Friday, 19 October 2018

Public hospitals in Andalucia

The quality of health care and hospital facilities in Andalucia (and throughout Spain) is of a very high standard. There are excellent doctors, and highly trained Spanish medical staff and hospitals are equipped with the latest high-tech equipment. Andalucia has many excellent public and private hospitals in each of the eight provinces.

To qualify for free services in health centres and Spanish hospitals, you must either be registered with the state healthcare system, have private healthcare insurance, hold an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) or be a national from a country with a bilateral health agreement with Spain. If not, you will be asked to pay medical fees unless it’s an emergency. Expats living and working in Spain  have access to the country’s free state healthcare insurance but some Spanish hospitals offer a combination of both public and private healthcare.

1. Brand new Hospital of Estepona 

In march 2019 Estepona is getting its own dedicated hospital. The hospital will be located on a six-hectare site on the west side of the town centre. It will become one of the most important health infrastructures seen in recent decades, and will be offering a top class and professional medical service. It will have specialised departments for radiology, hospitalisation, surgery, paediatrics, and women’s health and capacity to handle an expected 85,000 appointments and 90,000 emergency visits a year. For residents of Duquesa Port, Manilva, Casares and other local towns it means far shorter travel times when they need urgent medical care.


  2. Costa del Sol Hospital 

The Costa del Sol Hospital, on the main A-7 coast road 7km east of Marbella center, is one of the best-equipped hospitals in Spain. Inaugurated in December 1993, the hospital is run by an independent company on behalf of the (SAS) Andalucian Health Authorities.

It has a large out-patients department and a 24 hour accident and emergency department.

There are often voluntary interpreters on hand to help British and other nationalities communicate with the medical staff. With at least 15% of patients being non-Spanish speakers, this is considered a necessity for the smooth running of the hospital.

In 2017 The Costa del Sol Hospital was named the “best hospital” by The Andalucía public health service (SAS).

3. Hospital de alta resolucion de Benalmadena 

The hospital has 15 specialized care clinics: Clinical Analysis, Anesthesiology and Resuscitation, Digestive System, Cardiology, General Surgery and Digestive System, Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pneumology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology, Radiodiagnostics, Traumatology and Orthopedic Surgery, Urology, Intensive Care and Emergencies. The facilities incorporate the latest generation technology and new model of organization to deliver the swiftest and most accurate diagnosis and treatment care in the region.

4. Complejo Hospitalario Carlos Haya 

The Carlos Haya Regional University Hospital consists of three hospitals and a speciality centre located in different parts of Malaga. The General Hospital (known as Carlos Haya) specialises in medical and more complex surgical procedures. The Maternal and Child Hospital (Hospital Materno Infantil) is a benchmark of quality in the care of women, children and young people. The Civil Hospital (Hospital Civil) deals with more traditional hospitalisation: ambulatory surgery, short stay, surgery, etc.

5. Virgen de la Victoria Hospital 

The Virgen de la Victoria University Hospital (also known as Hospital Clínico) is a public hospital complex managed by the Andalusian Health Service. It was opened in 1989 and its name is dedicated to the patron saint of Malaga, the Virgin of Victory . The University of Málaga is the academic institution affiliated to the hospital complex, located in the Teatinos University Campus. The Virgen de la Victoria Hospital Area has three Hospitals, two Peripheral Specialty Centers, eight Community Mental Health Units and one Mental Health Day Hospital.


Friday, 20 July 2018

Spanish tapas

Spain is such an incredible source of unique flavours. From tasty tapas to superb seafood and traditional roasts, Spanish food is all about making the most of the best local produce. 

Today we will talk about tapas - small portions of foods, both hot and cold, served in bars, bodegas and also restaurants. Tapas were invented in Andalusia. The word means literally a lid and the term was thought to have come from the habit of having a few nibbles with a drink and the necessity of placing a saucer or tapas on top of a glass to keep the flies out.

Each tapas is really no more than a bite, so you can either sample two or three before dinner, or you can make a meal of them by ordering larger portions, called raciones.

1. Tortilla de patatas - a thick egg omelette made with potatoes and onions and fried in olive oil. It is such a popular dish some call it "the national dish of Spain."

2. Patatas Bravas - is one of the classic Spanish tapas dishes and is served in bars all over Spain. Potatoes are cut and fried in oil before being served with either a spicy tomato-based sauce (like in Burgos) or alongside aioli (like in Valencia and Catalonia).


3. Gambas Pil Pil - garlic shrimps. Gambas are an easy, mouthwatering Spanish dish extremely popular in the south of Spain. The focal ingredients are shrimp, garlic, and olive oil, but even so, it’s hard to find two versions that taste the same, as Spanish cooks tend to add their own touches to every food they’re preparing.


4. Calamares a la Romana - fried squid rings - simple but delicious and very popular appetizer.


5. Pulpo a la gallega - octopus cooked in boiling water, seasoned in paprika, and served hot in olive oil.


6. Tortillitas de camarones – shrimp fritter. It is a fried dish made with flour, prawns in olive oil, and a hint of lemon juice – crunchy and delicious!


7. Boquerónes - deep-fried anchovies. These little fish come fresh, pickled, or fried, and they’re nothing like the strong and stinky morsels you might have tasted elsewhere.


8. Croquetas de Jamón - ham croquettes. They are a small, lightly breaded and fried sort of fritter. Very creamy and tasty. A bechamel and ham mixture turns into a dough that you roll into logs and coat with egg and breadcrumbs - then the croquettes are fried to golden brown.


9. Albóndigas – meatballs. Most often pork, but also of beef cooked in garlic tomato sauce.


10. Ensaladilla Rusa - russian salad. Potatoes are mixed with tuna, mayonnaise, and vegetables like carrots and peas — may have its roots in Russia, but the dish is popular across eateries in Spain.


11. Pipirrana Malagueña - is a refreshing summer salad made up of a mix of diced onion, tomato, cucumber, red and green peppers, and dressed with sherry vinegar, salt, and olive oil.


12. Jamón Ibérico - a dry-cured ham produced from Iberian pigs. While you can find it throughout Spain, Andalusia is famous for producing some of the highest quality.


13. Chorizo - it is an utterly delicious pork sausage with lots of garlic and pepper. The Spanish chorizo can be sweet or spicy, served raw as a tapa, or added in various dishes. For a quintessential Spanish experience, try it with Manchego cheese and a glass of Rioja.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Local Chiringuitos

Similar to Greek tavernas, Spanish chiringuitos are a unique feature of Spain’s Mediterranean coast, offering welcome shade, refreshingly cold drinks and wide choice of tapas and other food.

With the summer now firmly arrived in southern Spain, these beach bars – chiringuitos as they are known locally – are open up and down the Andalucian coast.

The word is said to come from the 19th century sugar cane fields of Cuba. Workers would take a coffee break filtering the thick black liquid through a sock so that a small stream of coffee, or chiringo, would fill their cup. Some enterprising souls eventually built makeshift coffee shacks which were dubbed chiringuitos, or to translate directly, little streams.

They come in all different shapes and sizes and you find them on every beach on Costa del Sol. Some of them are open seasonally serving just drinks others are open all year round with full restaurant facilities.

Today the chiringuito is an institution with people fiercely protective of their favourites, often picking the beach not for the beauty of the view but for the delicious offerings of its chiringuito.

Below you can find the list of our favourite cherenquitos in our neighbourhood:


Paseo Maritimo de Sabinillas

Open: from 10.30 am till 6 pm

Wide choice of food also for vegetarians. Located on the beach next to a big playground so it's a perfect spot for families with kids.


Playa de Cala Sardina. 

Open:  from 11 am

A spanish-italian restaurant with excellent food. Located on the beautiful beach of Torregardiaro with amazing views to Gibraltar and Africa.

3. LA SAL 

Casares beach.   

Open:  11.30 am  – 10.30 pm

La Sal has a great position on the coastline looking down towards Gibraltar. This year restaurant introduced new fabulous choice of fish dishes.


Urb. los Granados de la Duquesa

Open: open seasonally

Beautiful spot right on the beach.Not only Spanish but also Italian cuisine. It is well known to locals for its amazing food.


Playa la Rada Beach, Estepona

Open: open seasonally

Excellent location on Estepona promenade/beach, only few minutes walk from old town. There is a play area next to the restaurant so it's another great place for families with kids.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Easter in Spain

Locally known as Semana Santa (Holy Week), Easter is the most important celebration in Spain, and stands out for its epic elaborate processions and unique, age-old traditions specific to each region. The atmosphere that characterizes the festivities is usually solemn, the picture spectacular, and everything seems fully immersed in emotion. 

Like everywhere in Spain, the festivities begin on Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos – this year it’s on 9th of April) and last until Easter Monday (Lunes de Pascua), with the most dramatic and passionate parades held on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Although each Spanish region, and even city and village, has its own particular customs and practices during this time of year, Semana Santa celebrations are nowhere else as elaborate and spectacular as they are in Andalusia, the sunny south of the country. Here, the most important Catholic holiday is commemorated with a week full of color, art, religious fervor, and extravagant processions. The most spectacular events take place in Malaga and Seville, where the streets are taken over by flamboyant parades and intricate religious displays depicting biblical scenes.

In Malaga, Semana Santa is celebrated with various religious and military parades accompanied by live marching bands, inviting incense, and floral scents, as well as lots of colour and cheer.

One of the most distinctive features is the presence of tronos – huge ornate floats that are carried through the streets of Malaga by hundreds of church members. These remarkable thrones are adorned with religious sculptures depicting Jesus or Mary, some created by renowned Spanish artists. The floats are festooned with flowers and candles and are the focal point of the procession. They are escorted by groups of penitents wearing long purple robes and women dressed in black and wearing mantilla - a black lace veil worn high on the back of the head. 

Other attractions are saetas singing by people on balconies along the procession route. The throne stops or slows down during this traditional religious song. Semana Santa processions parades from their church to the city’s cathedral. To spot the start of a procession, look out for the giant cross that is always carried at the front.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Tiny houses

Nowadays tiny houses stopped being a novelty and started becoming a movement. For the past few years, talented designers and creative DIY’ers have playfully competed to create the smallest and most efficient homes in which life can truly be lived to the fullest. Here are some of our favourites.

1. Tokyo - modern & minimalist tiny house

It’s called the Reflection of Mineral. The 86.2 m2 floor area is spread over four levels, including a basement. Inside, the play of light on the angled surfaces provides visual interest throughout the day. Windows placed in the corners draw the eye along the long diagonals, increasing the perceived space. The living room window faces the intersection, taking advantage of the longest available view. Mirrored surfaces, openings between floors and large skylights all add to the feeling of spaciousness. This house is the epiphany of future sustainable housing not just for individuals and couples but for families as well, especially in areas like Tokyo where space is truly limited.

2. Finland - a comfortable cabin in the woods

Built from recycled materials for around $10,000 lakeside cabin in Finland is deliberately —and smartly — designed with a teeny-tiny footprint as to avoid building permits and bureaucratic red tape. Less than 9 m2 cabin consist of a loft for sleeping and storage, a ground floor lounge/living area, kitchen and bathroom. The house is designed to maximize the allowed area, plus boosting the capacity for great acoustics and natural day lighting. In addition to the tall window, there's an adjacent deck for a great view of the tranquil surroundings.

3. Australia - The L41home

Designed by Michael Katz and Janet Korne, the L41home is a sustainable, power-environment friendly home that really places the type in compact dwelling. Key features include an integrated building mechanical system, "the beating heart" with solar thermal capillary heating and cooling, and sustainable construction techniques, including non-toxic materials, LED lighting, zinc exterior cladding, a green roof, super-efficient windows and cross-ventilation.
As important, the L41 is intended to be mass produced, with the price declining as production goes up, making this a viable alternative to traditional-sized and conventionally constructed dwellings. This abode is ultra micro — only 20 m2.

4. Germany – Seelenkiste (Soul Box) Another Tiny Wooden Cabin

A group of three students designed a relocatable dwelling for one person, whilst building, they thought that it would be a good idea for it to be a spirit hut, meaning it would be placed in a secluded, rural setting to give the occupant quiet time in order to contemplate and self-explore. Seelenkiste itself is a relatively simple timber frame structure in which sections can be prefabricated, flat-packed and transported to the owners site. A small team is then able to assemble the different components to create the tiny retreat. Area is only 8 m2.

5. The oldest Little House in Toronto

It may look like a playhouse for children, but fully grown people actually live here! Built in 1912 by contractor Arthur Weeden, Toronto’s Little House, as its known, is only about 7′ wide, 47′ deep, with a total of less than 28 m2 of living space inside. The house has everything that is needed, a pull out bed, kitchen, laundry, lounge room, etc. Then house even has a small back yard.

Monday, 8 January 2018

The most beautiful andalucian village - Casares


Casares is a magical beautiful white village with whitewashed, sugar-cube houses climbing the steep mountain hill. It is located fifteen kilometres inland of Estepona, to the west of Marbella, in the Malaga province of Andalucí­a. Casares was built 4035 meters above sea level where the views are so breathtaking you will think you are looking at a postcard.


Casares occupies a distinguished place in the history of Andalucía
The history of Casares can be traced as far as 100.000 years back in time! Then the inhabitants, the Neanderthals lived in caves in the Sierra de la Utrera and lived from hunting and fishing. It was an excellent area with caves, natural water springs and a rich animal life.
The Neanderthals where later replaced by the Homo Sapiens about 6.000 years ago who lived in the large cave called  ”Cueva de Gran Duque”. They seem to have been dedicated to (except from hunting and acgriculture) ceramic production. They made pots, which were carefully decorated as well as bracelets and necklaces.
Later the inhabitants moved out of the caves and built huts and with time created small villages  ”villas”.

The Romans settled down and created the village Lacipo just outside the current village of Casares. They built roads and advanced water systems and minted their own coins, which could still be found in the ground in the area as soon as 10 years ago.

Julius Ceasar is said to have given name to the village Casares. And he was the one contructing the “Baños de la Hedionda” where he took baths to cure his psoriasis. Still people cover their bodies with the mud from the sulphur bath and claim to get better health from it.

After the Romans the the Moors came and settled down about 800 years ago and they were the ones building the large fortress still existing on the top of the village as well as the mere part of the original village.
The strategic positions and excellent views has made Casares impossible to conquered for several intents as for example the Napoleonic trops. It also was one of the last villages to be christened after the moors.


Beside ancient castle, several churches and chapels you can find in Casares many traditional tapas bars and quaint cafes, most of them in the Plaza de Espana. 

It's great just to walk around to take in the serenity of the place and the winding alleys between the immaculately kept houses.

Climb up past Arrabal via Puerta Calle to the Castle. There is a cemetery located within the grounds of the Castle which is unique because of it's circular shape. There are whitewashed niches and this is a good place to rest whilst taking in the beautiful views.

There are a number of signed walks just outside the village. Some lead to the top of nearby hills where to can get even better views of the white village. Walk the Sierra Cristilina for natural beauty or you can take the popular walk down the river valley to Manilva.

Casares with its dominating view is a magical place to visit, and offers those who stay an authentic andalusian experience.