Planning an Adventure
In September, we will be leaving London for a year of adventure in Spain.
We actually thought about the move in the early summer of 2015, and back then, the thought of almost 18 months of waiting seemed like an eternity, but then we had a lot to consider. Firstly, we had to find a place to live.
I used to work in the travel business, arranging private holiday villa rentals in all sorts of places around the world, and in my travels, I had been introduced to a really special location that sat between Granada and the coast in Andalucia. In 2014, Andrew (my partner) and I had gone back to this special place to see if it had changed much since my last visit.
The Lecrin Valley, or Valle de Lecrin, is a well-kept secret, and long may it remain so! A handful of ex-pat British people have discovered it over the decades, and have settled in to the rural way of life. It is a farming area, and not to everyone's taste. I recall sending some clients to a village home in the valle for their summer holiday, and they complained most vociferously about the number of flies. This is a farming community, where mules are still used to lug heavy loads around hillsides, and where livestock still lives in (very) close proximity to the farming family.
The valley gets hot in the summer and can be very chilly in the winter, as it sits in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada, the mountain range that contains the highest peak in continental Spain, standing at 3,478 metres, and where there is a very active ski season, typically from January through to the end of April. As I used to tell my holiday clients, it is possible to go skiing in the morning and then whizz down to the beach for the afternoon!
In addition, the valley lies some 30 minutes' drive to the south of Granada - one of the most lovely small cities that I have visited, and home to the magical Alahambra Palace.
In November 2015, Andrew and I took a short trip out to look at possible properties, selected on some specific criteria:
It had to be in a village - that way, we would have no option but to practice our Spanish;
It had to have enough room for us to accommodate friends and families, frequently!
It had to feel like a home.