After years of dreaming of living close to nature, free from a daily commute and noisy neighbours, Sabina and Robert decide to travel from Abu Dhabi to Spain in search of their dream home. As soon as they drive across Andalusia, they fall in love with its rugged beauty, whitewashed villages, red geraniums, giant aloes, and endless olive trees. After weeks of visiting ruins and dilapidated sheds advertised as homes, they find a little stone cottage in a mountain valley in the middle of nowhere. Equipped with everything that a romantic soul desires: a patio shaded by grape vines, an ancient bay leaf tree, and a formidable oak in front of a long driveway, they fall in love with this property and decide to reform it into a guest house.
With little foresight or planning, they exchange cushy expats lives for a life in the sun. Quite quickly, however, they find themselves battling with killer bees, a green swimming pool, cowboy builders, no electricity, a dry well, torrential rain storms, and a freezing cold winter without a roof over their heads. Through all these adventures, they develop relations with their neighbours who had lived in the valley for many generations. Puzzled by the strangers’ behaviour, the neighbours teach them about olive picking, the cultivation of saffron, asparagus, and garlic, and how to make delicious quince paste. But primarily, they offer their endless generosity and insight into life in rural Andalusia.
As they begin to settle in, financial problems confront our somewhat naïve couple. Without steady pay checks and construction bills piling up, their idea of the good life starts to fall apart.
Written with a wry sense of honest humour, this story is filled with twists and turns that take the reader on a journey from a life where every day was monotonously repetitive to a place where every day presents a new challenge.