We’ve visited southern Spain a number of times through the years. Like most people coming here, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the weather, the food, the scenery and the friendly people. But it wasn’t until Kristoffer’s uncle suggested that we’d visit the tiny mountain village of Gaucín that we embarked on what could be one of the greatest adventures of our lives.
When approaching Gaucín, the narrow road clings to the mountainsides and steeps into lush valleys. The first time we made the trip, we both felt the neon lights, jet skis and golf courses of the Costa del Sol fading away. The last half hour or so, we just stopped talking. We were overwhelmed and, frankly, deeply taken by the sheer beauty of the pristine landscape surrounding the car. Before even arriving in Gaucín, it was evident that something quite special awaited. Of course, we did suspect as much, since Kristoffer’s uncle insisted we’d go there. It was the only place in the world, he said, where it was peaceful enough for him to pick up a book and read in quiet, in spite of his tinnitus. Knowing both the severity of his tinnitus and the extent of his travels, that spoke volumes.
The day we arrived, the heat was sweltering. Heavy, grey clouds brushed the rooftops. We were both slightly hung over and fighting persistent air plane- induced colds. Still, it was clear that Gaucín was something else entirely. At the point when we parked the rental car and made our way to the hotel, we were simply mesmerised. It’s hard to say exactly what elicited this, but Emmie’s spontaneous reaction was “This is home!”. As unique as we’d like to imagine ourselves being, this reaction seems to be rather common in first time visitors. The very same thing happened to the then owners of Hotel La Fructuosa. They told us that they’d come to Gaucín for a new year’s party twenty years earlier, and instantly decided to leave their busy Madrid lives. In no time, they’d gone ahead and bought the old, long abandoned hotel and turned it into a lovely place to stay.
Since our first visit, we’ve been no less than gravely obsessed with Gaucín. Initially, we pictured ourselves getting a holiday home in the village. But the more time we spent here, we realised a few weeks here and there was not going to suffice. In one way or the other, we knew we needed to make a life in the mountains of Spain. This, of course sparked a number of existential, philosophical, financial and practical questions, forcing us to reevaluate most aspects of life. Should we pursue our current carreers? How much, or rather how little, money does it take to lead a meaningful life? Is it possible to shed the stimuli and comforts of city life? Can we manage to stay fit without fancy gym memberships, and what should we eat in order to stay healthy and happy, without spending too much money? This blog is about our exploration of these, and more or less loosely related, topics. We’d be more than happy if you decide to join us.