We are Hermine and Paul, a French-Irish couple who recently moved into a beautiful finca in Calaceite, Spain.
We made the decision about a couple years ago to leave our respective jobs in big companies with the aim of living a simpler and richer life away from the busy city and the corporate world. We both are avid travellers. We visited and lived in many different places before coming to Spain. Former Workawayers ourselves, we helped families in Spain, Italy, Germany, USA, Morocco… We enjoyed our time very much and are excited to become hosts.
Paul is crazy about running and being outside. He is a problem solver, needs to keep busy and enjoys physical work. He is enthusiastic about all jobs that require lifting, sawing, digging, cutting, assembling, you name it! He is also a great (vegetarian) cook and makes the best jams, breads and curries.
Hermine discovered permaculture while workawaying and is currently working on improving and expanding the vegetable garden while trying to conserve water as much as possible. When not in the garden, she will be found playing with our adorable cats, helping Paul with his latest project or cleaning around the house. She is fluent in French, English, German, and speaks good enough Spanish to communicate with the neighbours.
We are both vegetarian. We also avoid dairy products and only eat eggs from chicken we or our friends own. We very occasionally eat fish and you will not have any meat served during your stay.
We need help in different areas, for all kind of projects! We have about 200 olive trees and 30 almond trees, some of them which have not been looked after for a while. We always need some hands to help us pruning / harvesting / clearing the land. Shelling almonds is also a nice task to do inside during the ridiculously hot Spanish afternoons :)
Other projects: We are currently working on improving our water system. We need to make a lid for a 7000L water tank and will have to bury some hose before the winter comes. We have the plan to welcome a few hens soon and want to build a chicken coop out of pallets and recycled material. There is also a tool shed that needs covering, a second pit to be dug for burying the waste from our composting toilets, firewood to be collected and stacked, a cob oven to be built… The tasks list never stop being updated!
There is also room for people with specific interest in permaculture or techniques for rejuvenating the land. We would be happy to hear your suggestions and why not let you experiment your ideas.
A typical day:
In summer we tend to get up by 7 to get some work done before breakfast when it is still nice and cool. We then eat something around 9 (everybody makes his/her own breakfast) and do some more work until about 14 when we stop for a long lunch break. You can then indulge in a Spanish siesta, go for a swim in the river, or shell some almonds if you are really bored :) We usually resume work between 18 and 20, depending on the weather and the activities of the day. Dinner is usually had around 20:30 and we are in bed before 23. We take turns to make food.
We are quite flexible with the working time. We do expect around 30h a week of helping including cooking and chores but will organise the week in concertation with our guests. It is important that you get enough time to chill out and discover the beautiful countryside of the Matarraña region.
The finca is located about 8km away from the village and is therefore incredibly quiet, especially at night. We drive up to the village regularly and go shopping for food to a bigger town about once a week. Calaceite is one of the 500 most beautiful villages of Spain. There are buses that can take you to the neighbour towns of Alcañiz and Tortosa, or further to Tarragona, Reus Airport and Barcelona. The river (Algars) just below the house has beautiful clear water and offers swimming areas a few minutes’ walk from home. There are lots of hiking trails around and the natural park of El ports is also nearby.
Almost completely off grid (apart for our drinking water that we get delivered), the house is powered by solar energy and the water is pumped from the river below. The heating in winter will be provided by a wood burner. The house is quite comfortable – has an equipped kitchen, Wi-Fi, a bathroom with hot shower, a terrace, some home grown vegies and lots of fruit and nuts trees. There is a double bedroom available for workawayers, the other rooms are shared.
Who we are looking for:
We are open to all profiles, no matter the age, race, background, language, gender, orientation, etc. You need to be motivated, enjoy being outside and working with your hands. We also expect you to be able to work autonomously. We would like to give our workawayers interesting projects they could take the lead on (as individual or a couple).
It would be a plus if you had experience in woodworking as many of our projects include recycling pallets. Some electrics or plumbing skills are always welcome. Basic English is required, and a little bit of Spanish would be appreciated by our farmer neighbour Miguel, 74, who often shows up for a coffee and a chat :)
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
We are both open minded and eager to learn about other people's culture, way of life, language, cooking. You can use your stay to improve your English with Paul, wour French with Hermine, your Spanish with our neighbours and with the locals. It is also a good introduction to what it means to live in the spanish countryside and to tend to a simple life off the grid.
See above: help with olive and almond trees, with woodworking projects, cob building, clearing out the land, fruit picking, cooking, etc. We will always do our best to match your interests with the tasks we will ask you to help with.
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
Please contact them directly for more information.
The workawayers will have their own double bedroom (double bed, room to put your clothes and things, beautiful views) and have access to every part of the house. We provide all the food and are happy to do the shopping for you but expect some help with the cooking and cleaning.
We can pick you up from the village, it is possible to get to it by bus from Reus Airport or from Barcelona. We can help you with organizing you trip. Alternatively we could collect you from the neighbouring towns of Alcaniz, Tortosa or Gandesa.
If you have or hire a car, you should know that the road to our house is quite bumpy. It is a dirt track with rocks and holes and not the easiest to drive (even though some of our guests recently made it driving a little Ford Ka)
You will have one or two days of rest per week (depending on how you wish to organise your work). You could use this time to go hiking (lots of trails), go swimming (beautiful reservoir 15mins walk away, usually nobody there but us), discover the local towns and their delicacies (great wine, olive oil and pastries), explore the natural park of El Ports (we can provide hiking map), or simply chill out in our hamac under an olive tree.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have enough room for you to park a big camper van in front of the house.
We can only accept pets that are cat-friendly (currently have one, two kitten to join us in September)
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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