On the 16th October 2017 we began a brand new chapter in our lives. We were moving lock stock and barrel from Cyprus to Spain. We landed in Alicante with 4 large suitcases thinking we had a plan! Well… you know what happens to plans don’t you!
We had already purchased our hole in the ground, our total restoration project, in the Cuevas de Luna area of Benamaurel. I had fallen in love with this cave from the moment I saw it in the distance as we were driving down the very long track towards Hablacon (or privately known as ‘Sue’s Rock’). The plans I had made in my head and on the computer were many, this lovely hole would become a home with a difference – something special.
We knew that it would be at least a 12 month project what with planning permissions, architects and building works etc. So, in the meantime, we were happy to look for somewhere else to live whilst the work was being done. When it was time to move into our dream cave we could then turn this second property into a holiday rental giving us a little income during our old age.
If you have been following my blog you will know that we had a few twists and turns during the first few months of our new adventure in Spain. Before we arrived in Spain we began the process of purchasing these caves in Rio de Baza however, the owners decided at the last minute, not to sell! At the time we were devastated (and homeless) but, with hindsight, that was the best thing that could have happened!
To cut a long story short, (please read the previous blogs if you want to know more), it was not long before we found another cave in Puente Arriba. We moved in to our forever home on 29th November 2017.
Not that it started off as our forever home. No, this was going to be our future holiday rental but, I fell in love, again. I love the way the caves, (it was one and now divided into 2), went through the hill giving us two front doors, 2 back doors and lots of windows giving us light; we have lots of land around us which we are still trying to decide what to do with it all; I love the views we have of the river and valley looking across to Baza while we sit on our patios or roof terraces, I love the walks with our three dogs down by the river (I say dogs but I have a sneaky suspicion one is a polar bear), I love that we have neighbours but feel alone and private.
In my next blog I will attempt to tell you about our favourite places to visit, to eat, to shop and those places where you can ‘just be’. If anyone has any questions they would like to ask please get in contact and I will try and help – if not I hope I can direct you to someone who can. It has been quite a learning curve for us both. Well it would be wouldn’t it if you ended up becoming an 8 cave family!
Please take a look at our traditional holiday rental caves, (but with all mod cons), Cuevas de la Paz in Los Carriones at www.caveholidays.com and our second cave property Cueva Limon at Puente Arriba which has a more contemporary feel (with many hidden extras like secret gardens and private roof terraces) at www.caveholidaysspain.com. Both sites will give you a taste of what cave holidays can be like. I truly recommend you try cave holidays for yourselves but be warned – they can become addictive!
Cuevas de la Paz is up and running and has proven highly successful in the 6 months we have been open. We thought that now the main summer season was over bookings would slow down but they continue to come in.
However, Cueva Lemon, although fully licenced, has not yet been advertised as we have to think about our three dogs. We may need to advertise particularly to dog lovers until we can get our heads around the logistics of having someone on holiday here. Plenty of time for that, it just means that family and friends can enjoy the open house a little longer.
Over these past two years we have had to jump over many hurdles especially when dealing with the authorities. Whether it’s your residency, driving licences, health, licences or permission to do certain works, we have certainly ‘been there and done that’. Experience has taught us to go to the professionals in the area that you are working within. There are too many ‘I can do thats’ here in Spain. On two separate occasions we have travelled down the ‘I know a man’ route and both times it has caused more problems than it should have and both costing us more money because of it. We truly believe in trusting your solicitor, accountant (qualified) and local Spanish builders to know what has to be done. It makes life easier, less hectic, fewer worries, (although you cannot completely eradicate them no matter who you use), and we like to sleep easy at night knowing we have done our best to comply with all the different and varied rules and regulations there are around us.
Another important factor for us here in Spain is friends. We knew no one when we arrived. I am proud to say that over the two years we have gained a good foundation of friends, both English and Spanish. Over the last 18 months we have had family and personal problems that have been greatly eased by the support of good friends. The kind of friends that drop everything to look after your dogs and home, who send messages of support, promise to bring gin (even if it isn’t quite up to scratch and I’m still waiting;-)) and those that you know you can pick up the phone to and shout for help without having to think twice. We have been very lucky to have found you all. You know who you are.
Would we change anything – categorically no! I am a great believer in fate and this is where we were supposed to be. However, if in the future fate decided that we have to move on to pastures new, then I am sorry but my heels are cemented well and truly in Puente Arriba. We are here, end of!