What a joy to go on a road trip. Our first escape since January and first departure from Jaen province since lock down began. Heading due south our first stop was the ancient and beautiful XIII Caserio San Benito just off the main A45 Cordoba – Malaga road, hubby needed coffee. A step back in time and a worthy visit, although we have only managed breakfast stops so far, it has prize-winning restaurant open for luches and appears in the presigious Michelin, CAMPSA and BMV guides as well as in the popular Spanish series La Bandolera – The Bandit.

Our Pad

Our Pad

Nearing Malaga we veered off towards Velez-Malaga on the road to Almeria and followed the coast road for a while before taking a 90º turning up into them there hills. Winding, crawling, view admiring and through ????? Sayalonga grape vines, prickly pears, avocados, olives and nispero trees lined the baked earth and golden weeds sun dried and swaying in the oh so slight, warm breeze.

It’s cooler here, not so hot but far more humid. A sticky heat blew in through the car windows, my hair long from the lock down escaping its hair clip clutches, yet we prefer the heat than using the air con. White scattered buildings dot the hillside, terracing and sloping gardens with lush green vegetation dot the barren and straw-coloured vista before us. A huge lumbering lorry with recycling painted on the cab lurches in front of us round bend after bend dribbling out diesel and playing havoc with our already rumbling stomachs. Mine more so because of the winding roads which have tendancy even at my age to turn me green.

Our destination town is Cómpeta a charming, hilly white town, popular with northern Europeans and an almost on-par prettiest to Frigiliana a little further eastwards. This is Axarquia an area made up of 31 towns, coastal and inland with a reputation of having the best climate in Europe.

Cómpeta just under 650 metres high and 18 kilometres from the coast is watered by many springs and streams from the surrounding hills and is in the foothills of the Sierra Almijara. Our lodgings lie above the towns with stunning views right down to the Mediterranean Sea – Villa Andalucia B&B. We pull up outside arched metal work gates and spy gardens, our host Helen arrives and ushes us in. It´s Friday lunchtime and every Friday Helen´s rather eccentric Auntie Pauline and Uncle Peter invite her, her guests, friends, ex-guests and whoever they want to lunch.

It was 1.50, a brief introduction followed an offer of dry sherry, and lunch began with wine flowing, table laden we soon forgot the heat and hunger. Dish after dish of salads, cold meats, cheese, duck, chicken legs, were consumed while our hosts regaled us with a potted history of their life in Spain and transition to retirement in Cómpeta.

Villa Andalucia B&B has some gorgeous gardens, lovely views and just four rooms dotted around the rambling villa where Helen, Pauline and Peter live. We had the Avocado Room, there’s also a Banana Room, Blueberry Room and Orange Room – named after, you guessed it, its décor but also in the case of the Banana Room- its shape. Fancy finding out more? Visit Villa Andalucia.org or visit OnlySpain.org.

B-C-Ing-U in 2 weeks.–

Rachel Webb

Andalucia Explorer

Luxury Spain Travel

Only Spain