The uneven and cracked road heading inland to the vertiginous village of Gaucin causes even the most sturdy and robust car to bounce and bump along. It winds through rolling pastures, punctuated by huge electric wind turbines, before climbing up from a river valley, to the ‘balcón de la Serranía’.
Arriving into the village, strategically positioned high up in the mountains, overlooking the coast, Gibraltar and the north African coast, it doesn’t take much imagination to understand why it’s called the ‘balcony’ of this Serrania mountain area.
Close to Ronda, easily accessed inland by the picturesque ‘Camino de los Ingleses’ which runs through the Genal Valley, and from the coast as well, Gaucin has become a gentrified corner of rural Andalucía. It has attracted ex-pats who have sought out the idyll of living in a typical ‘white village’. Some have adapted more successfully than others, and despite the relative isolation from modern amenities that make family life easier, this small village has a significant foreign resident community.
Many are artists, photographers, writers; as well as those in lifestyle including organic chefs and yoga instructors – it all makes for a hearty mix! (There are regular ‘Open Studio’ dates throughout the year, giving the opportunity to meet the artists and see and purchase their works).
Many of the foreign community have invested in property and converted barns and cottages into plush holiday rental accommodation, with distinctive styling. Look through the back issues of interiors magazines in the UK or Spain and it won’t be long before you stumble across a feature on one of the homes in this mountain pueblo.
Over the years I’ve got to know the village and some of the residents pretty well, but it wasn’t until last weekend that I experienced Gaucin as a ‘holiday-maker’, staying in an impeccable and truly unique property, the Casita at ‘Casa Mosaica’.
The complete property is made up of a self-contained two bedroom ‘Casa Mosaica Apartment’ on the ground floor, which sleeps up to 4 adults, owner’s flat on the first floor and a separate tower house. The swimming pool courtyard and the Moorish garden are shared with the ‘Casita Mosaica’, for two people, which is situated in the Moorish garden and has its own entrance.
The Casita features a tower inspired from an architectural feature of the Kasbah in Tangiers. The top terrace overs expansive views across the countryside. In fact, since Gaucin is one large ‘balcony’, one can be assured wonderful vistas from almost everywhere, whether it’s from a tapa bar, restaurant or home.
It’s no surprise to learn that the owner of this exquisite property is an interior designer and talented mosaic designer. The attention to detail is superb, and each floor features handmade mosaic art. Tables, pots, fountains – even the stairs feature mosaics created by North African craftsmen. The ironwork on the windows and the terraces is from Tangiers.
It’s an inspirational and relaxing environment that’s hard to pull oneself away from!
When will you come back Andrew? Soon I hope. Emma Cornish