Returning home after teaching English in Madrid for several years, Alison didn’t expect to use her Spanish again. After all, there’s not much call for it in rural North Yorkshire. But, as luck would have it, a small company that she’d never heard of, located just four miles down the road, happened to be advertising for a fluent Spanish speaker, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Through work and her own travels, Alison has visited every single province of Spain. Her initial response, if you ask her which part she prefers, is that there are too many to list – she doesn’t want to offend any of the hoteliers who have become friends over the years. However, when pressed, she will eventually confess that her favourite place of all is Rodalquilar in the silent red hills of Almería because she loves the tranquillity and the Mediterranean scrubland. She’s quick to point out, though, that Asturias – which she describes as “a slice of Switzerland, but with Spanish people, cider and sea” – comes a close second, as she fell in love with the north’s rugged green mountains while setting up a walking holiday (her first of many in Spain) in the late 1990s.
When it comes to food, Alison tends to agree with the general consensus that Catalonia has the edge. She doesn’t hesitate at all in naming the home-made peach and goat’s cheese ravioli – “so light, and absolutely sublime” – at the Hotel Llevant on the Catalan Coast as the best meal that she has ever tasted.
As part of her new, expanded role overseeing and co-ordinating the development of our holidays, Alison travels more widely nowadays, but one suspects that it would take somewhere very special to supplant Spain as her number one holiday destination. We’ll keep you posted...