Beautiful Cities and Nature
After the relative tranquility of the Algarve in Portugal we drive to the south of Spain. In any case, Seville is still on our wish list and we still want to visit some people. The weather is great, so we enjoy the ride, the beautiful landscapes and the pleasant temperatures in December.
The city has a rich history that goes back to Roman times. Today it is a bustling city with wide boulevards and narrow streets where the history of Moorish rule can be felt and you can experience the timeless flamenco.
Our first introduction to the city is the Plaza de España, how could we have overlooked this pearl of architecture and its beautiful spatial design in our previous visit to the city in 1999?
We even experience an open-air flamenco concert at this Plaza.
We did not know that Seville was an important port during the conquest of the Americas, there is even a tomb of Christoffer Columbus (Cristobál Colón) in the cathedral. Whether he actually lies here is extremely uncertain, by the way …
You can also visit this cathedral extensively, with the various architectural styles striking, the Moorish of the former mosque and the Gothic of the later newly built cathedral, after the destruction of the mosque buildings by an earthquake.
If you opt for a guided tour you can also visit the roof and that is a must. Our guide tells stories about the history of the cathedral and the city and shows us all kinds of details that we would otherwise have overlooked.
For example: the mushrooms on the roof are ventilation holes for the cathedral that can be opened as desired.
Later we wander through the cathedral and admire the many lavish works of art. We climb the Giralda, the bell tower that was used as a minaret by the muezzin in Moorish times for the call to prayer. The climb up therefore does not go via stairs, but via a slope where this muezzin climbed up and down with his horse five times a day.
In addition to a breathtaking view of the city and the surrounding area, the bells of the tower are also overwhelming, especially when they strike every 15 minutes …
When evening falls we walk along the Guadalquivir, the river that divides the city in two, beautiful with the moon above the old city.
The next day we take the time to visit the Royal Palace, el Real Alcázar de Sevilla. This building also goes back many centuries with remains of a Roman aqueduct and open-air bath, many Moorish details and a beautiful garden. Very worth while in the city, make sure you buy tickets in advance.
A few days of rest
After Seville we take a few days of rest with cousin Wolter and Bart. They have a beautiful place where we can relax. We enjoy memories from the past and the plans that we each have to see much of the world. It is wonderful to just enjoy each other’s company.
Antequera and the Sierra de las Nieves
We visit Antequera, just a beautiful town with a castle, a modern art museum and lots of churches. We enjoy a great Spanish three-course lunch (menú del dia) in a local restaurant with a beer / wine and bread and olives for less than € 20 for both of us, delicious.
The Sierra de las Nieves is a beautiful mountain range that rises high above the valleys of Andalusia. With Wolter and Bart we have already done a tour and a walk and together we go exploring in the mountains.
The Caminito del Rey is a historic path through the El Chorro gorge that has recently been completely refurbished and made suitable for hiking without mountaineering aids. We still get a helmet, but the walk is easy to do. It is beautiful, the walk itself between the sky-high rock walls, the animals we see, a gems and the vultures flying high above us and of course the hundreds of pigeons that nestle in the walls of the gorge. A nice walk with a lot of wind and sometimes a threatening sky, but we can complete the walk and enjoy it to the full.
Yesterday we drove to the top of the El Torcal, between the seemingly stacked rocks there was a thick fog and everything was wet and slippery. Today the sun appears, so we climb to the Paraje Natural Torcal de Antequera again with our Milady Landy. The mountains tower high above the plains and still have clouds on top, we are curious if we can walk.
At the top the sun appears to break through more and more and we decide, after having eaten a sandwich, to walk the green route. Halfway through we decide to continue on the yellow route so that we have fewer people around us and can take our own walk.
The rock formations are impressive and despite the sometimes muddy and slippery parts we enjoy the surroundings, the whistling wind, the blistering cloud patches and especially the constantly new mini-landscapes. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
Malaga in a Christmas spirit
Just like all Spanish towns and villages, the city of Malaga worked out well for Christmas. A large light tree, all streets illuminated with exuberant garlands, but especially the light artwork in the Calle Marqués de Larios is already impressive during the day. When at 6:30 pm the lights go on under the guidance of music, the spectacle becomes complete. Hundreds, thousands of people on the weekend watch and film the light and sound spectacle and displace each other to be able to shoot the most beautiful images.
We spend a few days with Ina and Shana in Ina’s holiday home in Alhaurin el Grande, just chatting and getting to know each other a little better. I made the above video when we went to watch the Christmas lights with them.
Gibraltar en Algeciras
We drive into Gibraltar to put another sticker on our car, the 28th sticker of the series that I am using Overlandstickers.com .
Gibraltar is really British, double-decker buses, an English supermarket, small English pubs and especially, English weather, it is blowing and raining, very special here south of Spain.
In the evening we look for a camping spot at the beach south of Algeciras, nice view of the rock of Gibraltar and the bay between Gibraltar and Algeciras, we see ships sailing into the harbor and enjoy the last daylight on the beach. It is windy and the tent of our lifting roof is already fluttering nicely. That night is the most restless we have had, halfway through the night we relocate because the wind is really getting too bad, we look for a place between the houses at a McDonald’s in Algeciras and luckily we can sleep for a few more hours before we have to leave for the ferry.
Unfortunately the ferry does not seem to be sailing due to the stormy wind. We then decide to spend a few nights in a hotel, Alboran, in Algeciras, nice and comfortable and plenty of time to update our blog. It rains almost continuously and the stormy wind blows.
The way it looks now we will sail on Sunday, Sonja’s birthday. We will see…