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01/2020: Andalusia – Part I

This year the vacation came early courtesy of a “regents week”, now that Anne is in a high school, and both Tamara and Anne are screaming for Europe. I guess the memory of 2 rural weeks in Canada and Maine last summer are still fresh, or maybe our trip to the Netherlands and Belgium wasn’t spectacular enough to last more than 1.5 years… Granted, alternatives for a trip in mid-January are not abundant, it’s really either cold-and-snow or Florida or Caribbean beaches. More exotic ones, like Hawaii, are too expensive on a short notice, which is why Tamara has been hunting for attractive airline prices to the south of Europe. What she caught is a really good one to Madrid. Except we are not going to Madrid, she says – too cold – we are going to take a car and drive to Andalusia. It’s too hot in the summer there anyway, winter is the time to go! And so the planning starts.
Toma has visited the south of Spain, like many other places in Europe, with her parents when she was young, and she borrowed many guidebooks about Andalusia, but info on the internet also gave us some hints about places not featuring high in the books, like Ronda, and one suggestion (Setenil de las Bodegas) even came from a Facebook ad, as useless as they usually are.
After some discussions we decided to book hotels beforehands and so this trip is becoming more and more real. Also more real becomes a rainy forecast in the first 3 days of our trip ๐Ÿค”. Maybe it’ll change, we are usually pretty lucky with weather in our travels. At least the latter part looks pretty good.

Day 1

So here we are on a FinnAir flight, which is really American. Gotta say, it is about as good as we can expect. The seats are very good, with that configurable headrest that actually lets me sleep some (never happens on planes), and entertainment such that Anne watched 3 movies I think (well, that’s not a surprise). It’s OK, she’ll sleep in the car…

We ordered a compact car in Avis, aware of parking difficulties not only in the old city centers but also in most European parking lots (see our France trip). In fact, a compact car rental is more expensive than a lager intermediate one. What we get is Audi Q2, which is, while not huge, not really small either… I feel cheated, the same car would’ve probable been the cheaper alternative. Oh well, we are finally on the road. I kind of thought it handles not quite as well as Audi should and after awhile it seems there is a problem with the car… a light appears on the dashboard and when Tamara looks it up in a manual the info on it is not encouraging… There is some sound we start hearing from below and we decide to stop at the shoulder and maybe restart the car… except now it doesn’t start at all ๐Ÿ˜ฏ!!! We are now stuck somewhere between Madrid and Granada surrounded by nothing but the road and olive trees…

Granada, Spain

Thankfully, the phone works, and Avis (as I’m sure other serious rental companies) has a system to send you a text message with a link to send them your location. It took about half an hour for the taxi and the tow truck to arrive, right when the rain starts. Since we have an un-cancellable hotel reservation in Granada, I asked Avis operator to transport us there. Avis doesn’t have a location in the city but it does have one in Granada airport, about 30 min drive from our hotel, and that’s where the taxi is taking us. The driver doesn’t speak a word of English, and my attempts to engage him in conversation using Google translate go nowhere, he doesn’t understand a single word I’m saying. On the plus side, since I’m the passenger now, I can take photos from the car! The surroundings closer to Granada are becoming very picturesque with a lot of hills with a lot of olive trees on them…

Although this is already afternoon, a fog is covering many valleys.

Granada, Spain

When we finally arrive to Granada airport there is another shock waiting for us: Avis is closed! Now, after a week in Andalusia, it is not a shock anymore that a business office is closed at 2:45PM, it’s more like a rule. I mean, everything closes at about 2PM! And, if you lucky, it opens some time in the afternoon. Avis in Granada airport (a tiny airport BTW) opens on schedule at 4:30, so here is another 2 hours down the drain… The Avis lady is very polite, and soon we are driving a Citroรซn Cactus, also an SUV but it seems a tad smaller (which is good), and, even better, it accepts our USB card with music, so our driving collection is on!

Granada

Granada historic center does not have parking spaces. The hotel we are staying, Casa 1800, located in the historic Albaicin neighborhood, recommended a parking lot 10-15 min walk from there, right outside the center. By the time we get in and park, walk with our suitcases past many cafes and a couple of historically interesting places, and navigate through some small streets into the hotel, we are understandably tired, and – since this is January – it starts getting dark. Here is an entrance to an old caravansary we passed (ironically, this medieval hotel is closer to the parking lot than ours).

Our hotel, Casa 1800, is a pleasant surprise. It looked good on TripAdvisor, it looks better up close. The building is a 16th century mansion with wooden stairways and a small courtyard (made into a breakfast area with old-fashioned armchairs and attractive heat lamps, covered by a semi-transparent plastic roof). Our room is on the second floor with a window/balcony into the courtyard. All features in the room (except the bathroom, TV set and wall outlets) seem to have come from the old times…

Granada, Spain

Turns out the hotel has a complimentary snack time from 4 to 6PM in the aforementioned breakfast area… Have I mentioned that we have had very little sleep last night, and our meals for the last 17 hours were an airplane dinner and an airplane snack? No? You better believe we appreciated this snack in a relaxing dimmed courtyard of a historic building! Maybe it wasn’t a restaurant meal but these ham sandwiches, cheese, coffee, juices and desserts were quite good.

Granada, Spain

It seems I’m typing a lot in this blog but not showing a lot of pictures… let’s change that. Of course, by the time we get out of the hotel it is already dark, but the rain, predicted and realized, seems to have stopped, so we decide to go to the outlook near Church of San Nicolas nevertheless. The girl at the hotel told us it should get less crowded in the evening. I can’t seem to get enough pictures of the old town…

Granada, Spain

The hill overlooks the Alhambra and the view is gorgeous.

Granada, Spain
Granada, Spain

If this is “less crowded” I kind of like the fact that we are not here during the day, as we planned, because the number of people here is substantial. The church doesn’t offer a view as magnificent, but it is nice.

Granada, Spain

Getting down we decide not to go directly to the hotel, but rather visit a touristy area nearby, and have a snack in a tapas bar. The rain starts again, but it is loo late to stop us from seeing what we wanted to see.

Granada, Spain
Granada, Spain

Back at out beautiful hotel, after a long (literally, because of the time difference) and tiresome day featuring dragging our luggage through airports and cobblestone paved streets, walking uphill and downhill, we are ready to have some rest.

Day 2

Granada

The plan for today was to visit Alhambra and drive to Frigiliana, one of the Pueblos blancos (white villages) of Andalusia. Since we lost half a day yesterday, we also want to see some of the city in daylight.The girl we talked to in the hotel yesterday told us the walk to Alhambra is about 10 min. In reality it is more like 15-20, mostly because it is very noticeably uphill. Maybe also because it is interrupted by a drizzling rain. On the plus side the cascades are full of water…

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Alhambra is a popular tourist attraction and it regulates the amount of visiting people, so to get into the palace without reserving a ticket in advance is almost impossible. Our timed tickets have been reserved for a long time (even before we reserved the hotel in Granada) and we are in no hurry exploring the grounds and approaching the palace. We are about to enter it when the drizzle ends and suddenly… a double rainbow!!! The view of the city with a rainbow is gorgeous!

Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Looking back to our photos I see that Granada fetched the highest number of snaps. I think the reasons are two-fold. One is the abundance of interesting and well-preserved intricate ornaments of the Moorish palaces, but the other is that this double-hill location creates great vistas from both high points (Alhambra is built on a high hill overlooking the town on a lower hill and a valley surrounded by mountains). As awesome as the view of Alhambra was from the hill in Albaicin, there are even better views of the city from Alhambra.

Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Overlooking the city from palace windows adds another dimension.

Alhambra, Granada, Spain
2020-01 Andalusia, Spain

Here is the cathedral that we thought of visiting on the 1st day but didn’t

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Looking to the other side, there are snowy tips of Sierra Nevada (the original one) mountains.

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

The name “Alhambra”, from Arabic “al-hamra” means “the red one”. The full name was actually “qal’at al-hamra” – “the red fortress”. It’s unclear whether this name predates the lavish palaces of today or not. There was a Roman fortress here, and a small fortress was built in the 9th century by Arabs. Neither seems to have been of any importance. Only when Granada became the capital of the only Moorish kingdom left in Spain in the mid 13th century, Alhambra’s reconstruction as the king palace complex started (it ended almost 100 years later). The palace structures, of course, is the focal point of Alhambra visit, with elaborate arches and walls and tranquil courtyards, despite a substantial number of people around.

Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Speaking of the number of people, looks like the plaza at San Nicolas Church is getting busy…

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

The palaces visit (there are 3, not counting the palace of Charles V) does take quite a bit of time, especially with the audio tour, especially if one tries to take in the details of the ornaments sometimes.

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Charles V palace, a 16th Century renaissance building, looks completely different and a bit out of place, if you ask me.

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

A short visit to Alcazaba (fortress)

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Our tickets also include a visit to Generalife, the palace gardens perched on the neighboring hill.

Generalife, Granada, Spain
Generalife, Granada, Spain

As gardens go, I wasn’t overly impressed, maybe because it’s January, but, as it is another hill, it provides a slightly different angle of view at the city, palace and mountains.

Generalife, Granada, Spain
Generalife, Granada, Spain
Generalife, Granada, Spain

The way back to the city should be easier (it’s downhill), but with the road made of uneven and now extremely wet and slippery cobblestones we have to be very careful not to fall down. It’s afternoon. so we stop to have lunch in a restaurant nearby.

Granada, Spain

We walk around the “touristy” part of town. There are not that many people around, maybe because of the weather, maybe because it’s Sunday. This is a shopping alley.

Granada, Spain

We visit Palacio de la Madrazac

Granada, Spain

and the Royal Chapel (no photos allowed), but opt out of entering a crowded cathedral for a fee. The Royal Chapel is where Ferdinand and Isabella are buried, as well as their daughter Joanna and her husband Philip, the first Habsburg king of Castile. It was their son Charles V who became the “World Emperor” by inheriting all Habsburg lands.

Granada, Spain

Our Granada adventure is complete. It’s past 4PM and we realize that not only we are about to miss out on our next planned destination, but our 24 hour parking is about to expire as well. We have to checkout from our palace, walk briskly to the parking lot, and make a decision whether to skip our next destination or make it. The detour we would need to make adds about 1.5 hours to our drive to the next hotel. Also, since it’s about 1.5 hours until the sunset, it’s unlikely to get a good view at all… I still choose to go there, not the least of all because the alternative to drive directly to the hotel would mean going directly westward at this pre-sunset hour. Meh…

Frigiliana

And so after about 1 hour and 20 min drive along beautiful hills and Costa del Sol towns we finally arrive to Frigiliana right at 6:30, the sunset time. However, the main reason this village is such a beautiful sight is that it’s surrounded by hills, and that means the sun is already behind one of them, so the sunset has already kind of arrived. Nonetheless, the view of the village in blueish colors of the evening is stunning.

Frigiliana, Spain
Frigiliana, Spain

Toma and Anne refuse to go with me when they find that the only parking is at the edge of the town, which means the walk is uphill. I still decide to go and find a good vista point not very far.

Frigiliana, Spain

There are almost no people on the streets beautifully paved with cobblestone mosaics (pretty common feature in Andalusia it appears) …

Frigiliana, Spain

It’s almost dark, time to hit the road if we want to get to Ronda by 10PM.

Day 3

Ronda

Ronda is famous for a couple of things. Well… famous may be an overstatement since not many people we know have heard about it at all, and undeservingly so. Ronda is the home of a famously ๐Ÿ™‚ picturesque bridge connecting the old and new parts of town. It is also the place where the bullfighting, as it has been practiced for the last two centuries, originated. The bullring that the new town more or less started from is still there.

We are staying in Parador Hotel (the word, as turned out, means “hostel”, but there is nothing resembling a hostel about it). The building sits, like many hotels in Ronda, right on the edge of a cliff. Our room seems to be overlooking the valley, and it has a very nice balcony, so the view must be nice but it is now completely dark so… we’ll see tomorrow. First thing in the morning – going to the balcony… Wow… Awesome views!!!

Ronda, Spain

And it’s very brisk, the temperature is about 35F, but at least it’s not raining. The mountains to the west are actually a national park, Sierra de Grazalema.

Ronda, Spain

Our plan in Ronda is to walk around the town, go to an outlook of the bridge and visit Casa del Rey Moro, a place featuring a medieval “water mine”, dubbed a marvel of engineering.

But first, a glance at the old town and the valley from an observation point in a park with a statue dedicated to Ernest Hemingway, who spent considerable time in Ronda and was, apparently, really fond of it, unsurprisingly, considering his fascination with bullfighting.

Ronda, Spain

Instead of walking over the famous Puente Nuevo (the New Bridge) we are going through the back streets.

Ronda, Spain

Terraces of the modern Jardins de Cuenca lead to Puente Viejo (the Old Bridge)

Ronda, Spain

with an nice outlook towards the newer Puente Nuevo

Ronda, Spain

Both bridges are here to cross a deep ravine with a river separating the new town (17-18th Century, not that new) from the old town (much much older).

Ronda, Spain

After crossing Puente Viejo and getting up to the street levels new outlooks are opening.

Ronda, Spain

Looking down from the town on a hill we can see beautiful landscapes and some equestrian training, to Anne’s enjoyment.

Ronda, Spain
Ronda, Spain

On the outside Casa del Rey Moro (house of the King Moor) turns out to be an early 20th century mansion built for Duchess of Parcent in a Mudรฉjar style (the style characteristic to Spain right after the Reconquista, heavily influenced by Islamic arts). There have never been any king’s house here as far as we know.

Ronda, Spain

Water mine, rather than a marvel of engineering, I think rather a grim reminder of the harsh medieval realities. While Muslims, Christians and Jews in the Islamic Spain lived in relative peace on the same land (though nobody really mentions things like 1066 Granada massacre), it was Christian slaves that had to carry the water up the stone staircase from the depth of 45 meters. Two water wheels powered by the same power source (slaves) lifted the water up another 15 meters from the river to the pickup point.

Ronda, Spain

The steep staircase gets down to Guadalevin River, revealing a very nice view of the canyon.

Ronda, Spain
Ronda, Spain

Ronda was one of the last city to be reconquered by Christians, it was only taken in 1485, largely due to its uphill location and this water supply. The story goes that a traitor revealed a weak point in a mine wall. The Christian army was able to destroy the wall, stopping the mine. The city surrendered within a year. Of note I think is the fact that the town has managed just fine ever since without slave-powered water mines.

A side room with a cathedral ceiling is called “Secret Room.” A whisper of a person in one corner can be heard very well by a person in another corner, but not in the middle. We tested it pretty well ๐Ÿ˜….

Ronda’s old town is cute and small and we pass through it rather quickly. Orange trees are abundant, something that is common in all towns we visited. This time of year they are covered in juicy ripen fruits. Sometimes it is difficult not to get distracted.

Ronda, Spain

A piece of good old photo wrestling is going on…

Ronda, Spain

The next step should undoubtedly be walking down to the observation point of the Puente Nuevo, but the entrance is closed ๐Ÿ˜ฏ. They are repairing the walkway and closed the whole thing down!!! There is another way there though, as pointed out to me by a nearby fellow who sees my face expression (he couldn’t speak English but did know just a few Russian words). We start walking but Toma’s knee is hurting and so I go to it alone, leaving the girls at a good looking plaza with benches. A good thing too because it turned out to be quite a walk.

Ronda, Spain

Also it turns out to be a street, albeit narrow, so we could’ve driven there, but oh well. Also, and that’s the worst thing, it actually doesn’t lead to the best observation point, to get there I would have to climb over a rather steep hill and then probably hike around some more. The only little path I see stops short. True to the forecast the rain has already started and the hill is wet and slippery, and features some piles of horse manure. I get to the point that’s pretty good and record my snapshot from there. No, not the best ๐Ÿ˜•. To get a better view I would somehow get to the other side of this slope.

Ronda, Spain

On the plus side, the source of the manure piles (3 potential sources actually) is having some snack right there nearby, which allows for a rather unique perspective…

Ronda, Spain

Back to the plaza under a drizzling rain I’m a bit tired and cold (the temperature did not climb much from the morning chill, and there has been no sunshine at all). The rain is picking up and changes to snow. That’s not what we expected from Andalusia! Beautiful orange trees are standing under this snow ๐Ÿ˜ฏ.

To save ourselves from it we dive into the Mondragon Palace. These Moorish courtyards can certainly be very attractive…

Ronda, Spain
Ronda, Spain

We are hungry and it’s time to have some lunch. We have more plans for the afternoon. Now we go back and this time actually do cross Puente Nuevo to lunch in the hotel’s cafeteria.

Ronda, Spain

Snow and rain are pouring…

By the time we finish lunch the snow stops, though the light rain stays on. We are going to Plaza de Toros, the bullring… There was a guy named Francisco Romero, who lived in Ronda in the beginning of 18th century. He is the one credited with changing corrida from killing a bull by mounted horsemen to killing a bull by a matador, on foot. He basically became the first professional matador, introduced the muleta, and popularized the new style. His grandson Pedro Romero is one of the legendary Spanish matadors.

Ronda, Spain

Again, to the joy of Anne, there is a horse training, this time indoors.

Ronda, Spain

Besides the ring itself there is a museum with some horse riding accessories that were used at the French Royal House, and bullfighting regalia.

Ronda, Spain
Ronda, Spain

And now our shoes are covered in bright orange mud ๐Ÿ™‚. We find some practical puddles to remove most of it and proceed to walk around the new town, also a very attractive area. At this point our logic is simple: if we don’t visit it now it will start to rain harder and we’ll never visit it…

Ronda, Spain

Small streets lead to Plaza del Socorro

Ronda, Spain

A fountain of an unusual design

Ronda, Spain

Back at Puente Nuevo, it is sunset time. The snow and clouds of fog are blanketing the hills…

Ronda, Spain
Ronda, Spain

Look at this view, says Anne. The largest tree here is a palm, but the background is a snowy mountain!

Ronda, Spain

With sunset the bridge gets lit up.

Ronda, Spain

Now that I think about it, we should’ve gone to Puente Viejo for another view, but alas, none of us even thought about it. We are tired and seriously cold, but appreciative of Ronda’s beauty.

Ronda, Spain

Day 4

We are staying our second night in Ronda to start in the morning for the Pueblos blancos. How much time we spend in each of them is entirely up to us, and will probably depend on the weather. The forecast is the same: clouds and rain. Today we are planning to visit the rainiest town in Spain: Grazalema. Just saying… But our first stop is

Setenil de las Bodegas

Besides being a good-looking town on a hill it has a distinction of being a good looking town in a hill, as some of the houses are literally built into the rock.

Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain

As with Frigiliana (and Granada, and Ronda) there is no parking to speak of in the town center. Google Maps declare a parking lot that seems to be somewhat conveniently located, but the only name is in Chinese ๐Ÿ™‚. Turns out there is no lot, but there are parking spaces on the road near a bus station – sounds good to us. The walk is a bit hilly but, on the plus side, there are awesome views of the town while we are walking down towards the most “rocky” streets.

Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain

Down there parking is allowed in a few places but they are all taken. The “rocky” streets indeed make a very unusual sight. This should be pleasantly shady on a summer day…

Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain

It’s still early, most places are closed, and we are just looking around anyway, so it takes us a short time to walk a bit and get back to the car enjoying the views on the way.

Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain

Acipino

The ruins of this Roman city lie right on one of the routes to our next destination so why not go there? Turns out there is a good reason: it’s closed on Tuesdays ๐Ÿ˜’. No matter how much time one spends on planning, there are always some things missed. A quick look through the fence, and we are on our way. It wasn’t high at all on our priority list, there will be a couple of more opportunities to visit Roman cities.

Asipino, Spain

Montecorto

Alright, I didn’t know of Montecorto’s existence before our trip. The view from the road was so nice, and there was a spot to park on the edge of this little town…

Montecorto, Spain
Montecorto, Spain

Zahara de la Sierra

The way from Setenil to Zahara lies among some hills and the road becomes picturesque and curvy, with multiple farms on the way. Driving on the small countryside road sometimes offers cute encounters

Andalusia

Zahara de la Sierra sits on the slope of a steep hill. We stop in the outskirts for a glance among the orange and lemon trees.

Zahara de la Sierra, Spain
Zahara de la Sierra, Spain

There is a parking lot almost at the top of the hill, on the edge of the village and almost near the castle.

Zahara de la Sierra, Spain

“Castles” in these villages, by the way, rarely offer much, if any, of the architecture. There are a few remains or, in some cases, refurbished structures. We enjoy the view and walk around the center of the village just a tad.

Zahara de la Sierra, Spain
Zahara de la Sierra, Spain

I undertake a walk up to an overlook of the village from above, Beautiful views!

Zahara de la Sierra, Spain

There is a couple of nice outlooks of the mountains on the Route CA9104 from here to our next destination, but Google Maps says the road is closed in that area. Well, they were right about Acipino, so I guess instead we are taking a long route to

Grazalema

Although they are all beautiful, I think the outlook at Grazalema approaching it from the east is the most dramatic of the villages we’ve seen, though the pictures fail to grasp it.

Grazalema, Spain

We drive through the village and stop at a free parking lot. A very nice outlook from the western side of town.

Grazalema, Spain

It is afternoon and we are kind of hungry. Some restaurants have good reviews, but looks like they’re closed. What’s open is a bar, but they have a food menu.

Grazalema, Spain

We order more than enough (it was amazingly inexpensive too), and ready to have a bit of a walk through the empty village and head back to the car.

Grazalema, Spain
Grazalema, Spain

Surprisingly, although the eastern route to Gibraltar is much shorter than the western one, Google estimates them to take about the same time. Looks like we can still visit another Pueblo blanco then! But first, a couple of brief stops on the road through Parque natural de la Sierra de Grazalema.

Sierra Grazalema
Sierra Grazalema

Arcos de la Frontera

The western detour around Sierra de Grazalema takes us close to Arcos de la Frontera. We considered it before the trip, but didn’t think we would have enough time, and didn’t do a lot of research. Trying to get an idea from where a good outlook of the town can be found, there isn’t much info. This view from this highway is certainly good, though I think there is a better one from a different road.

It was Rick Steves in his travel video who mentioned that there is a free parking lot on the top of the hill, right near the townhall. Well, I bet Rick did not drive there himself!!! The streets are very narrow and driving past the cathedral we squeeze in with barely an inch on either side of the mirrors ๐Ÿ˜•. Well, now that we’re here let’s look around. The view from the hill is nice.

A guy nearby has a couple of small dogs, a collection of several different owls and birds of prey and a meerkat on a leash ๐Ÿ˜ฏ! Exotic and troubling if you ask us.

We don’t approach him, we don’t care what he’s trying to sell here. After enjoying the view, a walk around the streets adjacent to the center.

At this point we are kind of oversaturated with white and soon get back to the car.

Getting out of the plaza, we are trying to head to the street suggested by Google when a guy is gesticulating “No, no, you won’t fit.” The helpful dude walked ahead of us showing the alternative way that we did successfully navigate. He also did ask if we could spare some cash (in Spanish, but we got the drift and did spare a little). So, maybe we could fit there or maybe we couldn’t, it’s a moot point nowadays… Now another long drive is in order, the one that gets us to

Gibraltar

It is evening, almost sunset time, when we get to the UK border of Gibraltar, and much more people are getting out than getting in. So much more, in fact, that our way to the hotel, Holiday Inn Express, is blocked by traffic. Let’s go to Europa Point, Toma says, we’ll check in later. Why not, anything is possible with the navigation system. Well, possible but not very certain as we are getting into weird navigation instructions (for some reason those became the more numerous the longer we traveled), like “keep slightly right” on the intersection with pretty much 3 streets getting to the right. On one of them I took a wrong turn and it’s clear that the sunset will occur before we’ll manage to Europa Point. A spot on the curb, however, gets an excellent view of the sunset over the bay.

By the time we are on the shore it’s already dark, but I’ll try some photos anyway…

Gibraltar

We reserved a room with parking but the hotel has, maybe, 15 parking spots and they are all taken. “It’s OK”, the girl at the reception says, “there is a big parking lot 5 minutes from here, and the door at the exit has been broken for awhile now, so it’s essentially free”. I guess dropping the car at an abandoned parking lot is the same as parking in the hotel, interesting logic. But it is what it is.

We have a dinner in a nice Italian place next door. By the time we’re back in the room it’s raining outside.

The day we visited the rainiest town in Spain almost became the first one we didn’t encounter rain here.

Due to wordpress.com size restrictions our trip continues here.

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