Author: Gareth Dodgson (Page 1 of 2)


Here you will find opticians with great service and great deals. Browse and and select to find the right optician service for you.


Exploring Tortosa

By guest blogger Marie Pugh

I’ve been to Spain many times before but I’d never visited Tortosa, in fact before I met Rosie Reay playing Scrabble online I’d never even heard of it! Looked in the normal tourist guides and apart from a line or two it wasn’t mentioned. I was intrigued.

As we’d arrived late to the Corona hotel we decided to stay put and then explore the next day. After a wonderful breakfast, ‘twas a revelation to see the workmen drinking beer at 8am, on went the sunglasses and sun cream. We’re not the type of people to plan our adventures so it was out the door and turn left!

Tortosa 1

We weren’t disappointed. Nestled on the banks of the Ebro it really is a city of two halves.  On the right bank where we were staying it had a much more urban feel, the place where people lived, they worked, they spent time with their families. But a gentle stroll across the bridge and you were in the ‘old town’. A vibrant, busy place, full of character, architecture, shops, places to eat and more importantly ‘be seen’. Whether drinking coffee, enjoying a beer or nibbling tapas, the locals really seemed to be enjoying the town. It had a relaxed, informal, atmosphere. Although not ‘touristy’ it felt comfortable. It didn’t matter we knew no Catalan, a friendly smile goes a long way. Everyone made us feel welcome.

The old half is just that – old! The Cathedral of Santa Maria de Tortosa is a great place to visit. We learned a lot about the history of the city, it really has been around a long time. The streets are steeped in history and it was quite exciting to think that we may have walked the same steps as the Romans!

Unless you want a big debate don’t mention the impressive monument in the middle of the river, it really is the elephant in the room.

How a chance game of scrabble brought me to the Ebro Valley

By guest blogger Marie Pugh

You know how it is, its late, you can’t sleep so you’re wasting time cruising through the social media sites. Ah Facebook! Scrabble … yep that should waste a bit more time. Anyway I got hooked. Was playing every night with different people, suddenly a little box appeared, a chat box. What the hell I thought, why not, it’s not as if they can see me sat here bleary eyed and unkempt in my not so flattering PJs.

So that’s how I met the author Rosie Reay who happened to live in the Ebro Valley. Sat in the cold in Cardiff she painted a very attractive picture of her life on the Finca, I could almost smell the almond blossom and picture the soaring of the eagles. Come to visit she said. We’ve a great fiesta coming up she said. The whole town dresses up and parties, you’d love it.

Mmmmm…. I’ll have a think about it. Next thing you know the flights to Reus were booked and before I knew it Ryanair were bouncing the plane down the runway.

River Ebro 1Now the trip by car from Reus to Tortosa was interesting to say the least but it wasn’t until we got to our destination we realised just how interesting. Those ladies by the side of the road weren’t selling oranges!! It was late when we got to Hotel Corona, but the hotel was an absolute delight, and I couldn’t wait to explore our surroundings over the next few days and even better I was going to meet Rosie Reay in person. What does one wear to meet a published author??



Take a look at what Fiestas are coming up, small or large we aim to promote them here. So see what is happening and join the fun.

Tortosa English Festival



A weekend packed full of English based and language learning activities. Starting on the 15th and running through to the 17th. Click on the picture or here for more info.

The Caravan


By our guest blogger Sue (aka slightleynuts)

Now we are living in our house it was a question of what to do with the caravan? A few people suggested offering it for rent. People might enjoy the experience off grid, or on  small farm living abroad.

Learning to live using solar power and no piped mains water is a challenge! I remember (in England) how I took for granted switching on a light or turning on a tap or just the simple pleasure of hopping in and out of the shower without thinking about the water consumption or the power it tool to work the pump!!

“It seemed a good idea, we have been working towards getting the caravan ready.”

1IMG_20140824_155219This area made a big difference, it doubled our living area.





We spent many evenings stargazing and listening to music, or entertaining friends.








It seems so much bigger now there are not 4 dogs lolling all over the place.








I remember trying to make honeycomb and the whole caravan filling up with bees!







Its been a real trip down memory lane for us and now is finally ready for renting. A holiday with a bit of something different. You can learn about “Living off grid” or trying to become self sustainable.




The caravan has 3 bedrooms which sleep 2 people in each. The living room also has a hide away double bed, so it can sleep between 6/8 people. “It has its own BBQ”

So if you or anybody you know would be interested in coming to stay please contact me. We are set net to Els Ports Parc Natural in Catalunya Spain. There are many cycling and walking routes locally, a variety of beaches, natural pools all within a 30/40 minute drive and the local town of Tortosa is set on the River Ebro. Famous for its fishing. especially cat fishing.

Im more than happy to show you around our little farm and intoduce you to some of the characters!! Maybe try your hand at goat herding!! Or just come and say Hi to Pickle 🙂

If you are interested then come have a look at the goat escape

For more of our guest blogger Sue please visit


It´s always handy to know where to find the right medical help, in the shortest time and in the valley area it is no different. Finding a hospital, optician, dentist, physio or other medical service can be a daunting task (with or without a knowledge of Spanish or Catalan.


arton10493-bdf12There are a few hospitals in the area, most notably is in Tortosa (l´hospital verge de la cinta). Sign posts can be found on most of the main roads in the town. It s situated at one of the highest points in the town, looking out across to the Parador (and has a tall water tower and heli-pad). So if you´re on foot make sure you are prepared  to climb the hill(or take a bus from Hife station in El Temple). Parking can also be a problem, with most of the areas close to the hospital will be taken quite quickly. Make sure you have the correct documents with you such as a Cat Salut card, EHIC and passport or equivalent. Without these the hospital bills can rise quickly.



Not knowing where to find good opticians can always be a headache (literally). But we aim to promote opticians who have proven first rate service. We will provide the information so your headaches/migraines are soon over.

Rosie Reay will personally vouch for Opticalia worth, under Godofredo’s expertise. He solved her migraines! Who was a migraine sufferer, driven for days on end, to the extreme point of enduring pain and loss of her vision, even hospitalisation.  Neither doctors nor other opticians abroad got to the root of her visionary problems.

“It is amazing what a decent pair of varifocals spectacles (with correct size and lens to cope with the necessary diverse prescriptions) can make in such a short time. I am migraine free! I do not take one tablet for migraine now. I can sit and write for hours now. Brilliant! Contact Opticalia now! You will not look back with regret!” says Rosie Reay.

The bonus is the staff are all tri-lingual (with exemplary customer care), Castillian, Catalan and English. Godofredo speaks English so eloquently and explains everything step by step.


If you have been having trouble with a muscle or joint injury, then physiotherapy could be your key to recovery. Physiotherapy is available through the Cat Salut system but if you´re ineligible be it sport related injury with neither insurance nor Cat Salut cover (nor other private medical insurances) then private physiotherapists are the place to visit.

If you wish to see your practice up here contact us.(link)))


Dental cover can be acquired through a number of companies including banks. If you visit a dentist without cover then the charges can be more than just a bite size (pardon the pun). So do get yourself and family covered (a joint policy is usually cheaper) for a small amount each month. Then when you have your next visit to a dentist you are only paying a fraction of what you could have done and you will be pre-warned about a schedule of costs.

(Aside:  Read your policy carefully. Some companies offer an all-in-one insurance covering house and content insurances, with dental or medical cover. That does not necessarily mean it is better. It does mean you are completely covered. It does not mean that some things are free. So do shop around.)

Be smart and look after your pearly whites.

Other medical help

Here we intend to promote the other medical services available, such as pharmacies, mobility aid products, chiropodists, therapist’s carers, massage centres, yoga therapy and much, much more.

If you have something to offer please contact us. Prices are individually quoted according to your needs.(link)))


Call or email Rosie Reay anytime

+34 698 401 899

English or Español


Steve & Juliet Wellier

The river Ebro is famous amongst the worlds angling community. This immense river provides the chance and challenge of landing a giant Wells catfish. If you have a licence(*), the right tackle and a strong will, then why not try and land a giant. River guides are scattered up and down the river and most offer fishing from either the bank and/or from a boat. They also come with years of experience of fishing this stretch of water.It is strongly recommended you take on their advice. The river is forever changing and with strong undercurrents and changing conditions, these are the people to listen to!

DSC_00962364Yet this awesome river has more than just catfish. It is loaded with amazing fish, such as huge carp which always prove an exciting challenge on this river. So, if fighting a giant is not for you then fear not! There is plenty of other fish in the river to take on.

(*)Licences and regulations

A fresh water licence is required (licencia de pesca) if you wish to fish in Spain. There are a few options available, ranging from  a few days up to 5 years. Proof of identity (NIF/NIE passport is now asked for) and payment is all you should need. Unless you intend to fish in regions such as Andalusia, where you will have to show proof of civil liability insurance. It’s always a good idea to check with your guide or with the regionals government before embarking on your trip.

Each region will have their own restrictions on the number of licences issued per day, size of fish caught (often the number as well), bait used and techniques used. Local town halls and tourist offices can provide information on local fishing areas. They can also provide a fishing map (mapa de pesca fluvial). This will provide you with very useful information on where to fish, what you may catch plus details on seasons and licences.

The trout season opens in March and closes at the end of August.

The salmon season opens on the first Sunday in March and closes on the second Sunday in July.

Sea fishing( from a boat licence is different to river or beach fishing one!) is prohibited from one hour after sunset, until one hour before sunrise.

Many regional governments will issue you a licence online. If that is not an option for you licences can be purchased from town halls, savings banks and regional offices. Some guides will take care of licence for an additional fee, but not all of them. will process licence applications online for the following regions :       Aragon, Asturias, Castile & Leon, Castile-la Mancha, Catalonia, Extremadura and Navarre

What to do

“What should I do today”

Everyone says it but unless you know what is happening in the area you could end up missing out on some good fun times. From Sporting events to Fiestas, we aim to provide as much information as we can on what is coming up in the future.





Carrafoc Fiesta Tortosa







” If sport is your thing then the Ebro valley will not disappoint.”

Spain has a good long tradition with Sport. Not just football which over recent years it has been well know for domestically and internationally. But other sports are becoming more popular. In the valley area there is host of great sports to either partake in or spectate.




Before I became a resident here in Spain, I had traveled here at lest twice a year and in all that time I never knew there was a  rugby team within touching distance. When I heard this I thought happy days. So I went along to see the team and ended up doing a training session with them. At the end I was asked if would like to join and become a player. without hesitation I said yes and have not looked back since. So if your a rugby fan or just interested in having a look. be sure to check out the team. More info… 




Anywhere you go to in Spain football is taken very seriously no matter what the level being played and the Ebro valley is no different. With a number of local teams representing their towns and villages. Where it becomes a real part of the community focus. But when it comes down to professional football the team which will be cheered for the most is FC Barcelona.




Golf Ball Sitting on Edge of Hole

If traveling to the Ebro area and are interested in playing golf be it pitch and putt or a full 18 hole course. Then you are best heading to the coastal area. If you don´t mind a drive you can find some great cources along the coast.







Fishing for some on the Ebro is not just for fun but business, with a host of fishing guides offering the opportunity to fish for the giant wells catfish. Catfish are not the only fish in the river with good sized carp offering a challenge even to the experienced angler. More info…

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