The final race

5 March, 2020

Lavinia, Thursday 5 March 2020

It’s another hectic final sprint to get everything ready in time for the first guests to arrive on Saturday.

Is it ever different? Even though we were closed for 4 months, and barely took any time for ourselves, it turns out that time always catches up with us. But I’m in good spirits. We’ll definitely make it. It’s all hands on deck, the cleaning crew is here now and always leave their equipment here. Marta, the ‘boss herself’, comes to clean exclusively for us, which I am very happy about. We have already built up a nice band and we know what we have to offer each other.

She thinks along with us about planning and approach, works out an agenda system, and you name it. Lavinia gets priority over other clients -😊- which I find quite an honour. This also allows her to be more flexible with regard to possible changes, last-minute bookings, late check-outs and so on. What a lovely woman ! It’s just a pity that her husband, a real teddy bear- will come less now because he will take care of the Benidorm region. Soon she will come to clean all the windows of the communal areas, and on Friday she will bring an extra male to make the paths and outside environment a bit neater.

Of course it has been windy again in the last few days, with all its consequences. The garden and the paths are buried under the leaves and small twigs. In Belgium, something like this would soon be called “orange code”, an emergency number would be made available, and everyone would be encouraged to stay inside. Here you just know that it is best to stay indoors, if you do not want to be lifted just like that by a strong gust of wind to be planted hard a few meters further away. For example, the Mimosa tree that was damaged during the previous storm has now completely collapsed and must be razed to the ground. Just now that it was blooming beautifully. It’s a shame, really.


Tomorrow the gardeners will do this work and give the other new fruit trees a definitive place. In addition, they make my vegetable garden in perfect shape and set me on the road to plant. I am really curious what that will give, because I have never done it before.

I watched my dad grow vegetables himself all his life, and Mum diligently cut vegetables in the garden to freeze later. In fact, it never meant much to me, but now I like the idea. Maybe I got more with the spoon than I suspected? I am very happy with our fruit trees that now carry plenty of oranges, mandarins and lemons. I enjoy the delicious, juicy fruits. I never ate oranges with such a grate taste, this is so special, because you have to admit, you can’t find an orange fresh from the tree in Belgium. The other fruit trees are already proudly showing off their wonderfully scented blossoms and will soon produce delicious fruits: kaki’s, pomegranates, limes, figs, olives, and the others just don’t cross my mind. Our garden has suddenly received a different cachet! Even more southern, as far as that was still possible.

In the meantime, the jacuzzi is also completely finished and there is a new terrace around it. We think it has become incredibly beautiful. The new wall is also completely finished. Tonight the workers finally come to get their material, so that we no longer have to look at the concrete mixer when we are enjoying the beneficial massage in the jacuzzi. They clean up the rest of the rubble, and then everything can finally be sprayed off again with the high pressure cleaner … Given the exceptionally beautiful weather – yesterday I had to take the thermometer out of the sun because I was afraid it would brake because it gave more than 50 degrees- this will be a nice job.

The lavanderia, say linen room, laundry room and storage space is finally nicely furnished and we even have a huge ironing table of two by one, so that Marta can iron the sheets more easily. All stock is neatly arranged and there is an extra freezer.

I have some mixed feelings about the start of the season. It seems that it is way too fast, but at the same time I can’t wait until it starts, and we see happy people again enjoying and relaxing in our accommodation. I long to listen to the fascinating stories again, to meet new people. To be able to experience those exceptional encounters again, in our oasis here on the hill. From Saturday to the end of September we have 3 days in August in which we have no guests. Only in April we are closed for a week to receive my children and friends, and to take a little vacation in between. So it will be pretty tough. Who would have ever suspected that, when we were still fully renovating a year ago? Not me in any case. Because in the end it remains a gamble, because you never know whether you are developing something that people do need. You can be convinced yourself, but it remains to be seen whether guests will indeed come. I must say that this is the sublime work of Wim, who is a real crack in terms of marketing and the use of digital media. He tackles this very professionally, and especially in a very human and warm way. We are not the business people who build a business for profit. No, we are holiday makers with the highest aim of offering an exceptional holiday to our guests. Guests who choose us because they would feel at home here. We do not want to be an impersonal hotel, not a stiff b & b where everything goes smoothly and perfectly. We mainly want to do ‘normal’, being ordinary people among our guests. We think it is important to have personal contact with those who are on holiday here, and if they do not want this, that is also possible. We want to radiate cosiness, a homely feeling, where people come home. And above all we want to enjoy this ourselves. It is a lifestyle, a “way of life” that feels very natural to us. How wonderful it sounds when people say after a meal on the terrace “we are going home”, and then they go to “their” villa. It sounds like music to the ears when that is said, because that’s what we do it for. I am curious about the people who give the start of our season. And of course to all other guests who come this year. The variety has become somewhat larger, there are more Belgians, even our first real Spanish guest ever, we expect in July. Apparently the Spaniards have not found us yet.

We are also curious whether our day pass will be a success. Wim had worked out the idea that if it is not fully booked, people from the wider area can use the facilities here for a full day. Nude naturally, just like you go to a public sauna in Belgium, but on a much smaller scale. To ensure that it remains calm at all times and does not become overcrowded – speaking of optimism – people must register in advance, and we never allow more day passes than our total capacity. 14 people maximum in total, guests and day trippers together.

In May we still expect an important visitor from the written press, but we cannot say more about this. It remains a surprise, about which of course more later.

So it promises to be a very exciting year

Aprovecha el día! (seize the day!)

Hasta luego,

Annemie or Ana

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