Trade a life in grey and dreary Belgium for a life in the Spanish sun. Some dream about it, others just do it. Miriam and Jan fell in love with the real south of Spain, far away from the mad costas. They are in the coastal town of Chipiona in the CÃ¡diz region. Especially Jan did not want to be trapped somewhere in the country side, in a lonely cortijo away from everything and everybody. This charismatic bon vivant prefers a small town atmosphere, with neighbours and shops, bars and restaurants. For Miriam it was the beach where even in December you can go walking in in t-shirt with the dog. Itâ€™s small things like this that makes living in the real south so much more pleasant. Chipibeach is their B & B with a handful of rooms in a quiet area of Chipiona. They renovated a townhouse with courtyard and fantastic roof terrace where you can lounge, read books and have breakfast (with lots of love and care prepared by the couple themselves, like fresh fruit juice and toast drizzled with olive oil and covered with delicate tuna). For 70 euros a night with breakfast for two, you sleep here in rooms, which are bright and pleasant. The marble bathroom with shower, fine linen to the fresh color accents in the interior.
Jan takes us on a food tour in town. During the summer months, tourists consists of 90% Spaniards who are found along the promenade and the beach. Foreigners are sparse: the terminus for the average tourist is Marbella and if they are really brave, they might go to Tarifa but there it stops. In the evening, the car-free promenade along the beach is packed with people strolling along the food stalls and enjoying the sunset. On the beach dark tanned teenagers are playing some volleyball, voluptuous grannies are sitting in folding chairs, in the sand the grandchildren are playing around while the parents are enjoying their well-earned break. Jan says that Chipiona a vacation spot for everyone: different ages, generations and classes. It creates a lively atmosphere, especially the cafes where you can buy a glass of Manzanilla for 70 cents to be drunken on the promenade with a box of pink mini shrimp which are locally caught around Chipiona.
The Belgian also takes us to some Bodega, a wine producer of Manzanilla and muscatel. The Bodega Cooperativa Agricola Catolico is charming and cheap: a bottle of Manzanilla wine costs 2 euros and a dinner while sitting along one of the wooden tables in the huge courtyard, will cost you less than six euros per person. You place your order at the grill counter, wait until the food is ready (order already the wine at the other counter, waiting without wine is a sin here), then your name is called and you have to go and get the food at the parilla. Easy! On the ground of the courtyard there is flattened earth, a bit like in a bull arena and on the whitewashed walls are clay flowerpots with bright pink geraniums. Because grilling is an art in Spain, Jan organizes often a BBQ for his guests of Chipibeach. On his roof terrace with built-in parilla people are treated with grilled fish he buys on the local fish market or typical Spanish salcisson for the meat lovers. Live in the real south can be sweet and good, especially far away from the crazy Costas.