Welcome, my name is Gabrielle. I hold a French and an American passport and have lived across 4 continents. In January 2000 I packed yet again a 40 ft container and relocated to Spain only because I spoke the language and like warm climates and was totally unaware that Spain is actually prone to very strong winds and rather cold in winter. My only goal remains to establish a distinctive Bed and Breakfast experience and a welcoming home for myself, family, friends and visitors, one filled with all the eclectic furniture and collectables handed down from family generations, my own travels and life experiences.
The spectacular setting of this abandoned 10 hectares property above the alluring waters of Guadalest dam, ticked the box "location, location, location". The super bonus? 360 surround mountain horizons, scattered quaint villages and a glimpse at the Mediterranean Sea... Now after 2 decades of building, rebuilding, nonstop dedication, despite endless administrative or other setbacks, more than ever I hope to fulfil my dream before have to uproot myself again and accept the need to move on as the property is very large, demanding on ground maintenance and am now 60.
For those interested, most important is to know the property is entirely "off grid". This means all electricity is supplied by solar panels/battery banks/ backup generators which results in consumption limitations. Spring water is piped and stored in a water quality tank for our house needs and rest transits in the "balsa" for ground use before overflows into the lake. tanks. In summer another solar panel system provides limited quantities of hot water for sanitary purposes and in winter a gasoil boiler provides equally limited quantities of hot water. During the cold months despite the house being equipped with a central heating system for economical reasons we use labor intensive wood burning stoves to heat sections of the buildings, but again the amount of heavy work to gather, cut and store the firewood is very physical labor intensive due to the hilly nature of our terrain.
I choose to be always home. My Dutch husband Sjon, an engineer, travels abroad at regular intervals for his work. Daughter and her husband, Kim and Pieter, as well as son EJ, and other friends visit us from overseas. Many sports or hobbies can be enjoyed from the valley: hiking, cycling, fresh water swimming, paddle boarding, rock climbing, bird watching, fishing, meditation, yoga... and all related to artistic activities such as photography, sketching and more... -- regrettably neither Sjon nor I these days have time for any of that as the finca requires our full time commitment.
Over the years we continue to provide a loving permanent (or temporary) home to many abandoned/abused animals. We currently have 4 adult dogs, 2 large breed puppies, a house cat and a patio aviary filled with parakeets. We have 2 ecological grass cutters: our donkeys Hercules and Valentino. They supply the eco fertiliser. Being a “no hunting” property, many wild boars choose to take refuge here and we are in constant need to increase fencing due to their damage to our grounds and ability to destroy donkey fencing too.
With the help of a local forestry/garden worker and within limits of our budget our pine forest is gradually cleared of dead wood and overgrowth with the help of a forestry expert. This helps us expand the grazing areas of our donkeys and create new pathways. Any removed material is repurposed for donkey and property fencing, preventing water erosion or landslides, our firewood piles as well as used for some creative features.
The abandoned grapevines, citrus, carob, almond and olive trees are giving us hope of renewed vitality for sustainable ecological crops. If we succeed in limiting the destruction caused by wild boars, we could increase diversity (avocado and other orchard trees) and we have already successfully air grafted our pomegranate trees. We currently have mint, hierba luisa, rosemary, thyme, camomile, lavender, calendula with a selection of aloes.
To keep abreast of all going and try to make some of the visions a reality, hard working extra hands are greatly needed.
DIY and building projects
When I relocate I tend to embrace the unknown, status quo or labels unsettled me. I am high energy, creative, love colour, uniqueness and am passionate about giving old/discarded items a renewed right to glory. I have done "distress paint effects", “shabby chic”, “up cycling” and more, long before all became fashionable trends. I will gladly share my 40 years of techniques working with you so to turn more concepts into reality: indoors and out!
I am a “people person”, but absolutely need my time alone... with pets! I choose to actually live my own life verses endless theories of what life should be about. I love good humour, out of the box positive thinking and the puzzle solving approach. I never fail to appreciate the beauty and complexity of nature. I could no longer live in a city, even less in a grey "futuristic" world. Due to the world cultures and circumstances I have experienced, I do not endorse any single vision, philosophy or religion as the only established way.
Aside from the above, with my 20 years’ experience of working my way through the constantly changing labyrinths of the Spanish administrative systems (customs, property purchase, owner's rights, municipal permits, tourism rules and regulations etc..) I could possibly give insight on what to look out for as well as help improve English, French or Spanish language skills if needed.
On our 10 hectare property we need a large variety of outdoor help with our landscape gardens, orchards and forestry maintenance, as well as varied type of fencing for donkey pastures, anti wild boar trespassing and also stone walls. To maintain grounds established to date we need experienced persons with competent knowledge of safe and proper use mechanical tools such as chain saw, weed wackers as well as more traditional manual tools.
On buildings inside and out, we also have painting projects (from standard painting to special effects), wood projects (antique furniture restoration to picture framing), sewing (soft decorative furnishings to upholstery), tiling projects (mosaic or standard), electrical for outdoor lighting and special effects, plumbing for gravity fed irrigation from fresh water springs and garden features.
This is not so much a beginner's site as we truly require some genuine experience on "how to" and proper use of the tools we have.
The house has a full length panorama terrace view of the dam/mountains surrounds, comprised of of 4 en suite bedrooms all sharing a spacious open plan kitchen/lounge/dining.
For Workaway guests we are reserving 2 double bed rooms (single or double occupancy).
Bed and bathroom linens are supplied with weekly washing facilitated.
The kitchen has ample fridge/freezer space with 4 plates gas cooker/oven, no dishwasher.
We have a gas BBQ available as open fire BBQ are legally prohibited from May to November. Due to variety and guests's dietary preferences, meals are on self catering basis with amicable usage of kitchen facilities to be organised between residents.
We facilitate a weekly grocery restocking to maintain basic condiments, tea/coffee/milk, bread/oats, butter/peanut butter/jam, pasta/rice/potatoes, legumes/eggs and seasonal fruit and veggies. Beverages, meat/fish and extra quantities are guests' responsibility.
We cannot insist enough on the imperative need to understand and respect our “off grid “energy usage requirements which means reduced or limited electricity, heating and water consumption.
We request no Smoking/pets inside bedrooms and specifically stipulate "no drugs" or heavy drinking on the property.
Work hours/Days: 5 hours per day --- 5 days per week
Schedule may vary according to tasks and weather and generally in morning. Evenings are always free R&R time.
The property is large. The buildings and grounds have been designed to optimise privacy. The Guest House residents have exclusive use of their terraces.
In and around the main house and its adjacent terraces, we kindly request respect of our privacy, as our dogs consider these areas their “base camp” and "duty to guard".
Depending on your own activity level and supplying your needed related equipment, the following is available:
Hiking: ample selection, long or short trails, with varying levels of challenge or upkeep.
Cycling: requires strong ability for hill climbing and need for own bicycle.
Fishing: a fishing license should be obtained for a small fee, never seems to be asked. Year round catch is carp, rumours of black trout.
Water activities: Experienced swimmers can enjoy our "balsa" a deep garden water holding tank, and/or adventure into open water swimming in the dam at own risk.
Guadalest swimming pool a 20 min walk away only available in July/August for a daily fee. Its adjacent short basket ball court/soccer area is free and opened year round.
Rock climbing: 2 marked routes right on public swimming pool road.
Socialising: the local villages offer cafes&bars, restaurants, markets& shops. They have seasonal hours and activities. Most villages are easily accessible along footpaths (30min minimum walk). The local villages are fairly active in summer months but a bit lost town feeling out of public holidays the rest of the year.
Transportation: There is very little public transport available within the valley of Guadalest.
Private taxis can be arranged from Benidorm though tariff is based on driver’s round trip fare.
Long distance buses are available to Alicante, Valencia, their airports and other destinations. The Alicante airport is an hour away/ Valencia airport 2 hours away with a low cost airport or main city shuttle bus between them and Benidorm main bus depot (with prior notice we will gladly collect you from there).
The reality of the Guadalest valley is that having your own transportation is best. This allows you to explore further afield be it the interior towns, or the coast with its beaches and better known tourist attractions (Aqualandia, Terra Mitica). Our fenced ample open air parking areas accommodate cars, motorcycles or small campers.
Nearest medical care is 30 minutes away. We request anyone staying at las Palmeras to carry adequate travel or other medical insurance valid for your stay in Spain.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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