My goodness, time certainly does fly by…. We have been in Spain for just over two and a half months now and soon we are off to another adventure…
Bob and I have noticed a pattern in our new lifestyle. It’s been true for all four countries so far.
We arrive and instantly begin to explore. Where’s the market, the grocery, the cafes? What are the historical sites and the museums to visit? We dive into the city wanting to know what we can learn from this city and country. The newness brings an excitement and renewed energy. I like this phase.
Of course as we explore and try, our favorites soon emerge. “Ah, this is the cafe that will inspire the next blog. It has perfect coffee, a kind staff and a stunning view.“ I return a few times and the staff smiles recognizing that I’m in the city for longer than the average stranger and this brings me comfort. The markets reveal my favorite vendors and my walking routes pass through my favorite neighborhoods. It’s a sweet place to be. I like this phase too.
Slowly a feeling of , “Hey, I’m leaving soon. What haven’t we done yet?” creeps into my mood. Bob and I sit down and create a list, actually schedule the “musts” on a calendar and happily soak in the last weeks of the county. Another part of this phase is the anticipation of the next country. I start to “Google” and collecting a few ideas. ok, I like this phase as well.
Here in Spain our “must-list” included Ronda and Cordoba.
Our new friend Nacho graciously became our tour guide and drove us to Ronda and a couple of nearby towns for a delightful day of sightseeing. Ronda offers a grand history, first settled by the Celts in the 6th century. It’s famous for the Puente Nuevo (The New Bridge) which started being built in 1751. Nacho tooks us on a secret path that wound down below the bridge and revealed an intricate system of pipes and valves that controlled the river.
After leaving Ronda, we drove to the town of Setenil de las Bodegas. Many of the houses and buildings were built right into the sides of a cliff. When you go inside, the back walls are the cliff. Crazy! They did this to stay cool in summer and warm in winter. I’d worry about spiders.
On our way back to Malaga we made a quick stop in Antequera, known for its 52 churches and its cathedral.
Nacho’s generosity of time and knowledge made for a perfect day. The Spanish people are truly kindhearted. And Nacho tops the list.
Next, Bob planned a wonderful day for us in Cordoba. We were blown away by the Mosque, completed in 987. A cathedral was built in the center of it in the 1500’s. The mosque is so big that when you enter the mosque you have no sense that a full size cathedral is in there somewhere. It kind of just pops out as you take a turn and bang, there is it. It’s so perfectly blended with the mosque (go figure that one) that you just think it’s “normal” for a second. Sitting in the pews in the middle of a cathedral in the middle of a mosque. All good vibes. It was an incredibly peaceful and calming space to be.
An unexpected surprise was a trip to Gibraltar with our Spanish hiking group–Las Rutitas de Domingos (“the little Sunday hikes”–not so little really!) . We actually hiked from the sea to the top of the rock. Prudential would be proud. We could have been a commercial. This Sunday will be our last hike with our beloved hiking group. It has been one of the highlights of Spain for us..
Flashback…, we had three visitors in Spain
Lori and her son Spencer came in October and Ed in November.
Lori and Spence were here for a week and we did a great job of exploring Malaga. We insisted that Spencer (13 years old) go to the Picasso Museum. I’m not sure it was his favorite part of the visit, but he did it. I loved it. The four of us had a wonderful day in Granada. Bob and Spence enjoyed hot chocolate and churros (Lori and I had red wine) and we toured the Alhambra. Wow, what a castle. I am now in love with the moorish design. The colors, the use of water and geometric design seem to agree with me. (Robin, you would go nuts with this design.)
Ed came in November, staying with us for one quick night before he was off to Morocco for four days, and then he returned to join us for the weekend. We played in Spain, riding bikes next to the sea and eating the “typical” Malaga foods and celebrated Thanksgiving a bit early.
We have loved our time in Malaga and I do hope to return here in the future.
Next stop, Tangier, Morocco. On Dec 6th we jump on a bus to Tarifa, Spain, which is the southernmost point of mainland Europe, hop a ferry and cross the 9 mile wide Strait of Gibraltar to Tangier for a two month stay. Africa here we come.