|One rainy day in January 2002, David and I left York, North Yorkshire for the Canary Islands in search of 'somewhere special.' |
With a one-way flight ticket from Manchester to Tenerife, we had sold our home, put our furniture into storage and set off clutching our suitcases and aspirations. Little did we know that it would take six months of searching! Needless to say, it was a somewhat longer adventure than we had planned ...
... as a result of which we travelled to each and every one of the Canary Islands in our quest. But we met many lovely people along the way and learnt a lot about the Canaries and renting houses and apartments.
On La Palma we stayed in both the east and the west for six weeks at a time, but still couldn't find exactly what we were looking for. In our spare time we took the opportunity to walk many routes on the island and we also joined a local walking group who took us on great adventures such as the natural springs of los Tilos, the GR130 and GR131. However, although it was an interesting learning curve, we did start to wonder just when we could unpack our suitcases for the last time. And then someone mentioned a house in the north for sale.
'Not the north!' we cried. Whilst the north had long held a place in our hearts as being the most beautiful part of the island with incredibly dramatic scenery at every turn, it wasn't a place we had considered to live. We would see neither a sunrise nor sunset, there would be nothing to do and with more goats than people, we held out little hope for scintillating conversations with neighbours. Hardly a dream come true.
But the owners of the finca were very sensible people. They didn't extol the virtues of the sweet little Canarian house already beautifully restored, or the large farmhouse ready and waiting for us to put our imprint on it with our own restoration, or the stone-built bodega perfect for candlelit evenings, or the lovely old stable buildings or two acres of land. No, they just showed us the view.
Footnote: It wasn't too long before we discovered the great benefits of living in the north. Here, we can really enjoy being surrounded by nature and listening to the birds sing without the background of car engine noise. We feel privileged to live among our Palmeran neighbours who treat us as family (and ensure we non-farming types don't expire from a shortage of potatoes!)
A lack of something to do has not of course been a problem and luckily we brought some skills with us. David is not only a mechanical engineer but had already restored a country cottage in the UK and a farmhouse in France. As for me, well I was brought up on a poultry farm with a large chicken hatchery and used to work in hotel management .... mmm, that might come in handy somewhere ...
We added a few extra touches to the already restored casita (little house) such as hot water and two patios, restored the farmhouse, cultivated the land ... went walking ... and got chickens. And then ducks (although the ducks have now gone to play with the big ducks at a nearby lake.) Plus our lovely neighbour Pedro showed us a trick or two about country life.
In 2010, we walked the whole of the GR130 El Camino Real route around La Palma. As I'm fond of saying, the Camino Real is a bit like life - full of ups and downs! But as a result and after plenty more walking, we started to offer comprehensive information on the walking routes on La Palma along with luggage transported walking holidays. In 2014 Finca Franceses was registered as an official business and our enterprise 'Holiday La Palma' was officially launched with the Canarian Government as Intermediarios en Turismo. You should now imagine a big smile on my face!!
| And, the icing on the cake is that during four months of the year, we have both the sun rise and the sunset. |
I have to say - it was well worth the wait!
Back to Home