The ‘caravans of love’ visiting Spain’s empty villages

Spain is ground-zero for rural depopulation within the European Union. Over decades, millions have migrated to the cities to find jobs. Those left behind in villages are often elderly – or they are single men working in agriculture. So, how does a lonely Spanish shepherd find love?

The ancient stone cottages of Pradena de Atienza, tumble down the sides of a valley. Antonio Cerrada is 52 and has worked here, with animals, all his adult life. Like his father and grandfather before him, his days are spent tending goats on the farm he runs with his brother.

Antonio’s home may be just a two-and-a-half-hour drive north from Madrid, but with its bare mountains and the icy winter wind it feels much further.

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