In the fourth of our series of interviews with Holiday Homeowners from around the world, British expats Boz and Polly Cannon share their secret to a more laidback and active lifestyle and offer an insight into their new life in Frigiliana, in beautiful southern Spain.
After working for 23 years in the Royal Navy then spending 5 years commuting from Petersfield Hampshire to London working in high pressure IT environment, Boz Cannon and his wife Polly, an NHS administrator, decided it was time for a change. In 2002, they bought a luxurious two bedroom apartment in a small complex in Frigiliana above the Costa del Sol, with incredible 360 degree views from the balconies and roof terrace, both down to the sea and to the mountains.
After returning to London, Boz found out his CEO had been fired, so that very same night they decided to cash in all their investments, sell the flats and move lock, stock and barrel to Spain. Less than three months later they arrived for good.
1. What first made you fall in love with Frigiliana and why should people come here?
We fell in love with Frigiliana, in southern Spain for so many reasons, it just seemed to have everything we could have ever dreamed of. We had always loved the outdoors, so with the hills of the Sierra Tejeda and the Almijada Natural Park on our doorstep, the Mediterranea Sea ten minutes away and the Sierra Nevada ski resort just 90 minutes away we could now play to our heart’s content. After our previous hectic lives, the moderate pace of life, lack of road rage, low crime levels, lack of materialism and the fact that the Spanish have maintained family life and values, was a true joy to become part of.
2. What’s the ‘best kept secret’ you would tell any visitors not to miss?
This one is very easy. El Acebuchal is a small aldea (hamlet) about 5km from Frigiliana which was an old staging post on the trade route from the coast into the province of Granada. During the days of the civil war, the village was abandoned and fell into ruins but back in 1998 Antonio Garcia ‘El Zumbo’ and his family, who now own and run the restaurant there and who lived in the village as children, decided to renovate some of the family properties, which sparked off a full scale renovation of the village. El Acebuchal has now been reborn as a beautiful whitewashed pueblo with lovely cobbled streets and a wood fired oven in the main street, where Antonio will often cook a whole roast lamb or suckling pig.
3. Where’s the place to go to just hang out, people watch and generally soak up the atmosphere?
In terms of just hanging out, there is no better way to get a feel for the life and soul of the village than to take an evening ‘paseo’ (wander) through the village. Join in with the locals as they parade through the narrow alleys and winding lanes, often with four generations of the same family in tow. Great grandparents with their walking sticks down to babies in pushchairs, they all stop to chat to their lifelong neighbours and friends.
4. What would you recommend visitors either treat themselves to while they’re there, or take home as a souvenir?
A visit to Frigiliana would certainly not be complete without sampling some of the local delicacies. The Spanish make some really delicious food and very quaffable drinks. There’s the locally produced Frigiliana wine, made of the moscatell grapes that are harvested in August, taken to the local press in the village and then transferred to huge barrels where the juice is left to ferment for three months or more with no additives whatsoever. Another favourite is the locally produced cane honey, still made in the original factory in the village. For the carnivore, a plate of ‘Choto’ (goat) in garlic and almond sauce is an absoute must.
5. Finally, what are the quirkiest things to do, see, eat, visit or experience in this place?
The Axarquia region of the Costa del Sol plays host to a vast array of adrenalin fuelled adventure sports. There’s canyoning, a relatively new sport to Spain, but also parascending, skydiving, climbing a ‘via ferrata’ and kayaking. There are also dozens of caves in the area, including the world famouse Nerja Caves, that take the visitor to a whole new subterranean world with immense galleries, wierd and wonderful rock formations, and prehistoric cave paintings reputed to be almost 20,000 years old.
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What a charming place. Love the photo of the village street … could just imagine sitting there with a glass of chilled fino sherry and a plate of tempting tapas 🙂
Organic local wine … I feel we’re getting closer in our search for the ‘other’ (non-lager-lout) Spain. Frigiliana was already at the top of our list and this is an affirmation. Thank you.
Thanks for your comment Liz. It certainly seems to be a much more preferable way to experience the ‘true’ Spain.