The garden of Eden

30 May, 2019

Spain, Sunday 26 May 2019, 3.30 a.m.

While everyone in Belgium is getting ready to vote, I currently experience Belgium in a very different way. My best friend has been here for three weeks to introduce me to her unique cooking skills. In addition, she has years of experience in running a small-scale hotel in Portugal and she mainly teaches me the practical side of organizing facility management. She thinks along about approach, supply, house rules, and so on. Just say it, and she’s into it. She is an inexhaustible source of information.

We really are so lucky with her, and this on every level. This way we can enjoy her excellent kitchen on a daily basis and she helps with the many preparatory works that have been left behind so far. It looks like it’s her own project. As selfless as she is, every day. But above all, she enjoys every moment of it, even though she is working so hard. We do the grosery shopping together where she eagerly looks for local ingredients, vegetables and fruit to work with daily in the kitchen, which I meanwhile have been happy to hand over to her for the time she is here. And I don’t regret it for a moment, because it is filled daily with the most delicious aromas of dishes that I never ate before.

She also teaches me how to cook vegetarian, a revelation for me. I had always kept a distance from it, but it is very varied and tasteful. This will certainly come in handy.

From the moment Mieke arrived here I felt her heart bloom, I saw the memories of Portugal welling up in her, the nostalgia for earlier times came up. As a child full of wonder, she repeatedly discovered other plants, other flowers, herbs and fruit trees. I saw the cogs running at full speed in her head, because the ideas for recipes kept pouring out of he, while she saw the possibilities in the garden. She sniffed the scents of our domain, she enjoyed the beautiful view of the sea and the distant mountain, she was delighted by the villas and their location, the swimming pools and the location itself. My heart also beat faster with so much wonder and admiration. It is great to see that others see what we saw when we first came here. Even though it was a jungle at the time and everything had been destroyed by the vandals, we already saw what it could become and what it has become. Only it has become much and much more beautiful than we had ever dreamed. Now that the garden has been completely cleaned up, all dead trees and plants have been cleaned, the overgrown plants and trees have been pruned and irrigation has been in operation for a few weeks, it has been fully revived. It has become the garden of Eden; every day I discover new flowers and plants, new shoots, new colours.

The garden eagerly swallows the water that it finally gets after almost 10 years, and gives us in return this beautiful, full bloom. New plants and fruit trees are being planted this week. I look forward to seeing the many fruits growing and blooming, lemons, limes, oranges, figs, olives, pink peppers, bananas … I am busy building a herb garden so that I can use it in the kitchen. The poppies, of which I was unexpectedly sent seeds by post from another good friend, will also get their place this week. The poppies must not be missing in this garden, as a reminder of the residents of ‘The Poppy’ and my colleagues in Beveren.

This week we also went to collect the plants we received from the previous owner, Armin, a Swiss, who actually laid out the garden. His own garden, fifteen minutes from our house, is a beautiful collection of plants and cacti, very carefully laid out, and perfectly maintained. When the good man suddenly arrived here one day he was shocked to see how the garden had suffered from the vacancy of the building. He promptly invited us to see his garden and promised us all kinds of plants and shrubs. This week it was time, and we went to collect the plants. Despite his blessed age of 82, he kept on dragging on new plants, with his gardener in his wake, who helped put everything in the car. At a certain moment we had to stop him because the car was full of.

If you know that we have a mini bus with the rear seats removed, you can imagine how much we actually had. Under the promise that we would drive carefully so as not to damage anything of the precious “gold”, we drove back home delightfully happy. Every day we wonder about the goodness of the people we meet, about the support we receive in building our dream.

The painters also painted everything that needed to be done this week, because there was simply no time left for Wim to do it himself. Now only assemble the latest furnishings and furniture, clean everything thoroughly and everything is ready.

Friday is the official opening to which we have invited everyone here in Spain who has ensured that we have been able to complete this project. From Lea and Ellie who have arranged everything concerning the purchase and legalization, the bank manager, the bookkeeper, the lawyer, the excellent site manager, the contractor, the gardeners, to all the workers who have worked here in recent months. And of course also the neighbours and fellow b & b holders who have since become friends. We will try to tease a Spanish word of thanks and give a small show “before and after”. Of course with a “barbacoa” and “cerveza”, as this is called in Spanish. I am curious how many people will come…

This week another couple of our dearest friends come to visit for a few days. So it will be a super week! Being together with three of our dearest friends, in the most beautiful place on earth. Can it be even better? It promises to be short nights, chatting, laughing, enjoying each other’s company, a nice glass of wine and delicious food. Grateful for so many beautiful things in my life, I dive back into my bed, hoping to get some sleep now.

Hasta luego,

Annemie or Ana

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