Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by Bonus, 5 Oct 2015.
So, no surprise birthday presents buried anywhere?
Mrs Bonus and I are both looking for jobs at the moment. . . .
It would be good to find something locally, but the two main fields of employment around here are Tourism and Agriculture - both of which are seasonal and both of which are covered either "within the family" or by employing . Of course once we're up and running with our B&B we will fall into the tourism bracket ourselves. In the meantime we're hoping to find something, pretty much anything really, that will help us cover our living expences.
We're looking at On-Line work, which we could do from home, but we're also looking for "proper jobs" further afield. We may end up renting and staying local to our work during the week and coming home to Guaso at the weekends, but we're ok with that.
So, as well as all our building work last week, Mrs Bonus and I had to find time to make a trip to the nearby town of Sabiñánigo so that we could visit the Department of Employment and register ourselves there.
We found the employment office easily enough, on the outskirts of town. Nice modern offices with plenty of parking. Went inside and waited for someone to become available, which took no more than two minutes. So far so good. . . .
We sat in front of a middle aged Spanish woman who, we soon realised, was clearly not happy with her lot in life!
We spoke to her in our best Spanish but apparently she struggled to understand us. Strange because let's face it, we didn't go into the "Employment" office to discuss the Philosophies of Medieval Kings & Queens or Particle Acceleration using the Large Hadron Collider at CERN . . .
Anyway, she turned to her colleague (a middle aged Spanish man), and told him he would have to help her because this was going to be VERY COMPLICATED. I moved over to his desk and, after 20 minutes, I was registered on their system as being available for work, he'd filled in my Personal Profile, issued me with a temporary password to access my account of their system, registered my driving license and told me encouragingly that although unemployment was a problem in Spain, maintenance engineering and knowledge of Variable Speed Drives was in demand. He also told me that his brother-in-law was from the UK and that he hoped we were happy, having moved to Spain.
During the same 20 minutes Mrs Bonus got almost none of the above done for her. When the lady was "finished" with her she ended up coming to join me and my helpful man and he did all the bits the lady didn't do properly.
Thankfully the office wasn't staffed but two unhelpful people. If it had been then instead of coming away feeling quite motivated, I would have come away feeling pretty despondent - like Mrs Bonus did.
Had a great Sunday ride which included around 1200m of climbing with my friend from the UK and his daughter. As always, the views were amazing and it was a beautiful sunny day - but not too hot.
How about offering English language lessons?
She's been doing a bit of that, and enjoys it. We need something bit more consistent though.
This is fantastic news for us - partly because we are Roadies as well as MTB'ers and partly from a business point of view. Opening up the area to allow Roadies to enjoy it as much as the Dirty Riders already do is a great move!
There are only a few weeks left until the new Zona Zero initiative comes into being!
ZONA ZERO ROAD - A project dedicated to the road bicycle . . .
After many months of work and thanks to the selfless help of a few local volunteers, without whom it would have been impossible to make any progress with this project, on the weekend of November 17-19 we will welcome "Zona Zero Road" - a project that is dedicated to the road bicycle and reaffirms the position of the region of Sobrarbe as a world center for cycling tourism.
A total of 13 routes (with many variants) will allow the lovers of the "skinny wheels" to explore Sobrarbe and its surrounding areas, but this time by road.
Taking in many towns within the Sobrabe and neighbouring regions, the valleys of Añisclo & Ordesa, or those of Chistau & Pineta are just some of the routes proposed in the Pyrenean region. The route to Alquézar passes through Biello Sobrarbe and the villages and canyons of the of the Sierra de Guara.Natural Park.
There is also a Spanish/French "cross-border collaboration" with plans for routes that cross the Pyrenees to join the Aure and Louron valleys, where you will find some of the most mythical climbs of le Tour de France, including the Col de Peyresourde, Col d'Aspin, Tourmalet and Col d'Aze.
The routes will be presented on the Zona Zero website www.bttpirineo.com with illustrative photos, maps, profiles as well as a route summary and the average gradients of the climbs.
The Route Profiles have a design that is very similar to those used for the stages of le Tour de France and have been made, just like the maps, using the free Route Editor on the "www.cronoescalada.com" website - to whom we are especially grateful for their help!
Next year will see the installation of route signs, the publication of leaflets and brochures and an upload to the web of the exhaustive profiles of each mountain climb. . . . .
Mrs Bonus & I can now add "Climbing the Peña Montañesa" to the list of local activities that we can tell our visitors about!
It was a tough day to the summit and back but well worth it.
We have some friends and their daughter from the UK staying with us for a few days. On Thursday the five of us climbed the Peña Montañesa - the mountain to the north of Ainsa that overlooks this whole area. It's a good 8hr walk up and back and we had a picnic two thirds of the way. Summit height is at 2295m and we started in the car park at around 1000m.
The Top . . . .
We had one of my old school friends and his wife come over from England and stay with us a few weeks ago. It was great to catch up - it's been a long time. We were together at Witbank High School back in the day. Of course now Mrs Bonus has a load of "info" on me that she will use when she needs to get the upper hand . . .
We picked my friends up from Zaragoza airport, which is the nearest airport to us - about a 2 hour drive. It was the first time we'd ever been there and what a pleasure. Reminded us a bit of Lanseria airport - only much smaller and quieter. Parking is reasonably priced and right outside the front doors, the cafeteria was clean and had some decent food & drink and because it's not very busy, getting through check-in and security were a breeze. I'm really pleased because this is our "local" airport :-)
Having someone stay with us who's never been here before is good for us - because it reminds us of how we felt when we first found this place. There's just no way around the fact that eventually you just get used to wherever you live and can even take it for granted. In the same way that someone living near a railway line or a freeway eventually gets used to the noise, if you live in somewhere quiet like Guaso, you get used to it.
We can see Monte Perdido, which is the third highest mountain the the Pyrenees, from our garden - but you do get used to looking at the mountains, you get used to it being so very quiet, you get used to the lack of fences and to living in a small community where, if you hear a car coming, you can usually tell who it is before it comes into view by either the engine sound or what time of the day it is!
It doesn't hurt to have someone remind you of how lucky you are to live where you live and how very beautiful it all is.
So . . . thanks to John & Michelle for re-motivating us!
Our Spanish car pulling our South African trailer
It wasn't easy bringing the trailer over here. You have to de-register it in SA to take it out of the country which turned out to be a bit complicated, but it's such a nice trailer and I really thought we could use it here - so we bought it over.
In Spain it has the same plate as the car towing it and there's no additional tax to pay.
We have big plans for it . . . watch this space!
The “Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido” is a vast National Park with World Heritage status. It is rich with wildlife, mountains, lakes & forests and is home to the third highest peak in the Pyrenees mountains - the Monte Perdido (the Lost Mountain) - which summits at 3355m.
The park is about an hours drive from our house - and we still haven’t been and had a look!
We can see the Monte Perdido from the farmhouse kitchen window though :-)
Last week we were invited to the local movie theater in Boltaña to see the premier of a movie that was made locally with financial help from several local councils and "Crowd Funding".
The film was called "Ara Salvaje" which translates into "the wild river Ara" and it's a story about a local man, Martin Campoy, who wanted to ride, document and promote the last remaining wild river in this area, the river Ara.
The film was in Spanish but we got the general idea of what was going on. More importantly we got to see some fantastic footage, including shots taken from a drone, of the river Ara that passes through Boltaña and Ainsa on it's way from the top of the mountains down into the Mediano Dam.
We cross this river every time we go pretty much anywhere from our house and we swim in it in the Summer. Rivers are important here and this movie did a good job of showing that.
Watch this Promo clip that was made when the rider and his wife were originally fundraising and get a taste of where it is that we live . . . . :-)
Some time ago Mrs Bonus and I joined an online worldwide network of Expats called "Internations".
Yesterday we drove through to Zaragoza to do some shopping and then in the evening we attended an Internations get-together held in an Irish Bar in the center of Zaragoza.
We spent the evening speaking lots of English and chatting to people from Spain, Portugal, Germany, the UK, the US, Russia and Equador! We had a lovely evening and made some new friends . . . and we we're home by 3am!
Last week I posted a link here to a locally made cultural movie. (two posts above this)
This week on Monday at our "Learn Spanish" lesson, which is held at the Adult Education Center up in Ainsa Old Town, I mentioned going to the premier of the movie to our teacher, Carmen, who - it turns out - is the Mayoress of the village of Broto, which features in the movie and who had also been invited to the premier.
We had a nice little chat, in Spanish of course, about the film, the area it was filmed in and the people who made it
Tomorrow will be our final day of picking Olives!
For the last two and a half weeks we've been helping Ramon & Rosa pick olives for a few hours every day. They have around 50 trees, some big & some small, that needed to be done. Half are up here at the farm and the others are down on the land near the river. We've had beautiful weather and it's certainly been "an experience" but by now all four of us are sick to death of it and will be glad when the last tree is finished tomorrow!
I guess we have around a thousand kilos of olives by now which will be taken to the olive processing plant down the road and pressed into oil.
You only harvest olives every two years - so whatever they get from this batch has to last that long . . .
Ramon and Rosa. Rosa always has a smile ready :-)
Mrs Bonus and Ramon's baby that he bought brand new 45 years ago!
Wherever you are on the farm, the view is spectacular :-)
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