In fact, the double room, as can be seen in the photo on the right has another window that looks across to the steep hills that enclose both sides of the village...

Everything about the house is simple and modest in keeping with the village and guests have remarked that the simplicity is something that is integral to their enjoyment of the place.

Casa Fidel is a place to meditate, take stock, write, think, read, slow down and relax...

Casa Fidel is only 40 minutes away from Almeria International Airport which means that after a relatively short flight from the UK and a short drive, guests are quickly transported from one dynamic into another almost seamlessly. Often, retreats are by their nature quite isolated and take hours to get to...making long weekends impractical and even longer stays somewhat stressful at the start.

Casa Fidel is easy to get to and yet feels like a long, long way from anywhere. Within a very short time of touching down on Spanish soil guests are feeling the benefits of the peace and tranquility on offer.

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As well as the double bedroom with bathroom en-suite,the first floor of Casa Fidel has 3 twin bedrooms and another bathroom as well as a spacious landing with a door that leads onto yet another small balcony and stairs accessing the barbeque area and finally the roof terrace.

Depending on how many people are using Casa Fidel at any one time, room(s) can be used for study/ writing, for music, reading or just a bit of individual space when needed...

The house is fully equiped with sheets, pillow cases, blankets and duvets.

100 metres from the house is a terrace of 6 purpose built holiday homes (casa rurales) owned by the village.

These houses are designed for self catering guests and come fully equipped. They comprise one double bedroom and one twin bedroom as well as shared bathroom, kitchen lounge with fireplace and terrace with awning for shade in summer...

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Three of the bedrooms in Casa Fidel offer spectacular views over the rooftops of the village and down the valley where, at night, the lights of Tabernas can be seen.

Although Castro has no shops there are regular mobile services available...

Twice a week a van arrives in the 'plaza' selling bread, once a week there's a 'man with a van' selling fish, once a week a van with meat arrives and on Saturdays there's a fruit and veg seller...

All very handy, since quite often one isn't in the mood to face anything more that the peace and tranquility of the village...

Having said that, 15 minutes drive down the valley and you're in the market town of Tabernas. Market Day is every Wednesday and there are some great things to be seen and indeed bought.

The rest of the week, Tabernas is a convenient place to stock up with provisions; it has it's own supermarket and lots of small, specialist shops.

Another 15 or 20 minutes will see you in Almeria where you can park your car easily and visit an enormous air conditioned mall...

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Casa Fidel is large enough for everyone to have enough personal space to themselves as well as areas where everyone can gather.

The room on the right is at the moment used for music and meditation and reading...but it is simple to change the usage of the rooms depending on the needs of the guests.

Bearing in mind that the 'casas rurales' in the village accomodate up to 24 people then it is perfectly possible to have large gatherings in Castro using Casa Fidel as a hub of activity.

The 100 sq metre roof terrace is offers sufficient space for yoga classes of 20 should that be needed.

Tables and chairs can be set up on the roof terrace for large communal meals...

The possibilities are enormous.

Anyone looking for a location for a retreat of any kind might like to consider all the elements here and compare them with other venues.

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Another 'must' is a visit to Cabo de Gata which is a national park and as such is the only part of the coast in Southern Spain that is free from development.

A short drive from the village of San Jose can be found unspoilt beaches with pristine, clear water perfect for swimming, snorkelling and sun-bathing. There is even one beach devoted entirely to naturism...

There aren't many beaches in the world like the ones you'll find in Cabo de Gata...never mind in Spain!

Another great trip out from Casa Fidel is to the Alhambra Palace in Granada. This World Heritage Site needs little or no 'selling'.

It is a masterpiece...and only a 90 minute drive from Casa Fidel.

Follow the road up into the mountains behind Granada and you find youselves in Europe's most unlikely ski resort, Sol y Nieve.

In winter this is a great place to visit to really give your Andalucian vacation another dimension.

Half an hour from Casa Fidel, down in the City of Almeria, you'll find exceptional Moroccan restaurants with authentic North African cuisine and if that doesn't satisfy you, across the road, 100 metres from the best Moroccan eaterie is a ferry that'll take you across to Africa where you can connect with the Moorish ancestors of Spain.

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In Castro heritage is taken seriously, not only with the preservation of the old irrigation systems but allso the architecture.

To that end a small museum/exhibition gallery has been constructed devoted to traditional architecture and traditional building techniques.

This is truly an extraordinary achievement for such a small village but illustrates to some degree the quality of the self esteem that Castro as a community possesses.

Although the villages respect each others privacy and space, they do take an interest and are most welcoming and indeed proud that poeple from far away should choose their village to visit...

The only way to appreciate Casa Fidel and Castro de Filabres is to visit, stay there a few days and let the place work its gentle magic.

Whenever you're ready...

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The photo on the left shows the en-suite bathroom that the double bedroom enjoys and which includes a full sized bath with instant hot water from an electric boiler.

Of course, one can use the shower if pressed for time...

Castro de Filabres stands at an altitude of 1000 metres, almost the height of Snowdon...so the air is immaculate.

When the folks are roasting down on the coast in high summer, the elevation that Castro enjoys makes the village somewhat more mellow and pleasant than the scorching heat at sea level.

The village has its own swimming pool which is open to everyone in the summer months and is just a few minutes walk from the house.

There is also a free internet facility available to visitors.

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Many of the original walls of the house are still in place and they are very thick which means that the house is relatively cool in summer and it retains the heat in winter.

All the hot water from the kitchen, the bath and showers and so on all come from an electric boiler which is housed downstairs in the toilet/cloakroom.

Switching on the boiler, on arrival is simplicity itself and hot water is available on demand after that.

This is worth mentioning as people who have visited Spain before will know, often hot water is produced using butane gas cylinders which are cumbersome and can be complicated.

Casa Fidel is constructed to be user friendly...

The drive at the back of the house is lined with almond and fig trees and guests are welcome to help themselves when the fruits are 'in season'.

You can help yourself to the pomegranates and prickly pears too...the area is astonishingly bountiful.

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Although Casa Fidel is in a village, you find yourself within seconds in the hills and indeed mountains that surround Castro de Filabres.

Swallows and swifts fly around the roof terrace and in the hills behind the house pheasant and quail are in abundance.

Indeed, for those not of a vegan persuasion, quails' eggs are available in Tabernas for a veritable pittance and make for an excellent 'tapas'...or they can be eaten, instead of chicken eggs, for breakfast.

Recently there has been a lot of work done making it easy for walkers to enjoy the surrounding hills, with clearly marked, freshly cleared path, making it a delight to amble around, particularly for those who are not used to serious hill walking...although, further up the mountain, serious hill-walkers will find themselves well challenged.

Each day the goatherd takes his animals from their pen and off for a day's grazing. The tinkling, clonking bells around the goats' necks are a soothing sound...

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At Casa Fidel you feel you've left the rest of the world a long, long way away....and you have, but not to the point where you need to feel isolated in any way.

When you're good and ready, you are faced with an amazing list of options in terms of places to visit, things to do...

In the immediate vicinity there are the walks where you experience true wilderness... but only 15 minutes down the valley in the car is the Desert of Tabernas, the only 'official' desert in Europe and the location for many well known films including the Sergio Leone trilogy, 'For a Fistful of Dollars', 'For a Few Dollars More' and 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly'.

These classic movies were as much defined by the visually arresting locations as their were by Leone's use of the extreme close up, Eastwood's Zen-like delivery and Ennio Morricone's haunting sountrack.

You can visit this cultural Mecca and see some of the film sets that have been preserved and you hire a horse and ride in the hoof prints of countless desperados and the odd enigmatic hero...

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Although many of the people born in the village have moved away due to marriage or a desire to pursue a career other than in agriculture, many still remain in the village.

Some still work the surrounding fields thought it's fair to say nothing near as many as before.

However, one thing that the village has committed itself to is the maintainance of the ancient Moorish irrigation systems.

The Moors occupied much of Spain for 700 years until they were finally expelled by Ferdinand and Isabel's troops in 1492.

The Fall of Granada in that year saw the end of the Muslim rule in Iberia.

The Moors brought many things to Spain including a system of irrigation that permitted the cultivation of small parcels of land on terraced slopes.

This incredible heritage was in serious danger of being lost through neglect with the inevivably movement to the cities of the 60's and 70's but fortunately the Spanish have come to value their patrimony and in Castro every effort is being made to maintain the irrigation systems whether theyre being used for cultivation or not.

Pat on the back, I'm sure you'll agree...

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