LIVING in a cave all year round is ultimately very different from living in a conventional house. Indeed, living in Spain is very different! Andalucía, particularly the Granada region, has been famous for its cave dwellings for decades.
Now though, times have changed to such an extent many of us Northern Europeans are coming round to the idea of eco-homes and alternative dwellings. Caves are becoming more popular with an increasing number of media companies interested in documenting alternative living or television exposure telling the story of ex-pats turned troglodytes.
Modern day cave living should become more popular as it is a fantastic way of life, a good investment or retirement package to the quiet Andalucían life in the mountains. Work is hard to come by, though, in these traditionally poorer small hamlets and villages. However, there is evidence of this beginning to turn around as foreigners and the tourist trade plough money into the villages and their businesses.
A relaxing life? In short, yes! If you choose it that way then cave living could defiantly be for you. Imagine sitting outside in the late afternoon when the mountains turn blood red as the sun goes down. Alternatively, head off to the local village and spend the night in a bar with good company – I have always thought small rural eating establishments in Spain offer something the costas cannot. Maybe it is just the atmosphere.
If you are planning on buying a cave home to live in there are some important factors to consider. One main problem can be access. We all know the rain in Spain and if the cave is in a rural setting with a dirt track to the front door then defiantly get the 4×4 out! Snow can be persistent and deep and temperatures well below freezing in the winter months. Manage that then the summer will reward you with very hot days, superb views, wildlife in abundance and of course the Spanish BBQ.
One of the best things for us about living where we do is the people. We are very fortunate to have made some great friends since arriving here. Our immediate neighbours use their home as a holiday home and whenever they are here we have a fantastic time together. Their hospitality and friendship are second to none. Of course, it is not just the Spanish who have made is feel welcome. In our tiny area there are many different nationalities including French, Polish, English and Vietnamese. We have become close to many of them and the thing we all have in common is a desire to live in this beautiful part of the world. Most of all, we all enjoy this unique way of live in our caves!
At the end of our first year we decided to have a little get together for a few of our neighbours. It was our way of saying thank you for all the help and support during our first months here. We wanted to make it a typical Spanish affair so all our Spanish neighbours came and even a few people from the village including the plumber – who was so important in the early stages!!
We prepared some typical Spanish dishes including the tortilla and paella which we learned how to make from our friends and neighbours. There was a BBQ (of course!) music, dancing, and we ate by candle light. We even dragged the sofa outside! The best thing for us was towards the end of the evening, our neighbours appeared with a guitar and we were treated to some traditional Spanish music and even some flamenco. It was a truly fantastic night and just what we came to Spain to enjoy.
Our first year here has been hard work. At times the lows seemed never ending. However, we overcame those obstacles with help form locals and friends. We feel very settled and happy here now and our son is just thriving in this environment. Has it been worth it? – Definitely! We hope the coming years are filled with just as much fun, enjoyment, hard work, success and achievements as our first year here.