, Spain
GAUCÍN: Balcony of the Ronda Mountains where the Holy Child appeared to St. John of God.
The illustrious, always noble, very hospitable village of Gaucín.
gaucinvillageGaucín is a white village of about 1,700 inhabitants located at the edge of the Ronda mountains, half an hour from the Mediterranean Coast.

The town is comparatively well-off as it owns sizeable cork forests which annually contribute a large portion of the Municipal budget. Budget surpluses are spent on infrastructure improvements and parties.

Gaucín has its own municipal water system that supplies the town as well as many rural properties. There is a complete sewer system and sewage treatment plant.

A wide diversity of careers and lifestyles co-exist in Gaucín, beginning with the peasant farmer who typically lives in the village and goes out every day to his small hard scrabble land-holding --- sheep, goats, chickens, vegetables, orchards. He may supplement his income by working on construction. Gaucín is so hilly that agribusiness is not viable; large farm machinery cannot work the land.

Workers in Gaucín include shopkeepers, hotel, bar and restaurant owners and their employees, a Notary, lawyers, pharmacists, the electricity distribution company, builders, Art in Gaucin, gas station. There are several doctors in the town. There are retired and active foreigners; the largest plumbing contractor is German.

Since the 70´s foreigners (from both abroad and elsewhere in Spain) have been acquiring property in and around Gaucín for holiday use and permanent residency. Foreigners own perhaps 100 of the village houses and about another 50 in the countryside.

There is a grade school for about 200 students with approximately 15 foreign children in attendance. The school has a reputation for teaching the three R´s to all, and language and computer skills to many. There is a High School in the nearby town of Algatocin, but some children who wish to continue their education commute to institutes in Ronda or Jimena, or board at the State school in Málaga.

Banda Municipal de GaucinThe talented Municipal Band consists of about 20 young adults; in addition to playing at local fairs; it also hires out to neighboring villages. A dance program for village girls provides instruction in traditional flamenco dances of the region. They perform at village fairs.

Sports facilities include football and basketball teams, tennis court, mountain biking club, several equestrian centers, and many active mountain walkers. There is a municipal swimming pool, and excellent swimming in the Río Genal, as well as easy access to the Mediterranean beaches in Sabinillas.

Night life: There are a number of bars, open at all hours. Several serve as breakfast places for the workingman, others are late bars staying open until the early hours of the morning at weekends.

Zoning restrictions currently limit the building height in the village to two or three stories and require that all houses must be white and generally conform to the Andalusian architectural style. In the countryside the minimum plot size is 25,000 meters, although there are exceptions for properties with existing structures. The real estate market ranges from the cheap and cheerful to the millionaire estate. The tendency toward over development on the Coast has made Gaucín an attractive alternative - Gaucín has basically the identical climate, but without the overdevelopment.