Car hire at Murcia airport or at Alicante Airport is considerably cheaper than in the UK, even at the lower pound these days. I have been advising checking out Goldcar. They tend to be cheaper than rivals, often considerably. But it is very basic in terms of what you get, so there are disadvantages. If you drop the car at a different airport (which I use a lot) they are charging a supplement of currently 30 (to be fair most/all others charge the same). They do not offer breakdown cover (I think this is new). The insurance offered is minimal - as far as I can gather pretty much just 3rd party plus scratches to the bodywork. For 5 a day you can get it extended to full (min. charge 30). There are companies that will offer to insure the excess- typically up to about £2000 but some do more (see moneysavingexpert.com for companies that do this; for around £20-£30 you can get annual Europe insurance). However last time I tried (Sep10) they were much cheaper for a short hire than the competition, 43 for 3 days Ford Kia, whereas most of the others were over 100. Actually Carjet routed me through them last time I used Carjet, and I ended up paying 10 more, but with the same cover, so I'll go back to Goldcar direct. Another drawback is you're likely to have to queue because they are so popular (the trick is to get off the plane first and make a beeline for their desk, leaving the luggage for someone else to pick up. Also they now tell you not to fill up on a three day or shorter hire - you get credited with the remainder but you have to pay up front for a full tank, and I haven't yet worked out whether this works out as a hidden charge - you have to trust their reading of the tank. For longer they still say bring back empty. Finally they now insist on a credit card, so I can no longer get away with using my euro Citibank debit card which saved me money on exchange rates.
(Slightly out of date:) Previously I had been using carjet for about two years, I have discovered that Goldcar (as they now brand themselves; previously Europa, then Goldstar) has a number of advantages, especially for short and last minute bookings. You can book online at the last minute (frequently the night before in my case, right up to midnight Spanish time at least, and you can call their office on the day, but calling the main number on the website gave me a better deal than calling the local office last time) whereas usually carjet requires more time (I have done this a number of times recently). You don't have to commit to pay or anything. It was cheaper for bottom of the range 3 day hire (57 vs 66 from Murcia Airport returning to Alicante in 2006; prices have gone up somewhat recently; in Aug 08, peak season, I am paying 62 for a Ford KA, 3 days, while Carjet is quoting 68, so Goldcar is still cheaper). Their philosophy seems to be to price low and go for volume, and not to fuss about anything, making upfor scratches etc. by sheer turnover. As the insurance currently covers bodywork as I understand it, they never seem to worry about anything much. I recently used Europcar, which took ages as they fussed over all sorts of things (although otherwise was fine). You are less likely to have to queue if all the Carjet etc. people are sent elsewhere, although as it is very competitive there is often a queue nevertheless.
My previous advice: I have found www.carjet.co.uk - Alicante Airport or www.carjet.co.uk - Murcia Airport to be a good and cheap way of renting a car (thanks to Paul for suggesting this site a few years ago, which I wasn't aware). Prices are inclusive. The site is very clear about what's included (maybe less now than used to be) and what's not included, especially on the insurance side; you can cancel up to 24 hours before. I have used this site a number of times, and have varied hire period very easily by ringing their main number. They use different main terminal companies. I have been very impressed. You may find something cheaper if you hunt hard, but not by much. Note that if you are given a quote with Auriga at Murcia you will have to get a courtesy bus a couple of km to their office unless they have relocated since 2006; it is pretty quick though.
You can also hire direct from the bigger companies which operate from Alicante or Murcia airports (e.g. Sol-Mar), or go to one of numerous companies which operate out of the car park at Alicante in particular. One which I have found reliable is Star (http://www.rentspain.com/ Tel. 0034-902 180 808). They need to know when you're arriving as their vans are not permanently manned. Star operate at Murcia airport as well as Alicante. Centauro is another I have used in the past. Another I have used is Lara (http://www.laracars.com/, Tel. 0034-966 796 029). Other companies which I have not used include Victoria , Javea Cars. Connect, who are located inside the terminal building
You can also use one of the bigger sites such as holidayautos or Rhino Car Hire which offer competitive prices whenever I have checked them out (you can also pay in sterling so you don't lose on the exchange rate).
Don't forget your driving license! (Unlike UK car hire, I have never been asked for the paper counterpart to my photo driving licence, but it's probably worth bringing, just in case.)
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The Owl and the Sparrow
The Owl and the Sparrow is a book about a battle that takes place in a forest. The battle is between the birds on one side of the forest, which they themselves call the good side of the forest, and the birds (vultures) on the other side, the dark side of the forest.
Owl is the leader of the good forest and his adversary is the Condor, reputed as being the darkest force in the forest. Into the story enters an apparently naive sparrow who is seduced by Condor into the dark side of the forest against the rulings of Owl. Owl refuses to send help because he does not want to endanger the lives of more birds, but also because he is furious with the sparrow. He says that sparrow was asking for trouble.
Also on the good side of the forest are an incredibly silly group of finches who like to play games and torment the vultures. But their silliness and game-playing skills are no match for the profound darkness of the vultures, and some are captured, and terrorised.
Golden Eagle rules over the whole forest, but he gets little involved because he has left Owl a set of rules. Finally he gets angry with what he sees happening on both sides of the forest, and realises that rules are not enough. So out of his concern and love for the birds , he sends his son, Silver Eagle, to the forest. The book covers the events that follow including a bitter battle and the discovery that there is an unknown traitor within their camp.
Author Ruth Thomas
Editor Joan Mitchell
First version typed up and suggestions made by Deborah van Welie