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Barry's Blog # 12 – The everyday things we take for granted

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

1.5 litre water

On average I drink about 2 litres of water per day, Aannsha drinks about 1 litre, because she also consumes tea and coffee. Three litres of water weighs 3 kilos. Add in two bottles of wine weighing in at 1.15 kilos each and that’s a total of 5.3 kilos. You might be thinking that this is some sort of maths lesson, it’s not. This is all about not dislocating both shoulders whilst getting your grocery shopping home when you don’t have a car.

Restrained by how much weight we can carry between us, grocery shopping is now a daily occurrence instead of weekly and it has advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side it’s great that food in the fridge never gets the chance to become inedible and needing to be thrown away. We also get a daily half hour walk to the local supermarket and there’s always a freshly baked baguette in our kitchen for sandwiches. On the negative side, as we’re walking around the supermarket we have to be mindful of what the final weight tally of everything is going to be. Once a week we also have to make an additional trip to the supermarket just to buy four six packs of 1.5 litre bottles of water.

Six packs of water

We do it that way because that amount usually lasts us a week and one six pack in each hand is a relatively comfortable balance. Another thing to add into the mix is the once a week beer walk. The beer here in Spain comes in handy 12 packs so I carry two of those and Aannsha does a smaller daily food shop. It’s all about balance and we’re definitely getting into the routine of it now.

At one point we hired a car for a week so that we could drive to marinas to look for yachts for sale and the day before we took the car back we went on a huge shop and stocked up on all the heavy items. It means our kitchen now looks like a cash & carry warehouse, but at least we won’t be dislocating our shoulders any time soon. Filling the car up with petrol before we returned it was another eye opening moment. Unleaded petrol is on average 1.30 Euros a litre, that’s about AU$2.00 a litre. Ouch.

Fuel is more expensive than Australia

Internet connectivity and data allowance is an ongoing issue. My brother’s apartment is one of four apartments in a listed heritage building, therefore there is no fibre optic cable, nor is there a telephone landline. The only way to get Internet is via a wireless mifi device. So far we have not been able to find a data only sim. All of the Spanish Internet providers seem to be marketing their sim packages towards the mobile phone user and while that means great deals on local and national calls and texts it also means limited Internet data allowance.

Internet data is expensive

Right now the best local deal we’ve found is 30 Euros for 20GB over a 30 day period. The plan also has 500 minutes of local and national calls around Spain and 100 text moments, but those extras are useless to us.

Now that we’ve retired, our new ‘job’ is the Internet. We need Internet connection and a big data allowance to maintain our website where we upload our weekly blogs (like this one). We need it to upload our weekly videos to YouTube. We need it to update our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. We need it for researching yachts, marinas and everything associated with that. We need it for our banking and email communications.

And with all of that going on, even though we diligently held back by not watching our favourite YouTube channels (We don’t watch any television), the longest we managed to stretch that 20GB allowance was 15 days. We can of course buy a further 20GB for another 30 Euros but that entails making a phone call to LlamaYa to get our account unlocked before we can apply for the extra 20GB. I don’t know why they restrict the amount of data you can purchase and use in a given 30 day period. It seems counterproductive to a business making more money by selling more data.

Javea Vodafone store

There is a Vodafone store in Javea town and I spoke to one of the guys in there. He said that there are no companies in Spain offering unlimited Internet data via wireless. The best deal that he could offer was 47 Euros (AU$72) for 50GB of data over a 30 day period. Which sounded ideal until I read the small print. It's only available on a minimum 12 month contract. The wireless modem needs to be plugged into mains electricity, so it's not truly mobile, and it will only connect to the Spanish carrier, so we can't use it while travelling from country to country around The Med. Further research is needed, but it will have to wait until after we get back from our three week trip to Gibraltar.

Speaking of Gibraltar (Where we are going to learn to sail in February 2018), one of the things we had to sort out was the logistical issue of getting there and getting back to Javea in a reasonable time frame and at a reasonable cost.

Getting there by bus costs 99 Euros (AU$152) per person and takes 13 hours and 50 minutes.

Getting there by train costs 220 Euros (AU$337) per person and takes 9 hours and 40 minutes.

Getting there by plane costs 273 Euros (AU$418) per person and 8 hours and 15 minutes.

Getting there by rent a car costs 440 Euros (AU$675) for a one month rental, plus 80 Euros (AU$122) in fuel and takes 6 hours and 57 minutes.

The car wins! The only frustrating thing is that the car will be sitting in a car park for 18 days of that month long rental period whilst we are on one of the sailing school yachts literally learning the ropes.

Fun Fact – This year on February 14th Aannsha and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary on a sailing school yacht somewhere between Gibraltar, North Africa and Spain.

Barry & Aannsha married Feb 14 1998

When I started writing this week’s blog I wasn’t really sure what it was going to be about and really it’s just taken on its own shape and form, which ironically is a reflection of where our lives are at right now. Whilst we were in Australia we made rough plans of how this new journey of ours would pan out. But the reality is, that until you are actually in a new country and begin living a daily routine, you can never truly grasp how it will be. It’s not tough or difficult, it’s just different and we really are having so much fun discovering new things and working out new local solutions for the things we took for granted in Australia.

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