It has now been only over a month since our latest housesitting assignment in the South of Spain started, long enough to tell you all about the very little and quaint village we are in which is located only few kilometers west of Alicante. Hondon De Los Frailes is one of the villages of the Hondon Valley surrounded by rocky mountains and endless dusty land. Its location is pretty convenient though if you have a car to move around (which we don’t have unfortunately), in fact, some bigger cities like Murcia or Alicante aren’t that far at all and apparently some of the most emblematic Costa Blanca beaches are only slightly over a half-hour-drive away.
It Couldn’t Be Anymore Peaceful
Hondon De Los Frailes is what I would define as a typical rural village in a very tranquil area of Spain where life doesn’t need to go at a fast pace, everything can be taken slowly, without racing through. I could tell this already when I first arrived and I was in a car going from the airport to Frailes, observing the surrounding landscape and the villages we drove through. Everything looked very quiet, people seemed very chilled out, there wasn’t any traffic at all and even the style of the local architecture in some ways reflected this kind of lifestyle.
Coming from a town where almost everyone has a little piece of land where they grow their own fruit and vegetables, I could easily spot some similarities and even recognize some of the trees we passed by. The area around Hondon De Los Frailes and the village itself is in fact mainly full of olive trees, almond trees (which are in flower right now and look absolutely stunning) and grapes; which can only mean one thing – that there must be some local wine for us to taste.
The Valley of the Almonds, Olives and Vines
What were only my initial impressions are now absolutely certainty, especially after our little bike trip to the village close by. We cycled on a secondary street that goes through the various lands separating the two villages and we found ourselves surrounded by vineyards, almonds trees and even some artichokes crops. It was nice being out on a bike, not having the rush to be anywhere, going slowly to take everything in. We almost felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, with no one watching us and with just nature to admire and appreciate. Time felt like a non-important factor and it wasn’t, we simply took the bikes and went off without knowing either how long it would take us or the exact route, it gave me a great sense of freedom and adventure. It was nice until I fell off the bike, thanks to my clumsiness, but I’ll leave that story for another time, Feel free to giggle about it, I did!
Life Goes Slow
So here we are, housesitting and looking after two gorgeous cats in Hondon De Los Frailes, embracing the local rural life and adjusting from what is usually our hectic and frantic lifestyle to the calm and slow pace one that this part of Spain has to offer to us.
The mountains that surrounds Frailes looked a bit dull to me to begin with, probably for the lack of bright green vegetation, but I love watching how their color and silhouette changes at dusk when the sun goes down and every day gives a new and different stunning light show, every single day. I must admit that it’s the best part of the day for me, I love seeing the sky going from blue to various shades of orange and red until the dark takes over completely.
We learnt quickly that to move around to visit the immediate areas and cities a car is a must because there are only a few sporadic buses that go to very few places so it might take way longer than it normally should to reach the destination, usually that isn’t a problem for us, but we cannot leave our two new furry friends for too long. The reality is that it doesn’t really bother us. There is more or less everything we could possibly need in Frailes: a small shop, two bakers, hairdressers (I should get a haircut considering my last one was in August 2012), a DIY shop, a butchers (which we’ll never need to step in anyway), a weekly fruit and vegetables market, a couple of restaurants and bars… even if we realized that the opening hours take some getting used to. What else could we possibly ask?
Decay vs New
The rural architecture sometimes reminds me of some remote areas in the South of Italy, and even if some of the houses in Hondon De Los Frailes might seem run down and not looked after as they should have been, I like them anyway, they give a certain and particular character to the village which seems more lived in. I prefer the rural houses to the more modern villas built in a kind of Mediterranean architecture-style, a style not really to my taste but still interesting in its own way.
Overall we are enjoying our current housesitting in this small village and even if we both are more city oriented people, it’s nice to have a break sometimes and enjoying the slow life like the Spanish do, and more than anything else after travelling across Europe during the cold winter; it’s nice to enjoy some warm and sunny weather.