Back to Spain we flew! Barcelona was gorgeously unreal, creatively genius, inspirational.
We loved seeing Antoni Gaudi’s many works of art and architecture throughout the city, with the icing on the cake being the Sagrada Familia, which is still under construction with the end date forecasted for 2026 (one hundred years after his death).
And of course the delicious tapas!!!
We spent 4 hours on 2 trains to get from Barcelona to Cuenca. This town is famous for its ‘hanging houses’. It reminded me of Ronda, Spain.
With it’s steep cobblestone streets, hanging houses, beautiful views of limestone cliffs and the town’s unique home made liquor, this is a perfect place to relax just an hour from Madrid. Salud!
“Ronda is, indeed, one of those places which stands alone. I know of nothing to which it can be compared.” – Lady Tennyson 1850
The town of Ronda with it’s white walled buildings is perched on a high plateau split by the El Tajo gorge. It’s one of Spain’s oldest towns and was loved by historical romantic travelers such as Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles.
Gorgeous views abound. We had an amazing 15 year anniversary in this romantic town and even tried the ajoblanco (cold almond and garlic soup with strawberry jam). The soup was weird.
Seville is the land of fairytale romance. So far it’s my all time favorite city. There are plazas that have gorgeous streets leading off into every direction and each one leads the imagination down a different storybook theme. Couples of all ages are holding hands and public affection is the norm. This is also the land of the passionate flamenco dance.
The beautiful royal palace of The Real Alcazar is worth waiting in line to see. This is the oldest palace still in use in Europe and where part of the fifth season of Game of Thrones was shot.
There are many peaceful gardens to wander through, fantastic tapas to delight the palate and awe inspiring architecture around every corner. Seville should be on everyone’s ‘Must See’ list for Europe.
You can’t go to Granada and not see the monumental complex of The Alhambra. The dramatic towers hover over the town, strategically built there in 1237 by Muhammad I al-Ahmar. It changed hands many times over the course of history and remains a beautiful blend of Muslim and Christian art and architecture. Get your tickets to visit the grounds early because they sell out fast.
We had the amazing luck to stay in an air bnb with this view!
The free and delicious tapas kept coming (you can read about that tradition in my Tapas and Tinto post :)) and the winding uphill streets kept us hungry for more.
We loved the medieval feel of the historic area and the amazing food found in all the cafes along the river.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Hotel Casablanca in the dreamy resort town of Almunecar. Everyone here seems to be in the Tranquil Zone. The seafood was fresh off the boat, the cocktails were frosty and the Mediterranean sea was cool and refreshing after a stroll down the beach in mid 70 degree sunshine.
Our room was $58 in US dollars, and the restaurant right in front had the most amazing dish of braised oxtails for $18 US.
The bird sanctuary was located right across the street from our hotel and had a large selection of tropical birds as well as lemurs and meerkats. A short path uphill led to beautiful cactus gardens.
Peace and tranquility rule the day here where you can drink a bottle of wine with your menu del dia (menu of the day) and then sleep the afternoon away on the beach.
We’re pleased to discover the wonderful tradition of getting a complimentary plate of tapas when you order a glass of wine in some restaurants in Southern Spain. For example, you can order a copa de vino tinto (a glass of red wine), nibble on the ubiquitous brine and sherry soaked olives in the bowl placed before you and before you can say ‘yum’ the kindly server has brought you a plate with two fried, breaded, goat cheese and bacon stuffed mushrooms. For free. You pay as little as 1.8 Euro ($2.10 US) for another copa and like some kind of Spanish magic now there’s a plate of paella. Another place may serve a plate of linguine with garlic and pork belly, or fried anchovies, or calamari with a side of Spanish coleslaw. Some tapas are hot, some are cold, some are served on a toothpick and others an entire plate full. How delightful is Spain!
Wine is available by the glass usually between 1.8 and 3 Euros. You can buy a bottle for as little as 8 Euros or spend 20 on a nice bottle of Spanish wine.
Another tradition is the menu del dia (menu of the day) where you pick a starter, an entre, dessert and your bottle of wine of choice for around 10 Euros. Lunch is the big meal of the day in Spain, so its no surprise that everyone is taking a siesta mid-day after enjoying one of these amazing value meals.
For breakfast you can order a pile of churros to dip into thick hot chocolate for 3 Euros per person.
You can’t go wrong with a cold glass of sangria to toast the sunset. Salud!