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Casa Abalos - Marchamona (Malaga)

Once upon a time there was a hamlet. In it lived three neighbours: Joaquín, Bryant and Manuel. These three charismatic men lived at the foot of a mountain with no one else for miles around. This is Marchamona, a place that resembles paradise more than anywhere on the coast. If you’re lucky enough to have a few days to spare, take the time to spend a few days with them at Casa Ábalos, a country house 900 metres above sea level on the border between Malaga and Granada.


By:  Cecilia Bogaard
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Rural retreat between Malaga and Granada
Type: Rural accommodation
Founded by: Sofía Aguilar
Location: Marchamona, Periana (Malaga)
Stands out for: tasteful decoration in a privileged location
Did you know?: Bring your dog and let him roam around the mountains
Price: €80-€100 house/day

“There is nothing phony here and our relationships are unaffected by the usual rules and regulations that exist when people live together. It’s just about you, your friends and the mountains,” explains Sofía Aguilar, the founder of this country retreat. Surrounded by real countryside and mountains, the beauty of this area is breathtaking. “A lot of people are overwhelmed and frightened by the fact that there is nothing artificial here. They feel helpless. They don’t want to hear the rooster crow in the morning or face dealing with the ants and bugs”.

Casa Ábalos is a 200-year-old house. It has been restored to welcome visitors in search of a relaxing break. Its decor is eclectic and beams in the ceiling dominate the rooms filled with contemporary paintings, photos and family knick-knacks from the beginning on the twentieth century. Although there is a fireplace and rustic floor tiles, it’s the old doors that make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time, not to mention the gramophone in the upstairs bedroom. The kitchen is fully equipped, and only fifteen minutes away by car there are shops and restaurants in the nearby town of Periana.

Set against the backdrop of the Alhama and Enmedio mountain ranges, on a clear day your jaw will inevitably drop to the floor as you make out the Atlas Mountains in the distance. Once you’ve taken in the sights, enjoy the silence. There is no light pollution at night and you can appreciate Malaga’s warm glow from a distance. However, one of the main attractions of being here is the privilege of meeting your neighbours: Joaquín, a photographer who has travelled all over Asia; Bryant, an English tourist guide fond of sarcasm; and Manuel, a shepherd and survivor of a bygone generation that lived off the land.

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“Summer here is ideal for those who want to get away from the madness of the coast. It’s not overwhelmingly hot here due to the breeze that blows from the mountains,” explains Aguilar. She highlights the benefits of visiting in each of the different seasons, such as picking wild mushrooms autumn. If you want to experience nature all you have to do is step outside. There are chickens, sheep, mountain goats and even a chameleon wandering about. There are also eagles, partridges, and vultures for bird watchers, and lilies, golden beans and rosemary for plant lovers. “The almond tree begins to blossom in February and that’s when it all kicks off. The fields turn white with flowers,” recalls the owner of Casa Ábalos. However, this could all be a thing of the past. Construction of a quarry next to Marchamona is pending approval while its environmental impact is assessed.

This place attracts all kinds of people, especially city dwellers who are fascinated by the surroundings and the peacefulness that this place offers to up to six people at a time. Three woman from Paris, New York and Spain are their most loyal clients. “The more well-travelled someone is, the better. You can tell when someone really appreciates this place. Some people however want a plastic-fantastic experience of the countryside,” explains Aguilar. There are some unexpected surprises to be found nearby. If you look hard enough, you’ll find a cave close to the hamlet with a library hidden inside. Restaurante Verdugo and Casa Esparraguito will be hard to find on a map, but are great for taking in the beauty of the landscape.


Getting there?


Casa Ábalos
Aldea de Marchamona
Periana, Málaga
669258456

Price: approx. € 100.


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1 comment

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El 8 July 2009 a las 2:46 AM, Frank Byng dijo...

What a spectacular location! What kinds of activities can one do in the area when staying there?



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