Thursday, April 5, 2012

Picture Perfect Andalucia

Driving an hour and fifteen minutes out of Sevilla we reached Arcos De La Frontera. It is a picture perfect white town with it's old center perched high on a cliff and it's homes and newer buildings flowing down the hill like the train of a wedding gown. We wondered the narrow roads on a scavenger hunt for Roman ruins, Moorish architecture and Christian fervor. We marveled at the dazzling blue sky against the bleach white town. The boys got a kick out of following this little dog that kept popping up here and there around the town. Teddy and I were amazed by the delicious smells that wafted out of the homes as we walked by. At one point I seriously considered knocking on a door and asking to join them for the meal. We wandered around to some artist workshops, galleries and the two main churches. After a quick stop at a cafe for some Sultanas and other goodies we left Arcos.

blue sky

white walls

Fido on the roof :)
Roman stone (palm tree of life)  used as part of the foundation for Moorish masque that used to stand where the church is now, HISTORY :)

some of my art amongst theirs
what I saw

what they saw

We drove several miles along, to my horror, a winding curvy road up and through the mountains. When I was brave enough to open my eyes I was greeted with peaceful pine trees, grey mountain and a panoramic view of the area. We drove through the national park to the town of Garzalema. It was cozy and cute tucked into the side of the mountain.


Leaving the mountains behind I was able to watch the land in front of me. As we drove we saw bulls grazing, a quintessential shepherd slowing moving his flock along the road, and a deer cross our path. We drove into a cork tree grove and had to stop. We examined the trees and poked around the bark. My young scientists wanted to make sure it was cork. After collecting a few specimens we were back on the road.


 An hour from Arcos and an hour and a half from Sevilla lies the impressive white hilltop town of Ronda with its great vibe and jaw dropping cliffs. It's home to, one of if not, the oldest bullfighting rings in Spain. We got to walk right out on to the dirt. I practiced my best bull run while the boys whirled their red capes.     We had an enlightening time in the museum, which of course didn't allow photos. We learned about the history and culture of bullfighting and got to see great art pieces including some of Goya's work. After exploring the center we crossed this bridge....


We carefully made our way along the tiny streets, pressing against walls to let cars pass. After getting a little turned around we made our way to the edge of town. It was way after dark and children were out playing in the square without a patent in sight. We sent our troops to join them and waited for Casa Marias to open.
At the very early hour of 8:30pm we walked into the restaurant as it was opening. We had the Casa to ourselves and spent 3 wonderful hours laughing, telling stories, talking and leisurely enjoying our meal. We spent the last of those delightful hours talking with the waiter about Andalusia and life in Ronda. He gave us a bottle of the best champagne I have ever tasted. After he filled the boys up with bonbons we said our good-byes and hiked 20 minutes back to the car.

Driving through the darkness over soft rolling hills and budding fields, I could see glimpses of the night time sky. I asked Teddy to pull over. We got out and looked up at the countless stars. In that nameless place under a blanket of stars I felt humbled and grateful to be alive and blessed with all I had experienced.

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