Monthly Archives: November 2017

“Minor sea” or “Smaller Sea” Mar Menor

Mar Menor

Small sea

The Mar Menor means ‘minor (or smaller) sea’.  It isn’t a sea at all, it’s a lagoon, located on the northern stretch of the Murcian coast, just below the border with Alicante.  The lagoon is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a spit of land 22km long with several breaks where it opens onto the Med.  The spit is between 100m and 1200m wide, so in places the two ‘seas’ lap at beaches the both sides of the road!  The road runs most of the length starting at the southern end and a ferry links the northern point of the spit to Santiago de la Ribera on the mainland side.  Roughly triangular in shape it covers 170km2 with 5 small islands within the lagoon and a total of 70km of coastline.

Generally, the water within the lagoon is several degrees warmer than the Med, making it a popular place for swimming and water sports all year.  At the northern point by San Pedro del Pinatar are the famous mud baths and salt flats.  The salt flats and shallow lakes are noted for their importance to nature and protected by national park status. This area records some of the mildest winter temperatures in Spain.


Sadly in 2016 the beaches of the Mar Menor lost their Blue Flags, but it hasn’t slowed the rising popularity of the area or the beaches, and the local authorities are working hard to ‘clean up’ the quality of the water and regain their European Blue Flags.

The most popular resorts are (from north to south) San Pedro de Pinatar and Lo Pagan, Santiago de la Ribera, Los Narejos and Los Alcazares, Los Urrutias, Estrella del Mar, Los Nietos, Mar de Cristal and Playa Honda.


The world famous La Manga Club Golf Resort is Located to the south of the Mar Menor next to the Calblanque National Park.  More information on all to follow so watch this space…!

Calblanque National Park

playa-de-calblanque (1)

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Christmas Property Show Live



Christmas Property Show Live

A short presentation on buying a property in the Costa Blanca or Mar Menor areas of Spain, with a festive feel.

16 December 10.00-10.30

Live on Facebook

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What were you doing last weekend

WABAS2017 in Vélez-Blanco – WITH PHOTOS!!!

From November 4 to 6 2017, a group of writers and bloggers from around Spain gathered for WABAS2017 in Vélez-Blanco. For two days they enjoyed presentations and each other’s company at the group’s sixth annual retreat. Previous retreats have been held in Valencia, Malaga, Granada, Antequera and Valladolid.

WABAS2017 in Vélez-Blanco

WABAS (Writers And Bloggers About Spain) began life as a small but proactive Facebook Group. Its members all had one thing in common – they all produced written content about Spain in one form or another. Since that date, the scope of the Group has expanded and now included people that are based in Spain but may not perhaps write about it. However, the focus remains the same – to actively support each other, providing a trusted and honest place where we can help each other in business and personally. I have been a proud member of WABAS for four years now and have made some amazing friends and business contacts, many of whom I have met offline too.

The retreats began in 2013 and consist of some classroom time with various members contributing workshops and presentations, amply packaged in between some serious social time! This year was to be no exception, with the gathering kicking off on the Friday evening with drinks and tapas at a couple of the town’s hostelries.


Alan and I had volunteered to host this year’s retreat in Vélez-Blanco, the gorgeous little mountaintop town that we call home.

For me personally, it was the first time I’d attended a WABAS event (although Alan had been before), and I was extremely excited about meeting up with this people that had become close to my heart and so supportive during the last few years. After the success of this one, we have promised that either Alan, I, or both of us will be at every event in the future. Alcala de Henares (just outside Madrid) has been suggested as a potential location for WABAS2018.

We gathered in the Plenary room at the Town Hall at 9am the following morning, eager to get started.

In attendance at WABAS2017

Alan Gandy
Photographer, writer, web designer and co-owner of Lives in Vélez-Blanco – Almeria
Twitter: @Alan_Gandy | |

Elle Draper
Travel writer, freelance journalist, web designer and co-owner of Lives in Vélez-Blanco – Almeria.
Twitter: @elle_draper | @spainbuddy | |

Graham Hunt
Founder of Valencia Property and writer. Lives in Valencia
Twitter: @grahunt

Bev Townsend
Blogger, Property Finder and co-owner of Lives in Norfolk and Costa Blanca |

Dave Townsend
Social Media Manager and co-owner of Spanish Dream Property. Lives in Norfolk and Costa Blanca |

Diana Berryman 
Social media manager | Writer | VA
Lives in Salinas – Malaga
Twitter: @soc1albutterfly

Shaheen Michelle Samavati
Ex-newspaper reporter, but still a journalist at heart. Co-founder and director of VeraContent, a multilingual copywriting agency and publisher of Naked Madrid and SpainGuru. Previously on the founding team of Spotahome. Lives in Madrid. Twitter Twitetr: @shaheensamavati | @veracontent | @nakedmadrid | @spaingurues – | |

Gaile M Griffin Peers
Publisher (print /e-books /e-magazines), Graphic Designer, website builder, member of NUJ (writer/ editor), illustrator, photographer – owner U P Publications and Javea Grapevine. Lives in Jávea, Marina Alta, Alicante
Twitter @GaileGP | @UPPub | @JaveaGrapevine | |

Jason Newton
Songwriter, musician, confidence coach, English & Spanish teacher and writes a blog about travel and life in Spain and another based on positive psychology. Lives in Lucainena de las Torres, Almería
Instagram @jason_joseph_newton | Twitter @cortadoingles | |

Sandra Piddock
Writer, editor and proofreader. Owner of Sandra in Spain, a website about my life in Spain, my travels in the motor home and anything else I think of. I’m also promoting a locally made independent film, The Cucaracha Club, and have been lined up to appear in the sequel. Exciting times ahead! Lives in Algorfa on the Costa Blanca.

Alicia Shelley
Blogger/writer at (currently on hiatus) based in Antequera, Malaga
Twitter @Alicia_Shelley
Projects & Services Officer at the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (

Arpy Shively
Copy/content writer and blogger. Events organiser
Twitter @WomanWorksWeb; Facebook: WomanWorks

Fred Shively
Freelance communications strategist, creative director,
writer, photographer. Lives in Malaga.

Russ Pearce
Blogger, EFL Teacher and Photographer
Lives in Guardamar del Segura, Alicante
Twitter: @rrruss_ @sinpaella @learnrtenglish

Maya Middlemiss
Copy and content strategist; Management 3.0 consultant @mayamiddlemiss

Richard Middlemiss – British
Valencia Property Denia, Facebook: Denia Property

Mai Griffin
Author and renowned international artist
Lives in Jávea, Marina Alta, Alicante |

Dietmar Roth
Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Culture.

Other attendees

Trish Pearce
Shaun Berryman
Cass Middlemiss
Tony Piddock
Catalina Casanova

WABAS2017 Speakers / Presenters

(Photos to follow for Gaile Griffin-Peers and Alicia Shelley)

Images ©Alan Gandy and Russ Pearce

A whole range of topics was discussed – everything from “Be more Dog” to “Productivity Apps and Hacks” plus “The Attention Economy” and “The Power of the Network.” We had presentations and we had group interaction. Unfortunately (due to technical breakdowns and a lunch taking way longer than we expected) a couple of members were unable to present – our heartfelt thanks got to Diana Berryman and Alicia Shelley who kindly volunteered to save their slots for another time. We listened, we talked, we laughed, we debated. Oh and we swatted lots of flies too!

What was really apparent was the wide range of skills across the Group. Although Spain writing and blogging was originally at our core, it was great to hear about everything else that people are involved in too! there are some amazing people within the Group and I for one got a huge motivational boost from spending time with them.

Not all classroom time

A vital part of all the WABAS retreats is the social time, and was with great relish that we call gathered for food and drinks at every opportunity. We also enjoyed a tour of the town (courtesy of Dietmar), taking in the castle, the Moorish quarter, the Water Museum and other areas of interest. This took place on the Sunday, and afterwards a few staunch remainers (and yes, I do mean it in “that” sense of the word too) met up for lunch and a few more drinkies.

To say that I was exhausted after it all is an understatement. After recent illness, I am no longer the “Elle than can bolt ten glasses of wine and a dozen shots of sambuca,” but it was good to see that one or two were able to lift the mantle on my behalf.


We are lucky enough to live in a very pretty area – so several of the attendees had their cameras out. Here is a selection of images taken throughout the weekend. Click the thumbnails to view larger.

Dave Townsend – Spanish Dream Property   

If you like photos please look on the spain buddy site for the full set


Dietmar Roth


 Graham Hunt – Valencia Property

Russ Pearce – Anything But Paella

Tony Piddock



The response after the event has been beyond excellent, with people saying how fired up and motivated they are, and how much they are looking forward to the next event.

— and finally!

In addition to those mentioned above, we would like to thank the following Vélez-Blanco individuals and businesses for looking after us all so well!

  • Catalina Casanova – Councillor for Employment (for her support)
  • The Town Hall team (for the provision of the Plenary Room)
  • Hotel Velad (for the accommodation and “that” view)
  • Bar la Sociedad (for the great food and drink)
  • Bar el Rinconcillo (for the super tapas and drinks)
  • Loli’s Bar (for the obligatory mid-morning coffees)
  • Bar Alfonso (for the fabulous lunches)
  • The entire town of Vélez-Blanco (for putting up with us all!)

Further reading for WABAS2017

This list will be updated as others add theirs.