I visited La Graciosa for the first time back in 1984 – almost 35 years ago. I went with a group of friends to the Salado planning to camp, surf and fish. Back then the island was totally unspoiled by human touch and fortunately – to some extent – it still is. Back in these days, the main activity of the inhabitants was artisanal fishing. There was also a significant part of the population that was on board the tuna vessels. The first time I came here there were only two vehicles and a single phone booth on the entire island. Good ‘ol times! I fell in love with the landscapes, the people and the island lifestyle – it was like going back in time. For me, landing here was, and still is, putting you in “cholas mode” (that’s ”beach slippers” in the Canarian dialect). It has been raining since then.
Every year, I kept visiting our “eighth island”. Careful now – I have always been calling it this way, since I never understood that is was never considered an inhabited Canary Island and I am very happy about its late recognition. I used to come here with my friends ever since. Sometimes I took a small zodiac boat with me and I almost always took thee opportunity to enjoy one of my passions: fishing all by myself. It felt like absolute happiness when at dawn I went out alone by that one river (arm of water that separates Lanzarote from La Graciosa), in search of the different veriles that experience had taught me to find (since no self-respecting fisherman will reveal you his fishing spots).
I was always proud to arrive at the port after half a day of fishing, with a varied sample of fish specific for the area: cabrillas, heifers, seifios, roosters, donkeys, panchonas, sargos, sargoriados; to which we would later give a good account, accompanied by good wrinkled potatoes, seasoned tomatoes, countless beers and a bottle of a good white Lanzarote wine.
During my studies in Madrid at the Colegio Mayor de La Salle I was lucky to meet the smallest of the Medina Sánchez family, who is now one of my best friends. As a result of that friendship, he has invited me here (a few summers in the late eighties, early nineties) to his house in La Graciosa called Villa Relax to have a good time. That’s when my relationship with this house was born.
Due to irrelevant circumstances, this friendly family decides to part with this property and fortunately they told me about it – about 5 years ago. I guess this came up because of the personal relationship I made with all of them. After talking to me they thought that they would be able to rehabilitate the house while preserving that atmosphere, that soul that the house already had, which was ultimately their desire. They trusted that I wouldn’t tear it apart by doing a new project with no identity.
I thought about it and made my estimations very carefully, knowing that it would not be an easy task – eventually I have decided to buy it in September 2016. At the notary, at the time of purchase, I could feel this special feeling – for me and I think for the other part too – a charge of strong emotion, a bond. It was like passing on a legacy.
And finally I can say, if I may, with pride, that it became a reality. I have managed to rehabilitate this comfortable house, initially conceived to be enjoyed with family and friends in La Graciosa, keeping its spirit. And making it feel like home.
I must start by saying that this project has given me one of the biggest personal challenges in my life. This has been in all areas of it; starting with being the largest personal economic investment assumed. But also due to its enormous logistical complexity, which translates into a significant increase in costs and time. Manufacturing three island away is no easy task and comes with many inconveniences – such as having to take materials from Gran Canaria to Lanzarote and from Lanzarote to La Graciosa. To make this last leap, in addition, you have to take into consideration the weather, which is not always the kindest. I had to use the maximum of my social skills in order to deal with all the agents involved in the licensing and the construction site. I worked at my highest capacity devoting time and putting in physical effort, sacrificing the holidays for the past two years in order to be able to put the time in this task – due to the continuous trips by plane, or by boat with my car loaded with all the materials needed to complete it. It was also necessary to have a huge dose of patience with the institution involved that, for one reason or another, needed almost two years to grant me the license, including the repeal of the Master Plan for Use and Management of the Park Natural of the Chinijo Archipelago. And finally – I had to learn how to conduct myself in the special idiosyncrasy of my loved ones, now neighbours of La Octava. But the goal was achieved and now I am incredibly satisfied with the outcome.
I want to start by thanking my parents Amor and Miguel A. who have given me a hand in this project.
To my friends from the Medina Sánchez Family for putting the trust in me so I could make it happen.
To Juan Hernández – thank you very much for your professionalism and ability to work!
To my friend Miguel A. Valdivia, for his advice, with which I have understood perfectly.
To the friend Dr. Héctor Machín, who despite already meeting the project advanced he gave me a good hand with his good work.
To Jevial carpentry.
To D. Manuel and his son Manuel for their work, Ángel Fernández de Polonium and especially Tollino for building the kitchen and tables designed by us.
To Ricardo, Iván and Samuel de Acrimobel for piece of countertop – they are great professionals too.
To Orlando, a true monster of frosted concrete, to Oscar paintings for their professionalism, to the Biosfera Express and Romero lines for allowing me to take many things on their boats.
To my friend Daniel from transport Pedro Barba with whom I have brought most of the materials and furniture.
To Miguel from maritime transport of goods with whom I have also brought something.
To Miguel or that he has given me a good hand, to my brother Flavio Valerio for his invaluable help, to Magda and Kris for helping me with the website, logo, photos and video.
To Mar for her company (not only in this project), for her support and help in it.
But above all I want to thank my friend Carlos Hernández for his friendship and loyalty, being my authentic man of confidence in this Project.
Without all of you this wouldn’t come to reality. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.