And so to Valencia….
Probably the best thing about teaching English as a foreign language in Oman is the long, paid summer break. After a couple of weeks in Ireland catching up with friends and family, we were Madrid bound from Dublin. After Spain, we would take the train to South West France in search of land. If only we could find the right house which would also work as a business for us. We had begun to think about the idea of starting our own business where people could come to learn English in France. The idea was that students could study English in the morning with me and then do activities with Owen in the afternoon. After a day of relaxation, tapas and beer in Madrid we were ready to take the train to Valencia.
The next morning Nicolas Rodan of Casasnatura came to collect us from the hotel. Nicolas (originally a lawyer, now project manager) explained the history of the company which is an entirely family-based enterprise. This explained the closeness of the employees and the warmth with which they all spoke about it. It has grown and expanded in the past twenty years and they currently deliver turnkey houses, fully finished, throughout Spain and France.
With only one day in Valencia, Nicolas was able to move his plans around and dedicate the day to showing us houses in the factory in different stages. He explained how they could almost Passivhaus energy efficiency. We looked at the bases of the houses to give us an idea of how big or small they would be when finished and saw some that were close to delivery status, with electricity and painting in progress. We were impressed with the finish and high quality of materials used. Nicolas then showed us a finished house which we really loved(our daughter was particularly impressed by the pool). It seemed that it really could offer us the possibility of opening our own homestay business, and that it would be a lovely place for students to study English.