We’re hoping to pay off the small mortgage on our townhouse in Gaucín before the end of 2019. We really meant to buy our first Spanish house cash, but when the opportunity arose, we were some 30 000 euros short and decided to take a loan. As much as we appreciate our tiny gem, and life in the village, our long term goal has always been settling down on the countryside – in the campo, that is. The challenge is knowing when, where and how.
There are many advantages to life in Gaucín pueblo. There is a gym, a public pool, several supermarkets, a pharmacy and some excellent bars and restaurants all within spitting distance from one another. There are many lovely people living in the village, keeping you company and helping you out if ever in a pickle. It’s a very convenient, easy life allowing us to be complete dimwits. Today, for example, we got up relatively late (being proper lutherans, that means just after eight o’clock), went for a short walk just to feel alive, then hit the gym for some weight lifting, walked it off in the nice, cool morning breeze, and had some delicious pork tapas in the bar next to the gym for breakfast. If you’re in Gaucín and haven’t had the pork tapas at Chaparro, please do. They’re small pieces of slowly roasted pork; quite keto friendly, being high in fat and, obviously, protein. I’m obsessed with them and will make an effort to eat as many as I can possibly manage before we leave. So, life in el pueblo: very gentle and pleasant.
Disadvantages to pueblo life are few and common to all kinds of civilisation: there are street lights, cars, music, and all kinds of distractions. Life in Gaucín can be rather busy at times, what with the bull run (yes, there is an actual, full size bull running through the tiny village once a year), the ritual processions of carrying relics through the village and down to the chapel in the valley every now and then, Flamenco shows, numerous fiestas engaging the entire population until the wee hours, and many other kinds of festivities taking place just outside of your bedroom window. The village being so tiny, there is no chance of escaping any of this. On Saturday, there is a chainsaw competition in the main square. All of this is, of course, lovely, but also loud and messy.
We recently met a person saying that he understands that life in the isolated campo seems very appealing to many people, but surely most of them would get bored after some period of time; at least, he himself would. We looked at each other and simultaneously thought: “But I’ve never been bored in my entire life!” This is not entirely true; we’ve both been bored if sick and unable to activate ourselves. Apart from that, both of us are extreme introverts demanding very little external stimulation. If anything, we have too many projects going on; writing, reading, researching, listening to music, cooking, tending to our plants, hiking, exploring, learning Spanish – all of which is perfect for quiet campo life. The comment made by the supposedly extrovert person, thriving off of pomp and circumstance, did spark a realisation: we do get bored when stuck in the city, surrounded by traffic, sounds and buildings, unable to escape it. That kind of boredom is really connected to exhaustion and being overwhelmed by impressions; thus unable to reap the fruits of our – at times alarming – creativity.
So, what about the advantages of campo life? We can’t really say with much authority, since we’ve never tried it for long. The allure is lush, green views all year around, peace and quiet and no neighbours in sight, pitch dark nights, growing our own vegetables and possibly keeping animals. We’re also attracted to the lack of consumerist distractions and temptations; not being able to go for tapas very often, making it all the more special once we do.
We’ve started looking at fincas in the area around Gaucín. The first one we looked at was certainly interesting, and it’s location excellent, but not exactly to our preference – or wallet, given its condition. It was unloved and overgrown, which could of course be remedied, but the steeply sloping yard and lack of water supply and building permit could not. We’re sure the process of researching and exploring alternatives will, in itself, provide us with valuable insights.
If you want to show us your finca, share your experiences of campo life over coffee, or possibly join ventures with us – we’re open to some variant of communal living – please, get in touch.