8 Aug, 2019 @ 18:43
2 mins read

Stars and ensembles of crickets come complementary with the hand-made Mongolian yurts at Yurtas Pepita on the Costa Blanca

I was skeptical I would see any stars as I turned down the bumpy dirt tracks of Chella, just outside the 30,000-strong town of Xativa.

Neither was the idea of snoozing in bits of wood lashed together with the hair of a Mongol horse striking quite as glamorous as it sounds.

But thankfully I was wrong.

The Mongolian yurt is, for those who’ve never milked an almond, the Grand cru of tents.

They’ve existed for 3,000 more years than the plastic canvas of a North Face, and they are the antonym of mass-produced.

“Everything is living, right down to the pegs,” Ann Marie tells me as we admire the hand-painted wooden beams that hold up the cotton and horse-hair layers sheltering us from the heat.

SNUG: Glamping, Mongolian style

“The natural fibres breathe, keeping you cool in summer, and warm in winter.

“It’s an art perfected over centuries by Mongolian craftsmen and women.”

It is the first night since pre-Spanish summer I’ve not been praying to the fan god for relief.

But with a fresh breeze coming in through the yurt door, patterned with technicolour ripple clouds, I can in tranquillity gaze over the Canal de Navarres valley and onwards and up to the Milky Way.

BREEZE: The temperature is perfect all year round, but can be supplemented by a wood-burning stove in winter

Ann Marie moved to this corner of the galaxy near Xativa to set up Yurtas Pepita, with husband Dave only back in January this year.

But back then, the three yurts – named Persimmon, Pomegranate and Grenadilla in honour of nearby orchard crops – were just a light-polluted constellation on the horizon.

“The house we bought had been completely vandalised and burnt out,” Ann Marie tells me over a barbecue to the music of tree crickets.

In fact, it was in such bad condition that its price dropped from an initial €70,000 to just €17,000 over the six months they had an eye on it before moving in.

“Dave almost single-handedly rebuilt the house from scratch – but that means every bit of furniture we brought in has a story,” Ann Marie added.

And with Dave fitting everything from floors to window frames the place has been infused with their back-to-basics philosophy – right down to the solar-powered flashlights in the bathrooms.

The Yurtas Pepita is in fact 100% sun-powered, relying on 10 solar panels for its electricity requirements.

CHILL: Evening scenes at the lookout with two yurts behind

Water siphoned from nearby agriculture irrigation streams service three hand-built bathrooms, which offer the privacy and cleanliness one would hope for after a day stomping in the outdoors – but still with enough starry sky to remember this is called camping.

Glamping at Yurtas Pepita is certainly not baked beans cooked over smouldering moss.

But it still proves that there is a certain craving in us for something raw, more down-to-earth than ready-made pizza in front of Netflix.

The joy of camping lies in appreciating how tough it really is to cook your food from scratch, to craft a suitable shelter for your body, and to fashion a story from bits and bobs to keep you entertained beneath the stars.

The only difference with glamping at Yurtas Pepita, however, is that you don’t get muddy or sweaty, and that Dave and Ann Marie have done all the hard work so you don’t have to.

Make an inquiry through www.yurtaspepita.com, or call Dave and Ann Marie on + 353 89 2478023.

Yurtas Pepita is situated in the town of Chella, near Xativa, and is about an hour’s drive from both Valencia and Alicante.

The unique glamping spot is geared towards adults, and is perfect for long-term or out-of-season staycations.

PROUD OWNERS: Ann Marie and Dave

Joshua Parfitt

Joshua James Parfitt is the Costa Blanca correspondent for the Olive Press. He holds a gold-standard NCTJ in multimedia journalism from the award-winning News Associates in Twickenham. His work has been published in the Sunday Times, Esquire, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Sun on Sunday, the Mirror, among others. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss devastating flooding in Spain, as well as making appearances on BBC and LBC radio stations.

Contact me now: [email protected] or call +44 07960046259. Twitter: @jjparfitt

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