Villanueva Del Duque, Córdoba

Last night I was sat there watching a movie on Netflix and stuffing my face with ham and cheese, as usual, when the memories came flooding back of our visit last winter to Villanueva el Duque, a small Andalusian town that has around 1,500 inhabitants and is located in the north of the province of Córdoba.

The best reason for going to Villanueva el Duque is to go buy a jamon. A great jamon, since the town is located in the region of Los Pedroches, famous throughout Spain for its delicious ‘jamones’ and throughout the town there are plenty of shops willing to sell you one!

If you access Villanueva del Duque via the Ctra. A-422, at the intersection of the CO-7404 with Calle Madre Teresa de Calcuta, Av. América, you’ll find the official area for motorhomes. The motorhome area has space for 5 vans with all the usual services for free 🙂 38.3958739, -4.9966560

When we were at the end of 2021, the short stroll into the town centre was very pleasant because many house fronts were decorated with painted pallets. Different!

Visit the Plaza Duque de Béjar where the town hall is and next to it you have the Church of San Mateo Apóstol, which is the main building of Villanueva del Duque and dates back to the year 1551.

Tip – eat at bar La Pachanga, right next to the parking. Try the Hamburguesa Serrana. Delicious!!! Anyway, If you’re in the area and you like jamon, I highly recommend you visit this small Andalusian town.

We’ve plenty of adventures ahead of us and we’ll be sharing lots of tips + info along the way. So keep reading and feel free to ask any question you like!

Safe travels Andy & Gordi 🚐

Andy Mckettrick is the best selling author of Flip-flops & Falafel – A handy guide to visiting Morocco in a motorhome and also Go West – A handy guide to visiting Northern Spain in a motorhome. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Andy-Mckettrick/e/B07YNKY4ZC/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

You can also follow him at AndyTravelWriter on Facebook.

10 Minute Van Meal Recipe

10 Minute Van Meal Recipe

Like most people, the last couple of years hasn’t been the best for me. In fact, I can probably say in all honesty that they have been the worst two years of my life. But things are changing. I can feel it. I’ve been able to see my family, people are smiling again and taking their long-awaited holidays. I feel positive that the next 12 months are going to be great!

I started writing the book ‘On the road to Rouen – A handy guide to visiting France in a motorhome’ around eight months ago. I gathered all my notes, maps and photos together from over 17 years of travelling around the country. Then around 40 pages in, I stopped. Stuck. Blank. The size of the task overwhelmed me.

I haven’t sat at the laptop since last December but this week I’ve had so many people asking me about the book and so much support for my work on my Andytravelwriter Facebook page that I sat down last Monday and I haven’t stopped writing since! Last night I saved my progress at page 118 🙂

I’ve also had an unbelievable amount of interest in my Quick and Easy van recipes, so I plan to concentrate on that a bit more and have a great recipe section in the book.

Below is a sample. 🙂

Safe travels,

Andy & Gordi 🚐

I thought I’d share one of my 10-minute van meals. Perfect for when you can’t be bothered going shopping but you fancy something really tasty! Quick and delicious, an easy one-pan meal, making it a great motorhome recipe. If you want to turn it into a curry, simply add a tin of coconut milk!

What You Need

  • 2 tins Chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Green pepper
  • Cumin to taste Tumeric to taste
  • Curry powder to taste
  • Paprika to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Chili flakes (optional)

Method:

  1. Chop up the onion & green pepper.
  2. Add the oil to the pan.
  3. Lightly fry the onion and green pepper until soft then throw in the chickpeas.
  4. If you want the chickpeas softer, just add a bit of water from the tin.
  5. Add the spices, to taste rather than using exact measurements then just stir well until cooked. 5 mins max!
  6. Stir in some chopped coriander or parsley and as always, serve with a chunk of baguette and a nice glass of wine. 😋

Enjoy!

Andy.

Ps – Please feel free to share your own quick and easy van recipes!

Andalucia

With Morocco still being closed and off-limits for this winter, we decided to head south with our best mates, Pip & Karen. After surviving the freezing cold of the first 800km in France then the blistering heat of Mérida (29° mid-February), we finally reached Benalmádena on the Costa del Sol. To be honest, the beach district of the town, known as Arroyo de la miel, is a bit busy for my liking and would be unbearable during the summer months but there are plenty of places to eat and drink amongst its narrow streets and pretty plazas. One of the most popular tourist destinations is the secluded Plaza de España, a delightful square that is entered through the 18th century Portal de San Carlos.

I highly recommend walking up the hill to Benalmádena pueblo (7€ in a taxi, the easier option). A quick beer, a stroll around the narrow streets, a look at the Tibetan Stupa temple and then back down before sunset. A great way to spend a few hours! I’ve seen a different side to Benalmádena this visit and I really like it!

The time to move on finally arrived and we found ourselves only an hour along the coast at Torrox pueblo, a gorgeous little Andalucian town set in the hills a few kilometres back from the sea. The word Torrox comes from Arab, and it means “tower”. It’s a great little village to stroll around. Lots of umbrellas and delicious cakes! The town recently won the “prize” of Europe’s best climate, with an average temperature of 18ºC. Shorts weather!

Sat chatting with a local when he mentioned a little village, a bit further east of Torrox, called Itrabo, so we just had to visit and spend the night. Great tapas at bar Selva. Flip flops off, shoes on and we made our way through the main square and down to the old Moorish flour mill. It’s in ruins now but brilliant for a photo or two! The town hasn’t really changed much over the last 500 years and studies have proved that the first inhabitants of this area were the Phoenicians. Fascinating!

Tip – If you want to take time out to follow your dreams, DO IT.  Don’t wait until retirement…LIFE IS SHORT. Slow down, enjoy each other and don’t worry about the small stuff. Most importantly, if you haven’t told your other half that you love them recently, then stop reading this and do it now!

We’ve plenty of adventures ahead of us and we’ll be sharing lots of tips + info along the way. So keep reading and feel free to ask any question you like!

Tomorrow, we head further east. Our only problem now being the horrendous price of fuel 🙁

Safe travels Andy 🚐🚐🚐

Andy Mckettrick is the best selling author of Flip-flops & Falafel – A handy guide to visiting Morocco in a motorhome and also Go West – A handy guide to visiting Northern Spain in a motorhome. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Andy-Mckettrick/e/B07YNKY4ZC/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

You can also follow him at AndyTravelWriter on Facebook.

What are the two biggest challenges humanity faces?

What are the two biggest challenges humanity faces?

Which beaches can we walk the dog on without getting a nasty fine and how can we watch UK TV when in Spain!

Don’t worry. I have the answer to both of these problems!

Just click on the map or link below to be taken to an interactive map of dog beaches in the whole of Spain:

Google Map of dog-friendly beaches in Span

Click the map above to be taken to a Google Map of dog-friendly beaches in Span

UK TV

Even though we’re forever travelling and visiting amazing places, it’s still nice sometimes to be able to slob on the sofa and catch up with an episode of Strictly or Coronation Street, especially with these cold, dark, winter evenings.

All you need is a TV with an HDMI port to be able to connect an Amazon firestick and a data sim to a ‘hotspot’ from your mobile phone or from a Mifi device. If your TV has a USB port, that’s even better because you can power the firestick from that without the need for an additional 240w power source. With your hotspot on, the firestick should be able to connect to the internet without any problem.

Plus, I’ve been told as recently as last week, by Superdrug customer service that their unlimited data sim cards have no restrictions on use abroad and cost only £20 per month.

Next, install Livenettv onto your firestick. This will give you all the usual UK channels without the need for a VPN to hide your location. Install instructions here. https://www.firesticktricks.com/live-nettv-firestick.html

Once installed you can easily go into the app’s settings and hide all the channels from countries you are not interested in leaving you with a nice list of your favourites like BBC, ITV, C4 etc…even the footy! The firestick will also give you access to any subscription services you normally watch, such as Netflix and Prime Video.

Enjoy!!

ANY BETTER IDEAS? Are you using the Internet to watch UK TV abroad in your motorhome or campervan? What equipment are you using? I’d love to hear what’s working well for you. Well, it’s December 23rd and we only have six more days until our ferry back to the mainland from Mallorca. It’s the last ferry and if that’s cancelled the next one is in April! Stress!!! Wish us luck.

Merry Christmas everyone and safe travels,

Andy, Denise & Gordi Baba

Andy McKettrick is the best selling author of Flip-flops & Falafel – A handy guide to visiting Morocco in a motorhome and also Go West – A handy guide to visiting Northern Spain in a motorhome. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Andy-Mckettrick/e/B07YNKY4ZC/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1 You can also follow him at AndyTravelWriter on Facebook.

Andytravelwriter – Heading to Mallorca for Christmas

Christmas is nearly upon us.

Normally, around this time, myself, the missus and our rescue dog Gordi Baba, would be heading south through Spain to catch the ferry to Morocco. The van would be swaying under the strain of two hundred litres of hidden, red wine and we’d be singing our heads off to Kiss FM. Not this year though!

Last April, the Spanish government decided to give medical treatment to some fella wanted by Morocco for taking potshots at soldiers and obviously, the proverbial hit the fan. In retaliation, the Moroccan government banned all passenger ferries from Spain. They are still not running today, over seven months later. God only knows how long it’ll take the politicians to sort that mess out!

Anyway, with Morocco now not an option (unless you go from France or Italy) we’ve decided to catch the ferry to Mallorca for Christmas then back to Spain for a couple of months before heading home. Sounds like a good plan!

We are using the Italian company GNV for the crossing, so I can imagine it won’t be the poshest boat in the world but it was quite cheap at £400 return, with a pet-friendly cabin. The voyage is over 10 hours and we are just praying for good weather because at the moment we are parked up just north of Peñiscola and it’s more like Manchester, in February! The van is rocking, it’s blowing a gale and the rain is horizontal! Only 4 pm and we are both curled up in bed, hugging huge mugs of hot chocolate!

We have around 150km to go and just over a week until the ferry so we’ll make our way slowly down the coast. We plan to stop at La Volta Camping in Benicarló, then Alcossebre, one of our favourite places along this coast and finally, Fanzara, the brilliant graffiti village in the Castellón countryside, before reaching the port at Valencia.

We’ve only been to Mallorca once before in the van and only for a week, so we are really looking forward to exploring a lot more of the island this time.

Have a great Christmas everyone and if you are lucky enough to be getting away, safe travels!

Cheers, Andy, Denise & Gordi Baba.

Andy McKettrick is the best selling author of Flip-flops & Falafel – A handy guide to visiting Morocco in a motorhome and also Go West – A handy guide to visiting Northern Spain in a motorhome. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Andy-Mckettrick/e/B07YNKY4ZC/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

You can also follow him at AndyTravelWriter on Facebook.