Our first job when we arrive in Spain each year is to find ourselves a flat, and we’re happy to report that we can now check that item off our list. We’ve moved into a place (in Castellano they call it a piso, which is floor) and we’re in the midst of setting up house. It feels a little like playing house, partly because we don’t have many possessions, and partly because the piso is so small.
Each year the factors that determine where we’ll be living don’t really track with how I assume other people look for housing—we don’t talk much about views, square footage, or number of bathrooms. We talk instead about whether someone will have us for just six months, and we generally end up renting the most promising option available to us at the point we can’t stand looking anymore. In some ways it feels like one of those cake-walk games—when the music stops, we see where we’re standing, and that’s where we stay.
Last year the music stopped when we had found a place with four bedrooms (though we needed just two) and a long hall that Ninja could scooter down. The walk from the kitchen to the dining table was long enough that we swore off making pancakes for the duration—they’d be cold by the time we got them to the table.
This year our search featured some temporary distraction by a collection of fraudulent listings; happily, we’re aware that when something looks too good to be true, it generally is. (Also, it’s very handy that you can take a picture and do a google image search to discover that the apartment someone is happy to rent to you on Calle Puerto—pending a generous deposit—is actually a flat somewhere in Madrid.)
We eventually ran out of steam at the point that we had found a place right across the street from our temporary lodgings with friends (thanks again, Dale and Aida!). It’s quirky and fun, but in place of four bedrooms this one has what we might call a half bedroom—the top half. The piso is on the ground floor of an old building with high ceilings, and the half bedroom is a loft (mattress-sized, plus a few inches), reachable by a ladder. So far we haven’t hit our heads, and the ladder is firmly attached to the wall, so it’s all good!
Our new flat is a reasonable walk from the beach. January tends to be cold even in Valencia, but that cold is relative—for our walk seaward yesterday I wore some fleece, a scarf and a hoodie, and was a little shivery, but I’m not expecting sympathy from any of my friends in New England or the Mountain West–I know this is a fine place to be in the winter months.
I might have preferred having another layer on, but others at the beach, counting on more vigorous activity, made it look like summer:
And then there were a few ready to brave the water:
Our little piso may be short on space (and room to stand up next to our bed), but it’s got working appliances (not always a given), a shower curtain with a picture of a bison, and a little roll-top desk with all kinds of drawers for keeping our odds and ends organized. In fact, it’s got charm.† And it is the reason that we don’t have to keep looking for an apartment, and for that, we are happy to call it casa, sweet casa.
*El Guapo has been playing a lot of volleyball in the last months, so I expect that next Saturday he’ll head over (though perhaps not in shorts) to see if he can get in on a game. The players he talked to seemed welcoming.
†Now, if only it also had an internet connection (hence the delay in posting). Figuring out how to solve that problem is high on the list for next week.
[Images: sweetology101.blogspot.com.es, El Guapo]