Where: Usún, Navarra, Spain
When: June 2017
What: WWOOF’ing with a family in a remote village in Navarra
We were a bit apprehensive about our next WWOOF’ing place as it is so different to the last, we are staying with a couple and their 10 month old daughter, helping them with their house renovation. What if we don’t like each other and we have nothing to talk about, how will we escape?!
When we arrived our host, Imanól came out to greet us with the biggest smile, he immediately made us feel welcome, we then met our other host, Carmen, his wife, who was equally friendly, and their daughter was so cute. He showed us around our home for the next two weeks, a beautiful 1,000 year old house that they have been renovating for the past 4 years. It had huge windows with amazing views onto the mountains of the pre Pyrenees. They built an indoor tree house/castle for their daughter, with the help of previous WWOOF’ers, so Dylan and Arto were thrilled.
They have done a huge amount of work, converting the house from more or less a shell to make it look as amazing as it does. They’ve built the house to be as eco friendly and sustainable as possible. They grow a lot of fruit and vegetables in their garden, with the aim of being more self sufficient, and they eat only bio/organic foods. We ate so well here, and Dylan suddenly became open to trying anything, he tried a total of 15 new foods in the two weeks that we were here.
Carmen and Imanól needed dry stone walls to be built in their garden around their fruit trees, which would involve a lot of heavy lifting. So, no surprise, they chose Jess for the job, he did most of the work while we were here, Georgie did some work in the beautiful garden.
The village they live in has only 20 other inhabitants. The surrounding area is so beautiful, but not at all touristy. They live right next to the river Salazar, with a few lovely secluded beaches for swimming. There was a bridge over the river that was perfect for jumping from, and rocks nearby for those who don’t think the bridge is high enough. Jess wasted no time and jumped off them both. And after a beer Georgie jumped off the bridge too. It was pretty amazing, the water was so fresh, cool and clear.
Nearby to the house is the Foz d’Arbayun. Our hosts took us there one afternoon for a short hike. The views of the valley below were stunning, and circling above us were dozens of vultures, part of the largest vulture colony in Europe that live here. We were near the edge and the drop was certain death, Arto had been asleep on the way up in the carrier, once he woke up Georgie was pretty keen to go back down, toddlers and sheer drops don’t really go together well.
Every day we took the boys to the nearby horse centre, to look at the horses, which the boys loved. We arranged a horse ride, Dylan was really up for it, and managed a canter, Arto wasn’t too keen to go for a ride on his own.
We had such a great time staying with Carmen, Imanól and Ineka, and we saw a lot of things that you wouldn’t necessarily see as a tourist, so it makes the WWOOF’ing even more worthwhile.