong smelling and tasting cheese could “cover” the flavor of cheap wine. This way, they could sell the not so great wine for a higher price by including a free piece of cheese.

Others say that when King Alfonso XII was visiting Cádiz on the south west coast, he ordered a cup of sherry, which is famous in this region. In order to protect the wine from the blowing beach sands, the waiter covered the wine glass with a slice of cured ham. King Alfonso apparently enjoyed it and asked for another glass of sherry with a “tapa” just like the first.

Less legendary is the thought that since you are most likely standing when you are out having drinks with friends, you would need to cover your drink with your plate in order to have a free hand to eat. Or that you would need to top your sherry, a very sweet wine, with bread or ham to keep the curious flies away.

Now what kind of tapa you get with your drink widely depends on the region, but the staples are olives, of which there can be many different varieties, bread with aioli, and some kind of fried seafood. It is also very common to see small slices of bread topped with Spain’s famous jamón serrano or slices of cheese. My favourite is tortilla Española, which is very similar to an omelette with pieces of fried potato and onion inside instead of cheese.

There are thousands of tapa recipes out there and I encourage you to try a few on your own. Being all the fad right now, your friends would definitely be impressed if you invited them all over for an early evening of tapas at your house. ¡Salud! and ¡Buen provecho!