Tag Archives: Spain
House sitting

Tarjeta Dorada: Spanish Discount Train Travel for the Over-60 Crowd

  Simple Easy Discount Card: Tarjeta Dorada. In English it means Golden Card.      Conrad and I love Spain. Over eight years, we’ve house sat on the side of a mountain, made great friends, and made Spain a major stop last year on our longest house sitting adventure to date. We’ve tootled around the […]

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house sitting

Language Schools: Surprising Travel Resource and Memory-Maker

  In order to travel deeper, to get more out of the experience, I have to dig. It means seeking. It means connecting. And when I find myself in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language, my lack of skills automatically means my relationship with locals is curtailed. That bugs me. Behind the […]

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Cordoba: Where Muslims, Jews, and Christians Once Thrived Together

    On a recent 2-month trip around Spain, I had the great pleasure of staying 4 nights in Cordoba. And even though its tight neighborhoods had me longing for wide open spaces, the whole experience gave me the big-world view of how Spain became Spain. Here’s what I found out: Over the course of […]

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house sitting travel

Five Off-the-Beaten Track Must-Sees for the New Year

Planet Earth holds wonders plentiful and marvelous. No one could ever experience them all but I offer up five places that slide under the mass-media radar. They are nevertheless priceless nuggets that offer design, history, sunshine, iconography, and whimsy. Enjoy!   If you need design stimulation of the first degree, get thee to the streets […]

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Best vineyards

For the Love of Wine

It’s what keeps the economy chugging in Spain’s Catalonia – and they’re pretty darned passionate about how to grow the grapes.   Grapevines “You make together – the plant with the wire,” says Joan Raventós, an exuberant restaurateur and vineyard owner whom I met while touring Europe. He trudged ahead of me down one row […]

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house sitting travel

When choosing where to house sit, should you try a remote location?

If you’re anything like me, you drool over the posted house sitting assignments on match-up websites like HouseCarers.com. The places! The photos! Wouldn’t you love staying in a romantic and charming French country estate or a rugged Australian outback boutique farm complete with small herd of cattle? Or a thatched-roof hut in Fiji? What would […]

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House Sitting in Spain

The Pros and Cons of House Sitting

I firmly believe that everything in life is a trade-off. Here’s my take on the Pros and Cons of house sitting:   It’s true that house sitting is a responsibility to watch over someone else’s home. There’s no daily maid to make your bed with newly starched sheets. No one to cook your meals. And […]

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house sitting travel

6 Distilled Travel Tidbits From Around the World — October 2012

who no longer want to be in the building management business, are selling off foreclosed properties at huge discounts — up to 80%. Catalunya Caixa, Santander, and Banesto Bank are amongst many banks slashing prices on mostly large developments in tourist areas. Mar de Canet, for instance, a complex in a beach town south of […]

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House sitting and immersion travel

5 Distilled Travel Tidbits From Around the World – July

In a smart move against the massive and confusing internet travel sites, agencies with real live people offer more service, knowledgeable suggestions, and lower prices. Read Seth Kugel’s excellent article, complete with comparisons on itineraries. Would you go back to using a travel agent? I would. 2.  Complete with a 2,000 square foot Life is […]

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Remote house sitting and immersion travel in Europe

How an Algebraic Equation Saved Our Hides

You know the math you took in school and said you’d never use? Well that’s how I felt about those classes, but Conrad retained the algebra, calculus, geometry and physics lessons. And we’re both glad he did. Here’s what happened: Conrad and I accepted a two month house sitting assignment in Southern Spain for an […]

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House sitting and immersion travel in Bilbao, Spain

Put Yourself “On the Map” with Museums

Travel encompasses a lot of different activities – bungee jumping or hot-air ballooning. Poking around ancient ruins or lingering for hours over fabulous meals. We all love travel because it gets us out of our usual routines – out of our same four walls – and plants us squarely in front of something new. In […]

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House sitting in Baltimore

My Love Affair with Kitchens

As a house sitter, I’ve had the great fortune to call many kitchens my own. I didn’t know I would love them so much and indeed some folks have wondered how I could “put up with” all the different stuff people have, or how they arrange their kitchens. Here’s what I have discovered: ~ New […]

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House sitting in Spain

How Does Travel Affect Your Thirst for Knowledge?

  Travel opens my eyes to politics, cultures and events around the world. I pay more attention now to all things happening and feel an urgency to keep up because I feel more a part of the world. The three contributors for today all took a different tack – one purely about family values, the […]

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Cooking while house sitting in Spain

Catalan Toast

While house sitting and traveling, Conrad and I have enjoyed some darn awesome food. Sometimes we adopt the recipes into our repertoire of meals. Such is the case with this scrumptious and easy Catalan toast, or as the Catalans say, “Pa amb tomaquet.” At least half of our meals are accompanied by this rustic toasted […]

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Remote living near Sierra Espuna

The Ants on the Clothesline Highway

Living off-the-grid in southern Spain for 6 weeks presented a host of experiences ranging from frustrating to glorious for my husband Conrad and me. Glorious were the dry and warm days – consistent to the point of ho-humness – as in,  Glorious was our swimming pool cut into the mountain rock and in sight of […]

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Adventure travel in Australia's outback

Where Can I House Sit?

When I first heard about house sitting in 2008, the first thing I wanted to know was where! Where in the world can I house sit? I hungrily poured over the websites to read posts from around the globe. Knowing where the assignments are is the first step in wrapping your brain around this fast-growing […]

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House sitting in remote Spain

“It’s Okay if I Die Out Here”

This is going to be hard to write. Admitting these thoughts “out loud” feels too raw, too open, too embarrassing. But the event that triggered these feelings is one I want to share because I can say “house sitting is life-changing,” but this story illustrates exactly how. This story shows how getting pushed to the […]

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Eurail Pass in Europe is fun and sexy

36 Hours in Old City Bilbao, Spain

While house sitting in Spain, we had an opportunity to take side trips. Since there were no animals to care for at our off-the-grid “home,” we decided to take the train to Bilbao for a few days. Our hotel reservations were in the Old City, a section of Bilbao now over-shadowed by the larger newer […]

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While house sitting in Spain, we learned about the phylloxera

Phylloxera – The Bug That Ate All the Wine

Can you imagine no wine from Europe? Impossible! But it almost came to pass in the 1870’s. A bug infestation devastated nearly all the grape vines, until a clever solution was discovered. You know the saying:       Here’s what happened. Tiny root-eating bugs traveled on grape plants from America to England, taken there […]

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Living Off-the-Grid. What it Means to Turn on the Water

Before committing to a 6-week house sitting assignment in sunny southern Spain, Conrad and I got the facts about the water situation there. The homeowner Fred explained it in one of our Skype conversations. “Water, which is pretty sparse here,” he told us, “especially in the hot summer months, runs down the mountain in a […]

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