A two-hour drive from Madrid took us through ancient forests that opened up to steep cavernous canyons and through a cowboy-like desert where it is hot in the day and freezing at night. In the still mid afternoon sun we pulled up outside of a rescued salt farm.
The house is a marvel of sensitive recreation. It remains true to its roots; the stone is unplastered and little samphire plants grow in the cobbled flats, there are huge fireplaces and an enviable library. There are no other buildings in sight but a sunset over a gorge that leads to a small river fishing village. This is an untouched gem.
On the Saturday we wandered to the local town to eat grilled goat and visit the Cathedral, built with Moorish arches and a tomb with an elegant Arab nose.
With the presence of a tanker, it is the only building in sight. It was erected when salt was almost as valuable as gold. Now the holding water tank is partly a pool, partly a party-place.
A true lesson in how to work with your environment and not against it.