Yesterday and today have been incredibly hot - at one stage we drove past a temperature display showing 42 degrees. Today has been slightly more bearable and I could almost say very tolerable by the poolside...that's Ruy you can just see.
The pool is in La Flecha, where Cesar's parents live and where we are currently staying. Their house was one of the first to be built in the area and Cesar remembers when there were hardly any other neighbours. Now, it is quite a large urbanisation just outside Valladolid itself, which is a University city with masses of history attached to it and some wonderful architecture, wide streets and a large central park.
Cesar's parents live a slightly alternative lifestyle within the formal layout of La Flecha - most of the other houses around are either apartments of around two to three storeys or big, suburban houses with terraces, rather than large gardens. Cesar Snr and Amelia have a back garden that has a fig, a cherry, a plum and an almond tree; several areas where potatoes, tomatoes, green beans and chard are grown; a sort of outbuilding where there is a large barbecue/oven thing and a loft area where the hens are kept. When we arrived, there was a large cockerel, in yet another area of the garden. This began crowing at 3am the morning after we arrived from Leon. Cesar and Amelia don't really hear it in their bedroom in the front but I know all the neighbours behind them can - as could we in our back bedroom. Barely had we protested than the poor thing was plucked and left to hang, beak tapping against the kitchen window by 11am - Ruy was quite offended! However, Mateo was already imagining that it would probably taste rather good - which it did.
Then after a few days with us at home, Cesar Snr and Amelia left to go back to Valdepolo in Leon - where Amelia's father stays during the summer months. He's an amazing old fellow of about 92 and for the last 20 years or so, has been going three times a week for dialysis. He ate some watercress from a river when he was younger and from that, some sort of worm or fluke destroyed his kidneys! Anyway, despite the heavy toll on his body that dialysis must take, he is still here, very alert with a typically good Spanish appetite!
We had been to look at a house near Leon which was very nice and had possibilities but someone was already trying to purchase it. It turns out there are very few houses around to buy - so many are kept in the family and passed on for several siblings to share so selling a house is quite complicated and buying one even more so! We found a large piece of land for sale nearby the area and were planning on visiting it but decided to look a bit further to the east as well in our search for our new home. This included the north of Palencia - las Montanas Palentinas - an area just south of Cantabria and rather sensibly placed to get to the port and airport of Santander, a journey taking about an hour.
On Friday, we headed off to look at a few places near to Aguilar de Campoo. I would like to whisper this - Aguilar de Campoo is an absolutely gorgeous place and I have fallen absolutely in love with it! The scenery is spectacular, the town itself is stunning, the villages around are beautiful and in the middle of it all is an embalse - a reservoir - around which there is a forest of pines and oaks and a vast area of beach.
|Aguilar - plaza and church|
|View from the church|
|Romy the explorer|
All in all, it feels as though we might have found the area we were looking for. We came back feeling very positive, especially as Andres, the estate agent, showed us a piece of land that we could potentially build our own house on AND have enough left over to keep some animals AND put a couple of yurts on.
I am trying not to get too excited too soon as there is still a lot see and many questions to ask. But it feels like we are making some progress.
I will keep you informed!