Anyone who has spoken with us knows that house sitting in Andalusia was the adventure we were most looking forward to. It was our immediate connection with Barcelona that really spurred this whole adventure. So, I was pretty sure that Andalusia would make us fall head over heels all over again. Not to spoil the upcoming posts, but I was totally right. Don’t be surprised if we are living in Andalusia once this crazy adventure is all over!
Freila, Andalusia, Spain
This was our third trip to Spain after a life-changing 10 days in Barcelona and two quick shore excursions to Alicante and Valencia. This time around we were in a southern region of Spain called Andalusia. My bestie, Rick Steves, has said that the area is one of his favorite places in all of Europe. I would have to agree. With its hot weather, spellbinding flamenco music, and tradition of free tapas, what’s not to love?!
The region of Andalusia is divided into eight provinces. Our tiny village of Freila was located in the Province of Granada. It is about an hour’s drive from the capital city, which is called (you guessed it!) Granada. In addition to the cultural pleasures of the region, it is also home to the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the amazing ancient fortress-city known as the Alhambra.
Freila is a hill village located in the northern part of the province. It is home to three restaurants/bars, a grocery store, and less than 1,500 residents. Like other villages in the area, many of the homes are built into the side of the mountain, and either have or simply are caves. There’s a reservoir nearby for keeping cool in the hot weather, and plenty of little hiking trails through the nearby arroyos.
House Sitting in Andalusia
Our home was located on the edge of the village, overlooking the reservoir and nearby mountain ranges. There were three living areas on the property: the main house, a downstairs apartment, and a livable cave. The house itself has three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, a large kitchen with dining nook, two living areas, a laundry room, and a multi-level terrace.
While house sitting in Andalusia, we stayed in the downstairs apartment. We had our own terrace along with one bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living area. It was beautifully appointed and was incredibly quiet and peaceful. As it was below the main house and tucked into the hillside, it always stayed cool. We didn’t need to turn on the AC at all, and instead enjoyed a light breeze through the windows.
Below us was another huge terrace, along with the traditional white cave house. The cave had a bedroom, living area, and a built-in bar. We didn’t spend much time in the cave, but I could definitely see the appeal with the fun architecture and cool temperatures.
Unlike most other house sits, we were actually living with our host and her nephew, along with her seven cats: Smarty, Charlie, Pepper, Benjamin, Bently, Raya, and Maximus. Our host is a retired English woman who moved to Spain over 10 years ago. Since then, she’s seen it all. She even blogs about her experience and provides helpful advice as an expat in rural Spain. We enjoyed spending each morning chatting with our host and her nephew over coffee before all heading our separate ways.
Smarty the Cat
The cats spent most of their days outside, but otherwise lived in the main house. Smarty was the queen of the house and also one of the main reasons for our visit. She is diabetic and needs twice daily injections at specific times. Since our host was commuting back and forth to Granada, we were there to help take care of Smarty and the others to free up her time.
All of the Cats
The remaining cats were all special in their own way, as cats generally are. They each had a personality that could put the whole village to shame. Charlie is a lovely Siamese cat who regularly reverts back to being feral. He is a bit scruffy and easily spooked, but enjoys the occasional pet, as long as it lasts no more than 13 seconds. I honestly didn’t see Pepper very often, and when I did, it was only long enough for her to leer at me. Benjamin acted much the same. Although, they did look alike, so I don’t actually know for sure if only one of them hated me or they both did. [Editor’s note: I got to pet Pepper, and she’s sweet :p]
We arrived at the house while our host was out, so we sat on the terrace and got to know three of the more curious cats. To pass the time, we gave them each a name. The smallest of the bunch (Raya) was very pretty, sweet, but also a little saucy. We named her Sansa. Bentley, who we later found out was a proper little gentleman, was temporarily named Princess Fluff. He is adorably fluffy and could easily pass for a pretty little lady. Finally, there is Maximus, whom we had named Tank. We weren’t too far off. He is a big boy who loves pets, but also enjoys being in charge.
Our Lives House Sitting in Andalusia
Again, this sit was a little different than most due to the hosts being on-site. But we were able to maintain our regular routines of work and adventure without any problems. We were up early each morning to feed the cats and administer Smarty’s medication. Then it was time for a little bit of chat time with our host over tea or coffee. From there, the afternoon was pretty much ours. I would water the plants and do one major chore each day, but otherwise spent most of my time either working, reading (Infinity Born by ), or meditating.
In the evenings we ate out for dinner, rotating among the three restaurants in the village (when they were open, which wasn’t often). There was another evening shift of feeding and medicating the cats, but overall the evenings were incredibly peaceful and cool. It was my favorite time of the day. I often found myself just sitting on the terrace and watching the sunset. Again, don’t be surprised when I announce that we’re moving permanently.
Get excited for nearly a month’s worth of Andalusia adventures coming up! The region is famous for their food, so we obviously ate everything we could get our hands on. We took our usual daily walks through the village, but also explored a little farther afoot. Our adventures while house sitting in Andalusia took us to neighboring villages as well as an unforgettable trip to Granada. We love Spain and I can’t wait to tell everyone why. Stay tuned!