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25 Jun 2017
23 Sep 2017
Responsible tourism: Learn Spanish and walking vacation, Spanish Pyrenees
We are passionate about the environment and the wildlife where we live. The Ordesa National Park is a World Biosphere Reserve and a Special Protection Area for Birds with over 171 species, including the rare Lammergeier or Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus Barbatus). We support the Lammergeier Conservation Foundation by using guides from the Foundation, visiting the raptor feeding stations with guests and selling the Foundation T-shirts. This helps fund a breeding program in our area which has had great success. Our walks are led by experts in the area (or accompanied by information packs when self-guided) and ensure that fragile environments are not degraded in any way when walking.
There are also well over 100 species of butterflies and moths in our area, including the rare and beautiful Isabelina Moth (Actias Isabellae) and the Giant Peacock Moth (Saturnia Pyri). We have been successful in hatching the eggs and releasing the caterpillars for these moths.
At the farmhouse we have geothermal heating and hot water with minimal environmental impact. We also harvest rainwater for both the irrigation of our vegetable patch and garden, and for the washing machine.
We recycle all we can, including building materials and furniture. For example all the vanity units in the luxury bathrooms are unique secondhand pieces of furniture, adapted with a granite top and basin. All the furniture in the house is antique or secondhand and has been or is in the process of being restored by Simon, your host. Many of the external doors are secondhand and have been adapted.
The beams and stone from the four year renovation of the property have been reused throughout the building process. We continue to reuse this material now as we landscape the garden.
We support the local economy wherever possible by employing guides, experts and teachers from our area. We offer English lessons to our guides, providing them with a greater opportunity for work.
We involve our neighbours with our vacations, offering the possibility to visit their houses which have changed little through the centuries. This gives a unique insight into the culture and traditions of the high Pyrenees. In return we make donations to the village fund, for amongst other things the maintenance of our historic chapel of San Urbez (hermitage).
We also offer a guided visit to the chapel of San Urbez, explaining the stories about our saint, his miracles and the architectural features. For this, we ask our guests for a donation in the chapel collection box.
We are involved in trying to preserve and restore the local pathways, acting as volunteers as the need arises. We will be running a path clearing vacation in the future.
Reviews of Learn Spanish and walking vacation, Spanish Pyrenees
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 08 Jul 2016 by Jennifer Taylor
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
An extraordinary vacation in a spectacular region of the Pyrenees. Lucy and Simon were perfect hosts - they have thought of everything for the comfort and well-being of their guests. As a single traveler I greatly appreciated their warm welcome. Their local knowledge of this special place gave me a real insight into the the local culture, history, geology, flora and fauna.. Delicious food and wine freshly prepared from local suppliers was also most welcome. Their exceptional organisation and well thought out itinerary made the week memorable.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Just book it and go! Now!
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Absolutely. Lucy and Simon take great care in using products locally sourced. The guides were of exceptional ability, and also local. The farmhouse itself is beautifully converted to maintain the charm of this ancient building, but with every modern convenience.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Excellent in every respect. I cannot recommend it highly enough