The incredibly huge, 17th-century, Baroque Plaza de la Corredera has a bloody history. Once the site of public floggings and horse races then later public executions and bullfights. The square, which is actually a rectangle, has arched porticos on the ground floor many of which are shops, mediocre bars and junk/antique stalls. It is designed in the style of old Castille city squares, and is the only one like it in Andalucia.
Archaeological excavations unearthed some amazing Roman mosaics which are in the Fortress - Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos another must visit spot when in Cordoba.
It's a while now since I visited Almagro but I clearly remember the awe of rounding a corner into the Plaza Mayor. An enormous rectangle of stone arches, porches and green-painted wooden balconies. I'd wanted to go for a while as one of my sons had been on a school trip and said it was quite cool, that meant I'd find it really interesting.
The medieval square, Plaza Mayor was like in most towns in Castilla-La Mancha the town centre, this one is a Historic-Artistic Site near Ciudad Real. The town's history is linked to the history of its Open Air Theatre, a National Monument and the main reason for the school trip. Dating from the Golden Age of the 16th century when theatrical shows were performed. Its galleries, stage and dressing rooms can be visited and every year the International Classical Theatre Festival is held here and on street stages as in days gone by.
Almagro was closely linked to the politically important Calatrava religious order importance during the Middle Ages. The Catholic King Fernando incorporated the goods of the Knights of Calatrava into the Crown of Castile which began their decline.
The town attracted bankers to the King and became very properous leaving the wealth of fabulous old buildings, palaces and coach houses. One typical tradition house is home to the National Theatre Museum, with 18th century theatrical costumes, model theatres and stages and the former Convent of San Francisco is now a Parador Hotel.
We were surprised to find that free tapas were given there and even more so as we moved along the Plaza that the price got lower as we went along. Ciudad Real gastronomy like many inland areas offers hearty stews, lamb and Migas (not one of my favourites, a dish of sometimes oily, fried breadcrumbs and maybe green peppers too) as well as wines from La Mancha (don't ask for a Rioja here like I did!)
From Almagro you can visit the lakes and islands in the Las Tablas de DaimielNational Park or the important wetlands of Lagunas de Ruidera. And of course not forgetting what La Mancha is most famous for - Don Quixote and the windmills.
Where to Stay in Almagro?
One of those lovely old 16th century houses of course, now the boutique hotel Posada Los Caballos and this one also has traditional clothes of the day so you can dress up and be photographed in them.
Does that put Almagro on your list? I'd definitely go back.
Malaga is an exciting city. I didn't always think so. Having made countless journeys down from home in Jaen to Malaga airport over the last twenty years I avoided the city (except the times earlier on when I found myself driving around in circles around Spain's sixth largest city outskirts.)
Then little by little edging into the city, along the coast, down to the port and away from the huge sprawl I found a delightful heart. So after my friend Shawn - Sevilla's Tapas Queen raved about Malaga, especially the tapas, I decided it was time to have a closer look. When an airport drop-off was early on in the day I met Victor from We Love Malaga and that was it. My view of Malaga changed in a couple of hours, that was many visits ago.
Any opportunity I get these days I pop into the old city. Where else is there that has fabulous monuments, great shopping, a huge variety of museums and beaches? Its history goes back to the Phoenicians in 800 BC, the Romans left there mark as did the Moors and it's this mix of ancient and modern that I love.
Roman amphitheatre and Moorish Castle, expensive shops and narrow streets crammed with tapas bar tables, beach restaurants and fabulous far-reaching roof top views, gastronomy market, port-side shopping, Moroccan Restaurant, Hammam Baths shall I go on?
On Saturday I popped down to Malaga to join a bunch of Andalucia Travel Bloggers and explore Malaga. We also experienced a historical and cultural pampering at the Hammam Al Andalus (write-up coming soon.)
If you pop by my blog regularly you probably know I'm rather partial to wooden doors, not that I've posted any for a while. But on my recent exploration of Osuna even I was amazed by how many I'd taken. Then when I checked hubby's photos there were loads on his camera too! Me having as usual run out of battery.
Here's just some of my beautiful old, Spanish, wooden doors for you.
Baeza and its UNESCO twin-city Ubeda are considered to be Spain's best examples of Renaissance town planning. They were both extremely prosperous during the 16th century which led to them competing to build better Renaissance buildings copying the Italian fashion.
Baeza showed off its wealth with beautiful public architecural works like the posito a public granary and the alhondiga a corn exchange. Today it's a joy to wander around the narrow, sometimes cobbled streets and exclaim at yet another incredible piece of architecture. I personally prefer Baeza, being smaller and more charming, to Ubeda which is larger and more grandiose. As they are only about 7km apart you have to of course visit both.
This building above is the loveliest Tourist Office I've come across so far.
Narrow, cobbled streets with interesting buildings and unusual features.
It wasn't my first visit to Priego de Cordoba, but the first decision-made trip. I accidently came across it years ago on a long (wrong) way home from Malaga airport. I'd picked up some friends and with a lack of concentration and a lot of chatter I veered off route. We stopped in Priego for lunch and I made a mental note to return one day.
That day finally came a few weeks back, with the glorious, dry, warm winter we've had Sunday explorations have become the norm so we (read I) decided it was time to revisit the 'Wedding Cake' town as one of our visitors to Casa El Reguelo called it.
I realised why it had been so named as we approached from a new angle. The white houses sit neatly on a rocky outcrop around which the long balcony stretches.
Once voted by users of Tripadvisor as one of the 15 most beautiful towns in Spain. There are many, many of those. It is a lovely town surrounded by the Sierras Subbeticas national park and with a long history.
The balcony with gorgeous metal railings and street lights winds around the edge of the medievalBarrio de la Villa the old part of town with far-reaching views on one side and a maze of narrow streets on the other.
The balcony ends with the craziest shaped and smallest shop I've ever seen.
In another old part of town you have to see the incredible, huge baroque, marble fountain - Fuente del Rey.
Priego de Cordoba a great Spanish town to explore and photograph.