Summer Sunset Memories – Retro Edition

Current weather conditions in Iznalloz: partially cloudy. There was even a bit of rain earlier this morning. Predicted temperature for today: 29 °C degrees (84 °F for our American friends).

Now, in a lot of countries to the north of us, these temperatures are typical for summer. During “our” summer, however, we had temperatures around 38 °C degrees (100 °F). So, for Lars and me, it’s clear that autumn has arrived. The nights are also chillier, sunset comes earlier, schools have started again,…

Things I will miss from summer:

  • Watching the sunrise on our terrace while eating chocolate croissants and sipping orange juice.
  • Eating dinner on our terrace.
  • Come out of the shower and let my hair dry in the sunshine.
  • Enjoying the cool of our apartment during the heat of the afternoon.
  • Watching our neighbors enjoy life.
  • Apply sun lotion as a daily body lotion.
  • Drinking a very cold beer anywhere

Things we could not enjoy this summer (because of a certain virus):

  • Travel abroad. We could have done so (maybe), but chose not to, because of all the travel regulations.
  • Going to the beach. Again, we could have done so. But going to the beach implies being at ease, which – at least for us – is difficult when you have to wear a mouth mask.
  • Enjoying the swimming pool here. It was simply closed all the time.

But, of course, summer will return… Next year, we will enjoy the swimming pool and the beach so much more!

Let’s have a look at some Summer Sunset Memories of 2018 (Torrox):

Finally, autumn has its advantages as well:

  • Let’s BBQ again! During summer, it was simply too hot.
  • A bigger diversity in excursions. We often sought refuge in nature, because that is where we could cool down! Now, we can concentrate more on towns and villages.
  • Spend more time outside in the afternoon!
  • Goodbye, mosquitoes!

Where shall we take you next? Poland? Albania? Romania?

What about you? How did you enjoy the summer? Any things you missed? Do you have any plans for autumn? Let us know in the comments!


Discovering a New Hometown – Torrox (Color)

Pros and Cons

Lars and I have been in Spain for almost 20 months now, so obviously we have a good view of the good and bad sides of our new life now. Let’s have a look.


  • The climate (which was – as you can imagine – one of the main reasons we came here).
  • A cheaper way of life (for example we spend 30 to 50% less money on grocery shopping).
  • Free healthcare.
  • The relaxed attitude of the locals.
  • Huge variety of landscapes. This country is a paradise for landscape photographers such as myself.
  • The food! Especially the free tapas in and around Granada.


  • Administration can be slow and complicated (even the Spanish complain about this). Luckily you don’t have to deal with this every day…
  • Banks: more expensive and client service – and I’m really sorry to say this – sucks.
  • In general, water and electricity are more expensive.

As you can see, the pros outnumber the cons. I am very happy to be living here; ever since I came to Spain, I have not been physically ill and on a mental level I feel better as well. In conclusion: I have no desire whatsoever to return to Belgium. Actually, I don’t think I would get used to living there again. And the Traveling Viking shares the same opinion.

The Big Mistake We Made in the Beginning

When we had just arrived in Torrox, Lars and I saw our life as one endless holiday. Painful was the moment when we had a look at our bank account one day and realized that our finances didn’t allow for such a lifestyle. So, after a couple of months, we actually realized that we live here now. Let’s face it: in Brussels, we didn’t go to a restaurant on a daily basis either.

Splashes of Color Everywhere!

Belgium could be so gray… But Torrox – or Spain for that matter – is so colorful!

Odd Thoughts

  • When you have lived in a big city where you take the tram and/or metro on a daily basis, it is strange to live in a small town where the only means of public transport is the bus.
  • The Spanish can be so loud, yet when it’s time for their siesta, there is dead silence everywhere…
  • I still can’t get used to the presence of orange trees in the streets!

And Then…

We had to leave Torrox. The house in which we lived had serious humidity problems and we had no choice but to look for another place. Read about our new home later this week on our other travel website, The Cosy Traveler.

Discovering a New Hometown – Torrox (White)

An Important Decision

In 1995, I spent a holiday for 3 weeks in the south of Portugal with my parents. During that time, I met a British woman who worked in tourism and was married to a Portuguese man. We often talked about her experiences in a new country. I slowly became thrilled by the idea of living and working in a warm and sunny country and after 2 weeks and a half, I actually noticed that I didn’t want to return to Belgium anymore. But when I discussed my dream with my parents, their reaction was so intense that I thought that World War III had broken out…

Disappointed, I returned to a somber, cold and wet Belgium, immersing myself in one (boring) job after another. I also gave in to my movie addiction and started writing for a movie magazine. Because my parents had been so furious with me, I never spoke about my dream again, not even to my boyfriend or closest friends.

But that doesn’t mean that the dream disappeared… And somehow, and certainly, when the years passed, I had the feeling that Belgium was not my home anymore…

Fast forward to January 2018… I had depression again forcing me to leave my job where I had been severely bullied anyway. And when after 5 weeks in the hospital, where I was diagnosed with an incurable disorder, I started thinking. I had a close look at my CV which had more holes in it than an Emmertaler cheese… That’s when I realized that I had no more future in Belgium. At least, not on a professional level.

Less than 6 months later my travel buddy and I moved to Spain.


Torrox had become our new hometown.

As you can see on the map, Torrox is located in the Costa del Sol. The municipality is divided into 2 locations: Torrox Costa at the sea and Torrox Pueblo, which is 4km inland. You can see them on the map when you zoom in. To be more precise, the center of Torrox Pueblo was now our new hometown.

We soon discovered that a lot of expats call Costa their home as well. On the one hand, this proved to be an advantage; we could ask a lot of advice and questions in English and/or German, which facilitated our transition to a new country (and administration). But, on the other hand, you don’t get a taste of real Spanish life.


Anyway, the biggest charm of Torrox (especially the Pueblo) is that it’s one of the famous white villages. Have a look at the next pictures!

Our house at the left

Our house had an enormous roof terrace where we spent a lot of time. Especially in the evenings, when we had a BBQ and saw the sun go down.

The central square

If you ever visit Torrox, take some time to walk in some of the many alleys. Make sure that you have a map from the local tourist information office though!

What about you? Would you be able to leave your home country? On Monday, I will publish the second part about Torrox and life as an expat in Spain.

How to Experience the Christmas Atmosphere in the South of Spain

Let’s face it: in Belgium, it was always easy to experience the Christmas atmosphere every year… Winters there are cold, dark, wet and/or windy, sometimes there is even snow and then you just automatically long for those festive days filled with warmth and light. And, of course, there were Christmas markets everywhere! Indeed, with a lot of fondness, I think back at the many happy hours we passed at the Christmas market of Brussels, soaking up the atmosphere and drinking Glühwein. And eating!

But here in the south of Spain, the weather circumstances are – of course – quite different… Last year, when we were still in Torrox (Costa del Sol), temperatures were very mild (around 22 degrees, that’s 71,6 Fahrenheit), so it felt more like summer than winter. And what we were not aware of either, was that the sun goes down here later than in Belgium; it only gets dark between 17.30 and 18.00. So, dark and cold, no…

Thanks to the Internet, I luckily discovered that there are Christmas markets in Spain as well, and certainly at the Costa del Sol and in the bigger cities, where there are lots of tourists and ex-pats. Imagine our joy when we found out that there was even such a market in Torrox Costa! So, at the beginning of December 2018, we took the bus to the coast and got into the Christmas atmosphere.

Granted, it does feel a lot surreal in the beginning: a Christmas market right next to the blue sea and under lots of sunshine. The Spanish seemed to feel cold though, wearing sweaters and jackets, but most of the ex-pats and tourists – Lars and I included – were walking around in T-shirts and summer dresses. And then suddenly, you hear Mariah Carey singing and the Christmas atmosphere kicks in.

According to the Internet, the Christmas market of Torrox Costa is the biggest one at the Costa del Sol. In reality, the version of 2018 was quite small… There were a dozen stalls or so selling Christmas decorations and all kinds of artisanal products.

There was also entertainment for big and small.

And… food! Let’s face it, it’s one of the main reasons why you go to a Christmas market. And what would a Spanish one be without tapas! But, to our great joy, there was Glühwein as well.

Maybe it wasn’t as big as Lars and I had imagined, but we still enjoyed this Christmas market a lot. We spent a couple of very agreeable hours there and it certainly got us into a festive atmosphere. By the way, we had plans to go back this year, but at the last minute, we had to cancel our plans. Anyway, if you want to visit this Christmarket market yourself next year – and you happen to be in the south of Spain, it takes place during the first week of December.

Merry Christmas to you all!

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