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Spain

After starting two new jobs in the previous 6 months I was just about ready for a holiday. Couldn't have picked a better location to fit the bill. Not too far away and plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation.

After arriving at Malaga airport it was a long drive to the Costa de la Luz and our little "casita" in the village of El Palmar which was to be "home" for the next couple of weeks (unfortunately due to late arrival first night was spent in car!).

We woke up to blazing sunshine and went in search of our key and eventually the beach. El Palmar beach was wide, sandy and very long - amazing so we spent the first day chillin', watching the surf and the surfers and getting our bearings. Evening meal was tasty and watching the sunset over the sea was mesmerising.

Next day it was off to explore Conil, our nearest town also sporting a wide sandy beach and pretty white buildings, lots of nice little shops to wander in and out of, nice sea front cafés ...

Another wonderful beach day next, this time in Los Canos de Meca for a beautiful cliff top walk followed by more lolling on a seriously beautiful beach, then a visit to the lighthouse at Cabo Trafalgar.

With all this beach activity we were in serious danger of turning into sea slugs so to counter this we spent the next few days engaging in non-beach activities. First a day wandering around the beautiful white hill town of Vejer, then a day trip to Seville which was a really really hot. We managed to do a good bit of exploring on foot despite the heat though and rewarded ourselves with a nice meal and a few drinks before returning to El Palmar.

All that walking around was a bit exhausting so we went back into slug mode for the next day - hanging around our villa for most of the day reading and preparing for a fish barbecue in the evening. Joined our new and friendly holiday neighbours for a late evening drink that went on long into the night ...

Cadiz was our next little trip, nursing hangovers and visiting in the pissing rain probably wasn't the best way to see Cadiz but we managed to make the most of the day. We still hadn't got our heads round the Spanish way of life and as usual arrived in the afternoon when all the tourist attractions were closing! Still it meant we could just wander round and see another side to the city and we did get to experience some great Tapas.

Our next trip was to Ronda via some truly breath taking scenery and narrow, winding mountain roads which made for some slightly hair raising driving. For me this was the best bit of our trip yet. Although we weren't really prepared for it, we decided to spend the night and managed to buy the most expensive toothpaste and toothbrushes in Spain! Spent the night in the Hotel Tajo which was pleasant enough. Ronda town was interesting and pretty but best of all were the views.

After a traditional Andalucian breakfast of Churros (a long tubular doughnut) and coffee, we set off back to El Palmar the next day. Our route took us through Grazalema Natural Park where we were amazed by yet more stunning views. En route we passed through Medina Sidonia, one of the many pretty white frontier towns on the road from Ronda to Cadiz. We stopped for a picnic in Barbate Natural Park taking in pine forests, cliff tops and fantastic sea views. A very full day ended in another delicious barbecue and drinking session with our neighbours Katja and Luca.

Awoke the next morning to not-so-great weather and feeling slightly the worse for wear so decided to have a sedate little trip to the Roman ruins at Bolonia, near Tarifa - an hour or so east of where we were staying. The ruins were interesting but the best bit for me was being able to see the coast of Africa I hadn't realised how close the southern tip of Spain was to Morroco. There is also - you guessed it - another really nice beach which we had a fine time exploring.

All too soon it was all over and it was time to return home. En route back to Malaga we stopped off in Marbella which was a bit of a mistake. After being spoiled by beautiful beaches for the previous couple of weeks, Marbella just seemed like a bit of a dump really. Its only saving graces were the old town and the best Tapas ever at Marisqueria Santiago on the sea front near the port.

Andalucia is certainly worth a visit and I definitely hope to return at some point. Next time I'll be spending a bit more time in the mountains which were my favourite bit.


Click on a picture to enlarge it and get a short description of the place

El Palmar
El Palmar

 

Conil Beach
Conil

 

Los Canos de Meca
Los Canos de Meca

 

Vejer
Vejer

 

River, Seville
Seville

 

Ronda Gorge
Ronda

 

Grazalema Natural Park
Grazalema

 

Barbate Natural Park
Barbate Natural Park


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