Jane and Andrew Price, in one of the rooms decorated with his paintings. / J. A.

Globetrotters who fell in love with Moclinejo

The couple were not planning to move permanently but have been here for over 20 years

JAVIER ALMELLONES

Canada, Italy and France are just some of the countries that Andrew and Jane Price have visited or even lived in, in the past, but for more than two decades now this British couple have now been living in Moclinejo, one of the villages on the Ruta de la Pasa, or Raisin Route.

"It happened by accident, really," explains Jane, who has been a nurse all her life but also assists her husband, who began his artistic career more than 50 years ago.

They arrived on the coast of the Axarquía in 1999 and stayed at a property called El Niño in Benajarafe for over a month while they held painting classes for foreign residents in the area.

They were enchanted by the light and the colours of the most easterly part of Malaga, which they visited often, and in the year 2000 they started to look for a house to buy.

At first they looked in Benajarafe and the immediate area but didn't find what they were looking for until some time afterwards.

"Luckily", says Jane, they saw an old, run-down building in the centre of Moclinejo, opposite the church of Nuestra Señora de Gracia.

At that time Andrew was in his early sixties, but he and Jane, who is nine years younger, decided to do whatever work was necessary on the building to turn it into their temporary residence in the area.

Their idea was to spend six months of the year in Moclinejo and the other six months in London.

"But gradually we began spending more time here, and we eventually came to live here permanently," Jane says.

There, Andrew set up his studio, next to a spacious Andalusian patio, and so began their life in La Axarquía, a region which had captivated them with its blue sky.

Over time, they took the opportunity to buy two properties next door and did them up to turn them into holiday accommodation.

This then gave the couple an extra source of income from the adjoining property, which is accessed through an inside courtyard.

They have created a cosy and welcoming atmosphere in their three properties, where they have respected the traditional style, and many of Andrew's paintings adorn the walls. As a result, it feels like being in an art gallery.

As well as the courtyards, with a fountain providing the background music, the rooms are tidy and tastefully decorated with a decidedly Andalusian feel.

The terraces are the perfect height to enjoy spectacular panoramic views, and there is even a telescope to bring them closer to the stars, because the light pollution in Moclinejo is lower than other parts of Malaga province.

Although Andrew and Jane are not completely fluent in Spanish, they say that from the start their neighbours have been very friendly and they do everything possible to integrate into everyday life of this village in the Axarquía.

"We were surprised that within a few days of arriving here, some neighbours gave us a 'pan de San Marcos', which is known as Palomita in the village and is very typical of the area," Jane says.

This pastry with a boiled egg inside was a simple gift, but made with love for a couple who are themselves much-loved now in this delightful village, which is situated second line to the beach.

The British and Andalusian accents may sound very different, but everyone understands each other despite the differences.

Jane and Andrew like to take part in the social life of the village, whether at the fair, during cultural week or other activities.

Nor do they fail in their support for a local animal shelter which survives thanks to people's donations.

They can be seen almost every month on the terrace of Bar Reyes with other residents, many of whom are foreign, enjoying a meal organised to raise more funds for the association.

With a lifestyle like this, they have no intention of moving from Moclinejo. In fact, they only leave occasionally to spend a few days in the UK, where they normally stay on board their boat.

However, apart from during the pandemic there has always been a constant stream of relatives and friends coming to stay, all of whom, like them, have been enchanted by the delights of the Raisin Route.

"They love our house and everything around us," Jane says.

The first year of the pandemic confirmed their belief that Moclinejo was the best place they could be when much of Europe was confined to small apartments.

"Also, the people of Moclinejo, the shops and the council were there to assist us with whatever we needed, all the time," they say.