The mountains around Gaucin and the Genal valley are a stunning site and today they provide privacy for many individual country estates or country villa. In the old days, this privacy was quite convenient for other reasons as well! The mountains were a paradise for the smugglers and bandits and provided safe hiding places for whoever needed them.
The mountains around the Genal valley near Gaucin were for a very long time, bandit-territory. They provided a secure place to hide for those who wanted to be out of the way after robberies and hold-ups on the tracks connecting the villages with the coast. Some of these bandits turned into legends, like the ‘Tragabuches’, ‘the 7 boys from Ecija’ or ‘el Tempranillo’, the early bird! The secret hideaways were perfect as well for the smugglers from Gibraltar. The goods were stored in secret places here before they found their way to other parts of Andalusia.
Silent Gaucin villagers
The Gaucin villagers, especially the ones that worked and lived in the campo, saw these bandits come and go. Dazzled by the quick win, quite a few of the inhabitants joined in. Some would turn into guides, showing the best places to hide and securing the road out again. Others, on the contrary, like the memorable Priest of the assault, joined the wheeling, dealing and extortion. The remainder of the villagers kept silent and turned a blind eye. Better to pretend nothing happened than to lose your life to these scrupulous murderers.
The Gaucin mountains and the Genal valley today still provide a secret hideaway for many, although their occupation has definitely changed! The stunning beauty of the mountains and the spectacular views over the Mediterranean sea, now attract people who want to come to rest for a few days. They want to ‘hide’ from their busy lives elsewhere in the world, they come to breathe in nature and to enjoy the relaxing Andalusian lifestyle. Again, the Gaucin villagers see them come and go and some turn into ‘guides’ to help these new inhabitants to find their way in and around Gaucin. The boutique hotels in the village as La Fructuosa, La Herriza and the Molino del Carmen are thriving and many of their guests are walking part of the old smuggler’s routes. Other visitors are here to stay. They have decided to purchase a house in Gaucin, either in the village or in the mountains and quite some of them turn into the new guides in the area. Either as an artist, painter or sculptor, by showing the stunning beauty of the area in their work, but also as a tour guide by offering guided walks or as a property manager, showing the way to reliable services and clients. And others? They keep silent, they just come to enjoy the peace and tranquillity and use the surroundings of Gaucin as it has always been used, as their secret hideaway!
Anita Schmidt | 8th July 2015