First contact from Andalucia: Sat, Dec 21, 2002

Greetings from Andalucia! Nice thing is that the email/internet connection between my laptop and my Spanish mobile works a dream (via infrared connection)! Movistar, the Spanish mobile network is light years ahead of BT. There I was expecting a load of hassle and I just turned the things on and …received all my mail. I now feel that I have connection with the outside world and the world Ive left behind in the UK. So Id better update you….

The Journey: Bit of a nightmare actually. Supposed to get here on Thursday am but instead got here Fri lunch. Had radiator leak near Bordeaux which cost me (and now the Garage I bought it from!) 460 euros. Set me back and lengthened what was already a long drawn out trip. Made good time from there over the Spanish border at San Sebastian and then down via Madrid and Granada to the Alpujarras. The dogs were great, especially Rocky, who sat for hours on end in the front footwell   of the passenger seat. He never once complained. What a dog. Leo was good too but let you know if he was bored, which was quite often. After all the pain and cost of getting “Pet Passports” and export certificates neither the French nor Spanish were in the least bit interested in them. Is it only us in the UK that’s fixated with documentation and certification? 

The weather on the trip down was awful too. Fog, rain and drizzle through France and northern Spain but as soon as the outskirts of Granada was reached…surprise, surprise, the clouds cleared and the sun shone. Rounding a corner just before Granada the white peaks of the Sierra Nevada glittered in the sun. An omen perhaps?

The Dogs: Leo and Rocky get on well but Leo doesn’t know when to give up. He can be really tired but will only relax for one moment before his ears prick and his eyes open. Then its off to bite Rocky’s ears or to try to have sex with him. Yes, he’s a quick learner for 10 weeks old. Hes also 23 the size of Rocky and almost as strong. God knows what he’s going to be like in 2 months time. He really is an annoying little S**T! - barks like mad and throws tantrums if he doesn’t get what he wants. Thinking of renaming him from “Leo the Leonberger” to “Leo the Leonbugger”! On the positive side, he and Rocky play a lot and I think they will be good mates. Leo is quite a good looking little dog. Very unusual. Everywhere I go people point and stare or come and ask me some gibberish in Spanish to which my standard answer is “Es Leonburger, tiene hasta diez mes”. They then just laugh, so who knows if what I say means anything at all? They usually disappear smiling and uttering things, which always include the words “mucho grande” 

Accommodation: The Estate Agent Ive been dealing with, Jack, came up trumps. He managed to find me a house to rent. Only 480 euros per month. Not bad really. It’s in the village of Lanjarón on the edge of the Alpujarras and at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Lanjarón is a old established spa town and one of the town’s natural springs disgorges itself from the mountains just below my property.  During late afternoon (for some reason not yet established) the local townsfolk come to collect their drinking water from the spring. My property is immediately above and I have visions of Rocky and Leo urinating through the fence bars onto the local townsfolk collecting water below. That would be a nightmare! They probably already know me as “El Ingles Leonberger Hombre”    The house itself is OK. The view from the terrace is….awful! Not the wonderful views over mountains and sea, to the hills of Africa, that I expected. Instead it’s the main street of town with the council rubbish tip to the left and the pig abattoir opposite! Ah well you cant expect everything too soon can you?

Written by:
Richard Hartley

Richard is an avid blogger and the founder of Spanish Highs Sierra Nevada. He is author of the Cicerone Guidebook Walking and Trekking in the Sierra Nevada