Not Much Time Left

I can’t believe I’ll be in Málaga this time in just ten days!

Between work assignments yesterday, I worked at sorting out the following:

-How I’m getting to Málaga. By bus. The 5.5-hour bus ride was almost 16 euros (23CAD) less than the 3-hour ride, so I’m taking the scenic route there!

-Accommodation in Málaga. Like in Barcelona, I’m renting a room in an apartment and basically doing a flat share thing.

-How I’m getting to the airport in Málaga. Turns out there’s a bus I can take near my flat that is super cheap.

-Accommodation in Heben Bridge on the 8th. Renting an Airbnb room. The lady is really nice and said that she’ll come and get me at the train station!

-Accommodation in Manchester from Jan 5th through to the 8th. Still a work in progress. Mancs were extraordinarily rude to me on a travel forum and put me off from spending two days there, so I may reconsider visiting that city.

Also sorted is that I have a sit lined up in Lancashire after Hebden Bridge through to March 1st! It starts a couple of days after the Hebden Bridge one, but the couple has offered to pick me up on the day my Hebden Bridge sit is done and take me to their place a few days early so I can settle in! So that means that all but three nights of accommodation between now and March 1st are covered. That’s a huge weight off my shoulders! The only transportation costs that aren’t covered yet shouldn’t be huge either.

I’m trying to savour my last few days here. I went out for tapas last night and made a mental note to try a hamburger next time I go there if I’m particularly hungry. I was very hungry last night and had the tuna after the chorizo, plus the two (small) beers! Still, for 6CAD, that was a very affordable and good meal!

This afternoon, I went to the little shop up the street for sundries and marvelled that it was almost hot out. If it hadn’t been for the wind, I could have been in a tee shirt. So I got quite a chuckle out of the storeowner’s dog wearing a sweater and teased her about it. I was delighted that she’s started to stock my preferred brand of sweetened almond milk (giving up on ever again finding here the unsweetened kind) and that it was really inexpensive! I thought I was going to have to make a special trip to one of the larger grocery stores to get a container so I could finish off my cereal.

I really took advantage here of having a kitchen with a full size fridge/freezer and grocery stores that were easy to get to do some serious cooking. My kitchen in Bulgaria wasn’t bad (and actually better equipped), but the fridge was too small to store leftovers and I didn’t have easy access to varied groceries, so I ate a lot of salads and sandwiches. Not a terrible bad diet, but it was way too much bread and salami. I’m feeling a lot healthier here than I did there, despite not getting as much exercise. Being able to sleep well here has played a huge role in that as well.

Of course, I’ll miss this cat terribly and have been joking about sneaking her into my suitcase. The only other cat I’ve ever connected to on such a deep level was my Tabitha. Every place I’ve booked and all my sits will have a cat or two, thankfully!

It’s been a very good time in Spain. I’m glad that I have one more stop to make here before jetting off to Amsterdam!

Things Fall Into Place

One of the things I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older and possibly wiser is to stop fretting so much. If things are meant to be, they fall into place. If they’re not, there’s no sense working myself into a frenzy trying to bend circumstance to my will.

I was blessed to find a sit in England at the start of January, right around the time that I have to be out of the Schengen zone. But that still left me about three weeks to fill between the start of that sit and the end of my sit here in Almería. I really wanted another sit to fill that gap to avoid having to pay for accommodation.

So I began to look for sits in Morocco, the Costa del Sol, and Portugal, eventually expanding my search radius to all of Spain and France as well. I found a few sits that looked promising, but they were either super complicated and expensive to get to or the homeowners declined my applications.

I pondered this for a bit and wondered if it was a sign that I should just pony up the money and go to Morocco on my own dime. But I crunched the numbers on that and kept on coming up with a huge NOPE. Remember, I’m heading to Mexico, perhaps for good, in May!

Then, I had a thought. Plane travel in Europe is very inexpensive and if you go between major cities, it pretty much doesn’t matter where you go as it’s all roughly the same price. So is there anywhere else I’d like to go in Europe that would be a straight shot from either Almería or Málaga and then from there to Manchester? Weather was no longer a consideration by this point since I’m heading to England in January and need to get acclimatised anyway. The answer came immediately.

I promptly went to my housesitting websites and did a search for that destination. I found a two-week house and cat sit right between the end of my time here and the start of my sit in England, giving me time at both ends to travel (and possibly a day or two to explore Málaga and Manchester). I emailed the homeowners and they got back to me straight away, saying they thought they had someone lined up, but that person was being flakey. Could I give them a couple of days? Of course.

I just knew this in-between period was sorted and was not surprised when they emailed me late last night to confirm that the assignment is a go.

So I’m very happy and excited to announce that I will be ringing in 2017 from… Amsterdam!