This is the first in a series of mini articles from local residents to give you a picture of what each village is like…
Mi Pueblo – Restabal, by Danielle Gouwens
Let’s start with some facts: Restabal is a smallish village in the municipality of El Valle, together with Saleres and Melegís. It’s set in the heart of the ´Lecrin Valley´, which apparently means the “Valley of Happiness”, although there are some other thoughts as to its origin. They say the Valley was given its name by the Moors and I reckon it’s one of the most appropriately named areas of Spain!
Restabal has a population of 517 inhabitants (last count!) and is situated at an altitude of 541.1 meters above sea level. The inhabitants of Restabal are called Restabeños and even have their own dialect (Restabalín).
The village has three fiestas: San Cristóbal y Nuestra Señora del Rosario in December; a 3-day celebration in honor of Santa Ana around the 26th of July and on the 13th of May the Romeria de la Virgen de Fátima, with a procession the following Sunday, culminating in a big picnic with lots of food, drink and dancing.
We also have three monuments and the remains of a Moorish castle, although if you’re thinking of paying it a visit, be warned, there’s not much left!
The Beauty of Restabal
Every time I drive back from Melegis towards Restabal, I’m always filled with a mixture of happiness and pride, because it’s such a lovely setting with the pine forest in the background and the white-washed houses popping in the sun surrounded by orange groves and views down to the embalse de Beznar.
Daily life is very easy going. In the morning you greet the farmers on their way to the campo to tend to their vegetables and orchards, donkeys pass in the streets as if the industrial revolution never happened around here, and there is always a friendly welcome in the local supermarket – actually there are three of them.
A variety of people visit our village, both Spanish and international and having my office in Restabal I am often in the privileged position of welcoming people who have never been to this area before. Almost without exception, people fall in love with the area and our little pueblo.
Things to do
Apart from long walks in stunning scenery, which I personally love to do, the area is also great for cycling with some fantastic routes all over the valley, but many around Restabal itself. At the weekends particularly, you see a great many cyclists making their way through the village with the odd one or two stopping en route for a quick drink on the roadside at Arcos De Manuel or Bar Jovi.
The sports ground/campo deportivo at the top of the village often stages parties and events like Flamenco evenings, but like most things in Spain, they don’t usually start until around 11o/c at night, so make sure you have a siesta first!
As all the Lecrin Valley residents know and appreciate, Granada is pretty much on our doorstep and the beaches of the Costa Tropical are only half an hour the other way, so we’re in an amazing position of both rural life and closeness to the city and coast.
Restabal is a beautiful village with a warm heart and very friendly people, breathtaking views and surrounding scenery. Ultimately I wouldn’t be anywhere else. It’s a place I feel very much at home and although we´ll always be the “guiri” (a colloquial Spanish name used in Spain applied to foreigners), in the good sense of the word, the more time you spend here, the more you end up feeling like a true Restabeño!
Danielle runs real estate agency, At Home in Andalusia (www.athomeinandalusia.com).