From Sevilla we picked up a rental car and headed towards the Mediterranean. The drive brought us through the hills and famous white towns of Andalucia. Though views were worthy of admiration, the road was serpentine and Steve missed quite a bit keeping us on the road. Luckily the Spaniards have built scenic lookouts at nearly all worthy spots! To stop at them all would seriously lengthen a journey. so we selected a few and carried on.
Our ultimate destination was a rental house (a whole house!) between the towns of Casares, in the hills, and coastal Estopena. Discovered by chance online, the rental was a refreshing place to relax for a few days, as you will see.
But first we stopped in Ronda, a major tourist attraction on the way. It is a dramatic setting— a mountaintop city with the new and old towns literally split by a deep gorge (300+ ft) spanned by a dramatic 18th century bridge. The rest of the town is nice enough to walk around for an hour or so, but the real draw are the views of, and from the bridge. There is also a famous bullring, though not being aficionados of the sport we didn’t investigate tours.
At last we arrived at our house. After a steep climb up a very narrow “road” and a few minutes delay in our host meeting us, we were treated to this gem of a place. (The ascent was made much more challenging by our allocated rental car, full review to come on that.) Oh, and there was also a “lively discussion” of which boy got which room before we could settle in.
The interior was filled with books, bric-a-brac and a completely stocked kitchen. It truly felt like we were borrowing someone’s home. This was a nice contrast from the ikea-showroom style of our Sevilla (and Buenos Aires) apartments.
And the views were amazing! We could see over Gibraltar to Africa when it was clear. Sunsets were top-notch and viewable from multiple decks and patios. Did I mention the heated pool? Even though it was not all that warm, generally, when the sun was shining in the afternoon it felt like it was in the upper 60s/low 70s and the kids had a great time jumping and fighting over the one ball at the place.
This house wasn’t all that close to anything, but we managed a couple of quick stops beside the grocery store. We walked around the waterfront of Estopena and had lunch at a fish & chips shop. Fish & chips doesn’t seem that Spanish, but neither does the coastline here. It is chock full of British expats and vacation homes. All the restaurants on the beach were signposted in English, as were many stores. The land along the entire coast is pretty much covered in condos and golf resorts. Though much derided as ruining the area, you don’t have to go far inland to be back in a quiet rural area.
Just north of the city is a natural sulfuric spring which has been in use since Roman times (at least). It is said Julius Caesar even bathed here. It was a bit off the beaten track and a bit anti-climatic, but interesting historically.