Around Andalucia

Greetings from Seville, Spain!

It is late afternoon already here and I am in my hostal room, sitting up in bed with the air conditioning blowing cold air on me.  We are taking advantage of the mid-day siesta. We were out earlier exploring, and will go out again later. But I’m rushing (again) to publish today’s post. 

The summer evening paseo is a big event here where people take a slow stroll during the hot evenings and don’t even think about dinner until 10:00 p.m. Last night was quite warm and first we found ourselves wading through crowds of tourists.  We found a Starbucks and slowly sipped iced coffees while watching the passersby.  Continuing on to a different area, we encountered many people out and about:  young mothers pushing strollers, couples arm in arm, dogs pulling on their leads, old couples, families holding to their children’s hands, and groups of friends walking, bicycling, even some skating. The sidewalk cafes were busy. These were locals, not tourists.

 

Seville is a beautiful city that feels small. The historical area is easily walkable.

 
Come, join us on our Andalucian road trip viewing through our windshield – and my iPad.

The countryside changed as we left the Sierras behind and drove southwest from Granada to the hill town of Ronda.

  

Besides acres and acres of olives we found hay fields.

  

On day two we were driving towards the Costa del Sol, home to many golf courses.

  

We saw lots of the wind turbines and solar panels.

  

Our first stop was Antequera where we stopped for lunch and found a cute town which we would have liked to have had more time to explore. This is the Plaza de Torros.

  

Surprise! This cute, clean, authentically Spanish town isn’t mentioned in any of my guidebooks.

  

Ronda is home to the first great Spanish bullring and is known as the cradle of modern bullfighting. We visited the bullring, horse stables, bull paddocks, and museum. Bull fighting started out as war training for knights in the 16th-century.

  

The New Bridge, built in 1735, spans the gorge connecting the new town with the original Moorish town.

  

A 360′ deep and 200′ wide gorge divides the town of Ronda.

  

We entered Ronda in the new town and had no idea it wasn’t just another town on flat ground until we came to the viewpoints looking into the gorge. The old town of Ronda was built atop a rock.

  

The Old Bridge was built in 1616 on the remains of an older Moorish bridge

 

One of the world’s most recognizable rocks.

We drove to Gibraltar, leaving Spain and crossing a border into Great Britain.

  

Britain has controlled the Rock of Gibraltar since 1704 when they took it by force during the War of Spanish Succession. 30,000 people live on this 2.5 square mile spit of land jutting out into the Meditteranean. King Faud Mosque (at Europa Point) was a $20 million gift from the Saudi sultan.

  

The lighthouse at Europa Point – at the southernmost tip of the Rock of Gibraltar. The mountains of Africa can be seen in the distance, 15 miles across the strait. We daytripped to Tangier, Morocco, our first visit ever to the Afrcan continent, but that’s a story for another day!

  

West of the narrow strait to the Meditterranean guarded by the Rock of Gibraltar is the Atlantic Ocean – and we could see sandy beaches as we entered Tarifa.

  

Tarifa is mainland Europe’s southernmost town and extremely popular for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

  

Tarifa is the easiest place to catch a ferry to Morocco. The town has lovely beaches, and an old castle, but mostly feels like a typical beach town.

  

Eating tapas is the quintessential experience of Spain.

 
 

The Giralda Tower was the mosque’s minaret which was converted to a bell tower after the Reconquista and Seville’s Cathedral is Europe’s 3rd largest (after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London) but the world’s largest Gothic cathedral.

  

Walking through the narrow, winding lanes of the Barrio Santa Cruz, the old Jewish ghetto.

  

Along the Guadalquivir River, Seville.

 
That’s a lot of photos, but only a fraction of my collection!  I’m also having difficulties with the wifi upload today – it’s very slow.  

Thanks for coming along on the journey. 

Tomorrow we continue north; haven’t decided which route to Madrid we’ll take yet. We can choose between Córdoba and Mérida – the great 8th century Islamic mosque or a Roman bridge and aqueduct, etc. I’ll be sure and let you know which we choose next week when we Meet You in the Morning from Romania!

9 responses to “Around Andalucia

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