Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Madrid, Spain

Our last four nights were spent in the big city of Madrid.  When I say big city, I mean it.  Madrid has a population over 3 million with Metropolitan area including 6 million people.  The climate is a lot different from Malaga and Cordoba as well.  The temperature was 10-15 degrees lower and hovered around 10 degrees Celcius for our time there.  We had brought appropriate clothing and were expecting that.  By the time we reached Madrid we were kind of sick eating out every meal so took full advantage of the small "efficiency unit" in our hotel room.  It had a minifridge, two burners, a pot, a pan, two bowls, two plates and some cutlery.  With that we had all our breakfasts in which included croissants, fried chorizo, scrambled eggs, yogurt and fruit.  We also had a huge craving for fruit and veggies so made sure to hit up the fruiteria that was just around the corner from our hotel.   There were 2 grocery stores within a block as well.  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cordoba, Spain

Renfe train station Malaga

After 3 nights in Malaga we took the high speed non-stop Renfe Ave train to Cordoba which took 50 minutes and I have to say was a very clean comfortable way to travel.  If you have your train tickets you only need to arrive 20-30 minutes ahead to clear security and get to your boarding platform.  Again, we packed the lightest on this trip that we have ever packed and after seeing that we can easily survive 10 days without as much luggage as we normally take we will be packing light from here on out.  I enjoy train travel far more than air travel based on how easy it is and no checking in 2-3 hours in advance.  The only drawback to Renfe is that their online booking system is difficult to book on when outside of Spain as they only take certain credit cards and it doesn't always work.  After first trying to book tickets there I chose to book instead through Rail Europe ( in Canada and the USA) and pay a very small handling fee.  You can only book tickets 60-90 days out and have an immediate email confirmation and printable e tickets with assigned carriage and seat number.  We chose economy on all trains and it is very comfortable, no need to upgrade to first class.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Malaga, Spain

View of the Port of Malaga from Gibralfaro Castle (built 14th century)
We are home from our 10 night trip to Spain and we had a great time.  We spent our first three nights in Malaga and this post will highlight those three days.  Cordoba and Madrid will be separate posts.  I have tried to include a lot of detail for anyone thinking of traveling to Spain/Andalucia.  At the time of our trip it took 1.55 CAD dollar to purchase 1 Euro (Euros will be listed if you don't live in Canada so you can look up your exchange rate if you wish)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Only a few more sleeps!

Just a quick post - life has been speeding by this week.  I worked all weekend trying to get our huge Company project closer to completion.  Today I am about to stuff our little turkey (9.5 lbs) and then have a day of rest other than cooking, eating, drinking and watching movies with hubby and Mom (our usual holiday protocol).  We also cleaned the house top to bottom yesterday so no more housework needs done before we go on holiday other than a quick wipe.  My bedroom dresser looks like a hurricane hit it as all the stuff I am trying to pack is on top of it.

We are trying to only take the bare minimum of luggage.  I tend to over-pack and since we are taking 2 trains in Spain and need to drag our luggage on and off them I am hoping to make our bags as light as possible.  We have an 8 hour layover in Amsterdam due to an unfortunate schedule change so may be trying out something called Yotel that is right in the transiting area of the Amsterdam airport - they are designed to be like a mini-hotel with WIFI, a bed and a shower.  You can only take hand luggage as are after security but are perfect for a long layover.  No, I have no urge to leave the airport for a few hours to see Amsterdam.  We did 3 days in Amsterdam on the last trip to Europe and 8 hours is just too short to be leaving the airport for after flying all night.  I would rather rest up.  I didn't pre-book it just in case our flight is late but you can rent it by the hour so whenever we get there we will pay for 5-6 hours before our final 3 hour flight to Malaga.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring Thrift Store Finds

Mom and I went thrifting today, me on the hunt for shoes, pants, and tops that don't wrinkle and would pack small/travel well.  I found all of the above!  Other than Mom bending over to pick up a dime in the middle of the street and almost getting run over we had a great day.

At my #1 thrift store where the regular price of a top or pair of pants is $3 I found these 3 pieces:
Ellen Tracy top $3

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Reason Why I Couldn't Make the Bed

We were a little housebound this week madly working on a gigantic company project that we are 50% to completion on.  We are trying to get most of it completed prior to our holiday so are working a lot of long days.  For everyone who thinks self-employment is such a breeze - it has lots of advantages but it is definitely not easy.  That plus the weather has frankly sucked.  Lots and lots of rain, day after day with a storm on Wednesday that blew 107 km per hour winds just off the coast near Comox.  Fortunately we saw little damage the next day other than some trees near local roads and an area where the town had to clear ocean debris off the road due to extremely large waves.  That evening we ate supper  at 4pm as thought the power was going to go out but fortunately it didn't.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Not as Minimalist as I think

Each weekend we try and list at least 1 item on our local Facebook 24 hour bidding site.  80% of what we have listed has sold, and over half of those items have gone higher than our starting bid.  To date we have raised $90 towards our weekend away fund which was going to our weekend in Uclulet/Tofino but as that is fully funded now it will go to another future weekend away.  These are the items I posted this weekend.  Empty gift baskets and unused citronella candles.  I had bought 4 packages of these candles back in Alberta where they were needed for the monster mosquitoes.  Here, our mosquitoes seem to be a much quieter variety rarely biting us.  Perhaps I no longer taste good but since these are just taking up space now these are going to be sold off.  If they don't sell these items will be put in the crawl space until our next garage sale (we have lots of space down there, entire length of our home).

Monday, February 29, 2016

February Grocery Tally and Christmas Fund 2016

February Grocery Budget $550 less $20.90 overage from January = $529.10

I ended up the month at $554.56.  $2 in coupons were used.
Yes, I ended up over again and now the extra from January and February overages will be deducted from March.  The month was looking good until the very end when we had to stock up on non-food over the counter medications.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Buddy and Sable

Poodle Noodle Couch Potato Buddy
I haven't done any Buddy updates recently so here is a shot from this past weekend.  He loves the new sectional and has found a way to prop himself on a pillow to hang off the side like a noodle and sleep.  Sometimes I would swear he has cat tendencies.  He is now a year and 3 months old and we have had him just over a year.   He brings us happiness every day and the only downside of our trip to Spain is that we won't get to see him for nearly two weeks and that unfortunately although he loves where he will be staying (the lady we got him from who owns his Mom and Dad/groomer) I wish he understood us so that we could tell him we are only going on vacation and not abandoning him.  I think it will be harder on hubby and me than him though.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Deal of the Day

I scored 10 just ripe bananas yesterday(I ate one just before taking this picture) for .22 cents a pound, a record low price for bananas in my area.  The grand total worked out to $1.12 or just over .11 cents per large banana.  I had to mail a parcel so stopped in at the attached grocery store and saw that bananas were on for .44 cents a pound.  I piled some into my basket then got to the produce markdown section and saw a bag full of these barely ripe bananas on half price!  Even if we can't eat all of them I can freeze the rest as make banana muffins at least once every two weeks.

Just past the halfway mark in the month and 3/4 of the way through my grocery budget so the only way to stay on budget this month is to stay out of the grocery store.  Since the fridge and freezer are packed full to bursting this should not be a problem.