domingo, janeiro 15, 2017

Short winter getaway to Seville and Ronda

The week before Christmas, I had a few free days and used them to go on a little road trip with my son to Spain. He loves driving, unlike me, so the driving was a part of the pleasure (for him doing it, and for me watching his joy). The weather was perfect, cold and sunny. We drove from Lisbon through Alentejo, Extremadura and Andalusia, on the highway and on the national road, stopping along to way for a coffee at a gas station or a smoke by some river, till we reached Seville.

Seville is a most beautiful city, I had stopped there a few years ago on my way to Granada (one of the most beautiful cities in Europe) and wanted to see more of it ever since. After leaving our things at a nice hotel in the centre, we walked around the city till the sun set, taking in the sights. I like the small squares, the wrought-iron balconies, the colourful buildings by the Guadalquivir, where some people were canoeing. The sun set with a beautiful light over the Torre del Oro, the Triana, the Giralda. There were several street Christmas markets, including one of nativities by the cathedral,and colourful Crhstmas light decorations in the streets. We ate calamares and iberian ham at the Triana before having coffee at the roof bar in our hotel, with a splendid view over the cathedral.

The next morning, we strolled around the city, enjoying its bustling life, and visited the enormous cathedral, climbed to the top of the Giralda to have some splendid panoramic views, and visited the wonderful Alcázar, with its Moorish architecture designed to a Christian king, an example of how complex the interaction between cultures was during the Reconquista.

After the historic Alcázar, some more picturesque streets and squares toward the Maria Luisa Park, and the huge folly that is Plaza de España, that was used lately as a scenery in the Star Wars movies.

We then left Seville, and drove across Andalusia to Ronda, where we arrived by night. We settled at the very nice apartment we'd booked and took a stroll around the narrow alleys of the old town, all white washed walls, suspended flower pots, iron grilles, and cats everywhere.

Only in the morning could we see what an astonishing place Ronda is. It looks like an eagle's nest, its white houses atop the cliffs, with the famous bridge, towering over the beautiful green landscape. We walked around the edge of the cliff, then went down taking a very nice walk, then up again, and visited the small museum, in a beautiful little palace with lovely courtyards and gardens with splendid views. I was sorry I couldn't stay longer, but was really happy I went there.

Then back to Portugal, crossing again Andalusia, Extremadura and Alentejo, and listening to the dreadful Spanish radio stations - we have definitely much better ones in Portugal! It was a very nice trip, and I hope I'll do others with my Little Lamb.

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