Cycling B&B in the foothills of the Pyrenees

OP
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Just read the whole thread from the start - fascinating stuff :becool:. Good luck with your funding - if anyone deserves some success it’s you and your wife :okay:
Thanks Colin - Glad you enjoyed it. It's certainly been an adventure!

We believe we'll get there in the end - there's an investor or two out there somewhere that will see this as the perfect little Project for them to get involved with for a few years... and they'll get their money back with interest and enjoy some free accommodation in the meantime! We just have to be patient, do what work we can ourselves and, most importantly, enjoy life along the way.

Yesterday and again today we're watching La Vuelta which is on our doorstep right now. One of my main reasons for wanting to be in the Pyrenees was the proxitity of stages of Le Tour and La Vuelta every year :-)
 
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In the last fortnight I've spent 50% of my waking time working, 30% of the time riding and 20% of the time either being at, or watching on TV, La Vuelta 2020!

On Sunday I bumped into people on the road at La Vuelta who would be interested in staying with us and road riding the same roads that La Vuelta followed. Having coffee on the terrace at Hotel Sanchez on Wednesday morning I was approached by a lady from Holland who organises adventure holidays to this area and wants me too be her contact point for organising Kayaking, Canyoning and of course Mountain Bike Riding. Apparently Holland "has no mountains" so they would be interested in cross-country riding - which makes things easier for me. And then yesterday a local lady, who I worked with back in the summer, called me about English lessons for her son and reminded me that when we are up and running I said we would be running "Speak English Only" holiday clubs for local youngsters whose parents are at work......

On top of that, Ainsa Council, which covers (amongst other things) the town of Ainsa, the Zona Zero MTB Trails and the village of Guaso, where our Project is, curently has a dozen improvement projects on the go.

The future looks promising..........
 
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There was heavy rain up in the mountains for 24 hours.....

It's difficult to imagine this is one of our swimming spots in the Summer time!

Thankfully the sun came back today and normal service was resumed :-)

Summer 2020:

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November 2020:

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On Tuesday we did a little walk with our good friends up to the "Samitier Castle" - a castle ruin perched on the edge of a rather long drop!

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Nearly there . . . . .

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The views from the top are stunning and it's not a difficult place to get to. I'd recommend it to visitors.

You can just see the tower of the church in the middle of the dam. The village of Mediano was lost when they flooded the valley. In dry season you can walk out to that church, in wet season only the top 2 meters of the tower are showing!

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The river that joins the Mediano and El Grado Dams....

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Some new XC trail to add to my existing routes . . . .

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A room with a view!

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I'm lucky to have someone with me who enjoys doing these things and we're both lucky to have friends nearby to share the experiences with :-)
 
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Sometimes unexpected things can become a major pain in the neck . . . . !

When I left SA to come to Spain, I came here via the UK. Flew to London, stayed in the UK for a couple of weeks and then drove down through France to northern Spain.

We didn't have a car lined up when I got to the UK but my son had been thinking about changing his car at the time, so I bought his car from him and he got himself a replacement.

My over-keen grandaughter and my under-keen son helped me clean it before I left . . . .

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Inevitably "the paperwork" became a problem.



You can't insure a car registered in the UK with a Spanish insurance company.
You can't "keep" a car outside of the UK and still have it insured back in the UK.
You can't register a car from the UK in Spain unless it has a valid roadworthy certificate.
You can't get a valid roadworthy certificate for a right hand drive car without making some changes to the car. Headlights are one of the things that need changing for example. It generally costs about £1000 to "convert and certificate" a UK car.......

The condition of the car was ok, but we were reluctant to spend the grand converting it for European use simply because driving a car with the steerling wheel on the right here is hard work. Especially on the twisty roads. So we opted to get ourselves a cheap Spanish car and use the UK car, without papers, to continue driving around on Ramons farm. It was perfect for that - it handled the dirt tracks fine, you could fill it with tools and stuff. Perfect.

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Then came a bombshell. You are not alowed to drive a vehicle here without valid documentation. Not even on your own private ground! Farmers back in SA who have "an old untaxed bakkie that never leaves the farm" would be prosecuted. Now suddenly we couldn't use the car for anything.

We decided to leave the car out of the way of everyone in the corner of the field/yard where Ramon keeps his trailers and tractor attachments. He was happy with that and the car sat there for a few months with me using it just to keep tools inside. Then came another bombshell. You are not allowed to have an old car sitting on your private land doing nothing without valid documentation!

I thought people were joking when they first told me this, but it's true. And if you look around here you will see that no one anywhere, not in the villages and not in the towns, has an old car rotting away in their garden or on their land.

I thought I would tow the car to a scrap yard - but you're not alowed to tow an undocumented car .....

Eventually Ramon started getting a bit concerned about the car sitting on his land because the police had crusied by and seen it. I thought I would just quickly tow it up one night onto our own property until we worked out what to do with it.....but that would have involved towing an undocumented car for about 50m on a public road. I was happy to take the chance - I said no one would see us, but it turns out the police don't need to see you do it. If they know the car was "here" and suddenly it's "there" they will ask you how it got from A to B. Apparently "Magic" isn't a valid answer.

The car on Ramons land became a major thorn in our side. The nearest scrap yard was an hour away. We phoned them last December to pick the car up but three months later they still hadn't come and then Covid19 arrived instead. I chased them up in Summer and again two weeks ago. Finally they arrived on Friday to take the car away. They didn't charge us anything for picking it up and they didn't pay us anything for its scrap value.

It was a bit sad seeing a perfectly good car that had served us so well be taken away but I guess at least now it's gone now and we can sleep easy!


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One of the reasons for choosing to live on this side of the Pyrenees was the fact that the weather is so different here on the southern side.

Northern Europe gets so much of its weather from the west - damp air coming in from over the atlantic - whereas we don't.

I've said on here before, once we're up and running we will definately have a "weather-cam" on our web site so that people sitting somewhere cold and grey can see what they're missing!

The weather this weekend . . . . .

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On Sunday afternoon we took a stroll up to the old castle ruins above the town of Boltaña - which is where our flat is.

Boltaña, like so many of these old European towns, comprises of the "old town" up on a hill with the new town spread out below it. The castle is higher still, up above the old town.

The footpath up to the castle from the old town is easy enough and not too steep, but if you start off down in the new town, walk up to the old town and then continue on up to the castle you will have climbed a fair way. :-)

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Standing up here enjoying the sun and the views, something special happened.

At the far end of the road in this picture (too far away to see clearly I'm afraid) are a couple of small buildings on the left where the local Hunters meet. Hunting was on this weekend and by the time we climbed up here on Sunday afternoon the hunters had finished their hunting and were "back at base". Across the road from where they meet is a fenced off patch of ground where they throw away all the stuff they don't want. We didn't actually know any of this until we were standing admiring the views and Mrs Bonus saw a vulture glide by overhead. We watched where it went and then worked out what was happening from that because I had remembered seeing the signposted buildings when I'd ridden past there previously.

Once we were aware of what was going on we kept a look out and very quickly spotted dozens of vultures gliding down from all directions towards where the carcasses were. In the end there must have been 40 of them. A couple of minutes after seeing our first vulture pass overhead I heard a noise like a plane passing by at high altitude. It was the noise of the wind passing through the feathers of a huge vulture as it glided overhead. I don't know if it's by smell, sight or just knowing where meat gets dumped on a Sunday during winter - but these guys came in from miles around. It took them five minutes to clean up the dump site and then they all flew off in different directions. Some came our way and settled in the sun on a ledge below us.

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I was just talking to someone last week about how, aside from the attraction of the MTB trails here, we also have the two attractions of amazing local Geology and Birds of Prey . . . and then this happened. I'm glad out timing was right. 10 minutes later and we'd have missed it all!
 
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We took a drive up to France yesterday on the road north out of Ainsa. The border is 45km away and it's an easy enough drive. We had snow/sleet/rain down here on Monday, but it only settled for a day before the sun melted it. Up in the mountains on the road to France the snow fell some while ago. It's deeper and it's here to stay. Every so often we go and have a look.

Through the 3.5km long "Bielsa Tunnel" to the northern side on the Pyrenees and the snow is suddenly meters deep at the side of the road. Nice to look at and get out and stand in for 5 minutes, but I woudn't want to live like that!

Down where we are we only see snow up on the peaks at the moment . . . . here the Pena Montenesa has snow down to about 1000m.

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Our photo's don't capture the sheer beauty of the snow covered trees on the mountains, but here's the best we could do . . . .

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This guy will be going nowhere fast!

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