Do you want to know who lived in it, what was the life in this old country house and how it was rebuilt? Nuria Sánchez tells us who, together with Jacobo, currently manages the house so that you can enjoy it!!
Until the beginning of the eighties in Casa das Xacias was inhabited by the sisters Rosalía and Daría Camiñas Figueroa. My aunt Clara used to say me that when she visited them to read their post mail, she would enter the house through the big front door, a worn red color, and as soon as you entered, you would find the “corral,” a large hall with a corridor from which you could see Daría who, from above, was telling you to go up some very steep stone stairs until you reached a kitchen with a “lareira”( traditional fire kitchen). Under the house, there were the stables and, although in the last years of their life they no longer had cattle, in the past they had lived with two cows, a donkey and several chickens.
The traditional Galician houses, of simple volume with specialized spaces, did not seek to stand out. The corral was like the entrance hall, the first place you saw when you entered, a meeting point for animals and people. These types of houses had a dual purpose. In addition to housing the family, they also served as an instrument for agricultural activity. For this reason, crops, tools and animals were kept inside and, sometimes, although this is not the case, several generations used to live together under the same roof.
The windows of the houses, point of contact with the outside, conveyed the confidences and fears of that home, the heat or the cold that was lived inside. In Casa das Xacias there were only six windows, and as we can see, only one on the main façade. Here, on the ground floor, there was also a ‘bufarda’, a small opening that served to ventilate the stables. This one in particular was eliminated when the rooms were built on this floor, but in other areas of the house there are still the ‘scarves’ that, in their day, gave ventilation to the cellar and pantry of the house, like the one in the porch, in front of the barbecue.
When her sister died in 1982, Daría went to live with the Vázquez family, headed by Candida and David, parents of seven children. Among them my mother, Mercedes, the eldest daughter, married with Roberto, my father. They were the ones who began the reconstruction of the house in the late nineties. After much effort and careful rehabilitation, they inaugurated the Casa das Xacias Rural House in 2001.
Among other things, they kept the 70 cm thick walls of the house intact and rehabilitated the roof with “country tiles”, secured against the wind with river stones, aligned on the roof in a northeast-southeast direction. Mercedes and Roberto wanted to rebuild and transform the house into tourist accommodation, seeking a balance that would allow it to maintain its spirit and, at the same time, provide it with all the necessary services. Inside, bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms and spaces for common use, such as dining room and living room. Outside, covered outdoor spaces. They also arranged the farm with traditional elements such as the vine, the orchard and the granary, and even transformed the old barn into a large living room with a fireplace, recalling the lareiras (traditional fire kitchen) and the fire of traditional houses.
In the search for a coherent way of designing simple accommodation that was respectful of traditional culture, in 2000 they recovered some traditional decorative elements from the Ribeira Sacra known as “Esgrafiados” , a decorative technique that consists of tracing drawings with graphite, a knife or spoon on the walls of the stone houses that was getting lost in Ribeira Sacra. Fortunately, since 2017 the Tourism Consortium has wanted to value these elements through a research project and recovery of the “Esgrafiados” of traditional buildings.
In 2019, Mercedes and Roberto gave in the management of de Rural House to Jacobo and me. Jacobo is dedicated to hospitality in Ribeira Sacra for twenty years and I am also works in the tourism sector and have travelled to many countries getting to know different cultures, Ribeira Sacra, definitely , it’s our choice to live. We both share a passion for traveling, gastronomy and nature. Although wine tourism is our weakness, we also usually do hiking trails, bike tours, picnics with friends, boat trips on the river and, of course, we harvest and celebrate the magosto. Now, however, what we enjoy the most is being your hosts at Casa das Xacias.
Fate wanted us to spend the 2020 confinement with our two daughters at Casa das Xacias, while they were renovating our home. But that stay was longer than expected, and that made us think about how we could make Casa das Xacias a more welcoming place to share with friends and family when the pandemic passed. There was so much time to recover and share… So we designed new outdoor spaces, we decided to install a swimming pool, put in a new fireplace, and maintain what our most loyal customers, those who repeat year after year, always thank us for: the seasonal vegetable garden, firewood in abundance, well-cared cotton sheets or the information and recommendations we make to our guests before and during their stay regarding places to visit, to eat or routes to discover.
I have told you the story of Casa Das Xacias. A house that for 20 years has been the scene of gatherings of friends, Christmas celebrations, birthday surprises, going back to the town where I was born, or the one I 'was my family. A place where people come to discover the Ribeira Sacra, to spend the end of the year party, to embark on a balloon ride, to enjoy Holy Week, the harvests and the magostos. A place that welcomes both those who come to a wedding at Pazo Piñeiro or the Wine Fair, as well as those who come to Ribeira Sacra because they have seen it in Master Chef or those who attend the Chantada Wine Party. Any excuse is good to know these places.
We invite you to be part of the history of Casa das Xacias, we are waiting for you!