Well, here we all are back safe and sound from our holiday. We had a lovely time. Truly lovely. Charilla, the little village we stayed at in Spain has certainly won our hearts. It was proper Spain, without a trace of commercialism. It was just the olive trees, the views, the mountains, the heat and the lazy days. It took the children a few days to adjust. It was hot; really hot. During the days it would reach 110F whilst still holding its own in the 90's at gone midnight. Lily and Arthur had to learn to take things slowly and have a midday siesta so that they could stay up late as the locals did sitting outside their home on a mis-mash of chairs with their little dogs chatting until the early hours.
Despite the change of scene, climate and all, they still saw daytime sleeping as some kind of punishment when they had done nothing wrong. They got into the groove eventually I'm pleased to say. Arthur managed to have a midday nap (as did David), whilst Lily and I indulged in the quite time to read (James and the Giant Peach) or do some cross-stitch in the shade.
We stayed in the most charming casa owned by our friends Michelle and Bill. A designer and a photographer by trade, I knew it would be a stylish abode that was sensitive to its surroundings and history. From its tiny blue window shutters and it basic cosy kitchen to the stunning view the top terrace offered, it was a real gem of a place that really helped us feel we were away from it all. Arthur called it his '20 house' as opposed to his '30 house' here back home; a sure sign of affection. Although none of us can speak a word of Spanish we managed to communicate through actions and gestures with the locals who all made us feel most welcome in the village.
I really felt at home in my little Spainish kitchen. We were surrounded by fantastic locally produced fruit and veg. As much as staying in a hotel and eating out a restaurants each night would be lovely, I really couldn't do it for very long. I love cooking and even more so when surrounded by all this wonderful produce. The kitchen had just 4 gas rings on which to cook; basic but fun. It meant quick, simple food, which is all you need in such heat when you have such great ingredients to cook with. My regular lunch was a bowl full of thickly sliced juicy tomatoes layered with capers, salt, pepper and olive oil eaten with some freshly baked bread. It tasted divine. We visited the local market which had amazing produce stalls, but even the supermarkets were full of seasonal fruit and vegetable and local seafood. Ready meals were extremely hard to come by. They put our supermarkets to shame. From such basic ingredients we ate like kings. Happy days.