My experience as a videographer for Almohalla 51. By Dan McNeice.
It was April of 2023, I was coming to the end of my final year of my Multimedia Journalism degree at the University of Salford – I was just finishing my final dissertation… little did I know the wonderful experience I would be about to undertake.
An email advertised a role in a boutique Spanish hotel, seeking an individual keen on entering the social media industry to help promote the brand online. With my proficiency in speaking Spanish due to my Gibraltarian citizenship, and my love for creating video content, it was the perfect opportunity I had been searching for – and after creating a portfolio, I submitted my application.
I expected nothing of it, but to my surprise, Jo and Ken were so impressed by my application that they invited me to speak with them via video call, a call which resulted in flying out to the hotel and working alongside them for a week. I remember excitedly thinking to myself… how has this happened?
That August (to my own amazement) I was on a train to Birmingham International – heading out to Archidona. I couldn’t help but feel apprehensive, as I was flying out to work with some incredible people – with expectations I wasn’t sure if I could match.
But to my pleasure, what followed was a week I can only describe as wonderful. The hotel and town of Archidona were stunning; Ken, Jo and all of the family (can’t forget Jake, Caz, Josie and of course Barry) were an absolute pleasure to live and work with. They are all people I will remember forever, and I hope I am able to stay in contact with them going forward.
In spite of working from morning to night each day, capturing footage and pictures of various events, restaurants and locations – the week really didn’t feel like work. I learned so much about myself, and so much about the people around me – I never for a second felt awkward, it was almost as if I had known them my whole life!
My first two nights marked the end of the flamenco festival in Archidona, not usually my cup of tea I’ll admit – but it was a wonderful way to ease myself into the week. The performers on both nights were quite simply superb and perfectly encapsulated how much flamenco means to Spain’s culture.
I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful Sanctuario de la Virgen de Gracia, witnessing the cultural delight of the procession – I was amongst thousands of Archidona locals as they carried la Virgen down the streets, an unforgettable experience.
We visited some incredible restaurants, including the Ochavada’s famous Axiduna. As well as Rafa’s Cafeteria Casablanca and Restaurante Central to name a few. All of which were bursting with flavour and life.
Even outside of Archidona, we witnessed a superb jazz festival in the town of Iznajar, eating tapas and drinking pints of the local beer amongst the incredible musicians. This was on top of our day trip to the picturesque Malaga, where I treated myself to some delicious freshly caught fish at the market.
One of my personal favourite experiences was going out cycling with Almohalla 51’s very own Ken. It was delightful to see the mountainous, picturesque, colourful landscape that surrounds Archidona. It wasn’t an easy ride I’ll tell you, but it is well worth trying if you stay.
But by far the most special part of my week with Almohalla 51, was the people, and the connections I made with everyone. The hotel guests were all marvellous, happy to be on camera and engage with me and the hosts. The locals were incredibly friendly, always saying ‘hola!’ as they walked past you, putting themselves in front of the camera to welcome guests to their city: ‘Bienvenido a Archidona!’.
But finally to Jo, Ken, Jake, Caz, Josie (and Barry). I can not thank these people enough for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime, and just being the greatest, friendliest, nicest group of people I could ever dream of working and enjoying myself with.
They really made it the perfect week, and I’m really glad they appreciate the work I did for them as much as I appreciated everything every one of them did to make me feel comfortable and welcomed at Almohalla 51. All of you, every single one, will never be forgotten.
And to the reader, I implore you, to visit Archidona and stay at Almohalla 51 – you will have the experience of your life.
I’m sure I shall be back soon…
Links to my reels so far:
Around Archidona –
Traditional Spanish Breakfast –
Communal Areas of A51 –
Link to my portfolio website –