Cover of the book Magical Mountain Stories by Laura Campbell
© Brenda Higgins

After fourteen years living in this beautiful part of Spain I should be used to the views. The mountain that shields us from the harsh Granada winters, the chance to see the Atlas mountains in the distance and the the rugged hills filled with olive and almond trees. I don't think I will ever grow tired of the scenery. As the day turns to night and the seasons change so does the countryside. The colours and the cloud formations, the shadows and the light. Mount Maroma sits behind the village and it's look changes by the hour. It was these absolutely amazing views that inspired me to write the books.

We moved house and with the house came a dog. Florentinos' owner works long hours and it was decided I would walk him. I became his doggy nanny.

Laura Campbell

He made me walk and I realised the walking was good for my mind and my physical health. I found peace on those walks. My mind would calm and I was able to think clearly. Sometimes my youngest daughter would join me on the walks. We would pack a simple picnic and head off to explore. Often a friend would come along. Jose, Noor, Roman, Raquel... who ever happened to be playing at our house. I watched at how happy they were. Running up the tracks, stopping to paddle, to drink at a cool fountain. We would find treasures along the way and stop to snack on our picnics. I watched at how Jose would show Ines the best way to climb on a horse, where to find the yummiest blackberries and how to scale a difficult wall to climb.

One day I was walking with both my daughters and we were laughing at Florentino. I joked I should write a book about him. They laughed and then I really started to think. I wondered if I knew how to write a book? Would anyone read it? I knew I had an idea, two tales in each book. Three books a year. To tell stories about children living in rural Andalucia. To include details about the countryside, an escape for parents at the end of a busy day, an adventure story for children. We then decided it would be a good idea to include five Spanish words in each magical tale. Ten Spanish words per book was a good way for readers to learn Spanish without it becoming boring or overwhelming.

An old friend contacted me when she heard I was planning to write the books. Brenda Higgins is an Irish artist. Warm hearted and a good soul. She has lived in Spain for almost as long as I have. She offered to do the illustrations and I jumped for joy. The drawings are just as much part of the book as the stories and I feel very blessed to have her by my side.

Magical Mountain StoriesThe first book is simply called 'Magical Mountain Stories, book 1'. It is available on Amazon and Kindle. It includes two stories; 'The Wild Horse' and 'The Saints Crown'. Another book shall follow this summer and a third at the end of Autumn. I have a competition running and the prize is that the winner can choose to have two childrens' names included in the third book. All that is needed to enter the competItion is to click the 'like' button on the 'Magical Mountain Stories' facebook page. The winner shall be announced on the page once I reach 500 likes.

I feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world and I hope that readers can escape to this magical land whilst reading the stories.

Hasta pronto!


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From THE Netherlands to B&B in ANDALUSIA

For us, moving abroad was always beyond any doubt, but one of the biggest question to answer was where to go to. Finally, after some deliberation, we decided to go to the Axarquia region in Andalusia. With the help of Second Home Andalusia we started Cortijo La Zapatera, our beautiful Bed & Breakfast.


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Authentic Finca in Andalusia

After many years of spending holidays and short breaks in Andalusia we finally realised our old dream of buying an authentic property in the Andalusian interior; with the help of Second Home Andalusia we fell in love with a renovated old finca with beautiful grounds including olive and fruit trees, our own vineyard and spectacular views towards the Mediterranean Sea and its lovely sunsets.


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Cosy finca in Arenas with a mango farm

When Sjaak took early retirement in the beginning of 2016 the idea of having a house in Spain came to mind again. Affected by our friends René and Sonja, who had just bought a house in the Axarquia and by Jan and Marita, our friends who have been living in the Axarquia for several years now..


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Finca with a nice view on Canillas de Aceituno

Actually, we have never had the intention to buy a house in Spain, but when we started thinking about our retirement and we realized that we liked coming to Andalusia, we then contacted Second Home Andalusia to talk about the options. Their help was crucial in the whole proces; now we are the proud owners of a beautiful Finca near the white village of Canillas de Aceituno.


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Our own holiday home in a white village

My wife and I have been visiting Sedella and the Axarquia since 2001 and our first visit we had been harboring the dream of owning our own property here. In early 2016 our long-held dream became a reality, without any worries, and that is entirely down to the team at Second Home Andalusia! 

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