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A tour round El Valero

A tour round El Valero

  • Chris Stewart breakfasts al fresco: one piece of toast with olive oil, cayenne pepper, fresh tomato, salt and pepper; the other with bitter orange and honey.
    1Chris Stewart breakfasts al fresco: one piece of toast with olive oil, cayenne pepper, fresh tomato, salt and pepper; the other with bitter orange and honey.
  • The tomatoes are grown on his own property.
    2The tomatoes are grown on his own property.
  • Stewart shears a sheep belonging to his neighbor Bernardo (left).
    3Stewart shears a sheep belonging to his neighbor Bernardo (left).
  • Órgiva, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, is the capital of the Alpujarras. Around a quarter of the 5,900 inhabitants are foreign, half of them British.
    4Órgiva, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, is the capital of the Alpujarras. Around a quarter of the 5,900 inhabitants are foreign, half of them British.
  • Chris talks to Bernardo, whose adventures in the Guadalfeo valley are among Stewart’s main sources of inspiration.
    5Chris talks to Bernardo, whose adventures in the Guadalfeo valley are among Stewart’s main sources of inspiration.
  • Chris feeding his sheep. He keeps the lambs with their mothers away from the pregnant animals. He used to sell lamb, but now keeps sheep for personal consumption only.
    6Chris feeding his sheep. He keeps the lambs with their mothers away from the pregnant animals. He used to sell lamb, but now keeps sheep for personal consumption only.
  • Ana and Chris like to spend as much time as possible in their garden, enjoying the cool of the summer evenings with a glass of wine.
    7Ana and Chris like to spend as much time as possible in their garden, enjoying the cool of the summer evenings with a glass of wine.
  • Chris Stewart holds up a photograph of El Valero taken in 1988 when he bought it for the equivalent of €30,000. “I was spellbound that day.”
    8Chris Stewart holds up a photograph of El Valero taken in 1988 when he bought it for the equivalent of €30,000. “I was spellbound that day.”
  • Chris in the kitchen he built at El Valero. For many years he lacked enough electricity to power a fridge or freezer. He says he loves cooking.
    9Chris in the kitchen he built at El Valero. For many years he lacked enough electricity to power a fridge or freezer. He says he loves cooking.
  • Chris’s characteristic glasses make him easy to identify.
    10Chris’s characteristic glasses make him easy to identify.
  • Chris and his wife Ana have converted a former lean-to into a library. They avoid leaving El Valero, and the room’s shelves are filled with books relating to journeys they made before coming here.
    11Chris and his wife Ana have converted a former lean-to into a library. They avoid leaving El Valero, and the room’s shelves are filled with books relating to journeys they made before coming here.
  • Chris spent £125 on this edition of ‘Old Spain’ by Gertrude and Muirhead Bone in 1974. He says it cost him several weeks’ pay.
    12Chris spent £125 on this edition of ‘Old Spain’ by Gertrude and Muirhead Bone in 1974. He says it cost him several weeks’ pay.
  • Chris Stewart crosses the makeshift bridge he built that separates his valley from civilization. This is the eighth attempt in 27 years, and took him two days to construct. “The river can turn into a raging torrent very quickly,” he says.
    13Chris Stewart crosses the makeshift bridge he built that separates his valley from civilization. This is the eighth attempt in 27 years, and took him two days to construct. “The river can turn into a raging torrent very quickly,” he says.
  • Chris with a photograph of the first Genesis lineup: he’s on the far right. He only played on one track, ‘The Silent Sun,’ which appeared on the band’s debut album. Since then, he says he’s never listened to their music.
    14Chris with a photograph of the first Genesis lineup: he’s on the far right. He only played on one track, ‘The Silent Sun,’ which appeared on the band’s debut album. Since then, he says he’s never listened to their music.
  • Chris and Ana descend their “Spanish Steps,” designed by a friend from New Zealand. It leads to what they call the Path of Contemplation and to a botanical garden they have created.
    15Chris and Ana descend their “Spanish Steps,” designed by a friend from New Zealand. It leads to what they call the Path of Contemplation and to a botanical garden they have created.
  • Chris and Ana, seen reflected in the mirror of their library.
    16Chris and Ana, seen reflected in the mirror of their library.
  • Chris Stewart in the library, where he says he spends most of his free time over the winter.
    17Chris Stewart in the library, where he says he spends most of his free time over the winter.