S: Travels through Andalucia April 2012
BC: DEPARTED | SPAIN | 19 APR 2012
1: Bienvenudo ! | Spain | April 5 - 19, 2012 | Andalucia is in Spain's deep south and is the heart and soul of the country. Tapas, sherry, Andalucian horses, bullfighting and Flamenco were born in this region. Seven centuries of Islamic rule gave the area the jewel of the Alcazar, the beautiful Mesquita mosque and the whitewashed mountain villages of the south.
2: After travelling for 24 hours from Toronto to Amsterdam and on into Madrid, then a train ride to Cordoba, we arrived at 5 p.m., in time for the Semana Santa festivities to begin in earnest. Our room at Hotel San Miguel overlooked one of the procession routes!
4: Thousands of people line the procession routes. The empty chairs we pass on our way to the Plaza de las Tendillas for tapas fools us - an hour later the roads are packed with onlookers! | CORDOBA
6: ROOM WITH A VIEW Each day, we could witness a different procession from from our window at San Miguel.
8: THE PATIOS OF ANDALUCIA | Bright and airy patios, some enclosed and some open to the elements, grace the entry way of most homes. The space is often used for dining and always overflow with floral displays.
11: HAMMAM BANOS ARABES An afternoon at the Hammam, dipping (quickly) into the frigid waters, followed by the warm pool and finishing in the hot tub, then repeat. Mint tea, massages, and Arabian music takes you back to the glory days of Islam rule.
12: EQUESTRIAN SHOW
14: Mosque Cathedral | The Mesquita
15: AYRES ROCK/ULURU the world's largest monolith and an Aboriginal sacred site is Australia's most famous natural landmark.
17: Cathedral within a Mosque The stunning Mesquita was built in 784 AD, and constructed from Visigothic and Roman ruins. Following the Reconquista in the 16th century, a cathedral was built within the mosque.
18: SEVILLE - HOME OF BULLFIGHTING AND FLAMENCO. WHERE CARMEN ROLLED CIGARS ON HER THIGHS AND WHERE DON JUAN , CERVANTES AND COLUMBUS LIVED AND LOVED. GRAND AND IMPOSING ALCAZAR STILL HOLDS COURT IN THE OLD QUARTER. AND THE LONG, MEANDERING RIO GUADALQUIVER SLICES THROUGH THE HEART OF THE CITY.
20: THE ALCAZAR Originally founded as a fort in 913 AD, the Alcazar has expanded over 11 centuries and is an eclectic mix of styles, depending on who the ruling party of the day was. It's a treasure trove of royal palaces, gardens, patios and sanctuaries.
23: AYRES ROCK/ULURU the world's largest monolith and an Aboriginal sacred site is Australia's most famous natural landmark.
27: Sacristia Santa Ana Originally a 17th century noble house, this lovely hotel is in the Macarena district, away from the tourist hordes. Our room had a lovely private patio!
28: Under Arab rule, forts were built on the hilltops of southern Spain and villages sprouted up. Jimena is nestled in the grand Parque Alcornes.
29: Jimena de la frontera
31: OUR HOUSE Typical Andalucian house with entry way, outdoor patios, cozy living area and a spacious kitchen.
34: Bar ObBa. Simon hosts open Mic night on Friday. all the expats flock in for a touch of old home food, drink and music.
36: Hostal El Anon | An evening at El Anon. Drinks in the bar - the bartender pays scant attention to us - Real Madrid is playing!
38: Jimena Fort
43: CADIZ The oldest city in Europe. Havana's Malecon is a copy of the Cadiz waterfront. Concrete blocks of housing and industry give way to a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and alleys.
46: ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA A day trip to Arcos, via a 2.5 hour trek meandering through the famous mountains of Andalucia. A landslide took the restaurant off the nearby hotel. The convent selling nun's cookies is not to be found. The parking lot closes at 3 p.m.!
50: MADRID | The third largest city in Europe resonates with romance, history and culture. Not to mention raunchy fun, decadence and a touch of danger. Puerta del Sol is the centre of all things Madrid.