Still in Asturias and after a fretful nights sleep, seemingly dominated by scenarios of onrushing milk tankers and sheer drops, we took a trip over to Llanes, a mediaeval town with small fishing port, boasting a picturesque harbour with colourfully painted “memory cubes” surrounding the end of the harbour. It’s a bright and fun addition although time had dulled the colours a little but still, a great way to liven up blocks of concrete.
There were still more places to visit but I really should be moving on to the reasons we ended up in southern Spain. However, Asturias is a stunning area to visit and words can’t fully describe just how gorgeous the whole area is. That said, if you get a chance to visit any of the caves where they store Cabrales cheese, rub some Vick under your nose or stuff it with cotton wool because to say the smell is strong, is a huge understatement. We were fully intending to go into one of said caves but actually didn’t because the smell was so overpowering well before you even got to the entrance. The taste is something different I’m told by Mrs S, who bought some locally and recommends it very highly indeed. I still buy some for her from the supermarket and it’s potency means it’s always double wrapped in clingfilm.
A little more information for you. Mrs S is not the most at ease on an aeroplane and during take off and landing, will close her eyes and although not particularly religious, will silently say the Lords prayer. If I’m thoughtful enough to hold her hand, it ends up with my fingers getting crushed as the plane lifts off. I say this because flying out of Asturias airport is quite an experience and goes something like this. Engines roar, runway, runway, runway, edge of cliff, sea, fingers crushed, wincing (me, not Mrs S) It’s like taking off from a geographical aircraft carrier and quite a rush (for me at least)
The years and many trips to and from Spain have dulled the anxiety a little for Mrs S and If you add in that I no longer say “Feel the burn” just before take off, then things are definitely improving, except for good old turbulence, which immediately makes her think the plane is going to crash.
I digress (again) We returned to England and started looking at properties online and by pure chance, the search engine had us looking at a variety of properties in a village called Sedella and in nearby Salares, which we later discounted. We found that one of the houses was currently also for rent and so we booked it for a week, a sort of try before you buy. So, within one month of getting back, we were jetting off again, this time to Malaga, complete with Mrs S and her take off protocol.
Renting a car, we drove away from Malaga and found ourselves climbing on winding roads, through beautiful countryside, stopping time after time to take in the fantastic views. Eventually, turning a corner, we were greeted by our first actual view of Sedella, a white painted village nestled in front of Mount Maroma and what a sight it was.
We were then given a choice of two roads for the village and chose the one to the right, which led into the village from what we later would call the top road. For good measure, we passed the school and were then given the option of three roads. The road to the right didn’t seem right and the road in the middle looked not only very steep but also quite narrow and so we opted for left. We only had a small car but the street soon narrowed and we had to fold the wing mirrors in and slow to an absolute crawl. On and on we went, the satnav constantly changing it’s mind as the walls seemed to close in all around us. We reached a very small T junction and it was apparent that left was out of the question and so we went right, for all of fifty yards until reaching the dead end. No milk tankers in sight, we made a three point turn and went back out the way we came and took the other road to the village. I could go on, suffice to say, we explored a lot of the village by car before finding where we were supposed to be, which was just by the school we’d initially passed. From here, we got to walk up the steep hill of the middle road to get to the house.
This house was choice 3 of the 3 we were looking at and I think we both discounted it within a few minutes of arriving, for the following reasons. One, the fact it had one window in the kitchen and none anywhere else. Two, I felt like Gandalf in a hobbit hole, banging my head at least three times in the first hour. Three, the terrace was big enough for us to dance on, as long as we held each other tightly and only swayed and didn’t attempt anything more extravagant. Four, it was pretty much gloomy throughout. Having said that, it was rustic and charming but just not for us, unless we’d changed our names to Frodo and Sam.
Still, we had a week to explore the area and arrange to look at the other two properties. It was late afternoon and so we showered and went out to explore the village but not before getting dressed first. The first thing that struck us (and it wasn’t the roof beams) was that almost every person we saw said “Hola,” which was really nice. Along the streets we went, stopping at small junctions and wondering if we’d been there already but it was wonderful to just wander around the narrow streets.
So, we wandered back, as we had an appointment to view the property that was number 1 on our list, a small white painted townhouse, rustic inside and out, which turned out to be even better than it looked online. So much so, that the agent, sensing that we liked it, suggested we transfer a 4000 euros deposit to him as soon as possible, to stop it being sold to someone else. I’m sad to say, he left disappointed and we walked over to the other side of the village to look at our second choice. This was a bigger property and was running neck and neck with number 1 until we walked into a room just off from the kitchen. For me, it was like going from a nice warm room into a freezer cabinet and I half expected the agents head to start spinning around. It just didn’t feel right, despite the rest of the house being fine (and warm). There didn’t seem to be any noticeable reason for the difference in temperatures but it didn’t really matter. After we’d left, we spoke and Mrs S had got the same feeling as I had. So, choices 2 & 3 off the list and a second viewing for our first choice was arranged.
We walked around the village again and as it got dark, we walked into one of the bars, where we were asked if we were on holiday, to which, we replied “Yes”.
“Are you looking to buy a house?”
“Possibly” we said.
“The owner has three for sale, I’ll show you if you like?”
In for a penny we thought and so, after a very quick drink, we were following the barmaid to a row of townhouses on the edge of the village. They looked quite nice in the streetlight and she unlocked the first door and took us in. After a few seconds of flicking the light switch up and down, it was realised that there was no power to the property but undeterred, she improvised and that is how we came to be viewing a three bedroom townhouse by the light of her mobile phone, which I should add, was in 2008, so not equipped with the searchlight standard ones we all know and love now. It was quite surreal and difficult not to laugh as we shuffled slowly from room to room. We only managed the downstairs, before we said that despite her best efforts, we were never going to make any decisions by torchlight.
We left and went back to the hobbit hole to sleep on what we’d seen and partially seen. In the morning, we felt our first choice was still the one but we didn’t want to be caught up in the moment and said we’d use the rest of the holiday to make sure the village was right and that we still felt the house was right.
We spent a fantastic week and fell in love with the village with each and every day. It was only a few minutes walk and we were out in the country, a forty minute drive to the coast and about an hour and a quarter to Malaga airport, so it all suited us for a holiday home. We had the second viewing and it was still as good as we remembered and were again pressed for the 4000 euros but we resisted, despite being told it would be sold in a week and the usual buy now or you’ll regret it. All we had to do was make an offer but we still felt we could be rushing into things, so we decided to fly back to the UK and see how we felt about things after that. Maybe it would seem different in the cold light of day but it was better to be sure wasn’t it?
All Images © 2008- TheSlowWalkers