My name is Veronika, I was born in an beautiful town called Feldkirch in Austria.

It has been 25 years since I came to Andalusia. I had fallen in love with this country, with its many beautiful beaches and mountainous landscapes with the small white villages.

My village was Zahara de la Sierra, a small white village in the mountainous region of Cadiz. I was fascinated by the people, with their openness and hospitality. I immediately felt included in the community, and so it happened that I became a "Zahareña". I lived there for 2 years, enjoying life in the midst of a village community where time passed more slowly and quietly than in the busy cities. The nearby city of Ronda offers enough opportunities to calm the the longing for shopping, culture and variety. I would have stayed there, in my beloved mountain village, but my path led to Tarifa, where I lived for a few years, and later to San Roque, where I worked as a teacher for 20 years.

The region of Gibraltar, in the very south of Spain, has now become a part of me. People often ask me if I had never actually thought of returning. My answer was and is, no, not really. I am at home here, have my friends, my home in this place. Many aspects of the southern way of life are now almost part of my "everyday life" - and yet, I like to remind again and again of the treasures I can enjoy here.

Apart from the culinary treasures, regarding which Andalusia is undoubtedly one of the best regions, the natural landscapes here are of great value: not only beautiful wide beaches all along the coast of the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga, but also hiking trails, forests and mountains make this spot of earth a paradise.

I must admit, when the daily routine almost consumes me, I occasionally forget that the seaside as well as the hilly and mountainous landscapes of this region are there in such close proximity to be enjoyed. Fortunately, it is precisely the stress that reminds me to take a break, to set out, either simply on foot in the immediate whereabouts, or by car, in order to spend a nice day trip or weekend in one of the beautiful mountain or coastal villages of the provinces.

There is nothing missing - culture can be found in the nearby cities and provincial capitals of Málaga and Cádiz, but also Seville and Granada are not far away, if you want to immerse into the strongholds of international tourism. Of course, we also find very interesting cultural activities in the villages and small towns. For example in San Roque, where we can trace the origin of Gibraltar, or Tarifa, where we can visit the ancient Roman city of Baelo Claudia on the unspoiled beach of Bolonia, just to mention a few of the many attractions in the region.

As I said, I am no longer a tourist here - the south of Spain with its Costa del Sol (the coast of the province of Málaga) and its Costa de la Luz (the coast of the province of Cádiz) has become a part of me, and I wouldn't want to miss this life.

Veronika Gau