This glimpse of rural Spain will make you hungry and thirsty.


I’m doing just enough to keep my tomato plants alive. It’s easy to over-glamorize a lifestyle that few of us would choose. It’s also good to know that someone remembers how to raise sheep in the hills.

A long way from Benidorm: rural regeneration in south-east Spain, by Kevin Rushby (The Guardian)

Evaristo is teaching me to make paella. You might, like I did, think you know already, but Evaristo lives and breathes the stuff – he has made it every day for over 30 years. We’re doing it in his barn, which adds challenges.

“Can you wash the tomatoes?” he asks and I wander off looking for a tap. There are sacks of walnuts, buckets of olives soaking in brine, a newly laid egg lying discreetly in a nest of hay under a workbench, but no tap.

I’m in deepest rural Spain, in the Vall de Gallinera, Alicante, the kind of Spain where you expect to bump into Laurie Lee’s ghost on every footpath. There are the ruins of an old convent on the next hill, and a ruined Arab fort beyond that. It’s a tranquil land weathered by mystery and tragedy, but only a day’s walk from Benidorm, with its 200 nightclubs and 1,000 bars. It does not seem possible.

(The trip was provided by Village Ways,