The house is set in a small hamlet of white-washed houses in rolling countryside planted mostly with olives and almonds in the Poniente Granadino, at the western end of the province of Granada, 50 kilometres west of the deservedly famous city of Granada.
This is a quiet and traditional village where agriculture plays an important role: when olives or almonds are harvested, most of the local families are involved in the heavy work and, more regularly, sheep and goats are taken to and from the pastures every day (and provide picturesque entertainment for visitors as they make their jingling way past the house).
Although the main road providing access to nearby villages and small towns is close by, the hamlet itself has no through traffic and is surrounded by open and accessible countryside – a good place to go for short strolls or longer hikes and for children to play outside and go exploring.
In the absence of shops, we use the vans that deliver all manner of goods to the village: the daily bread and pastry vans, and those that sell groceries, fruit and vegetables, fresh fish, local cheeses, drinks, frozen goods, gas cylinders, underwear, tablecloths, or whatever happens to be in season – oranges, melons, peaches. It is convenient, sociable and friendly – an easy opportunity for catching up with our neighbours and keeping the local economy going.
A small shop, indoor market and bar can be found in the neighbouring village of Santa Cruz (20 minutes along a pleasant footpath or 5 minutes by car). Alhama (15 minutes by car) has all the amenities of a busy market town, leisure facilities and opportunities for sightseeing.
The seasons here bring different pleasures. The summers are hot – think mad dogs and Englishmen. This means a long, lazy siesta and an easy evening in the warm, scented air taking time over dinner or going for a stroll – a good way to end the day. Spring and autumn are usually pleasantly warm, good times for active pursuits and periods of intense natural colours: pink hills as the almonds blossom, then fields deep red with poppies, later in the year the golds and ochres of turning leaves. Winters are cold at night, but can be very sunny and warm during the day.