Below you see the village of Guaro in the province of Malaga.
Now, Guaro has a surface of 80 sqkm so this photo is of the pueblo only – the village.
All the rest around it, all the other 75 sqms… are campo. Field.
Up to only a few decades ago, you lived in the pueblo and worked in the campo.
The pueblo is always constructed on a rock or marble plate, to provide maximum stability. Its alleys are narrow as protection against the sun and wind. The houses look over one another, so that you always have a floor that never gets the sun and a floor that always gets the sun. The corner deepest into the rock and thus the most cool area became the kitchen.
Here you find all the bars and post-office and gym and grocery stores.
You could almost say: the pueblo is the capital of the whole village.
It goes without saying: in this pueblo you care very little for views or light: as a matter of fact these are the things you really want to run away from after a day of working in the campo!! You want tranquility, shade, cosiness… an urban retreat so to speak.
And then the glorious campo!
That’s where you walked to in the morning – and hid from the burning sun under a tree, which was the origin of the siesta.
For the olives, the almonds, the lemons, the oranges, the figs, the dates, the… every fruit under the sun. Mainly olives and almonds though, for these do not need irrigation channels… the rain is sufficient.
In the 1980s some people started to convert their tool shed into a weekend house, suitable for the occasional barbecue or a family retreat. In the 1990s many a foreigner started to convert those weekend houses into ‘real‘ houses… and then came that unexpected boom of 2000-2007 in which people did whatever, while there were no laws in place yet.
Since 2012 it has become illegal to construct in the campo.
All over Andalusia.
And all properties are going through a process of legalisation-after-the-facts.
That construction stop is – obviously – wonderful. It has been put in place just in time. A few years later and whole valleys would look like villa resorts. For it’s in the campo that most foreigners buy property… views and space being what they lack in their home countries and are attracted to most.
‘And a middle road’?
Estate Agents in Andalusia hear it 10 times a day:
“I would like a property in the campo but within walking distance to the village”.
Suggesting that the suburb is the ideal lifestyle for many a western European.
In Andalusia that would destroy the neat division between the 2 worlds – but every village does have a few properties that fit this description. And as always: when the demand is this high, the price is higher too.
I have heard estate agents say: “The best of both worlds“.
And clients reply: “And the worst of both worlds“.
Which is spot on.
Your decision will be which universe you like most, the pueblo or the campo.
(Me myself live in a pueblo, for having everything within walking distance, all grocery stores and bars and places to eat up to gym and pool and doctor and you name it. The campo is a dream for later though).
Photo: Andalusia is equipped for its campo: fire fighters are on the spot within minutes.
Fire, that one trauma of the campo. Not criminality, not pollution, but hot and dry months do result in a high awareness of fire risk.