As usual, when Rafa and I went for a walk, we ended up dodging briars as we hiked up some mountain, decidedly off the trail. This also involved jumping over a river (ok, so it was a stream., a mountain stream with a lot of water) and crawling under a tree. So, now that we have it settled that our walks reflect our relationship (off the beaten path, unconventional-but-probably-more-fun, enjoying every last minute of sunshine and knowing when it’s time to head home…let the metaphors roll on). Anyway, on this particular walk, R. and I had ventured with the house dog around some abandoned old mountain farm homes. We had billy-goated up the mountain, but as that would have been an impossible, slippery route back down, we headed for the country road near the house and hoped it would take us back to where we are going. When the dog started running because it saw “home”, we knew we were in good shape.
The house where we stayed two nights is the business and sculpture of Albert, (yet another) colega of Rafa from the good ol’ days. After buying three decrepit stone structures for 6.000 euro around 10 years ago, his time, effort, and artistic eye have turned them into masterpieces. The crown jewel is “The Boat”, a Gaudi-esque structure with nary a straight line and perhaps the most ingenious natural lighting system you could ever imagine. Not to mention the views!
He’s also built a garden, a compost system, and an enormous yoga platform that brings new meaning to ‘sun salutation’. Handmade touches abound; the shower alone is a mosaic worthy of an art/architecture catalog. It should come as no surprise, then, that Albert has had quite a bit of success running the place as a Casa Rural, basically Spain’s equivalent of a B&B in a relaxing countryside location. Guests rent either a room or the whole house, with food optionally included, and naturally, yoga classes are offered.
Mar de la Carrasca was appealing not only for all of these design elements, but it got me to thinking of Life Plan # 78 C: open one of these places. It seems like a totally do-able business in a country whose biggest export is its sunrays (or sunburns!) and biggest import are white-as-snow “Northern Tourists”. You need passion, an eye for design, an impeccable location, people skills. I think I could do it…
To top it all off, on the way home, R. and I drove through a charming little town that has resurrected precisely because of these tourists called Puertomingalvo. After an incredible 4-course menú with local lamb and homemade flan, all for 11 euro (the guiri price-locals eat for 9!), R. and I took a new route home to drive through Teruel in Aragón (a region I’ve never been in before! Hip Hip Hooray-I saw something new!) It was beautiful!
What’s not beautiful? The hella confusing highway system outside of Valencia which made it impossible for even a local to navigate his way home without stopping for directions. Woops!
While I’d like to take all the inspiration I soaked in from my days in the mountain and start looking for my own B&B spot, I think I’m going to have to wait at least a year or two (you know, that studying thing I’m doing…). In the meantime, I’m going to finish this semester and share with you some of the photos from the walk and the house, of course. Enjoy!
A view of the house/compound
Further on our walk…The summit! Abandoned house after billygoating.
“El Barco” up close
The Requisite Instagram: Puertomingalvo.
Outside the ceramics shop. (Of course we had to stop and chitchat since our host knew the owners)
And sometimes, we even get a pic together! Success!