I do hope you are all keeping safe and well at this extraordinary time.
Several guests have kindly asked about the situation in Spain, so I thought I would include a little about the lockdown in - Gaucín, in this, my Spring Newsletter. I am in touch with guests who have booked holidays this year but please don’t - hesitate to contact me directly any time if you have any enquiries about your bookings.
We arrived at Casa Mosaica on 10th February to oversee some maintenance and building work in the garden and upstairs. - We’d had rental guests staying for a month over Christmas & New Year in the Apartment and I’d said to leave the artificial - Christmas tree up until we returned, so our first job was to put the tree away and move downstairs while the building work - commenced. You can probably guess who never left our sides!
Staying in the apartment, which surprisingly I have never done before, gave me an opportunity to check everything out... We found it cosy in the evenings with the fire and very much enjoyed popping in and out of the garden during the lovely sunny February weather. I found it hard to force myself out of the exotic bath on a cold night but I have added some more lighting as I found it rather dark (maybe just my age? ) and I will definitely be buying new pillows all around as soon as possible!!
We had about a month before lockdown and during that time managed to meet a few friends, have some great walks and a lovely day out in Vejer de la Frontera with a fabulous lunch in El Jardín del Califa. It’s not a bad drive in low season especially if you take the scenic route via Jimena one way and the faster road on the way back. when you get to Vejer it’s very pretty, lovely views, lots of nice original shops and the town is a manageable size for a day’s visit. I highly recommend it.
We also had a delicious and interesting lunch in the food market at La Linea, the Spanish border town with Gibraltar, with a friend who works near by.
Stopping at various stalls for a plate of fresh fish here, delicious jamón there and local cheese…and of course a glass of sherry to go with it!
I gather Marbella market is great for this kind of experience although we are yet to try it.
Benarrabá, Gaucin’s nearest Pueblo Blanco, had a lovely local food and produce market one weekend with delicious local delicacies and a delightful atmosphere, just before things shut down.
The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez declared a National State of Emergency throughout Spain on the 13th March.
We were told: “Citizens have a duty to collaborate and not hinder the work of the agents of authority. All Commercial activities are suspended, with the exceptions of those selling food and basic products, pharmacies, petrol stations and tobacconists. Travel is only allowed in order to purchase food at the nearest shop, pharmaceuticals or essential items, to attend health centres, to journey to workplaces, to take care of the elderly, or to make necessary trips to financial entities.”
On the 20th March all hotels and Casas Rurales were ordered to close: We had guests staying in the Casita,who luckily were able get an earlier flight back to the UK and are safe and well.
Local Police, Guardia Civil and even the army were everywhere. Fines were given if more than one person left the house at a time and if you did not have proof of where you were going or had been, so absolutely no walking in the countryside unless you had a dog, and then it was only allowed around the corner. We are now in our 5th week of lockdown, the only entrance to the village is this street which is power cleaned with bleach most mornings. These were our first shopping outfits, but as of 18th April masks have been distributed to all and the mayor has requested that they are worn when in the street, in shops or at any time in a public place. It is anticipated that this will be made obligatory nationwide after the next congress meeting.
I would very much like to do something to support the amazing healthcare workers in the UK and Spain so I am signing up to MY TRAVEL PLEDGE: “I pledge to offer a free week to @NHSuk hospital staff or Spanish health workers at Casa Mosaica when the Coronavirus crisis eases and travel restrictions are relaxed. We all need something to look forward to #MyTravelPledge”. So if any of you know anyone who would qualify please go to MyTravelPledge to nominate them.
I must say, apart from so many police everywhere the village has been extraordinarily peaceful, one can hear the bees buzzing around the wisteria, house martins making their nests and eagles and vultures flying overhead and apart from the hand clapping to support the health workers at 8.00pm each night it is almost silent. The Town Hall have given very clear instructions and very best of all there are no cases of the virus in Gaucín.
So apart from not being able to move or go for walks we feel extremely lucky to be here, Gaucín is practically cut off and it must be one of the safest places to be and on top of that the garden is blooming, the lemon trees are laden, there have been hundreds of home cooked meals (which I’m not used to as we normally go out all the time!), pilates classes online are great, and we have plenty of creative things to do here having turned the mosaic showroom downstairs into a work room. Kevin and Geoffrey never leave our sides and are as always great company!
Of course it’s not such good news for the restaurants and bars and we just hope that things improve as soon as possible so they can all get back to work. Elisa from Azulete was planning a new fun cocktail & snack night on Wednesdays. LA FRUCTUOSA, which has a great new website, plans “Table d’hote” with international guest chefs, as well as fabulous live music evenings and a new spectacular roof terrace, on the top floor for private dinners or cocktail parties with the best view in Europe.
Hellen & Barry from Platero & Co. send this message to Casa Mosaica guests: “After another happy and successful year in which we maintained our Michelin Bib Gourmand recommendation for 2020, and a good, but false start to the new year in February, we had to close the restaurant. Obviously it didn't come as a total surprise. Luckily we closed with the fridges full of good food, and a fully restocked wine cellar, so our confinement so far hasn't been that bad considering. Actually, it gives us plenty of time for cooking and experimenting together in our kitchen. And to finally get all those chores done of our 'never ending to-do list'. So expect some improvements!”
I keep thinking it is a pity there is no-one living in and enjoying the Casita during this lockdown, it would be available for a long let from the beginning of July if anyone knows someone it might suit?
Well, as I said at the beginning of this newsletter, I do hope you are all keeping safe and well and with lots of optimism for the rest of the year, I hope to see you as soon as possible!
Very best wishes, Emma and the Casa Mosaica Team Ruffi, Raffa, K&G.