Parador de Cazorla to Córdoba

It was cold when we left our Parador this morning. As we came down out of the mountains the sun came out and it warmed up. We wanted to stop at the castle and museum in Cazorla but getting there was quite an adventure. The roads through town were very narrow, to the point that we had to pull the mirrors in to get through!

The castle was fascinating. It was never actually lived in but it had a commanding view of the countryside and was used to protect against invaders. We climbed to the top with a guide. The first picture below is the road Duke drove up to get us to the castle.

This is the view from the top.

Below you can see the castle, Bonnie and Brian and our red car.

This is one of the rooms inside the castle.

We have driven through endless fields of olive trees on this trip. After we left Cazorla we made a point to stop and take some olive tree pictures.

In Córdoba we are staying right across the river from the Meziquita. The Mezquita is a Catholic Cathedral built inside a massive former mosque that was built on the site of a Visigoth church.

The former mosque is very very big, 400 feet by 600 feet. When you first enter and walk around the size of the former mosque immediately astounds you. There are more than 800 columns topped by double arches.

In the mid 1500s the Christians who had recently captured Córdoba built an enormous elaborate Cathedral in the middle of the mosque.

After finishing at the Mezquita we stopped for a snack in one of the courtyards of the Jewish Quarter. For dinner we ate at Bodega Campos. We shared a seafood and rice platter that was really delicious. Then we had a variety of deserts.

Ubeda to The Parador de Cazorla

Ubeda is known for its pottery. As we were leaving town this morning we stopped at the Pottery Museum Paco Tico.

From there we headed into the mountains where we are staying at the Parador de Cazarla which is surrounded by Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla. When we checked in they told us that we are their first visitors of the year since they have been remodeling.

This is the view from our room.

We went for a hike up to the pass above the Parador.

For dinner I had stuffed peppers, venison, and chocolate torte.

Granada to Ubeda

We picked up a rental car in Granada and took a circuitous route to the town of Ubeda. The countryside was quite mountainous and at times reminded us of southern Utah.

As we left Granada we had some good views of Spain’s Sierra Nevada Mountains to the south. After the Alps and the Caucasus Mountains Spain’s Sierra Nevadas are the next highest Mountains in Europe. Right now they are covered in snow. It has been hazy the last few days so the picture below, taken from Granada is the best picture I have of them

In Ubeda we are staying at the Parador. On arrival Brian and Bonnie let us share their romantic package while we waited for our room to be ready.

We had a great time exploring Ubeda’s narrow streets and admiring the old buildings. We ate dinner at Cantina la Estacion. Below you can see Bonnie’s steak, the pork Brian and I each had and Duke’s lamb. It was one of the top two meals of the trip so far.

Granada – 17 February 2018

Today in Granada we explored the Alhambra. Bonnie and Brian had a guided tour and Duke and I explored the parts of the Alhambra that don’t require a reservation in advance. We toured the extra special parts last tine we were here. But we were amazed to find out how many museums and parts of the Alhambra are open and free without a reservation.

After exploring all the free parts we went and had coffee on the terrace of the Parador which is actually inside the Alhambra.

Then we walked up to el Sillo del Moro, the site of a fort that overlooks the Alhambra and all of Granada. It was blown up by Napoleons troops when they left the city but the views were stunning.

On our way down from the view point we met up with Bonnie and Brian and went for some Tapas in a couple of packed bars near our hotel and the Plaza Nueva. We had been joking about all the hams being fake but we were truly surprised to discover that these hams are fake!

For dinner we ate at an absolutely wonderful steak restaurant, Negro Carbón.

Malaga to Granada

Today was a travel day. We took a short bus ride from Malaga to Granada. The bus was packed so we didn’t get to sit together. As we pulled into Granada we had to wait for a parade of costumed school children to pass. I have no idea what they were celebrating.

In Granada we took a taxi to our hotel near the Alhambra, Hotel Puerta de las Granadas. Duke has stayed here both others times he has been in Granada.

We went out for a walk and stopped at Corral del Carbón. It was a resting point for Silk Road merchants and their animals. They have a small free museum that had some fascinating displays.

We walked by the Cathedral.

And we enjoyed some tapas on one of the old streets.

For dinner I started with onion soup and Duke started with a chicken soup.

For the main course Duke had squid and I had a pork roll. It was all delicious.

Malaga – 15 February 2018

We slept in this morning then walked down hill from our Parador to the town center. On our way we visited the castle and looked down on the bull ring.

Picasso lived the first years of his life in Malaga so today we visited the Picasso Museum. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures. The museum has a wide range of his work starting with an impressive painting he did of his sister when he was fifteen.

In the basement there are Phoenician and Roman ruins that were found when they renovated the building. I love thinking about how people were living and working here so many centuries BC.

After the Picasso Museum we enjoyed a snack at a sidewalk cafe and then visited the Muslim palace, the Alcazaba. Today was the first day on this trip that we haven’t needed coats. It was glorious.

We ate dinner at the Parador. This is my lamb and Duke’s fish.

Ronda to Malaga with a stop to hike the Caminito del Rey

Two years ago on my first trip to Spain we saw parts of the Caminito del Rey from the train window on our ride from Malaga to Ronda. When I saw the amazing catwalk trail on the wall of the gorge over the river I told Duke that I really wanted to come back and hike the trail. Today we did! We caught an early train from Ronda.

About nine thirty we got off the train at the very small station of El Churo. There was really nothing there so Duke had to work really hard to find a place for us to leave our bags. Duke had bought tickets to enter the trail at eleven but by the time we had stashed our bags and taken a bus to the trail head it was more like twelve. There were a lot of people lined up to start the trail. Luckily they let us in. We were given helmets and we started our hike.

This trail used to be on an old catwalk and was considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. They closed the trail for several years, rebuilt it and just reopen the trail in 2015. We were suspended on the wall of the gorge with the water below us.

When we finished the hike we retrieved our bags and caught the train to Malaga. We were tired and slept on the train.

In Malaga we are staying at a wonderful Parador overlooking the city and the Mediterranean.