When my dad offered us the chance to house sit in a small town in Spain we jumped at the chance. It’s not often you get an opportunity to reside in foreign town, far from a major city, or anywhere for that matter. Dad convinced us that Caudete would be the perfect place to take a breather from travel but we didn’t realise how right he would be… isn’t that the funny thing with dads. Within the first hour of our arrival we had filled the underwear draw, laid out our wash kit and put a wash on. It was bliss.
Caudete sits rather quietly and rather centrally in Spain’s Castilla-la Mancha region and for centuries has been a transit hub on the Madrid-Alicante route. Holding onto its significant history the locals accept development with little enthusiasm. Only within 5 years has the internet been available yet a cultural festival from Spain’s Arabic era continues to prevail as the highlight of the year in an otherwise sleepy town.
Far from any tourist map we did not expect this small town in Spain to excite us and after sight seeing for several months we actually did not want it to. In a reversal of our day-to-day travel experiences what we were desperate to achieve was a peaceful routine of regular sleep and home-cooked meals. But in spite of this we could not help but be drawn to the stunning desert landscape which surrounded us. On a short drive to our new pad just outside of town we were encompassed by an expanse of flat plains intercepted by moonscape ridges jutting high into the sky. Rows of almond trees, teal olive leaves and a patchwork of vineyards cover the valleys. We couldn’t help but feel as though this is the REAL Spain, the side to Spain that elopes most of its visitors.
With all of our goodwill to settle down and relax a part of me knows that this won’t last forever. Listening to tales from locals and poking our inquisitive noses into guidebooks will surely have us pining for adventure one day soon. I wonder which distraction will be the death of our non-sightseeing escape for we have, after all, landed in a world of medieval villages, breathtaking mountains and fortified castles.
P.s. A few of our Caudete favourites…
-The tall sandy bullring which never kills its bulls but does occasionally transform into a discotheque.
-Incredibly quaint houses that have stood since the arrival of the Moors centuries ago.
-The ‘Shrine of our Lady of Grace.’ A church whose frontage is peculiarly etched rather than carved. The ‘fresco’ effect is created by splaying watercolour upon wet plaster with the two infusing during the drying process.
-The looming bell tower that maintains a watchful eye on the archways and flags adorning the town square.