Amanda has always had a love affair with Spain. It started at school with her aptitude for languages, spread through her first degree (Spanish) and a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) placement in Teruel, Aragon.
Before we met I had no exposure to Iberia (neither the airline or the place) and after a couple of holidays I was thrown in at the deep end when we spent the earliest part of our married life (indeed our honeymoon and the subsequent eight months) living in Madrid. I was working for Union Electrica Fenosa as a computer consultant, Amanda practiced her Castilian and honed her shopping skills.
We returned to the UK in the spring of 1993 and set up home in West Yorkshire where we have lived ever since, although making frequent trips to all parts of Spain, and an annual pilgrimage (not of the Santiago de Compostela type) to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu to watch 'Los Galacticos'.
Early in 2009 we both decided that life must offer something different to the M62 daily grind, the humdrum of the fifty-hour working week, and a life spent looking forward to four weeks of annual vacations. It was a simultaneous thing, perhaps something to do with hitting forty, we both wanted a new challenge, something to sink our teeth into, and a total change.
Plenty of internet research into areas, culture, property prices, and the potential for tourism focused our search on the autonomous community of Galicia, the area above Portugal on the Atlantic coast. Frequent flights from good old bucket carriers EasyJet and RyanAir as well as Vueling from Heathrow, meant that the area was very accessible. After months of planning we made our first inspection trip in November 2009.
We were instantly in love, despite the rain and the wind, Galicia was magical.
Five trips later (more to follow about these over coming weeks) and after viewing about fifty properties in various states of repair in all corners of the region we fell in love with massive, rambling, wrecked property in the small village of Liñeiras close to A Pontenova near the border where Galicia seamlessly blends into the equally interesting and beautiful principality of Asturias.
Ramon and Julio of Spanish Country Cottages showed us, and then helped us to buy the property and after many fraught and nervous e-mails to our gestoria (a cross between a solicitor and a helper through Spanish bureaucracy) we had the keys and the deeds and our beautiful two acres of Spain.
Now the fun really begins.