23 March 2015

Monday Morning Photo - The Alhambra

The star of Andalucia, its most-visited monument and the must-see-at-least once Moorish Palace - The Alhambra.

15 March 2015

Monday Morning Photo - Detail in Backstreet Cordoba

I just had to stop and snap this gorgeous tiny window with hand-crafted wrought iron work and Mediterranean blue painted border in a narrow backstreet near the fabulous Palacio de Viana in Cordoba.



09 March 2015

Monday Morning Photo - Palm Grove in Elche

El Palmeral The huge Palm Grove in Elche, Alicante thought to have been planted in the 5th century BC by Carthaginians who settled in the area.



03 March 2015

My Dream Route - Ruta La Palma Soñada

La Palma, Isla Bonita - 'the pretty island,' is like a rare gem, one of the Canary Islands which offers the best of everything ...

Star Gazing ...

History ...

Nature ...

Activity ...

and Gastronomy


So when I read about the #EscuchaLPalma 'Listen to La Palma' competition I was intrigued to hear the soundtracks. They did indeed lull me into holiday mode, into sharing my thoughts and dreaming of being on different parts of the island. The birdsong, footsteps crunching in woods, waterfalls, running rivers, swirling waters, shushing tides transformed me there, well you want to be there too, don't you?


Listen to Footsteps in the Forest

Silence reigns in the woods, footsteps crunch and peace invades the soul. Birds chatter and flutter between the trees, the vibrant greenery envelops, calms and invigorates. A moment in time, a memory in the making, a place like no other.




Watch the stars with the tinkling of a waterfall or flowing of a river mummuring in the background. Darkness so pure that a multitud of stars twinking, normally obscured to the human eye, but visible here on this Star Tourism magical island.

Walking on the Beach

Feel the gentle lapping of pristine waters on fine sandy beaches. Lie on a sun-warmed eastern beach with sand oozing between the toes, clear seawater that's sheer pleasure to bask in. With a land total of only 706 sq km, the island, so diverse, offers activity or rest, bustle or silence, escapism or towns. A luxurious balm that quiets and restores inner peace.



And to complete an island tour it's time to lie and relax on the beach at the southen tip of the island near Los Volcanes de Teneguia with the constantness of the waves lulling the senses.

Listen to the Waves



La Palma, one of the The Canary Islands, is nearer the coast of Africa than the Spanish coast.



Visit La Palma website to read more about this fascinating Canary island the place for a slow, slow travel experience. Maybe I'll see you there.


23 February 2015

Historical Paradors in Andalucia

Ranging from mansions to palaces and situated in 16th plazas, to possessing fabulous sea views or sitting on a hill-top, visit the eight out of 16 paradors of Andalucia which are in delightful historical buildings.

What better way to tour five out of the eight provinces in Andalucia than to become royalty for the night in the 14th century Moorish fortess of Carmona with Mudejar fountain, landscaped gardens and sweeping views over the hot dusty plains. Located between Cordoba and Sevilla, Carmona itself is a lovely town with plenty to explore so several nights stay here would be ideal.


Or what about the 15th century convent San Francisco in the Alhambra Palace grounds with views of the Generalife Gardens and a magical Christian/Moorish blend of architecture. An ideal place to stay while visiting the UNESCO and must-visit Alhambra.

Next it's  'on top of the world'  at the 13th century Parador de Santa Catalina, an Arabic fortress overlooking Jaen city and its sea of surrounding olive groves. Its small pretty flower-filled patios, thick walls, solid wooden doors, topped by a 20 metre high drawing room ceiling make it one of my favourites.

The historical palace of Casa del Corregidor in one of The White Villages of Arcos de la Frontera in Cadiz province sits on an enormous limestone ridge with far-reaching views. The town was declared a national historic-artistic monument in 1962 and is charming although driving in the town itself and parking is difficult. But don't let that put you off, both the town and Parador warrant the inconvenience.


Just as Arcos de la Frontera has to be the most spectacularly sited town in Cadiz province so is Ronda Parador in the province of Malaga. The 100m deep Tajo Gorge on which the town sits provides head-spinning views from the balconies along the ridge and from the Parador, a former Town Hall, close to its edge.

Another Parador with a view is Malaga Gibralfaro. Once a castle, founded by Greek colonists, part of its name 'faro' means lighthouse being a beacon on the Gibralfaro hill for ships heading for Malaga's port. It's opposite the Alcazaba a delightful Moorish fortress like a mini Alhambra Palace, with a Roman Amphitheatre at it's base.



Lastly heading from the Mediterranean Sea to the green sea of olive trees in Jaen province and on the edge of Cazorla, Spain's largest natural park, is the splendid Ubeda Parador Condestable Davalos a 16th century Renaissance Palace, part of an incredible huge plaza filled with superb sandstone monuments of the same period.

Covering 300 years of history these paradors are just part of a great Andalucian travel experience waiting for you in Southern Spain.


08 February 2015

Sierra de la Pandera, highest point of Sierra Sur de Jaen

La Pandera at 1872 m is the highest point of the Sierra Sur de Jaen, a long winding road leads up to an old military base from which the Rock of Gibraltar can be seen. In the distance, right in the middle the Santa Catalina Parador is just visible.


One of the many beautiful spots to visit from our holiday home Casa El Reguelo for walkers, cyclist and fabulous views.


04 February 2015

Driving Holiday in Spain - the Silver Route

The Silver Route or Via de la Plata is one of the many old communication routes criss-crossing Spain, it goes from Gijon in the north to Sevilla in the south. Travelling across 4 regions and 7 provinces the route covers around 800 Km of interesting and diverse landscapes, towns and villages. From its initiation in the 1 century AD this was the second most important route and the main one to the west of the peninsula.


Many remains and museums are found along this once Roman Road that stretches almost coast to coast and this is the route the Silver Rally follows on its annual road fun run.

History, culture, good food and fun rolled into one is the 2CV Silver Route Rally taking place this year 20-26 March. Car hire, ferry ticket and overnight stays in Paradors and some meals are included in the trip which begins its journey in Portsmouth, UK and ends in Malaga, Spain.


Itinerary

March 20 - Portsmouth - Santander
" 21 - Santander - Oviedo
" 22 - Oviedo - Zamora
" 23 - Zamora - Caceres
" 24 - Caceres - Seville
" 25 - Seville - Malaga
" 26 - Malaga depart


For more information please contact:

2CV Adventures
Tel: +44 (0)1420 478 304
Mob: +44 (0)7976 421 609
Email: finella@2cvadventures.co.uk
Web: www.2cvadventures.co.uk


Although this is an advertising post it is not a paid one, but one I'm interested in and would love to do myself.

13 January 2015

Segway Riding - Guided Tour of Cordoba

Having promised my youngest son we'd go on a Segway, at some point in the past, the moment arose on the first weekend of December - a Spanish Bank Holiday. My thought was to visit Cordoba city as an almost complete family, hubby and 2 out 3 sons, do a Segway Tour and get our Christmas shopping done in one trip. Which turned out to be a little ambitious as the shopping part was everyone else's plan too.

Roman Bridge on the River Guadalquivir

The day, a typical Spanish blue sky one, was clear, bright and chilly. We parked out of the city and walked across the Roman Bridge and around the Mezquita, up a narrow street in the Jewish quater to meet Nicholas our Segway guide. I let hubby and sons get on them first hoping to gain insight and confidence before my instructed turn on two wheels.

Segway Instruction and Practice

Lean forward to move forward, back and stay still to stop, easy no? No. Not the first minute or so. It made no sense to me. Two wheels don't balance alone and I didn't balance well on them - staying still was the hardest part to conquer! After a few wobbles and a want for flat ground, I found my wheels (a little slower than the guys) got told off for stepping off backwards when I couldn't stop, then officially allowed to go - first! But not for long.

Cordoba by Segway 

Weaving in and out of pedestrians, over cobbles, avoiding taxis, what fun. Zipping around parts of Cordoba I'd not seen before. Heading over the river to put our foot down on a smooth pedestrian area, then back to the narrow cobbled lanes, a tiny market square and the fun was over, back on two feet and firmer ground. We all would have been happy to carry on for longer. I still couldn't keep handle stationary very well, but moving weaving and obstacle avoidance was no problem. I'll be better next time!

Photo Call with River and Mezquita Behind

Our segway tour was a 15€pp 30 minute guided tour with Cordoba by Segway.

09 January 2015

Where to Eat in Cordoba near the Mezquita

After several visits trying out bars and restaurants in Cordoba I'd like to share one or two of my favouites with you from a tiny humble bar with huge tortillas to a classier restaurant all within two minutes walk of the Mezquita.


The first and smallest, Bar Taberna Santos, right opposite The Mezquita serves 30-egg, 5 kilos-of-potatoes-sized Tortillas or Spanish Omelettes which can weigh up to 4 kilos.

Taberna Santos opened its doors in 1966 and has won national tortilla competitions. The bar is tiny and you may have to stand up or like many customers take your tortilla and beer or wineover to The Mezquita's low surrounding wall to eat it, a charming summer evening tapas stop - Bar Santos is on Magistral Gonzalez Frances, 3.



My second choice, a two minute walk into the Jewish Quarter, is the homely Casa Pepe de la Juderia this town house is now a popular bar with many different sized and style of rooms all individually decorated. Some are for tapas, others for full restaurant service and it has a roof terrace too. Refried suckling pig is one among many of its very good offerings - Casa Pepe de la Juderia is on Calle Romero.







For a more modern gastronomic style and feel try El Regadero, only a short walk away. There's no pretension here but with its plain, modern decor it could be almost anywhere in the world after the very Spanish-ness of the previous two. This is more restaurant style than tapas, but you can still have a dish or two in the middle to share. A reservation is a good idea here, it is popular and fairly small - El Regardero is on Plaza Cruz del Rastro.






22 December 2014

Monday Morning Photo - Fuente de Piedra Lagoon, Malaga

Laguna de Fuente de Piedra in Malaga Province.


Enlarge the photo by clicking on it to see the flamingos a little better.