Arabian Nights and Andalusian Adventures
We have left the coast behind for adventures further inland. We’re not sure yet if this is a good idea in January as it could be very cold, but we think it’s worth it!
Guadix was our first stop, on the northern side of the Sierra Nevada. On our way to Guadix we could see the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada and we knew it was going to get cold!
Guadix is a very nice town, with a bit of an Alpine feel to it. There is a lot of history here; plenty to see and do such as a beautiful cathedral and the Alcazaba although this appeared closed to the public when we were there.
The main attraction however, is the Troglodyte neighbourhood. Troglodyte houses are houses built into the hills and mountains, or cave houses. They are quite the sight to behold and there are several where you can go in for a look around, as well as a museum showing how people used to live in them. We had great fun looking around and trying to spot the distinctive chimneys in the hillside.
Guadix was our stop on the way to Granada to visit the Alhambra. For the Alhambra it’s strongly advised to book tickets in advance as they sell out. Of course we left it too late so in the end our Alhambra visit was a day latera than originally intended, and we spent an extra day in Guadix. Granada and the Alhambra are well worth a visit. We made a video and you can find more information on our facebook page. It’s useful to know that the time on your ticket is specifically for the Nasrid Palaces, but you can enter the Alhambra any time, you just need to be at the Nasrid Palaces about 15 minutes before your allocated time to ensure you’re in the queue at the right time.
Having seen the Sierra Nevada from afar since driving to Guadix, we decided we had to go and see for ourselves. We found a driving tour in our Spanish travel guidebook for the Alpujarra and we decided that we’d do that for a roadtrip. This route took us from La Calahorra to Juviles to Trevélez and finally to Órgiva. We crawled up steep single lane roads with hairpin bends (only a few near misses!), got as high as 2000 meters, saw the landscape change from icy cold on the northern side of the Sierra Nevada to flowering almond blossom trees on the southern side. We saw ham… A LOT of ham, or Jamon we should say. Almost every building in Trevélez was full of ham. We enjoyed a guided tour at Nevadensis Jamones where we learned so much about the curing process. Did you know it takes at least 15 months for a ham to be cured and ready, and most cure for 36 months.
By now we had about a week of very cold temperatures, and one of us had caught a cold so it was time to find some warmer climes by the coast before travelling on to Córdoba. We travelled to Salobreña, a white-washed hillside town with a large Moorish fort, where we found a place to stay under the cliff of the town and near the beach. From here we travelled along the coast for a few days, staying briefly in Torre de Benagalbón and La Cala de Mijas in between Malagá and Marbella as we were booking a campsite there for family to visit us soon. For information about our specific stops, find all the details here on our facebook page.
We were in Mijas when we found out that our C&CC colleague Nick was travelling not far from us, so we agreed to meet in Ronda. Ronda was a “Must Visit’ on our list anyway, so we were excited to go and it was even better as we were meeting up with Nick. We explored the town together and saw the bullring considered by some to be the birth place of bull fighting, and the Puente Nuevo and we walked through the narrow cobbled streets of the old town.
The next day it was time to move on further north, and our next stop was El Torcal near Antequerra. This is now my second favourite stop on this trip (the Montanejos hot springs are hard to beat!). The landscape at El Torcal is simply spectacular, with unusual rock formations formed by millions of years of history. Antequerra is also home to neolithic dolmens, which you can visit for free (dogs not allowed). We stayed here 2 nights as there was so much to see and do. Antequerra is yet another town that should make it onto your travel list.
Finally, we make it to Córdoba where we visit the Mezquita, the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba. The Mosque was constructed during Moorish times over several phases, but when Christians came to power, it became used as a christian place of worship with chapels built around the outside for the noble families of the city. Eventually, they wanted to make it into a cathedral but the people of the city, and the nobles (for their chapels) wanted to preserve the building, so they built a Cathedral in the middle of the mosque. It’s an amazing sight and a very beautiful building.
Going inland from the coast was a brilliant thing to do, as we’ve enjoyed so much Spanish culture and history. Andalusia is full of amazing stories of Arabs, Christians, Romans and even stone-age people and we’ve enjoyed getting lost in its history.