Sunday, 28 August, 2011 19:53

Welcome To Spain

A Sad Departure …
With sadness we departed Montone on Monday August 22 after a fabulous 10 days of festivities. We drove with Allison and Luke to Bologna for our flight to Seville, Spain. Allison and Luke were off to Bordeaux, France.

Montone at Dusk

As our flight did not arrive until 11:15 PM we had an overnight stop in Seville and picked up our rental car the next morning for our trip to Antequera in the Province of Andalusia. We chose Antequera as a base for 10 days as it is central between Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Ronda and Malaga. All places we planned to visit during our stay.

Antequera Estepa Gate and Bullring

Antequera – What A Surprise …
We did not know what to expect on arrival in Antequera as it is not on the tourist trail but what a surprise we received. This beautiful town boast the magnificent Alcazaba Castle, Roman ruins, over 30 churches, the 2500 BC Copper Age Dolemens, and good shopping.

Liz At Alcazaba Castle – La Pena in the background.

On our first day in Antequera we decided to explore the city with the hop on- hop off bus which gave us a great overview of the city, its monuments and churches. We then took the opportunity to explore much of the city on foot.

Rob in the 2500 BC Dolomens burial site

Exploring The Region …
Our second day in Antequera was spent exploring the region around the city. To the south are magnificent mountain ranges, some of the peaks are 1300 metres in height and to the north are largely flat undulating plains with olive tree plantations as far as the eye can see.

Olive Trees as far as the eye can see

We visited the El Torcal Nature Reserve. These limestone mountains have been weathered over millions of year to form the most incredible structures with rocks defying gravity.

El Torcal Nature Reserve

From there we visited the Laguna de Fuente de Piedra Nature Reserve which is the nesting place for thousands of flamingos and then on to the Guadalhorce Dam and Nature Reserve which supplies the region with its water supply for both domestic consumption and irrigation.

A Day Trip To Ronda …
90 km from Antequera is Ronda, one of the ‘must visit’ towns in the Andalucia region. It is divided into an old town and a new town by a spectacular gorge which must be 150 metres deep. The two towns are joined by two bridges, the Puente Viejo or old bridge built in the 11th century and the Puente Nueve or new bridge built at the end of the 18th century.

Puente Nuevo – New Bridge

The old town has rambling streets with Museums, restaurants, tourist shops and many historic buildings. The new town is the commercial centre of Ronda and has an impressive shopping strip which is 1 km long and boast lots of designer shops, restaurants and bars. A complete contrast to the old town.

Shopping in Ronda

Ronda boasts one of the oldest Bullrings in Spain, built in 1785, and called Plaza de Toros de Ronda. We took the opportunity to visit both the bullring and the attached museum which shows the history of bullfighting along with an amazing display of antique fire arms.

Ronda historic bullring

To The North – Cordoba …
Our second day of exploring further afield was to Cordoba, 120 km from Antequera via a magnificent multi-lane Autovia (freeway). In just over an hour we were in Cordoba and managed a car park right on the edge of the Jewish Quarter which is the main attraction in the town.

Gardens at Fortress

Our first stop was the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, (The Fortress of the Christian Kings). This fortress Roman baths and ruins at it’s base and the most magnificent gardens which included, believe it or not, a gum tree as one of it’s feature trees. Our next stop was the Mosque Cathedral, the main feature of Cordoba. Built originally as a Mosque and later converted to a Cathedral this building preserves much of the Muslim architecture. A strange combination in today’s world.

Entrance to the Cordoba Cathedral

Ambling streets of the Jewish Quarter of Cordoba

We wandered the rambling streets of the old town and then ventured into the newer section of Cordoba which although interesting did not have the impact on us that the new town in Ronda had.

Plaza de la Tendillas in the new section of Cordoba

– Posted using Blogpress on my iPad

Location:Antequera, Spain

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