“How exactly did you end up here?” It is a question we are asked regularly. By both the Dutch and the Spanish. Justifiably. Because Vall de Gallinera does not yet enjoy the fame it deserves. It’s a shame. Because when we first visited Benialí (the village we now lovingly call home) a few years ago, we were immediately sold. Not much later, our dream house was too. To us, that is. Although we were the only Dutch residents of the village (and the municipality) at the time, that is no longer the case. Our neighbors on the right are Dutch. The (reasonably) new owners of El Capricho are Dutch. The new owner of Casa Gallinera, in neighboring Benissivà, is Dutch. And the rumor that Dutch people are going to settle in the village next to Benissivà (with the intention of also renting out that building to tourists) has been going around for quite some time.

Our guests have also noticed this. “I thought running a Bed & Breakfast was mainly an English thing,” a guest told me recently. “But during our holiday in this region we have already come across several Dutch B&B owners,” he continued. I can’t help but agree with his story. Anyone who opens the television guide cannot ignore it. From “Ik Vertrek”, “Het Roer Om” and “Bed & Breakfast” to “B&B Vol Liefde” and “Winter Vol Liefde”. The Dutch don’t shy away from it (anymore). Running a Bed & Breakfast in The Netherlands or abroad. However, anyone who is afraid that they will end up in a Dutch enclave when visiting us has nothing to worry about. With the exception of a few other foreigners (mostly English and French), the village is still mainly Spanish. And not, as is the problem in many other small Spanish municipalities, just inhabited by the elderly. Lot’s of young people like to live here too. People who, like us, prefer to escape to the hustle and bustle of the big city every now and then, but usually enjoy the peace and quiet and beautiful nature we’ve got right here. Because with walking and cycling trails just a stone’s throw away and the proximity of larger cities such as Alcoy, Oliva, Gandia and Denia, we get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

It is a world that I would love to share with our future guests. Because while they are currently mainly Spanish, we as well as the owners of Casa Gallinera and El Capricho hope to receive quite a few Dutch people in the future. “We really need to start brainstorming soon about how we are going to do that,” Werner (one of the owners of El Capricho) and I regularly shout to each other. While enjoying a glass of wine at Bar Isa or tapas at Nou Terrasó, I think to myself. I immediately dismiss a suggestion to sign up for “B&B Vol Liefde”*. I’d rather remain a little bit in love with Benialí for a little longer. And when I hear all the Valencian around me on Friday evening, I don’t want to go too fast. Let’s start with all the acquaintances, friends and family who have already booked or still want to book for this summer. Because although I am of course concerned about the continued existence of our Bed & Breakfast in this beautiful, idyllic village, I most definitely want to prevent our dream from turning into a nightmare. Under no circumstances may Benialí ever become Benidormalí.

*“B&B Vol Liefde” (meaning “Bed & Breakfast Full of Love”) is a Dutch televisionformat from 2021. In the show single Dutch Bed & Breakfast owners (who are living abroad) invite potential love interests to come and stay with them to see if love can grow between them.