House Sitting Spain
We had met couchsurfers three years ago in the south of Spain and earlier this year they begged us to come back and 'house-sit' for a month. They were going to the USA for a holiday.
Responsibilities were huge.... we had to feed two dogs, two cats , two canaries and some goldfish. I forgot; we had to swim in and maintain the pool as well.
The house is ten kilometers from the Mediterranean and looks northwards to a rugged mountain range behind some smaller rocky ridges, the view is wonderful. All the homes are painted or lime washed a brilliant white which makes the villages look picturesque and charming. Olive trees and knee-high grape vines hug the hills and provide a hard earned income for the farmers.
Competa is the nearest village and we spent many hours drinking proper coffee, local beer and consuming genuine Spanish tapas from the little bars.
After walking the dogs each morning we drove either south to the coast and then to the beaches and cafes or northwards to the other little towns and villages. We met friends and each seemed to want to entertain us so we had a wonderful time.
A typical day consisted of feeding the various animals, walking the two dogs, Toffee and Pepper on a low key mountain walk. They got very used to it and soon reminded us when we got up what the procedure was. We took a pocket full of biscuits to encourage them to come when we called them. When we returned we would jump in the sparkling pool and finish our chores.
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After this we were free to do some exploring of the area. One day we drove down to Nerja, a seaside town to discover the sites. While reserching I found a very helpful site www.discover-nerja.com which is writen by a local who has revealed some secrets of places to eat, things to do and beaches to visit. Well worth checking out.
One of the days we visited Frigliana, a quaint little village nearby. The houses were immaculate, all spotlessly white with traditional bars and restaurants. It was really intriguing exploring the narrow windy streets, watching the women scrub the front step and footpath, while the men had been thrown out while they did the house work.
While house sitting we didn't travel far and because Competa and Frigliana are both lovely Spanish villages to explore and we felt privileged we were nearby.
There were many walks we went on too. You didn't need to be really energetic or fit. We figured out which ones were suitable and founds some lovely ones.
We were invited to go for a drive in the Andalusian Mountains. It was a beautiful spot with green hills in the foreground, covered with low lying vines and old knarled olive trees which had been farmed for generations. In the background were the grey topped rugged mountains.
There was a little pueblo (Spanish for town) that we could see in a valley about seven or eight kilometres away and it had been suggested that we could go and visit and have lunch there. We needed to notify the owners of the bar we were coming as they would normally be shut during the week.
Lizzy and Paul, some friends that we had met, picked us up mid morning and we went off in their two door 4WD. I have always been rather scared of heights and can start to swear and panic if I feel really unsafe! We began a two kilometre drive around the lower part of the mountains and crossed a small river. Sitting in the back which was a good thing as I could only see half the road, I kept talking and looking the other way to distract myself from feeling fearful. I did however occasionally look out of the window seeing some magnificent views of the valley.
Acebuchal, is a tiny picturesque town; littered with small white painted houses, with bright coloured doors. The twisty little lanes were too narrow to take the average size car. The colourful geraniums and honeysuckle spilled over the walls of the local gardens.
Franco led his army in a civil war in the 1930's and over threw the king and his government. Franco drove the residents out of Acebucal to stop them assisting the opposition forces. The houses were made unihabitable and left to decay and gradually beomes ruins. Years later a local man, Antonio, whose parents lived in the town decided to rebuild doing an amazing job.
Many of the houses can be rented out for holidays and although there’s limited activities for tourists in the town and it would be quite a hike through the mountains to get provisions. It makes an ideal place to chill out, write a book or just get away from it all. It would even make a great location for a film set.
The bar offered local cuisine, and bread was being made, proving on the table. Antonio the owner then showed us through some of the converted ruins, which are now holiday cottages.
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