Cycling B&B in the foothills of the Pyrenees

OP
Bonus

Bonus

Über Member
Location
Ainsa, Spain
Fifteen minutes south of Ainsa, on the road to Barbastro, you drive through the "new" village of Mediano which sits alongside the Mediano Dam. This new village was built when the Mediano Dam was built and the valley containing the "old" village of Mediano was flooded.

Back in 2016 at the end of the summer (mid October) we drove down to new Mediano and walked from the car park across the fields to the remains of the old village. The houses have all fallen down over the years but the church tower remains standing.

This year we wanted to go back for another walk but the first rains came before we had the chance, so when we got there the water level had already risen.

When the dam is full you can only see the top couple of meters of the tower, but by then you can't get close enough to take a decent picture unless you hire a kayak!

The first two pics are from 2016, the rest are from last week . . . . .

:-)

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OP
Bonus

Bonus

Über Member
Location
Ainsa, Spain
Those of you who've been following this thread from the beginning will know our story . . . .

We bought a property in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees mountains - in a popular Mountain Biking area with well maintained and signed trails, called Zona Zero, to renovate into a "Cycling friendly B&B".

We own the property outright, we have a full set of architects drawings, a Project Budget Plan, a Business Plan, a reasonable quote from a local Builder and a favourable Viability Study carried out by the department of Commerce.

The local banks all love our idea but are unable to help in the wake of the Financial Crisis that led Spain to being bailed out by the EU a few years ago. After talking to lots and lots of people - including showing pretty much all the visiting cyclists that I've been MTB Guiding this year- we decided to try the Private Investment route.

Sadly we don't have "wealthy friends or family" to ask, so it's going to be up to us to do everything we can to try a find what I refer to as "someone with a small suitcase full of money" . . . .

Wish us luck!

Mr & Mrs Bonus
 
OP
Bonus

Bonus

Über Member
Location
Ainsa, Spain
We've registered with a website called "the Angel Investment Network"

https://www.angelinvestmentnetwork.us/

It's free to register, you fill in what it is that you need investors for and then once it's approved they send out your "Pitch" to their network of Angel Investors.

The main site is based in the US but they have a "network" here in Spain, so our Pitch should be sent out to the Spanish network of potential investors too.

You can see from the wording of the questions they ask and the accompanying notes, that the sites biggest traffic comes from Electronics start-ups, e-commerce start-ups, that sort of thing. But they do have a category for "Tourism & Recreation" which are essentially where we fall - in fact getting tourists to visit us for recreational purposes pretty much sums up what we want to do!

The service is advertised as "free" but (exactly as you would expect) when you get to the end of filling in a dozen sections of information and you're ready to "Publish your Pitch" you are told that the free service only does a few basic things - and holds back certain information from potential investors. If you want investors to get the whole thing you have to pay. They have a tiered pricing structure topping out at around $2500 for "everything".....

We've gone with the free option, let's see what happens . . . .

:-)
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
I hope you have good luck with the angels. They were an option when I started a company decades ago but I think (my memory of back then is not perfect and this won't be written down in anything I still have) we decided against them because there was too much risk of losing everything to an investor just because they put the capital in to get the business started.
 
OP
Bonus

Bonus

Über Member
Location
Ainsa, Spain
I hope you have good luck with the angels. They were an option when I started a company decades ago but I think (my memory of back then is not perfect and this won't be written down in anything I still have) we decided against them because there was too much risk of losing everything to an investor just because they put the capital in to get the business started.
Yes I can imagine. We will have to be very careful as to what we agree to as and when someone does come along.
Cheers mjr.
 
OP
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Bonus

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Location
Ainsa, Spain
We've suddenly slipped into Winter!

Spring was amazing - in June I was riding until after 10pm and it hadn't got dark yet!

Summer was amazing - up to 43 degrees at times in August, swimming in the local river, big salads for lunch every day - perfect.

Autumn..... well, it lasted 2 minutes! October was nice, in fact it was very comfortable after the heat of summer, but then at the beginning of November the rains arrived and temps started to fall. Now the rain has gone and it's sunny during the day - warm even if you happen to be out in it, but at night and inside the flat (which, like South African houses, is designed for summer not winter) it is freezing!

We'll be ok after we adjust ourselves a bit - dig out the winter clothes and riding kit and the hot water bottles - and if it snows then the cold will be forgiven, because it really is beautiful here when it snows, but for the moment while we pay our respects to the passing of Summer, the cold is a bit.... shocking!!! Brrrrrr
 
OP
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Bonus

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Location
Ainsa, Spain
You may have gathered from some of our posts that the region where we live - in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees - is strewn with abandoned or almost abandoned villages.

The two main reasons for this are firstly the relocation of much of the rural population into the towns and cities by Franco leading up to and during the Spanish Civil War and more recently the natural migration of people, specifically youngsters, moving to places with better work opportunities.

Pretty much every ride I go on takes me past at least one abandonded village or farm house and they've become some much a part of the landscape I'm used to that I'm no longer surprised by them - although I still find them intriguing!

The current government, in conjunction with local councils in our area are making an effort to encorurage people to move back into these villages, some of which are high in the mountains and consequently failry remote. Modern access roads and electricity & water supplies are all being put in and in some cases funding is being made available for renovation projects.

Guaso, where our Project is, doesn't fall into the "abandonded" category, but we're making enquiries with the local department of commerce just in case the option for funding or a low rate loan might be available.

You never know!
 
OP
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Bonus

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Location
Ainsa, Spain
Tomorrow we'll be doing some volunteer work at the Ainsa Red Cross (Cruz Roja) office.

There are probably 50 odd volunteers all told, and by all trying to do a bit each, no one ends up doing too much.

Tomorrow we'll be driving the Red Cross van out to some small villages and dropping off EU Food parcels to people who need them.

No matter how tough life gets, or how bad off you think you have it - and believe me we both have our "moments", there are always people worse off than you.

:-)
 
OP
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Bonus

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Location
Ainsa, Spain
Our first little excursion into looking for a potential Private Investor on-line has now come to an end and although we haven't found an investor, we have learned a few useful things going through the process.

We tried out with the Angel Investment Network which advertised "Free Registration" and "access to 225,987 potential investors". I filled in all the sections of the online application form, giving details of our project, our business plan, our viability study and ourselves etc etc and at the end of several hours of work, was ready to "Publish our Pitch". Once you publish the pitch it has to be approved by the AIN before being given a Live status.

On clicking the "Publish" button, you are taken to a page that offers you various Paid options that enable you to enhance your pitch. Prices for the additional options range from $150 to $2500. Since this is our first attempt and we're really just finding our way here, I didn't choose to enhance our pitch. I clicked "continue" and was taken to a second Paid options page which informed me that the free option, which I was currently signed up for, did have certain limitations on it...

Several important sections of our pitch would be blanked out and therefore not available for potential investors to see, our acompanying pictures/photos would not be included with the pitch, the pitch would only be sent to a fraction of the available potential investors and our pitch would be sent out as an "Anonymous Pitch" - meaning investors would have to open it and read it to see what it was about, rather than being told in advance for example that it was a property development.

I understand that everyone is tyring to make money here and that you don't get anything for nothing, so I won't run the company down for their "bait and switch" methods, and I kept a "copy & paste" copy of all the text I filled in - so I won't have to type everything out "longhand" again the next time we go through this process.

I say our "first little excursion has now come to an end" because one of the other limitations to the Novice Package is that the Pitch is archived after 30 days and if you want to republish it, you have to pay to do so.

I doubt that this exercise will result in us hearing from a potential investor, the limitations the company place on the free option are just too crippling. Of course its designed like that - again, I understand.

It's a shame because I'd happily have paid the company a finders fee if we'd been successful.

Anyway, onwards and upwards. I believe we have a good idea and we've bought ourselves a great property and I'm nothing if not optimistic!
 
OP
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Bonus

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Location
Ainsa, Spain
We're on the last day of a 10 day trip to the UK. Going to miss my son and our grand daughter when we leave tonight. It has been lovely.

Andrea came down with flu between Boxing day and us leaving Spain on the 28th, and I got it the day we arrived here. Thankfully my sons house is warmer than our flat back in Boltana and we managed to keep warm, take meds and get rid of it before it could turn into anything worse. Reading on-line it seems the usual waves of winter Flu are sweeping across Northern Europe. Let's hope that's it now. Our first proper illness in nearly two years.

Today we will do some last minute shopping before packing our bags and heading to Gatwick for a 2 hr flight home.

Tomorrow is a public holiday in Spain - "Kings Day". The day the three kings arrived with gifts to visit the baby . . . .

We will have the day to ourselves, washing clothes and cleaning the flat no doubt, before getting back into normal life - whatever that may be - on Tuesday.

We're hoping for good things this year - nothng extravagent, we dont need to win the Lotto, we just want to set up our business, become self sufficient financially and do the stuff we love - hosting and guiding visitors.

Fingers crossed!

Happy New Year to everyone.......
 
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OP
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Location
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We popped in and spoke to one of the banks before we left Spain on our 10 day trip to the UK.

They confirmed what I'd pretty much already guessed - if we can get our business built using private investment, run it succesfully for between 18 months and 2 years and produce a set of accounts showing that everything is going ok - then in principal they should not have a problem re-financing us if we wanted (or needed) to pay back our investors.

Banks - happy to lend you money when you no longer need it . . . . . ;-)
 
OP
Bonus

Bonus

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Location
Ainsa, Spain
There are literally hundreds of Fiestas here in Spain every year. A “Fiesta” is the celebration of the day of a particular Saint and whatever that Saint was the Patron of. Some fiestas are specific to a particular region of Spain whilst others are recognised countrywide. Some of them are also Public Holidays (Bank Holidays), many of them are not.

Last night in Boltaña was the Fiesta de San Pablo (The Feast of St Paul) who was the Patron Saint of Missionaries. This particular Fiesta is big deal locally, and the town council had erected a dozen or so bonfires of various sizes, scattered throughout the town. At 7pm they were lit and the people of the town all met up at the various locations with their cooler boxes of food and drink. Once the fires had burnt down to a reasonable level they cooked their meat on them. We are renting a flat in Boltaña - about 5km from the village of Guaso where our Project is - at the moment and one of the biggest bonfires was on a small green just 100m from home. We took a couple of bottles of wine, some French loaves and a nice piece of Longaniza (the Spanish equivalent of Boerewors) and had a fantastic evening. A huge communal BBQ at each bonfire with 50 odd people cooking their food, drinking wine and talking nonsense!

We took some friends, a local British couple from a neighbouring village, with us and spent the evening catching up with them and with all our local Spanish friends. There’s a great feeling of comradery at these events, talking to people I ride with, people I work for or who sometimes work for me, chatting to the small group of Spaniards who attend the weekly “Learn English” Class – the equivalent of the weekly “Learn Spanish” class we go to.

Everyone wanted to know how our trip to the UK went, and how was our granddaughter. A big bonfire, a drink, a Boerewors roll and a load of friends. . . . . As Mrs Bonus said afterwards, it’s just what you need sometimes to keep you going when you don’t feel like you’re making enough progress with your “dream”.

Happy days . . . .

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OP
Bonus

Bonus

Über Member
Location
Ainsa, Spain
Before Christmas I asked the Department of Commerce, who carried out our original Viability Study, to give us an updated version using some new figures that I had for them. Our circumstances have changed a little since the original study was carried out and I wanted to confirm that everything was still in order.

I'm happy to say that all is good and our business plan still holds water. The revised Viability Study shows that our business will be able to wash its own face.
 
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