The whole world is changing. Everything is different. After weeks on lockdown and the contact ban, everyone is slowly approaching their limits. Finca Vegana is not exempt from that, Spain being one of the countries hardest hit by the corona crisis. Those businesses which provide essential items or services remain open but everything else has been forced to shut down. The normally bustling streets are empty and the few people you do see hide behind face masks. Fear is written on many faces.
Leaving the house is only allowed in exceptional circumstances, otherwise it has been prohibited since March 14th. Those being grocery shopping, picking up medication, taking care of a family member in need and going to work, if you still have a job, that’s it. Apart from that, everything is closed, Spain has lain dormant for weeks. Restaurants and bars have not even been allowed to offer takeaway. The hustle and bustle, the loud, fun-loving Spaniards and the Caballeros at the market place are sorely missed here.
A new normal
Now, six weeks later, a new normal is slowly emerging. When we leave the finca to go shopping, it is a journey into a strange world. The access roads to town have manned checkpoints where you can expect to have your personal details recorded as well as the reason for your visit. On some days, your car will even be disinfected with bleach, without your permission. Men in hazmat suits stand at the ready to spray the vehicle from top to bottom. Twice a week the walkways of the surrounding villages are also disinfected.
Then the adventure begins. Join the queue, wait in line, disinfect your hands, put on gloves, maintain the safe distance and preferably pay by card. Since many shops here in the country are so small, only one person may enter at a time. Of course, that doesn’t stop the Spaniards from chatting and asking about the well-being of the whole family. Including the great great aunt and her grandchildren 🙂 But at least it’s nice to see that they have not lost their disposition for being social and don’t allow themselves to be rushed.
We can count ourselves lucky to spend the lockdown here on a large piece of land in the middle of nature. The property is even big enough that we can go jogging. The Finca Loop is about 500m long and the path is well trodden by now. This is our new reality in this strange time. We try to maintain a sense of normalcy by sticking to our daily routines. Start the day with yoga, get out in the fresh air, a hot tea with ginger and fresh mint from the garden and then a family breakfast. Then it’s off to work, because yes, there’s no shortage of that here.
Most of the time, James starts the day with repairs or takes on projects for which there was no time before Corona. Each house now has outdoor lighting with motion detectors and the main paths are also illuminated. New seating areas have been created by the stream and long-forgotten hammocks have found a shady home. Storage areas have been cleaned out and organised, creating a lot more usable space. Self-crafted Macrame baskets decorate the houses and the long-awaited vegetable garden has finally become a reality.
If we are completely honest, we are enjoying the quiet life that this situation has forced upon us. We are grateful to have so much time with Lenny and as a family. Lenny spends a lot more quality time with mum and dad now than in the pre-Corona finca routine. Sometimes we take the time to simply cuddle in bed for an hour in the morning. The three of us have bonded and grown as a family.
The measures taken to curb the spread of the corona virus affect everyone in one form or another. For us, it means that the gates to our little paradise have been closed since mid-March. It also means that at the moment we have no idea when we will be able to welcome guests again. The Spanish borders may well remain closed to tourists until the end of the year. Financially, that would mean total collapse for us. But that’s not the only challenge we are facing.
The long overdue repairs to the pool are on hold, since we neither have the necessary tools nor are we able to get tradesmen here. For now, it is a huge construction site: large sections of mosaic tiles have been removed and holes have been dug to lay new pipes. The lawn has grown so long that Lenny can hide in it because the lawnmower has broken down. Since we are not allowed to leave to have the mower repaired nor to collect the spare parts and repair it ourselves, we must simply be patient.
A glimpse into the future
Under the current circumstances, Finca Vegana will not last long. No tourism means no income. There is a great deal of uncertainty, the future for us and many other people is unknown. As soon as the travel restrictions are lifted, the finca will surely be a coveted destination: pure nature, space to move freely and away from it all. But understandably nobody is booking a holiday right now, because nobody knows what the future holds.
But we are not ready to give up just yet. Behind the scenes, Nina continues to take care of the virtual side of the business such as the website, communication with guests and social media. We also launched a crowdfunding campaign just over a week ago. With the support of our community we want to ensure the continued existence of our little oasis. For more information and to find out how you can support us, click here.
We have made it this far with confidence and a good dose of courage. We took over the finca in the space of a weekend and it has since become more than a passion-project for us. It is our life and we have a vision. In addition to the vacation rentals, we dream of a small bistro with a plastic-free store, run by our community of like-minded people. A sanctuary, where rescued animals roam free and are part of our life. And, of course, we want to capture the energy of the sun to power the finca, to name a few of our dreams. Our vision is of a place that inspires people – while leaving the smallest possible ecological footprint.
This place, which is so dear to so many people, will survive this crisis. We just need your support to get us there and in the meantime, we will continue to prepare the finca for your next visit.
We wish you and your loved ones health and happiness and hope that you can turn this extraordinary situation into a positive experience. The eternal optimists, we look forward to welcoming you back to our paradise soon.
Nina, James and Lenny