Update - 31 December 2020
As the year that was, turns into a year of hope, we have sat back and reflected on 12 incredible months. We flew out of Wellington on 10 January 2020 with a couple of suitcases, a plan and lots of hope and excitement (mixed with a wee bit of trepidation!!) about what lay ahead.
What actually happened wasn’t too far off script despite the obvious intervention of ‘that virus’
The early highlights of Australia, Asia and the UK, spending a fabulous time with numerous completely awesome family members, gave way to our arrival in Spain in mid-February. Just as we were getting going on Plan A, the toughest lockdown in the world kicked in and we kicked out…..to another lockdown in Belfast. Yes there were family there too and we settled in nicely to wait it out enjoying our catch-ups with Holly, Nick and the adorable Juniper Huia and exploring the wonderful history and culture of a city only an hour’s drive from where Alan’s maternal grandparents grew up before their migration to New Zealand in the early 20th century
As the Irish summer (a slight oxymoron) blazed on, we explored down into the Republic, flicked across to London for most of August and on 31 August, recommenced our Spanish adventure.
We finally arrived in the beautiful coastal city of Cadiz in early September and since then we’ve grown into the place. We’ve negotiated our way around many aspects of the infamous Spanish bureaucracy and chewed through a lot more shoe leather exploring the delights of this wee city on the southern Atlantic coast.
It hasn’t been all ‘beer and skittles’, but this blog and our digital photo album bear witness to what for us has been one of the most memorable years of our life. So many amazing experiences, the most special being those we shared with whanau (family) and friends but also many new towns and cities and countries and just enjoying the opportunity to slow down our lives and smell the roses.
2021? One of the current overwhelming global themes remains that of the uncertainty of what lies ahead and even though we all have our own stories of the individual and family impacts of 2020, what keeps coming through is an overwhelming desire to focus on what’s most important in our lives and truly try and enjoy the moments as they arise.
It’s the same with us – we can’t control many of the big things but we can control how we react to them and so we go into the new year with a huge amount of hope and excitement as we did 12 months ago about the year ahead.
Wherever in the world you are as you read this and whatever your situation we hope to be in touch with you often and we wish you and your families a super 2021
Update - 30 November 2020
It's been a quiet-ish month for us as we settle into life in Cadiz with Covid-related restrictions keeping us close to home.
The weather is definitely autumnal with less daylight and max daytime temperatures now around 20-23 each day. There’s still plenty of sunshine so we spend as much time as we can out and about walking the streets and enjoying the outdoor cafes.
Alan obtained his ‘Residencia’ this month which was a big highlight. Although as an Irish (EU) national he is entitled to remain in Spain, we were able to witness first hand the notorious reputation of Spanish bureaucracy. Fiona has submitted her application now as a partner of an EU national so we wait for that
As mentioned above, Covid-19 still looms large in our lives. The ‘community’ (province’) of Andalucia has put in place restrictions of movement meaning we must stay within the Cadiz town boundaries. The other key restrictions are a 10pm to 7am curfew and bars, cafes and non-essential shops needing to close at 6pm each evening.
The other highlight has been finding another couple of Kiwis in Cadiz! We have a lot in common with Lisa and Martin from Lower Hutt who are also travelling sin (without) children and enjoying a very different lifestyle. Lisa is teaching English in Cadiz and Martin following his photography passions.
Update - 22 October 2020
Life continues at a pace but we’ve finally been able to unpack our suitcases and put down some roots!
We are now properly resident in Cadiz having found a lovely two bedroom apartment on the corner of Plaza San Juan de Dios (St John of God) in the Centro or historic part of Cadiz City. From our roof terrace we can look one way to the harbour or port side of Cadiz and in the opposite direction is the beach side of Cadiz
It’s been lovely to have had our London-based daughter Olivia come over to stay with us earlier in the month. She’s now self-isolating back in London as per UK quarantine rules but that sacrifice was well and truly worth it for her to experience a wee slice of Spanish life in the sunshine. We hired a car and explored some of the ‘white villages’ in the hills in Andalusia and Malaga while she was here. Click on the pictures in the slide show to see where these stunning places are.
Autumn is certainly here with night time temperatures dropping though it’s still getting up to the early to mid 20’s in the day with sunshine all day most days.
The Covid situation in Spain, as in most of Europe, is not good. Each day results brings in between 10,000 to 13,000 newly diagnosed cases and the daily death rate is now around 200 and climbing. Most cases are still in the capital Madrid and the other major city, Barcelona where partial lockdowns are in place with the Spanish Government reluctant like many Governments to declare a national lockdown
In Cadiz life continues as normal apart from the wearing of a mask is now compulsory outside of your front door. Exceptions to this being when you are seated in a café/bar or seemingly when one is running or smoking (although we haven’t been tempted to take up either of these activities).
Update 10 September 2020
It’s been a busy month! I think last time I updated this website, we had almost completed out first house-sit in Limerick. After we finished there we went back to Belfast where we were able to finally explore the Belfast Titanic Museum which was fabulous and then we moved to a hot and steamy London (well just for two days!) for our second house-sit in Peckham, SE London.
It was great to be back in London, although strange to see the city so quiet. We were able to spend time with our daughter Olivia and to celebrate our grand-nephew Gabriel’s first birthday as well as catch up with lots of family and friends. The house-sit was great! - more about all of this in a future blog post.
We left London on the 31st of August to travel back to Seville for a week to finish off a few things that we hadn’t been able to do because of our hasty departure in March.
And now we have finally made it to Cadiz on the southern coast of Spain where we are hoping to settle for a while - and it is a stunning city. We’re ‘enduring’ blue skies, sunshine with temps in the 28-30 range.......I am a little behind with blog posts but you can stand by for our adventures exploring County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher, Belfast, London, seeing the Real Alcazar and the Seville Cathedral as well as beautiful Cadiz.
Update August 2020
We have almost completed our first ever house-sit and it has been a pleasure to explore Limerick and its surrounding countryside over the last couple of weeks.
From here we travel to Dublin and then back to Belfast for a couple of days before we have a short flight to London and then another house sit with a dog in Peckham. We plan to return to Spain at the end of August but of course that could change depending on what is happening in both the UK and Spain around Covid 19.
In Ireland there have been some interesting developments around the Covid 19 restrictions in that the priority to open schools has meant that a decision has been made not to open bars and pubs that do not serve food (there are stories emerging of pub receipts showing a curry ad 12 pints of Guinness!).
Update - July 2020
Covid 19 is now easing on the Island of Ireland and so are the associated restrictions. Most things are open again although the people and all the businesses are still encouraged to be responsible about social distancing and hygiene.
As well as being able to go out for coffee etc it also means that we are about to recommence travelling. We plan to leave Belfast on Friday the 17th of July and make our way across the top of the Island to County Donegal and the beginning of the Wild Atlantic way.
We have arranged to house sit and look after two cats just outside of Limerick for a couple of weeks and then another house sit with a dog in Peckham in London until the end of August when we will return to Spain.
Update - May 2020
As the number of deaths in Spain climbed we made a call at the end of March to head to a less populated, English-speaking country to wait out the Covid-19 pandemic.
Therefore we are currently in Belfast, Northern Ireland, enjoying the springtime and walking the city.
It's great to explore Belfast at this time but just a little frustrating to be so close the fabulous pubs here and for them not to be open. I have added some scenes of Belfast, including from The Duke of York pub scene from when we were here 18 months ago.