Tag Archives: Hostal Meson

Getting ready to leave Arboleas

Getting ready to leave Arboleas

The night before we left Arboleas to head back to the U.S. we went over to the Hostal Meson for dinner. They were having some sort of “quiz night” or “games night” in the larger part of the restaurant. There were a lot of happy noises coming from the Brits behind the closed dining room doors, but we were shuttled into another smaller room off to the side.

I had been put off by the previous meal there, but we decided to try the paella. It was a good choice, and we had a nice meal.

Hostal Meson Paella

Paella

Then we went next door to the small grocery store to buy a few snacks for the road tomorrow and for the plane ride home. We got a big kick out of these Pringles. The jamon flavored ones have a couple of jamon legs hanging like they do, and then the Pringles chip is also hanging like a leg of jamon. Too funny. I love how the chip flavors are so interesting outside of the US. Like in Canada where you can buy Ketchup flavored chips. Or Roasted Chicken flavor. You just don’t find that at home.

Jamon flavored Pringles

Pringles hanging like jamon!

Dinner at Hostal Meson

Dinner at Hostal Meson

After getting our things all sorted out at La Casa, we were hungry for dinner, so we took the 5 minute stroll over to the Hostal Meson. We were the only people in the restaurant. There were some people in the bar area, but the lady actually had to turn on the lights to the restaurant for us. We chose the menu del dia, so we had to choose what we wanted for each course. Before we got our first course, the waitress brought us pan con tomate y aioli. This was so simple, but D-lish! The slices of bread were nice and crisp and were served with two small dishes of pureed tomato and garlic mayonnaise. It was a nice starter. I want to find a recipe for the aioli so I can make this at home.

Hostal Meson appetizer

Simple but soo tasty!

Next we had our first course. We had several different things to choose from. I chose a chicken soup and Curt chose entremeses variados which the waitress explained was some sort of assortment of cold meats and cheeses.

Soup and entremeses

Soup and entremeses variados

The next course that came out was our main dish. Curt chose a pork chop and I thought it would be good to try out some fish. There were a couple of types of fish to choose from and I honestly didn’t know what type they were, so the waitress did her best to describe them. I had to choose from merluza or cazon. Really I had no idea which to choose, but in the end I picked the merluza (I found out later that merluza is hake and cazon is dogfish, or a type of shark.) I apologize for not having a picture of the meal, but it was not so fab. The fish was full of bones and it had some fatty skin… bleh. And I’m not a picky finicky eater! I really wished I had chosen something else. Curt’s pork was fine, but like I said I was so traumatized by the plate of bony fish that I didn’t even think to take out my camera.

Oh well… we headed back to the house because we were pretty worn out. Keep in mind that this was January and the stone house had been empty for a bit. It was COLD in there! The owner had left a gas heater, but we weren’t going to turn that on and go to sleep, so we chose to plug in these ceramic heaters that we found in the upstairs lounge. Each of the rooms can be closed with curtains (the owner only put interior doors on the bathrooms) so we brought the ceramic heaters into the upstairs bedroom, plugged them in, and closed the bedroom curtain. I have to say I was glad that at the last minute I decided to bring the big, fluffy comforter because it was, as I said COLD. The ceramic heaters are like big tiles that get warm and then radiate heat, so it took a while, but thankfully the room got warmer and we were ready for a good night’s sleep.

Ceramic heaters

Brrrrr!

We were meeting Lucas and driving to the foreigner’s office in Almeria the next day, so we had to get up right and early. We needed to get my NIE sorted out!

Traditional ceiling

Ready for sleep!

New homeowners

New homeowners

We rode back from Vera new homeowners. How exciting is THAT?? Andrea took us back to the Hostel Meson. We gathered up our luggage from the front desk and thought we’d better stop at the store because we needed to get some groceries. If we went to the house first, we wouldn’t want to get out and shop, because we’d be too busy nosing around our new place! We drove over to Albox to the Mercadona. There is a smaller grocery store right beside the Hostal Meson, but the we were familiar with the Mercadona and since it is larger, we knew it would have everything we needed.

Mercadona

Shopping!

They have these funny little carts that look like baskets, but the handle pops up and you pull it along like a wagon. I kind of got a kick out of those. It was funny because when we were checking out, the girl asked if we needed bags for our groceries. I actually had brought some shopping bags with us, but they were still packed in the luggage, so we told her yes. So she pulled out one… then asked if we needed more… well, yes, we had more groceries than would fit in one, so we told her, yes, please… then she asked how many. Goodness gracious! She works there every day, we thought, can’t she guess what we might need to sack these items? It wasn’t until afterward that we realized that the store charges 5 cents for each bag, so it makes sense that she wasn’t just handing them out. Live and learn…

We drove back to our house, and took a few pictures of ourselves in front of the door. I had to put the camera on the top of the car to get a picture of the two of us, so it has a weird reflection, but I had to improvise!

New homeowners

In front of our Spanish casa!

Curt

For real, he isn’t always so serious…

Keys

“You have the keys, right?”
(sooo funny)

Unlocking the door

Unlocking the door for the first time

When we got into the house, it was just like it was when we viewed the property in September. The owner had left almost everything, including artwork on the walls, so it wasn’t as if we were coming into an empty shell of a house. When we went into the kitchen we were so happy to find plates, utensils, pots and pans, glasses, and even cleaning products! What a relief! I thought we might have to spend a day dropping a bunch of euros at the IKEA an hour away in Murcia, but now we wouldn’t have to!

After having a good look around, we unloaded our haul from Mercadona…

Groceries

About 30 euros

Washing up

Getting all domestic

… and we made ourselves a snack of chorizo, cheese, bread, and a clara.

Ready for tapas

I’m ready for tapas!

Lots of looking around ensued after that. We browsed through the photo album and papers that Bob left and we could see what the house looked like before and during the renovation. It was quite an amazing transformation! (I’ll post some pictures of that in the future.) I had brought one extra piece of luggage that I put in checked baggage. I filled that bag with sheets, pillows, towels, a gigantic comforter, and big bottles of things like shampoo and contact lens solution that I would leave at the house. I got to unpacking all that; getting sheets on the bed and towels in the bathrooms. It didn’t take too long to get the place all homey!

The Completion!

The Completion!

The next morning, we woke up and opened the curtains of our room at the Hostal Meson in Arboleas. It was cool to see the Spanish flag flapping around in the breeze right outside our window!

Hostal Meson view

Espana!

The hotel room was fairly nice and the hotel looked like it had been recently renovated. One thing we had a laugh about was what we called the Dr. Who Shower.

Hostal Meson shower

Shower or TARDIS? You be the judge…

We went downstairs after packing up our suitcases and were going to ask the front desk to hold our luggage while we were out for the day. We had coffee and toast for breakfast. We were intrigued by what was shown on the menu to be an “English Breakfast” because it was eggs and a side of what looked like Van Camps Pork and Beans. I wish I would have taken a picture of the menu, but I didn’t think about it at the time. I must say it didn’t look too appetizing, but that is probably because when I think of pork and beans I think backyard barbeque, not breakfast! A lot of the restaurants around seem to cater to the taste of the British expats because there are quite a few who have invested in property here.

Andrea met up with us, and she drove us over to Mojacar to the bank. On the way she mentioned that Bob, the owner, was going to be at the completion. We thought that was interesting because in the states, when you close on a house you never even cross paths with the seller, but here he was going to be at the completion with us. I was excited to meet the guy!

We also mentioned the crazy drumming that we experienced last night at the house, and Andrea said, “Oh, that’s Richard’s son. They live right below you, and he just gave his son a drum set for Christmas.” Richard is the owner of the estate agency she works for, so this was very ironic on two counts. One, that he lives in the house directly in front of us, and two that his kid was the drummer. “Don’t worry, he’ll tire of the drums in no time.”

Yeah. Let’s hope!

We got to the bank and met up with Lucas. We had wired the money over, but had to get our debit cards and online access set up, as well as get the money ready for the closing fees. What was a little crazy was that the fees were in cash. We mentioned that it was a little odd for us to present all of that in cash… that back home, people would expect a check or they would think you were running drugs to have that much cash in an envelope. They told us that if it’s cash then no one worries about it. If it’s a check people can worry if it’s good or not. So I put the envelope of cash in my purse, and figured: “when in Spain…”

From there we drove over to Vera to the notary’s office. Now let me explain about the notary: In the US a notary is a person who verifies that certain documents are signed by the person present, etc… they are typically a layperson, and it isn’t as if they need a huge amount of specialized training. In Spain, a person studies law and then gets further training to become a notary. The notary is a big deal because he or she deals with legal documents much like a lawyer does. They don’t just put a seal on something.

We got to the notary office a bit early and when we got there we met up with Bob and his friend Tony. We had met Tony when we looked at the house on our house hunting day. I’m not sure why he was staying at the house when we visited in September, but he was the one who showed us the property. At that point, Bob had moved back to the UK. They told us that their initial plan was to renovate and sell houses, but the housing market in Spain hit a lull and they had to put that business venture aside for the time being.

To kill time we went down the street for a cup of coffee. It was funny because Bob mentioned something about how, knowing we were from Texas, he wondered if Curt would be wearing a big cowboy hat. I asked, “Now Bob, is that the real reason you decided to show up in the end? To see if he had on a ten gallon hat and cowboy boots?” and he said, “Yeah, pretty much.” We had a good laugh over that.

While having our coffee, we got a chance to chat about the house. He said he was told that it was about 300 years old and when I asked what it was like before he renovated it, Bob said, “Oh, I left you a photo album in top of the TV so you could see what was done to it.” I was floored. An album?? This guy was awesome. I could tell he was a stickler for details, which was great when you are talking about someone renovating a house.

Finally Lucas came over and told us that the notary was ready. We went into his office. The notary was a big guy in a nice suit. He had on a lot of cologne and was seated behind a big fancy desk. Bob, Curt, and I sat in the chairs in front of him and our lawyers stood behind us. The notary looked through all of the paperwork and read it out loud. Thank heavens we had already seen a translation of the documents because otherwise we would have had no idea what was going on. It was a lot of rambling on in Spanish, a lot of shuffling of papers, a lot of nodding. Then Lucas said, “Do you have the envelope?” “Envelope? What envelope?” “From the bank. The Envelope.” Ohhhh The Envelope: The giant envelope of cash that I was carrying around in my purse like I was a shady character in some Lifetime Movie Network Pick-a-Flick… THAT envelope. I opened up my purse and handed The Envelope to Lucas. Was it just me, or was this office lighting quite dim? I expected a director to yell, “Okay, people, that’s a wrap!”

And that was pretty much it. Shake hands, shake hands, Gracias, Gracias, shake hands, walk out, get keys from Bob.

Wow.

We just bought a house.

In Spain.

 

 

In Arboleas

In Arboleas

We checked in to the Hostal Meson, and wanted to walk over to the house since it was literally a five minute walk from our hotel. It was getting dark, but we were eager to snoop around. We got to the house (Thank you GoogleMaps for allowing me to memorize the walk to the house!) and we were surprised to see lights on, and the shutters open.

Before continuing your read, I’d like to invite you to click this link to open up a new window and enjoy some background music… it will add to the experience.

As we walked up to the house (and I hope you are listening to the music!!) We heard drumming. Yes, drumming. You have got to be kidding. We buy a house in Spain, in a small village in SPAIN for goodness sake, and someone is practicing the DRUMS at night?? It was coming from the house directly in front of us. I was ready to scream. How could this BE?? Would we be tormented by the drumming every day? Every night?? We tried to block it out of our minds, but much like this Iron Butterfly Ina-Gadda-Da-Vida drum solo that you should be listening to, it just seemed to go on forever.

We had been curious as to what the owner was leaving with the house, because although we had an inventory list of all the furniture, we really had no idea if he was leaving small kitchen items and what not. We peeked in the downstairs bathroom window and could see that he had left all necessities (even toilet paper, hand soap, and a clean hand towel hanging on the rod!) This was exciting to see because we knew then that we might not have to buy everything under the sun for our stay. No one was in the house, so we were curious as to why the lights were on and the shutters open, but we were happy that we got to peek into the downstairs bedroom and bathroom! It was really getting dark, the drumming was continuing, and our stomachs were starting to growl, so we decided to take a drive over to Albox, which is just a few minutes away and get a bite to eat.

Triana is a little restaurant that was recommended to us when we stayed at Casa Olivos in September. It is open late and you can get a chicken dinner for right around 6 Euros! That’s a super deal.

Meal at Triana in Albox

Yum!

The first time we were there, Curt tipped the waitress, and I think she was super excited about that because she brought us an after dinner drink afterward. In Spain, it really is not customary or expected to tip. If you do leave a tip, it is typically your change to even out your tab, but it isn’t like here in the States. The server is not miffed to not receive a tip, but of course tickled pink (as our waitress was, because we were clueless.)

One thing we were tickled pink about was that it seemed as if the smoking ban in restaurants was now being enforced. There was a sign stating that there was no smoking allowed in the restaurant. Like I mentioned before, there are A LOT of smokers in Europe, and we are quite spoiled here in the US to be able to eat in a smoke free environment all the time.

We finished our meal and made our way back to the Hostal Meson. Lucas, our Spanish lawyer, had managed to get the notary to agree to do the closing with Curt’s NIE and not mine, as long as we would go to the foreigner’s office in Almeria and get my NIE and file it with the notary within 30 days. This was a huge relief because we would not be rushing tomorrow and stressing about getting the needed documents in time for the completion. Andrea was meeting us at the Hostal Meson at 10 a.m. and would be driving us to the bank in Vera to sort out our funds. We needed a good night’s rest because tomorrow was going to be a big day!!

NIE — ARRRGH!

NIE — ARRRGH!

Okay, so I spoke too soon.

Curt received his NIE in the mail in three days. I checked my mail faithfully every day only to find nothing.

At this point I was really stressed because you can’t just buy property without an NIE. Lucas tried to tell me not to worry, that we could drive an hour to Almeria foreigner’s office the morning of the completion, get the NIE, then drive to Vera to sign the papers, and everything would be juuuust fine. I know the Spanish have a “eh, it’ll be fine!” attitude about things, but this was really going to be cutting things close!

There was nothing I could do but roll with it, so I planned to do the last minute checking of the mail before departing for the airport, and if we had to go with Plan B, so be it.

Our estate agent arranged a room reservation for us at the Hostal Meson in Arboleas, and if the closing was delayed we at least would be able to stay there extra days if we had to. We were keeping fingers and toes crossed that this wasn’t going to be the case.