Latest News

Sukhavati Retreats La Safor

Here at Casa de La Finestra this autumn we have started running courses and in conjunction with David Midgley (Leeds Jamyang Buddhist Centre, Schumacher North) we are forming the Sukhavati Retreats La Safor
www.facebook.com/CasadelaFinestra/
Sukhavati retreats page in facebook
Here you can listen a daily meditation audio

Read about Agatha's writing retreats. The first one in late August was so successful that two further courses have already been booked in for November and December.
www.facebook.com/Agathas-Writing-Retreats/

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Taller de Artesanía

We spend much of the winter renovating our downstairs rooms, creating a new apartment incorporating work space for a creative artist, and a new kitchen and bathroom is in progress. The "Taller de Artesanía" will be available for artist retreats in the autumn.

There is a intimate, private courtyard, featuring a mural painted by a recent workawayer, Marina from Mallorca. There is an outdoor lounge in a vine arbour. At the other end, a covered table for eating "al fresco" is surrounded by passion flowers.

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Fiesta of the Heart 2016

27th February 2016

Allan is now officially the oldest (not the longest surviving, by one year) heart transplant recipient...

Although it was a cold windy day, for the first time in 10 years we held our party in doors, wood burners blazing. All the family was here and we all made our signature dishes. 50 of us gathered to toast the 'old git' who spend most of the day watching the six nation rugby. Between matches we were serenaded by Simon Parkinson who played swing, jazz and popular songs from Allan's transplant years.

Now we have to it every year...

Sorry we have been so busy this year we haven't had much time to update the latest news.

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Fiesta of the Heart

Sat. Feb. 28th 2015
Our annual open day at Casa de La Finestra to celebrate the 29th anniversary of Allan's heart transplant... to honour the unknown donor... From 12.00 all welcome.

The Donor Tree
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The Mimosa tree in the pool garden was planted by all our family and friends, each of us put in a handful of earth, on the 25th 'Traniversary' of Allan's heart transplant at Papworth Hospital in 1986. Every flower represents a donor.

It flowers every year for our 'Fiesta of the Heart'... Please come and join us for a day of love food and music... Bienvinedo

 

 

Spring 2014

Look what we found on our doorstep

A vast series of recently discovered caves in the La Safor mountain range, accessed from La Llacuna, just on the other side of Cirque de la Safor from our house, have proved to contain ancient artifacts and cave paintings (and possibly more recent work from the civil war and its aftermath). At the moment it is only possible to access most of these caves if you are an experienced climber/caver, as it entails abseiling and rope work after a natural platform inside the entrance. The caves were found by local guides Javier, Alejandro and Adrian who are happy to take you exploring.

Our winter workawayers have been invaluable and we now have lighting in various parts of the garden creating ambiance and nocturnal al fresco possibilities. Or you can still choose to live in real time if you prefer... by candlelight under the stars.

Winter 2013

We are now wheelchair friendly!

Our latest project, a new access and shower for wheelchair users is now completed. We now have a well lit, flat access to both the main house, pool garden and the courtyard leading to the garden flat. There is a wheelchair friendly wet-room shower in both, with laundry facilities.

Dom, our first guest in a wheelchair came in November and the weather was glorious. In addition we are now able to watch (British) television in the sitting room, thanks to the Dom Pardey Trust.

As now we've been tested by our amazing 'guinea pig' Dom, we have offered a free week at Casa de La Finestra to be auctioned at a charity event to raise awareness and money for the Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Association and are in negotiations with a number of charities to offer affordable holidays to families with a disabled member in Spring and Autumn.

We are now ready to offer adventurous holidays to families of all abilities, including wheelchair users of any age... Everything from carriage rides on the track or Land-rover safaris to explore our unique river gorge with all its wildlife and scenery.

Climbing is possible... We have the marvelous Benicadell (1100m) on our doorstep and, of course, La Finestra (1013m). A new page written by Allan's son Paul (Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team) about it has been added to our 'Available here' section.

Our garden is very sensory with aromatic plants, petting animals and massage is also available. You can also learn to spin wool and knit, if you like.  Our local Diddley Cafe Bar (also wheelchair friendly) has live music on summer Sunday evenings .

26th February 2014 marks a very special celebration for Allan - the 28th anniversary of his heart transplant. On the same day in 2011 (25th Tranniversary) all the family gathered here to join him. We were married on the tenth anniversary and in 2011 we renewed our vows at the shrine of Mare de Deu de la Font, at the river near the house. Allan planted a mimosa tree in the pool garden in honour of his unknown donor. Each flower represents past and future donors and it's a beautiful reminder, lending shade all summer. It's already got lots of flower buds on it.

We have recently signed up for AirBnB to make us more available out of the high season to people who want to rent for shorter periods and share the house with us as bed & breakfast guests and are already pleased with the response.

The idea grew out of our involvement with workaway.info and we have had brilliant, energetic, lovely helpers here out of season for the last two years. They have helped us create our dream by sharing their many skills and ideas in conservation work, landscape gardening, decorating, technical support, keeping the home fires burning and so much more. We can't praise them enough. We have loved their smiling faces, culinary diversity and stories.

We’re looking forward to meeting all ou r new guests, and some old friends next season.

You may arrive as strangers but you all leave as Friends of Casa de La Finestra...

Our home is your home… Bienvenido to our wild river gorge.

Love, Trixie and Allan Taylor

Autumn 2013

It’s still very green here, though it stays pretty green here all the year round and temperatures are still in double figures.

October brought the Aurora Festival, in the nearby 'pueblo' of Villalonga, celebrating all the special birthdays, with a bang! The fireworks are so loud we can sometimes hear them here in El Raco del Duc. Then we had a weekend of the re-enactment of Moors and Christians celebrations.

Marvellous sunsets and the Cirque de La Safor and La Finestra turning red and gold every evening and the lovely balmy nights are here well into November. Our Buddha Garden, down on the terraces overlooking the river is perfect for meditation and sleeping outside… there is a futon, table and chairs and floor cushions and you can even cook down there. It's a bit like being in a tree-house overlooking the lemon tree, the acequia and the river gorge.

The veranda is stacked with logs for the winter and the wood burners will be roaring on chilly nights.

Summer 2013

The new Temple of Therapy, a private space for massage, meditation, relaxation or exercise and yoga in a vine arbour next to the house has proved a great success. Our friend Esther has been busy and is available for energetic, therapeutic or relaxing massage - acupuncture and reiki healing on request.

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Our guests have body-surfed down the river to Bar Diddley and enjoyed the food and music at the bar all summer and chilled out at the beach on the riverside... See ‘Diddley Cafebar’ on Facebook… our nearest bar (live music).

During the summer egrets, purple herons, kingfishers and red kites are visiting us regularly. The golden orioles, serins and swallows have flown, leaving their empty nests for next year but we still have the crag martins spellbinding us with their aerial ballet, view from the kitchen windows. There’s a nest in the pine cone wreath on the front door, built by a wren. Hope she comes back this spring. The hoopoes and many birds of prey are still here. The returning swallows always nest in the under-build (two broods last season, the first feeding the second - amazing!)

We’ve been watching wild boar from the kitchen windows, over on the opposite bank of the river; they’ve also been leaving their marks on the roadside verges, where they've been digging for roots.

The river was great for body-surfing and wild swimming against the current… endlessly, in the same place or there's a 30m lagoon below the house.

At the beaches, 30 minutes away you’ll find miles and miles of perfect white sand; blue flag beaches all the way to Denia where rocky coves and caves are great for snorkelling.

The summer days began with sun salutations and an early morning swims in the river but now it's a leisurely breakfast on the veranda if it's sunny, followed by a tunnel walk with the dogs.

The vine arbour has surpassed all expectations and every year becomes a cool green cave, great for eating one of Santi’s paellas. It turned brilliant red before the leaves fell in autumn.

The carp in the acequia (irrigating the orange groves) went mad for the ripe figs as they dropped into the water. They’re huge, the fish I mean; some are very old. We’ve had lots of keen fishermen and one caught a 15kg carp below the house. He couldn’t lift it so he let it go. We're pleased to tell you that it’s still there!

The organic veg garden down the terraces to the river has been burgeoning and augments the figs and lemons, nisperos, persimmons and an amazing crop of pomegranates.

Our guests from May last year, Emily and Kevin from Birmingham, announced the birth of their twins, Jude Thomas and Lillia Faith… long awaited and much loved.

We welcomed and enjoyed all our summer visitors; families with lovely children, adventurous young people, relaxing parents, energetic grandparents and now the more intrepid walkers and climbers of winter are arriving. Allan's son Paul climbed our beautiful local peak Benicadell (1,100m) and took us gorge-walking down the Baranc de La Safor… a great adventure for us old couch surfers.

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Wild swimming in the river Serpis here at the house has to be one of the most exhilerating experiences available here.  The beautiful mountains that serve as a backdrop to this experience are impressive and makes you feel like you are in your own secluded hideaway.

There is a 30 mtr swimming lagoon here or you can find a place where the current perfectly matches your strength and swim endlessly in the same place.