Van life is travel liberation; you have the freedom to park, choose your view and sleep whenever you want (within reason) and it is something that we really love to do. Go to the mountains, spend the day climbing, and at the end of the day, find a quite spot to park the van for the night. Solar panels keep our battery topped up. Our pop-top roof gives us some headroom and the cooking facilities are a mini version of what we have at home. The fridge cools our beers and the water tank is big enough to keep us in good supply for day on end. Although packed with highlights, this rolling life on the road can and will become a grind.
Our first “grind” came after several weeks on the road accompanied by several days of rain and general greyness – one winter in southern Spain. We had exhausted our reading material, fiddled with our phones too much and if nothing else, needed a long hot shower and a sofa. We cracked and looked up some local accommodation in Algodonales, Sierra de Cadiz, Andalusia – in order to free ourselves of the van and shut away the gloom – if only if for a day or two.
We digitally stumbled across Casa Baraka, a contemporary two-bedroom apartment surrounded by a typically white Spanish village exterior and just a street away from the central village plaza. We clicked away until our booking confirmation arrived and within the hour had met the owner Marina by the front door of the property to show us inside.
Casa Baraka is a shared space, if you’re booking just the one double room, with the other one potentially let out to other guests. Apparently it is quite normal that the guests from both rooms end up in the beautiful back garden sharing a beer or two, as happened to us. However, having a rather lengthy garden, there is plenty of room for two parties, should one want to keep to themselves. The Wifi was speedy and both rooms en suite with plenty of the hot water we had been dreaming of. For telly addicts, there’s one in each room too.
Ana is Spanish and Will thinks he speaks Spanish, but our host Marina speaks several languages should you get stuck. Marina is an artist and her beautiful work can be found not only adorning the walls, but on the cool concrete floor surrounding the log burner too. The property is full of little details and pretty furniture and it is light and airy too. We believe it is one of the most tranquil places to stay in town as well as our favourite without a doubt. The hospitality of the owners makes you feel at home to add to that comfy feel. So much so, that we struggled to leave the apartment when it was time to go.
A night in Casa Baraka rejuvenated this pair of weary van dwellers without question and have since kept in contact with Marina, often directing our Explore Spain Now guests to her property when visiting Algodonales.
You can find Casa Baraka following this link: https://www.facebook.com/casabarakaalgodonales/