Charity Begins In The Heart

Whilst, yes, charities need us to open our wallets and purses, it definitely starts in the heart.

Here’s to all the “coal face” charity volunteers in the Hondón Valley. We salute you. Thank you for doing this year after year from the goodness of your hearts and for free. Please help where you can. Get MAD = Make a Difference:

The traditional Hondón, as an “out-on-a-limb” farming community is quite needy at times, and, like many areas, has a set of social problems that get very little help (if any) from the Government. Hence, the locals step in. Many thousands of people give their time, gifts, money and skills to help solve these issues. Heroes indeed.

They do it from the heart. They care. Furthermore, they do it for nothing in return.

Morally, you give because your head or heart nags you to. To help. Not to see an angle for publicity or big yourself up. A thousand people all giving a heartfelt 1 Euro each means more than one person giving 1000€ for commercial gain, surely?

For the most part, Hondon Villas, over the 15 years we have been working in the valley, keep their charity donations to themselves. Hondon Villas have and do sponsor special events, make donations to charity and help with the local community. Having a plaza based real estate office in Frailes, we get asked many times to help because we are a face of the community.

Maureen (a founder of Hondon Villas), herself, has been generous over the years as she believes in and wants to help the less fortunate. This includes animal charities, clothes/food banks, competition prizes, cancer help, football teams, Christmas events and more. And it hasn’t stopped at local Hondón Valley causes. Maureen’s particular favourite is the Elche’s Children’s Hospital. But I suspect most of you wouldn’t know that because she rarely tells anyone. Indeed, and better still, there is a thriving behind-the-scenes army of people quietly giving to charity in silence who ask for nothing back.

Yes, a little publicity helps, but we never ask for it – as we know charity should be about giving, about heart, not self-promotion. Many have said, there is something distasteful about constantly bragging on your charity donations.

In this case, Mr Stink was right : “That’s the trouble with do-gooding. It ends up being all about the do-gooder, not the doee. So you end up with a lot of do-do!” – Mr. Stink (David Walliams Book). We agree, so lets move on…

A particular favourite cause in the Hondón Valley is helping abandoned or poorly animals, especially domestic pets. Many pets and farming animals are badly treated, get old or their owners cannot afford the vet bills. So they are abandoned, usually in poor health. Sad :-(

Thankfully, there are 1000’s of Expats / Foreign Nationals that care enough to tirelessly volunteer their time and money to buy shelter, food and treatment to get these sad animals back to health and a new caring home.

There are a few dog charities* to note here in the Hondon Valley areas: Alma, Hovar, Barkingside, Barney’s …. and others. Vets help too. Local councils help where they can. But “Jo Public” help in their droves. Their heart drives them to. It makes a difference.
[ *They are all on Facebook if your search ]

These charities couldn’t exist without their fans, volunteers and donations… without money raising events… without their dedication. And given for FREE!

These are the heroes. As much as Hondon Villas and many, many other lovely caring people can give donations (that’s the easy bit), the real heroes spend countless hours of their free time helping and caring, often without praise or recognition. And as they say, time is harder to give than a trophy cheque.

Thankfully, we don’t need to tell most people that. Some, however, think giving to charity makes them the hero. No, No, No. And never will until they get off their backsides and match the relentless hours (and stress) of actually helping others in the field.

What giving donations does do (and you really should give if you can) is assist those local groups to do better, to carry on with their good work and to solve the problems of the community. It’s morally right. The community needs it.

So, dear reader, please add or continue your support for local causes, go to events, be a volunteer and above all recognise the good work in the community.

AGAIN…. Here’s to all the “coal face” charity volunteers in the Hondón Valley. We salute you. Thank you for doing this from the goodness of your hearts. You are making a difference.

#Loveit – A Place in the Sun TV Show

Just how many years has the UK TV show “A Place In The Sun” been going? How many people, we wonder, has it inspired to up sticks to a better life abroad or buy a holiday home in another country? Countless and many no doubt.

Visit the APITS website for more information.

We loved the show years ago and still do. We remember watching, during those cold UK winter months, the many couples on their dream journey. And with some envy and awe of a better lifestyle in the sunshine.

Well, back in the early 2000s we were stuck in a corporate work life and burning out. Those pictures of blues skies and Al Fresco tapas bars sure inspired us and many more to move to abroad. In our case, it was Spain.

15 years ago, after a few trips to look for a dream villa, we moved to the Hondón Valley, to work at a slower pace, enjoy the warmer climes and address the work/life balance we had got so wrong in England. Working from home at first, we set up a simple real estate portal (hondon.co.uk) in Feb’ 2006. It was to then become Hondon Villas.

And we are still here, having listed and sold selling 1000’s of properties in the Hondon Valley areas. #localagent

And what is so nice is we have now helped APITS with their TV program quite a few times (pinch ourselves!). It sure generates a vibe in the local area when we know APITS is in town, often catching the famous presenters, like Jasmine, Jonnie or Laura in the village squares. Of course then the local Expats want to see the show when it is eventually broadcast on UK Channel 4.

So, yes, we have to thank APITS for the inspiration, really. Giving us that window into a life abroad was definitely via the TV, was the catalyst for our journey. We have no regrets making the move. It is what you make it of course and there will be highs and lows, but you’ll be thankful for the tranquil pace, culture, food and social aspects for sure if you make even the smallest effort to play. Thankfully, the APITS TV prog’ still inspires so many to make a life-changing move to Spain, and NOW we get to meet them and share our story.

Happy! ;-)

NOTE: You can find more information about A Place in the Sun on their website, Twitter or Facebook pages. You can still apply to be on their program too.

You can also catch past series and episodes of A Place in the Sun on the ALL4 website. Plus, for new buyers, they still run the Property Exhibitions in the UK (they are well worth a visit).

Covid? It’s Summer & We Can Go Out in Hondón!

Whilst I am sure we all still need to be cautious and #keepsafe, the Spanish Gov’ have lowered Covid restrictions, which means it is time to get out and support the long-suffering catering and tourist trade. After all the summer highs are here, pools are warming up, bars are opening, and we are well overdue to meet up with friends and Al’ (as in Al Fresco) for a meal out. Right?

Dining out in the Hondon Valley

Hondon Businesses… is your venue on this list below… if not tell us.

Join our Facebook Group: “Hondon What’s On” and show us your menus and events.

Time to get out #supportlocal in the Hondon Valley areas
Valencian Government are allowing much more social interactions, bigger gatherings… So local Hondón Restaurants and Bars are opening for the evenings again, the sun is shining… is life getting back to normal? Support the local guys please.

La Finca Montanosa : Hotel and restaurant, on the Hondon urbanization
El Bocadito Gourmet Restaurant: Spanish menu – Nieves Plaza
La Font : Nieves Plaza (near the fountain
Bombay Indian Restaurant : Nieves Plaza
Central Bar : Nieves Plaza bar, restaurant, BBQ, cafe, music and quiz
Bodegas Cerda : Wine merchant in Nieves, museum and tasting groups
Solo Hazlo : Bar Restaurant in Hondon de las Nieves Plaza
Vienteocho 28- Bar / Restaurant / Breakfast / Snacks Frailes Plaza
El Charro – Tapas / Menu del Dia : Frailes Plaza
Tipsy Terrace : Bar / Restaurant, Frailes
Punjabi Virsa : Asian Cuisine Frailes Plaza
El Nuevo Valle : (Irish Bar) Drinks / Snacks / Meals : Frailes Plaza
El Fogon : Spanish Restaurant, Frailes CV845
Finca El Romero : Barbarroja CV845
Caramels Bar : Frailes Main Road CV845
Don Apetito : Chicken Takeaway, Nieves Main Street CV845
Los Amigos : Cafe / Restaurant. Nieves Plaza
Meson el Moreno : Restaurant, Nieves C. Juan Albentosa
Pepins Bar : Meals Frailes Main Road CV845

How Sweet of our Client?

++ How Sweet? (pun intended) ++
Our lovely clients popped in and brought us all these chocolates today. As the package says: We all love chocolate! And especially Valor*, made just a few miles away up the coast. We intend to enjoy them. Thank you so much. @hondonagent

*Valor is a local, but famous across Spain, confectioner based in Villajoyosa on the Costa Blanca South, not too far from Benidorm. They have been Master Chocolatiers since 1881. They have a wonderful Valor museum/factory tour (including in English) which is interesting and well worth a visit, especially if you have children in the family or want to take friends out for the day.

If you go in the week (booking recommended) then you get to see their products being made. At the end of the tour and museum, you can sample & buy their delicious chocolates and sweets at very low prices. We’d recommend a trip (post Covid) but allow a few hours. Then of course nip to the Villajoyosa beach bars for refreshments.

Contact Details for Hondon Villas
Helping you Buy or Sell your Spanish Dream Homes in the Hondon Valley, Spain since 2006.
• TEL: OFFICE +34 965 075 357
• MOBILE +34 622 314 244

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

@hondonagent http://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.

Hondon Villas are also on Pinterest … where we publish pictures for the Hondon and surrounding areas … afterall it’s our job to promote the location, location, location !!

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.