This is the story of how the American’s hotel in Grado del Pico came to be. In the mid fifties of the last century, a newly married couple, Ronnie and Jackie, settled down in Madrid. Ronnie was American and was a member of the army, and Jackie was French, and a dog lover. In fact, she loved dogs so much that she took in all the stray dogs she found wandering the streets of her neighbourhood.
Now, one of these dogs, called Noggie by the way, was particularly mischievious and Jackie was on the point of despair when her maid, Pili, came to her aid. She suggested that they take Noggie to her village, 150 kilometers north-west of Madrid, where she thought the naughty canine would be happy and well cared for.
Jackie was delighted that a new home could be found for Doggie, but little did she know what that trip was going to mean to her and her husband. She set off accompanied by Ronnie and Pili in their huge, swanky American car in expectation of finding a good home for naughty Noggie.
Back in those days, dual carriageways were unheard of in Spain, and the N1, was long, and narrow with small lorries that chugged their way slowly up Somosierra with a long trail of traffice slowly making its way behind them. There was no room on that narrow, national road for Ronnie’s American automobile to overtake. So the party had to chug gently up hill and down hill.
After a four hour journey (nowadays it takes one and a half hours) the big American car made its grand entrance in Grado del Pico. As you can imagine, the inhabitants of that tiny village had never seen such a vehicle and the doors flew open as all gaped out at the huge vehicle, as it carefully made its way along the narrow dirt tracks that took to the square.
No sooner had the passengers disembarked than Noggie ran off in leaps and bounds. Jackie immediately ran after him in an attempt to catch him, but her dog had other intentions in mind! He led Jackie up a stony path where he came to a sudden stop. Grabbing naughty Noggie by the scruff of his neck, Jackie sat down, and as she slowly got her breath back, she took in the beauty of the spot. On the very spur of the momento she decided that she would have a house built for herself and her husband.
And some years later that is exactly what she did. Naughty Noggie remained in Grado del Pico and continued to be mischievious until he passed away, and the couple had their house built in the exact spot that Noggie had led Jackie to. There they spent many happy summers and the house was known as El hotel del Americano. And so it is called to this very day.
Once Jackie had the house built, she brought all her stray dogs to Grado del Pico where she had magnificent kennels built and even a graveyard for them to rest in peace.