We took on our first house sitting assignment with relish. It was in a mountain village only one hour from Granada, Spain with one pooch, to look after.
We had no car so were restricted to public transport, which meant buses. The buses did not run often, but they were full-sized comfortable coaches that ran to time (well sort of, once we worked out the bus driver’s own timetable).
We had one more restriction – we had to be home at 2 pm each day to take our charge out for a toilet walk as she does not have an area to use at home. Some people may find this restricting but we did not.
But I am getting ahead of myself! After ten lively days in Barcelona and Madrid we headed to Granada. After one night at our hostel, we stored our luggage and explored Granada briefly before heading up to the Alhambra, a magical experience that totally lived up to our expectations.
Our hosts collected us from the hostel that night and together we walked along the Carro del Darro to get coffees. As we had skyped previously and sent many messages via the Trusted Housesitters site, we felt that we knew each other already.
On the way to collect the car we saw a little of the Albaicin area of Granada. Could this be a laid back version of what we might expect in Marrakech?
After two days they said goodbye and headed off on their holiday, hopefully feeling confident that we were looking after their home and much loved pet, while we settled in to our own apartment which was attached via a terrace to the main house.
Due to our itinerary we only had two action packed days with our hosts before they left. We stocked up on groceries in a nearby town, searched out Visigoth graves, Roman sights, civil war trenches, walking tracks, an Andalucian breakfast, lunch time drinks at the village bar, and introductions to neighbours. It was such a whirlwind that, after they had left, we often found ourselves referring to the sheets of information they had thoughtfully left for us! .
At first the skies were consistently blue, the mountain views mind blowing and the air wonderfully fresh. We had both collected sinus problems in the Barcelona and Madrid and the mountain air soon had us feeling on top of the world, pardon the pun.
What did we do –
We travelled into Granada about four times, and took many walks. The walks showed us cave paintings, and wild mountain goats. We scrambled up a rocky bluff to a watch tower, one of many that formed a line of defence for Islamic Granada, long ago. The views from the hill tops are amazing. Like a patchwork quilt – really. Olive trees are planted with such precision, and coming from Australia where most of the countryside is just native bushland, the level of cultivation of olives, was mind boggling.
We went to nearby Puerto Lope’s Month of the Crosses celebration where there was a parade through the streets. All the Village ladies and children wore flamenco attire. Both the floats and villagers in cars proceeded very slowly a few kilometres out into the Country. We were the only foreigners and the only people on foot. We gladly accepted a lift on one of the floats. Paella, enough for everyone, was cooked in a huge pan on site, and there was free beer for all. The silence was broken by huge explosions – fireworks without the display, an Andalucian fiesta accompaniment evidently.
Then the weather turned cold and wet and we got another perspective on mountain life. We hibernated, reading our way through multitudes of books, baking cakes, catching up on blogs, emails and Facebook. All the while watching for opportune times to go out to exercise our charge and ourselves. Mountain life is very peaceful and we thank our house-sitting hosts for the opportunity to experience it. It was our home away from home. A glimpse into another life – a life in a small mountain village.
A huge plus of house-sitting is to be able to self-cater. While we loved cooking our own meals we still got in quite a few tapas sessions at the local hotel. On sunny days we sat outside on the hotel’s terrace.
We could not have asked for a better house sit and we enjoyed it immensely. The good thing about house-sitting is there are as many different assignments, as there are house sitters.
We used Trusted Housesitters and are very happy with them. Most days we get an email from them advising us of new house sits as per our selected criteria.
Another one awaits in my inbox – Time to dream and plan – Would house sitting suit you?