A funny, generous, wonderfully written account of an family making a life and home in remote but enchanting southern Spain.
At seventeen, Chris Stewart, the first drummer for the rock group Genesis, left the band and launched a career that included stints as a sailor, a sheep shearer, and a travel writer. And he has no regrets.
If he'd become a rock star, he might never have moved with his wife, Ana, to El Valero, a mountain farm in Andalucía, Spain, studded with olive, almond, and lemon groves -- but with no access road, water supply, or electricity. He might never have forged the friendship of a lifetime with his resourceful neighbor Domingo. He might never have had the adventures that resulted in both hilarious disasters and blissful serendipity. He might never have experienced the satisfying complexity of a simple life lived in one of Europe's most beautiful regions, among peasants, farmers, ex-pats, New Age travelers, and a growing family, or come to understand a place and its people with such depth and affection. And certainly Stewart, the eternal optimist, would never have written this delectable book and made us his utterly captivated audience.
'Well, this is no good, I don't want to live here!' I said as we drove along yet another tarmac road behind a row of whitewashed houses. 'I want to live in the mountains, for heaven's sake, not in the suburbs of some town in a valley.'
'Shut up and keep driving,' ordered Georgina, the woman sitting beside me. She lit another cigarette of strong black tobacco and bathed me in a cloud of smoke.
I'd only met Georgina that afternoon but it hadn't taken her long to put me in my place. She was a confident young Englishwoman with a peculiarly Mediterranean way of seeming at ease with her surroundings. For the last ten years she had been living in the Alpujarras, the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, south of Granada, and she had carved out a niche for herself acting as an intermediary between the farmers who wanted to sell their cortijos in the hills and move to town, and the foreigners who wanted to buy them. It was a tough job ...
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