Just a quick pre warning this is going to be a long post, I’ve been mega busy this last two days and haven’t had a chance to update everyone on the first night in Gaucin (just outside of Ronda) so i’m going to catch up now!
Lets go back to Monday the 23rd, I finished my last post around the early afternoon having just been out in the city exploring and then went back out to see some more after a quick siesta (the sun was kicking my a**). After a short walk and a decision for another beautiful coffee I headed to a cafe just a few minutes around the corner, one I was destined to return to the next morning but for now…
I met a guy called Antonio. He was local, really friendly, and happy to tell me a bit about the city which was a great chance to learn some of the local culture. After a good chat we decided to go for a drink and walk around some of the nearby streets, he repeatedly emphasized that because of my accent I kept pronouncing his name wrong… I did try my best but I still need to work on my Spanish. He had previously lived across the world in a number of cities and towns, and having once lived in Scotland it was interesting to talk about how we both perceived each others cultures and stereotyping from the other side, this turned into trying to think of the most offensive stereotypes we could and then drinking far too much red wine!
After an evening of good company, great wine and catching a flamenco styled band playing outside a cafe I headed back to the hostel for an interesting experience to say the least. I walk into the dorm room quietly as not to wake anyone, after creeping up to my bed in the pitch black I find someone asleep in my bed?! I had absolutely no idea how to react, pitch black, confused, the wine didn’t help at all mind. I rustled the guy on the shoulder and just to my luck he didn’t speak a word of english, so the only way I can explain the next 5 minutes of random hand signals and shapes is as if you were playing an intense game of charades whilst wearing a blind fold. Eventually he understood and went to his bed (the bunk above mine) and i’m pretty sure we woke a few people up, Sorry!!! I’ve only ever stayed in a hostel twice and even after the confusion the guy was super happy and apologetic, there’s always a great vibe of different people coming together and getting along which is awesome.
After waking up at 8am to get ready for the train (I had packed up my bag ready to go the day before), I grabbed everything up and headed off eager to grab another creamy coffee and navigate the zigzag streets to the station. After returning back to the coffee shop I went the day before, I had a quick caffeine boost and was back on my feet walking the way I had roughly remembered to the station. After a few wrong turns I made it with plenty of time to sit and read whilst waiting for the train, and what can I say? The train journey was fantastic, glorious mountain ranges, miles of open terrain, and so much more. The two and a half hours seemed to fly by with some headphones in my ears, I’m definitely going to consider some more train travel around this area!
So yesterday was the day I met my hosts and travel mates i’ll be staying with for the next 3 months (give or take), I’m not entirely sure how I’ll be staying but after a day like yesterday I could live here forever. I absolutely fell in love, with the mountains, the people, the weather, the plants, the vibe, the whole permaculture ethos is beautiful and I think so many more people need to research into its benefits.
My hosts are called Aitox and Anna, and they are fantastic people and wonderfully hospitable, along with Olly, a friend of Aitox staying for a couple of months doing the same travelling as me. They’ve shown nothing but welcome since I arrived, for example, the first day they make a point of saying that their home is my home and to make myself totally comfortable. We quickly pack some food and head down to the river at the bottom of the valley they live in, Aitox and Olly have fixed up a beaten old truck which you can see in the photos above, It looks like its going to fall apart and sounds like it too but it. is. awesome! After an amazing drive we end up meeting up with some local friends of theirs and before you know it were all sat by a river swimming, eating, drinking, talking etc and its a hell of a good start to my time in Gaucin.
We left the river after the sun slowly fell below the valley side, after saying our goodbyes we head back to the house to make some diner. The rest of the evening consisted of eating tapas, drinking this mixture of lemon fanta and red wine which was gorgeous, watching the spectacular view, seeing the vast amounts of fruit and veg being grown, and getting to know each other a bit more. The picture below is just a quick shot from stepping out of the front door, further to the east you can see the rock of Gibraltar and behind that the northern mountains of Morocco.
It’s impossibly hard to put into words the immediate feeling of clicking with a new group of people, feeling as if you fit in perfectly with the environment, no sense of being out of place or nervousness, and totally relaxing. This place and way of life is what so many people choose to be total paradise and I couldn’t agree more, The cost of what these guys are doing is marginal to the cost of living a “normal” 9 to 5 lifestyle. Less working, more time to enjoy life, breath taking views around every corner and doing something you enjoy, why isn’t everybody doing this?! I’m ranting because I really want to show people that this lifestyle is not only paradise for some, but amazingly good for the environment and a totally self sufficient way of living.
For now I will write up a quick plan and finish off this post tomorrow, I’m super exhausted from starting to build an underground air con pipe system at Aitox’s new place which uses no electric just the airflow to cool the house. It’s a great sustainable project this building and really fun to get involved with, I will explain more tomorrow!
If you’d like to see how my adventures led up to this moment check out my other posts or just follow the link at the bottom of the page, For now I leave you with a picture of me digging and melting in the sun!
Adios! Hasta Luego!