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CHRISTMAS CHEER AT BODEGAS BENTOMIZ

Christmas time is the time for wine! Did you know that one of Malaga's most prestigious wineries is right here in the Axarquia? Just above Sayalonga, about 20 minutes from the coast (or 10 from Cómpeta!) is Bodegas Bentomiz, where they make the wonderful Ariyanas wines – white, red and rosé, sweet and dry – in the most beautiful setting imaginable. Their glorious views of the mountains and the Mediterranean are complemented by their beautiful building. It is built in a modern style – very light and airy – but blends in with the landscape as the outer walls are clad in slate, which matches the slate 'terroir' of the vineyards. This setting has been delighting visitors for years. The winery's tours, wine-tasting, lunches and concerts are extremely popular – their 5-star TripAdvisor listing is full of eulogies to these experiences. “The Complete Wine Experience” describes their combined tasting and lunch service, as well as reflecting the bodega's philosophy: it is all about beautiful wines!

CHRISTMAS AT MARCO POLO

Dave and Tracy Parker of Marco Polo in Competa have made some great changes since taking over the management of the shop a couple of years ago. These changes have definitely come to fruition for them and with Christmas approaching they intend the shop to be even bigger and better stocked than before. Either in stock now or will be arriving in time for your Christmas purchases are Christmas cards both singles and boxed can be bought, crackers, decorations for the tree and your home along with wrapping paper, labels, ribbons and advent calendars. Their sweet section, which is also part of their 2 euro range of products, will provide host to Christmas sweets and biscuits, shortbread and of course selection boxes. The 2 euro line was a recent initiative and has proved extremely successfully and the section continues to grow and expand. Not only does it consist of sweets but also a range of well known British household products. “Attention Landlords, Letting Agents etc, contact Marco Polo for Welcome Packs of toiletries, etc to save guests having to bring these itmes in their hand luggage” The summer range of dresses will now be replaced with scarves, shawls and gloves, ideal ideas for Christmas presents or just because the colder weather is approaching. Another less festive change is the creation of the library room. The DVD section has been cleaned out and replaced with more books than before and a couple of chairs for you to look for that perfect book in comfort! The DVDs are still being sold off along with the normal line of rentals. Get there fast for the best DVDs at bargain prices, especially ideal for those of you with holiday homes with DVD players for your guests.

BUY A HOME SPAIN

10 years ago Buy a Home Spain, originally called Rent a Home Spain, was started by Angela Taylor from her villa in Torre del Mar. Angela and Austin Taylor had bought a second villa in Spain and therefore decided to rent out their holiday villa for £1,500 a week. The a few friends who wanted to do the same, asked for help. As Angela had run a number of her own businesses in the UK and, ever the entrepreneur, she was happy to help and soon Rent a home Spain was launched with Angela working from home. In 2006, they moved permanently to Spain to retire; however due to the recession, Austin ended up going back and forth to the UK continuing with his previous business whist Angela built up their business in Spain. The business took off immediately and became too much for Angela firstly to run from home and secondly to run on her own. Austin found commuting back and forth from the UK exhausting, so they took the gamble to invest in their business and open up a shop front for their Rent a Home business in Torre Del Mar. The idea was to continue with rentals but also diversify into house sales too. The location was Avenida de Andalucía, a great spot, but the premises soon became too small for them and they moved to a bigger office as the business grew. In fact, it was house sales that were becoming the more dominant part of the business, so not only was there a location change they also changed their name to include Buy a Home Spain.

COMPETA HIKES

Unique and specialist walking tours and mountain walking lodge From the Himalayas, to the Blue Mountains, the Andes to the Drakensberg, The Rockies to the Golden Triangle, the natural, historical and unique wonder of these spectacular regions is equalled here in Andalusia, and particularly in the Axarquia mountain ranges. David and I have trekked and hiked extensively across the world, and here, in the mountains surrounding the beautiful white washed village of Competa, we have found a walking and hiking paradise. And it is our mission to share and teach about the immense history, the wonderful landscape, flora, fauna and wildlife of this splendid region, so that it may be enjoyed, understood and preserved. Preservation of this region is most important to us and we have started a programme to provide education about the environment here, free to children and their families in Andalusia, so that we can not only promote the area, but ensure that the next generation grow up appreciating as much, its importance in this little corner of the world. Working with Axareducacion, and the Ayuntamiento Park Rangers, we walk with children once a month, providing a fun and insightful day of information, games and prizes, finished off with food and refreshments at our walking lodge, Finca Los Pinos.

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