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Empty Spain and the Caravans of Love

How does a lonely, Spanish shepherd find love when single women have left for the city?

How does a lonely, Spanish shepherd find love when single women have left for the city? Antonio Cerrada lives north of Madrid, in the heart of what’s been nicknamed the, "Lapland of Spain" because its population density is so low. With only a handful of families left in his village, and people continuing to leave for the cities, Antonio struggled to find a partner. Then Maria Carvajal arrived. She came in a bus full of single women – a ‘caravana’ - to attend an organised party with men like Antonio.

The Caravans of Women - or Caravans of Love as they are known - began as a response to Spain’s epic story of rural depopulation. More than half the country is at risk, and in nearly 600 municipalities there isn’t one resident under the age of 10. And as Linda Pressly finds out, there are many initiatives now to reverse the decline of the Spanish countryside, including a movement of young people – the "neo-rurales" – who have begun to occupy abandoned villages.

Presenter and producer: Linda Pressly
Producer in Spain: Esperanza Escribano

(Image: Antonio Cerrada, a shepherd who found love. Credit: BBC, Esperanza Escribano)

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27 minutes

Podcast