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Salamanca (35km away)
All Year: yes
Area (ha): O
Persons: up to 8
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 3368
Country: Spain

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Last Updated: May 23, 2018

I live in and am working on a 15th C palace in the main square of a small, medieval, walled, hill-top town. At the back, the house has views of open country but it only has a small patio. Don Beltrán played a noteworthy part in Spanish history and the plan is to make the palace into a visitor centre which will include a cafe, and a space in which visitors can see and hear a theatrical presentation of that history. In a separate part of the house, there will be a sales space (crafts, products of the area? etc) and in the longer term, a proper restaurant.

Any help in and around the house will be welcome. There are always things to get on with but I am easy going as far as putting my guests to work is concerned. What I really value is good company and conversation. Meals are always communal, and at busy times, help with cooking is a real bonus.

There is a very roomy music room with grand piano, guitars and recorders. This room is heated in winter by a large 15th C log fire. Another room has a full size table tennis table. There is no TV in the house, but there's a sound system in every room.

Don't worry if your travel plans are vague, some guests stay for weeks, others for just a few nights. But a couple of weeks is usually needed to really get the best from the area.

Good food and good drink are part and parcel of palace living. Just about any diet can be readily catered for. Meat, fish and vegan are everyday fare, but those with special diets should let me know before arriving so I can get appropriate ingredients from Salamanca.

The area is an angler's, bird-watcher's and wild flower enthusiast's paradise, is brilliant for walking, is seething with wild life including wild boar, lizards, hares and various eagles, vultures and bats. You can swim in the rivers, in the lake or, in July and August, in the public open-air pool. There's an all-season indoor pool 20 minutes away.

On the River Tormes - 35 kms from the bustling university city of Salamanca - Ledesma has recently joined the very select band of towns and villages with the accolade "Most beautiful in Spain". It is very small (though definitely a town) and generally the area is very quiet and is recognised as one of the least polluted parts of Europe. A quiet corner of Portugal is also less than an hour away - the terrain both sides of the border is an international natural park, and semi wild. The human population is low generally.

The palace is made of stone and there is no real need for air-conditioning. In winter wood is burnt both in pot-stoves and in the large open fire. There is no central heating. A large brick-built oven is planned.

Outside it can get very hot in high summer. 30º plus is very common in the afternoons from mid-June into September. It is usually pleasantly cool in the mornings and during night.

Large quantities of home made ice-cream or vegan sorbet is always in the freezer and new ideas for flavours will be welcome.

I usually discourage my guests from making comments (even if they'd be favourable!). Over the years I have had hundreds of guests and quite a few have made repeat visits. I think I probably want to encourage visits from people who would not take much notice of comments anyway.

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