It was Minorca that did it.
It was there, in the airport, that we casually picked up the estate agent’s brochure. Idle curiosity. Picking a dream house from the listings. Marvelling at the price difference between property in London and the properties we saw in the brochure.
And back in London the thought nagged.
We had always talked of a distant future dream – of a house by the sea, a European base to make home.
And now it suddenly seemed as though we could live as cheaply – cheaper – in Spain than in London and perhaps, while there were so many other parts of our lives in flux, we could dip our toes in the water, see what it would be like to live somewhere else. Somewhere by the sea.
We scanned the rentals online and registered our interest with a half dozen immobilaria.
We made a list of wants and musts. We wanted a sea view. We needed internet, in case Georgie was posted elsewhere. A spare room to use as an office, a space for visitors. We wanted somewhere near a town, too: it had to be a viable place to make a home, nothing too remote. Close enough to an airport, not too expensive. The list grew.
We looked at Valencia. A proper city, with an extensive beach front. Applied to a couple of properties, waited, emails back and forth all coming to nothing. We began to expand our search beyond Valencia. All the while Georgie was interviewing for jobs across the world and I was writing, working away at the second draft of the book and in the periods between we scanned rental listings, shortlisted properties.
And then we found it on Airbnb.
A two bed flat, south of Valencia, in a small seafront town.
Views of the sea.
So once more we loaded all of our belongings into the storage unit. We left our flat once more, 5am in the rain, and by lunch time we were stepping into the late September sunshine of Valencia airport.
At the top of five flights of stairs in an otherwise empty apartment block we opened the door into a spacious and modern flat, well equipped with comfortable sofas, an enormous kitchen, the biggest TV you could ever wish – and the view.
This expanse of glass and the sea below:
Last Thursday we woke early and took a morning walk along the ridge behind the house – a rough rocky ramble past the castle that overlooks our apartment, to the top of the hill and the views across the flat plain (where I expect most of the rain) and Valencia hazy in the distance.
The season’s at its end, here. Over the last few days summer has been carefully dismantled, loaded onto the back of tractor trailers and carted off the beach – sun loungers, palm umbrellas, wooden walkways. Over the weekends the weather turned stormy, angry autumn sea lashing the shore, rain rattling the window frames.
I think we’re going to enjoy watching the sea reclaim the beach as autumn wears on.
But today the weather is warm – hot, in fact. As I write this Georgie is downstairs, lying on the beach with her book. I can look down and see her from the window. Later we may take a walk along the wide promenade where the bars and restaurants are still busy with the last of the summer trade. We’ll watch the moon rise over the sea and wake again tomorrow with the sunrise.