Stealing beauty of Cortijo del Marqués in Spain
We are driving along a long, bumpy and dusty track to Cortijo del Marqués. Well, Emma is driving. I’m watching the old Spanish villa peak up over the olive trees, and wondering if, just perhaps, we’ve stumbled onto the set of a Bertolucci film.
If I was the kind of girl who carried a sketchbook and paints, I would stop right here for a few hours to record the moment.
Sadly, despite my mother’s best efforts, watercolours have never been my thing. And I’m more the kind of girl who carries hand-luggage only and wants to drink her body weight in cava if the weekend allows it.
The screen-stealing moments punctuate the days in this 19th-century Andalusian manor house, which nestles in the rolling, sunflower-dotted countryside outside Granada, surrounded by fields of olive trees, and very little else.
After making our way along that long bumpy track, we enter through barn doors, the dust still swirling from the parked car, trek through the barn and into the grounds where cicadas and a few sprinklers are the loudest noises – although I’m assured, when it’s taken over for a party, this entrance makes a pretty good dance floor.
A few steps away, there’s a picture-perfect courtyard with tinkling fountain and lemon trees, and a tiny pool which bounces light off the painted walls around it.
I think it’s ok to gush when it’s all so quaint. I text a recently engaged friend within moments of arriving to suggest it as wedding venue.
There are just 15 terracotta-tiled rooms here, some tucked up in the eaves of the main house, others dotted around the courtyard. Wrought iron beds, and free-standing baths abound, with windows looking out onto the olive groves.
We survive, just about, on plates and plates of Manchego cheese, meat-heavy meals being the norm on the evening set menu, and my body, yoga-honed from an intensive stint of classes over the summer, relinquishes itself back into the arms of normality.
And when the olive-tree vistas start to blur, zip along the motorway to Grenada for a speedy injection of people, of sights, (of green vegetables) before retreating quickly back to the charm of old-school Andalusia.