Adam is British, Maria is Danish. After having lived in England for years, they decided to turn their life all around and start a bed and breakfast in the small town of Huentes, right in the middle of the walking route from Gijón to Covadonga. There they live with their two young daughters. After two difficult years, Adam and Maria have found their way and are enjoying the peaceful life of the countryside.
Obviously the first question is: what on earth drove you to leave your country to start a bed and breakfast here?
Adam: I worked in sales before. But we always wanted to do something like this, to start our own business. A hotel or something like that.
And why specifically here?
Adam: Because we love the area, the views are incredible and it’s so pretty here.
Maria: We also enjoy the tranquility here. The main reason was to be together as a family and do some things together with our daughters. They’re two and four years old. And we always wanted to start in Spain, we have been looking for something like this for years before we found this. Our dream house just happened to be here.
How did you find this specific place?
Adam: We came on a holiday in Northern Spain, that’s why we loved this part of the country. And then we looked online for places that were for sale, and we found this place. Later we came over to look at a few houses. This house fitted in our budget and ticked most of our boxes. We saw it in March 2015, bought it in May and settled by November.
Had you been in Asturias before?
Adam: Yeah, we visited Oviedo and other places. We knew that we wanted to be in Northern Spain, but we always hoped on Asturias. Because it’s quite cheap and very beautiful.
There are many more British in Asturias here, why are they a relatively large group?
Maria: Everybody says that, but we never meet them. That’s perhaps because it’s an isolated region.
Sometimes too isolated?
Maria: At times, we’re used to live in cities. This is a big contrast. It’s really nice, but has some disadvantages too. We mostly miss variety of food.
Adam: Kebab to go out…
Maria: And friends of family close to you. I think that language, especially for Adam, is hard. I just start to get grip on it.
Adam: The first year we wanted to return home. We didn’t enjoyed it in here, and had no help from the previous owner. We found everything very difficult. Now is the first year we like it. And we start to know how to handle things. If we have a job that needs to get done, we know who to call.
And what is the greatest benefit of living here?
Adam: Just being able to do more with the kids. And our business, we now have more the idea that we know why we do it. We can plan it.
Maria: Getting away from the norm.
Adam: And you don’t have to necessarily work every day.
Maria: Recently I went back for the first time to England, in two and a halve years. And as soon as I hit London, I was overwhelmed by all these people. In here you’re excited if you see a person: “Oh my god, there’s a person on the road”. And there it was just too much. I was so glad to know that where I live it’s not like that. We have a calmer life: “It’s 10 o’clock, oh I will do it tomorrow.”
Adam: Or “What day is it?”
Maria: And the food that you get here is more organic. There’s a better range and it tastes better. And it’s very child friendly. In Birmingham there are 30 people in the class, in here only 14. The bus picks them up in the morning, so the only thing we have to do is wake up. The school is in Infiesto.
Are there enough things to do for children?
Adam: No, but that’s because we’re so isolated. In England, there were after school clubs and things like that. But we like to take them to other places for some variety.
And you two never get bored here?
Adam: Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But you have to be grateful for what you have.
Maria: When it rains or it’s cold, I don’t like it that much. Then you don’t want to go outside because it’s non-stop raining.
Adam: Especially the winters are hard.
Maria: Yes, that’s tough. But as soon as the weather is better, not even sunny, you can go out and do stuff.
A horde of cows walks by, making loud noises
How are the people in this area?
Maria: These are our neighbours. They’re farmers and always busy. I think they’re a bit workaholics. They are nice, but different than us.
Adam: You wouldn’t have dinner with them, but they are really friendly.
Maria: We’re lucky that right next doors a family with two little children lives here in the weekend. And we get really well along with them. Our girls play with their two little boys.
How do you see your future here?
Adam: At the moment we’re only looking two or three years ahead and we want to build something up first. When the girls get older, we will move to somewhere else. Because the girls will need a social life.
Maria: But that was the plan all the way. We jumped into this adventure with two feet forward.
Adam: And we’re enjoying it right now, unlike the first year. And now we will stay here for at least two or three years and then we’ll see.
Maria: We always wanted to stay until the girls hit the early teens, before everything gets boring. And then we want to offer them a place with more social possibilities.