I had quite a trip these holidays. As I hiked solo, the trail was more or less deserted and there were no other hikers around, I felt quite lonely on some of the evenings.
Most of the time this is not a problem for me because I need this kind of solitude. But on some evenings I just craved talking to someone else but an Andalusian senior citizen with a strong incomprehensible accent. Do not get me wrong: This is why I learned spanish and this is why I travel but above all a conversation gets interesting when you share at least some similar experiences. And neither can I deny the exhaustion which comes with talking to someone who is barely comprehensible.
In this case the best thing to do for me is to look out for a hippie-style hostel where I’m quite sure to meet some likeminded people and if the hostel is in a hiking area I’d maybe even meet some hikeminded ones 🙂
This is how I found the Refugio Hostel in Cartajima, 18 kms south of Ronda. I booked a room by phone and got there in the evening. Botz, the british host, opened the door and told me that there are no other guests, just us. A short disappointment came up in me, but volatilized quickly as I saw the 300 years old house with its fantastic roof terrace into the surrounding mountains. And above all when I sat down with Botz and we started talking.
What I want to say since the beginning of this article: There are those rare people in hospitality business who really know what they are doing. Who have this delicate intuition what to do and what to say while completely staying themselves. Who let you be yourself and let you feel like you’re belonging here since a long, long time.
This is Botz. I had some wonderful and crazy laughing evenings and even a long hike with him. He loves the mountains and the Andalusian countryside. He traveled a lot. He is completely in love with a girl from Austria. He was a drummer in Amsterdam. He was a chef and the food he is offering is just wonderful. He looks like an argentinian, younger version of Iggy Pop.
And he made the last days of my holidays a pure blast.
This days in places like this, are not about five star perfection. You won’t have television, room service or infinity pools. Sometimes you won’t even have hot water*. But you will feel like home.
So if you ever get to Andalusia go visit Botz and the Refugio in Cartajima. You won’t regret it.
*this is NOT the case at the Refugio! There was always hot water 🙂