Exploring Holistic Hotel Rancho Los Lobos: A Vegan Paradise in Andalusia | Barbara Zinstag | Ep 135

Introducing Barbara

Today, we venture to Andalusia, Spain, to explore the Holistic Hotel Rancho Los Lobos. Co-owned by Barbara, Amy, and Carl, this hidden gem is nestled in the serene Andalusian landscapes. 

Beyond its tranquil ambiance, we’ll uncover the region’s natural wonders, embrace Carl’s delicious vegetarian and vegan creations, and delve into holistic living. With limited Wi-Fi access and spiritual activities, guests can disconnect from the digital world. 

We’ll also share heartwarming stories of the hotel’s care for rescue puppies and their efforts to aid an injured stork. Join us in discovering this captivating world where natural beauty, compassionate cuisine, and enriching experiences converge.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Hotel Rancho Los Lobos in Andalusia, Spain, where nature, culinary delights, and holistic living converge for a unique travel experience.
  • Nestled within the serene landscapes of Andalusia, the hotel offers a tranquil and peaceful ambiance.
  • The region’s natural beauty, showcases cork oak trees, traditional architecture, and picturesque vistas.
  • Insights into the array of activities and experiences awaiting travelers in the region.

Learn more about what we talk about

  • Delves into the hotel’s culinary creations, with a focus on Chef Carl’s innovative vegetarian and vegan dishes.
  • The hotel encourages holistic living with limited Wi-Fi and spiritual activities for guests to reconnect with nature and themselves.
  • Touching tales include the hotel’s dedication to rescue puppies and assistance to an injured stork.
  • Offers a holistic perspective on the hotel, its locale, and the enriching experiences available to travelers.

Other World Vegan Travel content connected with this episode

Connect with Barbara


Brighde: Hello Barbara, thank you so much for joining me on the Podcast.

Barbara: Hello, Brighde. Thanks for inviting me.

Brighde: I am thrilled to have you joining us today and I’m really excited to talk about a region that we have featured a couple of times on the podcast, which is the area of southern Spain, in this case specifically Andalusia. I was so thrilled to learn about this beautiful hotel. I found it on Veggie Hotels a few weeks ago, and I was just so shocked that such a beautiful vegetarian vegan hotel was in this part of the world. So, before we get into all of that and what it is that you do in this beautiful, stunning part of the world, why don’t you tell me a little bit about, who you are and how you came to be in this beautiful place owning this wonderful hotel.

Barbara: Yeah, it was like five or six years ago, my husband and I always planned to go to a place where it’s nice weather, where the sun is shining. We are originally from Germany, and as everybody knows, it’s quite rainy, quite foggy, and from November until maybe April, you have such bad weather. So we said, okay, we will go and settle in a beautiful place in Europe.

The most beautiful place for us is definitely Andalusia. So, we came here five years ago, we did a very big reformation of this hotel, which my husband found online. When we came here it was already a hotel. They ran it as a hotel, but it was quite old, nothing had been done for maybe ten years.

So, when we arrived, we did a lot of work. All the cables and electricity and the water. We just ended up doing 100 percent new work at the end. We opened in 2019. Our very nice holistic hotel retreat center is as it is now. But it was a huge work to get there.

Brighde: For all of us, because I think many people, including myself, we sort of have these dreams of maybe, Oh I’d like to have some sort of bed and breakfast or a small boutique hotel or something like that. Did you have a background in hospitality before? How did that come to pass?

Barbara: Not me, but my husband, he always ran restaurants and cafes. In Germany at the beer festival, he was 30 years ago, the youngest keeper. He owned restaurants. He made concepts for cafes and he has the experience. He also had an apprenticeship as a kitchen chef. I’m more into the entertainment part. I do the sports, the physical therapy, and the guests. And so we just did that together and it was a perfect match.

So he’s responsible for everything, what’s food and hotel, and I’m responsible for the rest, entertaining the guests, being there, explaining everything, and yeah.

Brighde: I love that. That’s so amazing. So the name of your hotel is Holistic Hotel Rancho Los Lobos, correct?

Barbara: Yes.

Brighde: So tell me, where is it located in Andalusia? Because some people might not even know exactly where Andalusia is in Spain. So please tell me where it is in the world.

Barbara: Yeah, Andalusia is the southeast part of Spain and we are quite at the south part of Andalusia, maybe 45 minutes away from Gibraltar and Tarifa, which is also a quite well-known kite surf spot, worldwide known also. So we are really in the south of Europe, of Andalusia.

We are maybe 30 minutes away from the seaside and in the middle of a natural park, which is very original. You have a really old village and it’s very back to earth, very basic and very natural. So we are off-grid, kind of.

Brighde: Yes. That’s an interesting and maybe unusual concept to some of our listeners. Very often in Europe, they have natural parks and it would be very easy to sort of associate them with national parks that we have in North America which are usually just extremely natural wilderness, but actually natural parks can often be agricultural areas, that it’s an area where there’s sort of the traditional architecture and practices of that area are preserved in that place. Is that an accurate description of what a natural park is?

Barbara: yes, kind of, the owners from before, who are still living here with us. We kind of bought them with the property. It’s an old Austrian-Swiss couple. He bought the property maybe 40 years ago. His name is, by the way, Wolf. That’s why it’s called Rancho Los Lobos, because Lobos means the wolf. That’s where the name comes from. When they bought that, it was not a natural park yet. The biggest cork oak region in Europe is around us. So that’s why the Spanish government around 82, I think, or 87, maybe, decided to make this part a natural park to preserve nature, to preserve the cork oaks, to also avoid people making big buildings. And we had the luck that when we arrived, it was this natural park and there was nothing allowed around anymore. As we had already the hotel license. We can continue with hotels because now you can’t buy anything, you can’t build anything, it’s just like a preserve region, very privileged, we have the village maybe five minutes away from us, but we are in this natural park.

Brighde: wow, that was really quite lucky. Cork oaks, I think, in English we would refer to them as, like, cork trees, the trees that some of the bark can be harvested and it can be done in a sustainable way, I believe, and that is used for, like, wine bottles and sometimes some very interesting, coincidentally, like, vegan products, you can make handbags out of cork and all of these kinds of things too. That is really interesting.

Barbara: That’s a big industry here. The cork harvesting in our village is a big industry because many people who live in the village, they are working in the cork oaks. That’s what they say. So they go out in July, and August and harvest those cork.

Brighde: Interesting. I’m really pleased. It really sounds like visitors to your hotel can really almost take a step back in time by being at your hotel and we’re going to talk a lot more about how guests can feel like they are stepping back in time.

But, I’m really curious to understand more about what the landscape is like around you. What could people sort of expect in terms of the views and the climate perhaps, just what’s the vibe of the surrounding area?

Barbara: So, we are not very high, even though, you can see mountains around us. We are at maybe 30 meters from the sea level, but you have a mixture of everything. Ronda, for example, is a quite known place in Andalusia that is a very old bridge and it’s a thousand meters high. You have those very stony mountains, and on the other hand, you have the fields, which are in summer quite burned, yellow or brown, but in winter or maybe in October, when it starts raining, it gets everything very green. And we have those cork oaks, as I said, it’s a quite big variety of, landscapes as we have the Mediterranean Sea. We have the Atlantic Sea, as we are in the south, and Tarifa is just the southern part. We have Gibraltar, which is not very far. It’s maybe 40 minutes drive and you are like in a little big town.

You have a lot of other villages around or big cities like Seville, Malaga, and Cadiz, which are very known for the bodegas. So this is the part of the cities you have. Also, the very well-known little white village in Spain is very typical.

Brighde: Beautiful.

Barbara: We are close to the Moroccan border. To the coast, it’s 40 minutes, and then in one hour, you can go by boat to Morocco. In 800, after Christ, many Arabians came up to Spain, that’s why our town is called De La Frontera, which means from the frontier, from the border. Also, Jerez de la Frontera. So you have also, Arabian influences, which you can see in the village with many Moroccan or Arabian touches of architecture. Also, Granada, the Alhambra, is also very well known. Those are all the spots you can really visit from our place. This is the sightseeing part. If people say, yeah, we want to visit the village. 

But on the other hand, it’s very, very rural, as you said before. It’s really deep, deep countryside. Sometimes, people in the village, go by donkey, or by horse, and they are quite religious they are quite Catholic, so you have all those festivals where they have the horse, where the horses carry

Brighde: horse cart?

Barbara: Yeah, yeah, And it’s very, very original. It’s 100 percent countryside, and that’s how we are located, so this is what we really appreciate because you can have on the one hand, this, kind of big village thing, to see the big village, or go to the seaside, having nice bars and chic restaurants, but on the other hand, if you say, no, we really want to go out to the country and see how the typical Spanish Andalusian people live, it’s on your doorstep.

Brighde: Fantastic. So it really does sound like you can have a little bit of everything when you stay at your hotel. You can really disconnect and feel connected with this beautiful area of incredible natural beauty, but you also have many of the things that are so famous about southern Spain, like those famous beach resorts, Gibraltar, and then the really amazing cities of like Seville and Ronda as well. It just sounds wonderful. So let’s talk a little bit more about your hotel. Can you tell us some general facts about the hotel, like how many rooms, and what the rooms are like, the vibe, the grounds of the place, I’m really curious to know.

Barbara: Yeah, we have around about two hectares. I don’t know how much that is in America. It’s 20, 000 square meters. It’s quite big and the hotel itself had been, in former times 120 years ago, a stable. A stable and like a little restaurant, on the border of the road. When people came from Africa, they just used this path to go in the middle of the country, there were smugglers by the time, just passing by. We redid the main house as our bodega or kitchen, and we have a kind of courtyard, and there are all the rooms. So we have nine double rooms. It’s quite small for a maximum of 18 people, and it’s all sorted out that we have a very romantic patio courtyard, and people are eating in this patio. Everything is base floor, so you don’t have any steps. You are really living in the nature. By the way, we are walking always barefoot the entire spring and summer because we just love this connection to the earth and the grounding and this feeling of being outside.

This is also what our guests are doing. They see us walking around barefoot, so they just take off their shoes and enjoy that. And we have a pool, we have a yoga shala, we have a meditation yurt, we have nice gardens. Everything is like a little town, kind of, because everything is just so together, and people are crossing themselves in the courtyard when they walk around. We always introduce the guests, to each other because they see each other every day, they sit in the courtyard for breakfast. We prepare dinner three or four times a week. All our property is very familiar and every room is differently designed. So there is nothing like in the big hotels where you have the same beds and the same cupboards. As we started the reformation, one room after the other, every room had a different touch.

Brighde: It really does, I really invite listeners to go and have a look at the website, which of course I’ll link in the show notes there, and you can just see the uniqueness of these rooms and some of them are actually sort of self-catering. They have small kitchens. Am I remembering well?

Barbara: One of those. One of those is an apartment, it’s called Casakaya, which we also rent out for longer terms, or for people who want to stay maybe one week without having breakfast, but that’s very rare because people love the food we offer here. We have one tea kitchen with a fridge and people can just store it there when they have extra food bringing in, because we ask them not to bring anything in the rooms as we have a lot of ants.

We are really in the countryside, so animals we don’t eat them, but we have them. We have spiders, we have lizards, we have ants, but well, living in the countryside, that’s just the way it is.

Brighde: Absolutely, of course. So how many rooms in total are there?

Barbara: We have nine double rooms. Um, they are all different sizes. One is a little bit smaller. One of those nine is really like an apartment or like a suite with a living room and a bedroom with a waterbed and the others are double rooms with nice beddings and every room has its own bathroom. So to be really independent.

Brighde: Something I’m curious about is, I’m sure it changes depending on the season, but what is the price for a night at your hotel, or do you have any sort of package prices? We’ll talk about all of the amazing yoga programs and wellness offerings that you have in a moment, but I’m just wondering for people who are thinking about staying for a night, what the price point is and what does that include? Do you have any sort of half-board or full-board options? 

Barbara: Yeah, our prices start at 155 euros per night for two people, including the big breakfast that Carl is preparing. The biggest room is 189 at the moment, two people, one night per breakfast and we have a minimum stay of two nights. The dinner is, on option, we prepare dinner usually Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. It depends but that’s the general case that we prepare dinner.

Brighde: Yes. And let’s talk about the food, actually, because you have transitioned into the kinds of foods and diets that you accommodate since you took over the hotel a while ago. Would you mind talking about that?

Barbara: Yeah, we have been vegetarians for a long time. Sometimes we eat meat, so when we started coming to Andalusia, obviously you have this ham leg, the entire one, and that’s how we started, and little by little, we said, no, that’s not good, we don’t want that anymore. Even if we didn’t eat it, we just don’t want to offer that to our guests, and little by little, we just went into only vegetarian, and both my sons are vegan. We just got more and more into the vegan theme and realized that it’s just not good for our health.

Then we said, okay, we can’t go a hundred percent vegan because it’s quite difficult. to get good vegan stuff, where we are located. So it was a transition period and now we are at the point that we don’t prepare any meat at all, no fish, no meat. Even if there are close groups because sometimes we also hire the hotel for weddings or birthdays. But this is a principle of us that we say, no, we don’t want to have anything of meat prepared. Now we are just mostly vegan, not 100%, but if there is one vegan guest, Carl is cooking vegan for everybody, as we are only a maximum of 17 people, he won’t start cooking for two people vegan and for the others normal, so we just cook vegan for everybody, and the nice experience is that we had really so many people who are always eating meat and they said to us, wow, we never thought that we will not miss anything eating vegan. And this is just such a nice compliment and everything is alright. Because even people who love eating meat, don’t miss anything when they are here.

Brighde: A thought popped into my mind as I was listening, I was thinking, wow, I definitely want to go to this hotel, because if I go, 17 people will also be eating vegan, that’s so funny.

Barbara: Yeah. It’s contagious. Mm-hmm.

Brighde: I love it, I love it. So how would you describe the food, because Carl, it’s your partner, Right? Who is the chef. So, is he drawing on local ingredients and making the local cuisine, vegetarian or vegan? Or, is he drawing from other culinary areas? Tell us about that.

Barbara: He is very inventive. If I had to describe the cooking style of my husband, it would be very difficult because he’s just experimenting a lot. The funny thing is normally at home, always the women are sitting and watching recipes and browsing the internet.

In our case, it’s always Carl sitting there looking for new recipes and buying vegan magazines to check what to cook. He just started inventing and finding out what he could use to substitute the mashed meat. He started with the Soja, and he’s using chickpeas for example, also for the white of the egg. He uses the chickpeas and he’s just using everything. I don’t know if you know mock duck.

Brighde: Yes.

Barbara: Yeah. A range of different things he can offer that, you don’t have the impression that you miss anything or that you eat vegan.

Brighde: something I’m curious about Barbara, as somebody who works a lot with hotels for our vegan tours that we do, non-vegan hotels I should add, and vegan ones too, is I’ve had lots of conversations with vegan hotels or vegetarian hotels that have transitioned from serving meat or eggs for example. Something I’m curious about is whether you got a lot of resistance from your regular guests when you decided to go vegetarian or vegan. I’m thinking about this wonderful hotel that we stay, in the Dolomites, which is also traditionally not a very vegan-friendly place. It was hard to transition. A lot of people stopped coming, stopped having lunch there, or dinner there when they were skiing, for example, and it was hard, and that’s been the thing that has stopped them from going completely vegan, they hope to in the future, but they’re 95 percent vegan but 100 percent vegetarian.

It’s what you said that once they arrive and they taste the food, they understand and they are happy. But you’ve got to get them to come and stay with you in the first place. So, how was that?

Barbara: Frankly speaking, it was never a problem, because as we are quite small, we don’t have a menu. So, Carl is always cooking what he’s finding on the market. So, they don’t have the choice to choose what is there for dinner. We have a three-course menu, and we have a whiteboard, and I’m just writing on what’s there. Only one time, somebody was a little bit complaining, but those were Spanish people, saying, well, you even couldn’t choose what to eat, but otherwise, everybody accepted. They love the fact that something is coming out of the kitchen, and it’s always good. As he is so inventive, and so creative, and also the plates are looking so delicious, nobody ever complained about that there is no meat. For example, when he makes this mock duck, I don’t like the taste of meat anyway. So I don’t need anything looking like meat, tasting like meat, not being meat. But if you have somebody who loves meat, when he brings this mock duck to the table, they are so happy.

And sometimes I even don’t say it. I just put the plate on and then I said, okay, now we have competition, afterwards you’re going to tell me what it is. And then I get the weirdest ideas, and then I say, no, it was vegan. What? Really? It was vegan? I’ve never ever in my life had something so nice without meat. So, never we had any problems with that. 

Brighde: I think when you’re referring to mock duck, you’re talking about seitan, the meat made out of wheat gluten the protein of the wheat, correct?

Barbara: Yeah, yeah, It looks like duck, it tastes like duck, which is not my need because I don’t want to eat duck, but if you have people who really say, oh, I want to eat something like meat. Also, for example, there is a wild animal, the deer, and he’s making a kind of goulash of this deer substitution, I don’t want to say substitution because I don’t want to substitute anything and the same, it tastes like if you would eat goulash. Those who are really addicted and when the women say, oh, I don’t know, my husband, if you will like that, being at your hotel, no meat at all, I said, yeah, that’s just the way, he will love it. And that’s how it is.

Brighde: Yeah, it’s funny isn’t it? Some people and it sounds like you, are not interested in eating things that have that texture and flavour of meat. I’m actually the opposite. I love the vegan meats, like the Beyond Burgers or the Seitan or something like that. I haven’t eaten meat since I was, like 10 years old or something like that, but there’s something very satisfying about the texture and the mouthfeel. So, I would definitely be very happy if there was the seitan or the mock duck on the menu for sure. All right. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the other reasons why people might decide to come to Andalusia and stay at your hotel in order to connect more with themselves and to connect with nature, because you have a number of different things going on that really allow people the opportunity and the best chance of success at doing one of these things. And of course, going on holiday and vacation, you know, this is what we want to do. We want to refresh, reconnect, reboot, and get in touch with ourselves again. So please, would you mind telling us about some of the things that you have, the programs and the policies that you have that will help people do that?

Barbara: Yes, I think the most important is our digital detox point because we don’t offer Wi-Fi, we only have internet per cable, and we just give a cable to everybody they can go on the internet or in their room. The courtyard is laptop-free because when people come to us, we really want them to disconnect. We don’t want to have people coming in and having to do home office or working because they are so in nature and it’s so healthy around us. We are really in an area, where there is one train, okay? There is the train passing by once every one and a half hours, this is the only thing that reminds you that you are still connected somewhere.

But we don’t have any big electricity cables, we don’t have any air pollution. You can see the stars so close because there is no big city around. The fact that we offer so many spiritual or alternative things just brings people back to themselves. We have sound healing. Every full moon, we do sound healing with singing bowls. And on the new moon, we do the shamanic drums. We have static dance sessions. We have our yoga classes and we also have our own holistic healing retreat with a very nice couple. He’s a naturopath and she’s a kinesiologist. very difficult word.

Brighde: Kinesiologist, yes.

Barbara: And they treat the people whilst they are here. We just try to get people back to the earth, to the ground where they center themselves, that they find themselves, and that they, don’t do social networking whilst they are here or internet. We love it when they come here and they say, wow, it’s so calm and so centered and so relaxed. That’s by the way, also our slogan, it’s Rancho Los Lobos, relax your soul. And this is what we really want when people are here, that they just disconnect and find themselves when they stay with us.

Brighde: Yeah. I really love that. It’s a trend that I’m seeing in hotels, those in the countryside where they are really trying to take steps to avoid a lot of Wi-Fi so for example, our vegan Agri villa that we hire out in Tuscany every year, they make the decision to just have a little bit of Wi-Fi in one area and sometimes it hits some rooms, but the walls are so thick, that you can’t normally access it. Another hotel that I know turns off the wifi between 9 and 8 in the morning or something like that, just so that they feel they don’t want to have all of these sort of wifi waves bouncing around the place, at night time.

Barbara: Yeah, we also have the possibility for wifi, which we can turn off and on when we have sometimes seminars, people say, look, we need wifi. So we have the possibility to turn it on, but it’s always turned off when we go to bed and when we wake up in the morning. So the night is always turned off and we can’t sleep anymore if there is wifi.

Brighde: Yeah, it’s hard, isn’t it? Because even if we’re not bothered by the Wi-Fi waves, I’ve known myself, I’ve been guilty of, like, waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep and just getting on my device and that I don’t think is helpful. So let’s clarify a little bit for listeners, how all of these different programs, you mentioned like the shamanic drumming and the ecstatic dance and these retreats that you offer. I’m guessing that these are kind of an extra thing on top of just like a regular hotel stay. So you could go and just stay several nights and just enjoy the peaceful surroundings. But you could also book a retreat or you could drop into these extra opportunities that are available. Can you make sure that I understand that correctly?

Barbara: Yeah, that’s right. Besides the retreats we offer, our own retreat, and the external yoga teachers hiring our hotel as a retreat location, we always have times during the year open for let’s say normal visitors and guests, where they can just only make holidays. They are not obliged to go to the singing bowl or they don’t have to go to massage or Reiki. They also can just come and have breakfast and do their holiday or their excursions in the surroundings. So we are kind of both things, holistic hotel and this conscious way of living we also have in our daily hotel work, with no wifi, or only, during the day and the retreat center part.

But if somebody says, oh well, I want to book three days in June, and there is no retreat running, they just can book via our website, the hotel.

Brighde: Got it. Understood. Thank you for clarifying that. As I was scrolling through your Instagram, something I noticed is that you do have horses on the property. And if I scroll back for a while on your Instagram, I notice that there is some horse riding and things like that. Before we press record on this podcast, you shared with me your journey in this area and how it is at the current time. So can you explain your relationship with horses and the hotel’s relationship with horses and how that has changed?

Barbara: Yeah, when we arrived here, and when we took the hotel over, they basically, or mainly did horseback riding. As I’m a horse lover and I was riding, so we said, okay, we’re going to try on this. But time is changing. And now we still have the horses there because one of the horses, the horse that I brought from Germany, is my baby because I was there when she was born. I brought her into this world and I was the first person she was seeing when she came into this world. And she’s still there and two others also, but we don’t offer horse riding anymore. But what we are doing, we are working with them for kind of personal work with people. We also discovered the fact that horses are around, is such a good energy, and they are so sensitive. They always immediately realize your own mood if you are nervous or if you are quiet. We also use this during our retreats to just let people approach through the horses and use the energy of the horse to see how people react also we will have a retreat in 25 with two women. They do coaching with horses. So they are still here. We don’t ride them anymore but we just love the presence of them because it’s so magic. If you just stand on the field and you hear them eating and you just have those peaceful horse nalities around. It gives you so much inner peace and that’s why we still have them. 

Brighde: I imagine through those experiences a lot of people would really come to understand more, they will really connect more with animals and their relationship with them and how to be a better, more peaceful presence within horses. And of course, this can also be applied to our own relationships with our own animals and the animals that we interact with in our everyday lives. That’s really, really amazing. Something I also noticed on your Instagram as well is that you seem to have a lot of dogs and puppies in the area. What’s that?

Barbara: Yeah, people in the South of Spain, they don’t really care a lot, unfortunately, about the dogs. We always rescue puppies or dogs. Sometimes they are just thrown over the fence. We just have a big heart for animals, so recently we just rescued seven puppies and we have them here and we always try to find homes, and our guests, love that because they are also around. We have our own two dogs and the other puppies running around and it’s also very peaceful and very Human. People just like that we have the horses and the animals, and that they just see how we care about other animals. By the way, we also had a stork recently.

Brighde: Oh, I saw that on your Instagram too. Storks are one of my favorite animals. I just find them so fascinating. I want to just clarify something. People put the puppies over your fence and into your property

Barbara: Yes, yes.

Brighde: they know that you will take responsibility for them. Oh my goodness.

That’s really hard.

Barbara: I think so, now they know well just throw them over their fence because they will take care of them and obviously we do because what are you going to do when you find a puppy or a little dog in your garden? You will not go and throw it out again. The local vet already knows us.

Brighde: Oh my goodness. I feel sad that people take advantage of that, because there is a huge responsibility when we take over animals. That is not easy. Thank you so much for doing that. Tell me about this stork, because these incredible animals, migrate from North Africa to Europe in the spring to breed. How did that come about? Because I think it’s considered very lucky to have a stork come and, spend time on your property, correct?

Barbara: Yeah, it was quite funny because when we went to the coast here in our region of many birds because we are very south of Europe and it’s very often the part where the birds make the last risk to settle over to Africa. So we have a lot of storks and many ornithology or people who are interested in birds are doing holidays here or just watching the birds.

It was in June, we found a little stork on the floor. He was maybe six weeks ago, and we presume that he fell off the net, which was true, because we just saw the net over us. As we can’t just leave the animals on the street like that, we took him home in our chicken cage. And he stayed there and we just tried to teach him to fly, but he obviously never started to fly because he had nobody who taught him how to fly. So we took him out on the field and I ran with a stork in my hands, trying to teach him how to fly. There’s a very funny video about that. But obviously, he did never learn how to fly.

So we fed him and we took care of him. But after two months, we said he would never learn to fly. So we built him a ladder with three meters and five meters, sitting him on top of the ladder, hoping that he’s going to learn. But now he ended up, there is a little zoo in our village and we know people who work there and they took him now and take care of him.

Hopefully, he will learn to fly. But I also learned that storks are always coming back to where they are bred or born, so if ever he learns to fly, he might even come back to our place, because they have an incredible orientation.

Brighde: Yes, yes, we have a trip where we go to Alsace and this is an area that is famous for storks breeding. There are some resident ones that are there year-round as well, but I just find these animals so amazing. Also when I was living in Morocco way back in 2005, they also have a lot of nesting storks there. It is one of my absolute favorite things to witness, so definitely a reason to go to this part of the world at that time of year because it is really beautiful. 

Barbara, I’ve enjoyed talking with you today and learning more about your beautiful hotel and what it is that you’re doing there, I really invite listeners to go and check it out and see if this might be a place that you might like to base yourselves when you are in this beautiful part of the world, or if you are interested in really taking advantage of the opportunity, to really connect with nature. You might like to go and check out their retreats as well. Barbara, tell us again, how people can find out about you and follow you and connect with what it is that you’re doing.

Barbara: So, the best way is via our website, rancholoslobos.com. We also have an Instagram account Hotel Rancho Los Lobos, or we are on Facebook and soon we are gonna be on Pinterest. We are in vegan welcome on this platform or the best way is to come.

Brighde: Absolutely, I agree. Barbara, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the World Vegan Travel. I really appreciate it.

Barbara: Thank you very much for having invited me and I’m looking forward to seeing you, Brighde.

Brighde: I can’t wait. I’ll be coming.

Barbara: Hopefully.

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This trip is still in the planning stage, but you can expect:

Scheduled for September 2025
100% vegan local French cuisine
stay in a château!
Visit castles and medieval villages
17,000 year-old prehistoric cave art
Visit & tasting at a Loire winery

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