Monthly Archives: March 2008

Easter Week in Southern Spain

Easter Week in Southern Spain

Semana Santa (Holy Week) is an amazing time to be in Andalucia. In every city and small town, there are nightly processions in the streets. Brass bands play doleful march tunes in minor keys. Large ornate floats (pasos), decorated with flowers and candles and sometimes silver canopies, bear statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.… Read More

Foodie Heaven

Foodie Heaven

Our second Help Exchange was a great experience. We spent 10 days at Finca Buen Vino, a farm and B&B near the town of Aracena, about 75km northwest of Seville. It’s run by Sam and Jeannie Chesterton, who moved from Scotland to Spain about 25 years ago to raise a family (three young-adult children who… Read More

Seville–Sites We Visited

Seville–Sites We Visited

Cathedral and Giralda—Seville’s 15th to 18th century cathedral is one of the three biggest in the world (along with St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London). The interior doesn’t feel so huge, because the space is broken up by altars (which are in the middle rather than at the end, as in Northern… Read More

Seville — The Basics

What we did: Spent four days and nights (March 4-7, 2008) exploring the southern half of downtown Seville and getting a dose of culture unavailable in small towns. As usual, we focused on history, architecture, and art. But this city being what it is, we also spent more time than usual strolling through public gardens… Read More

Surprising Seville

Surprising Seville

We didn’t expect to like Seville–being tired of the noise and dust and crowds of cities–and we very nearly skipped it. That would have been a great mistake. Seville (pronounced Seh-vee-ya), the urban heart of Andalucia, is wonderful. The impressions you get on a balmy March day are of an open, airy, bright city, with pastel-colored… Read More

Grazalema — The Basics

Grazalema — The Basics

We spent four days in this pueblo blanco (white village) on the edge of the Sierra de Grazalema nature reserve, 25 km west of Ronda in Cadiz province. We explored the town, took it easy, read and wrote a little, took some photos, and washed our dirty jeans (thank goodness for a third-floor room with… Read More

Perched in the Mountains

Perched in the Mountains

Grazalema is a magical little town. It’s big enough that you can wander the streets for a few days and still find new spots to explore each time. But it’s small enough to feel quiet and genuine when the bus trippers and car visitors leave for the day. There are three hotels, which range from… Read More

Ronda — The Basics

We spent four days living in the old quarter (La Cuidad) and exploring old and new Ronda. On our last day, Chris hiked a little; Melissa, whose ankle was still recovering, spent a pleasant afternoon sketching by the edge of the gorge. Where we stayed: Baraka Bed and Breakfast on Calle Ruedo Dona Elvira, next… Read More

Arriving in Ronda

Arriving in Ronda

You mustn’t think that our traveling life consists entirely of touring old churches and interesting museums, then sitting in a sunny plaza with a mountain view and eating good food while a guitarist plays softly in the background. But our first day in Ronda did. Ronda is the most famous of the pueblos blancos (white… Read More

A Weekend Oasis

A Weekend Oasis

Our first HelpExchange was a mixed bag, but immediately afterward we had our first experience with Couch Surfing, which was fabulous. Couch Surfing is an online network whose members host each other in their homes while traveling. It can be a great way to meet local people and (of course) to stretch your travel money… Read More

A Week of Quiet Home Life in Orgiva

A Week of Quiet Home Life in Orgiva

Our first HelpExchange, spending a week in February with an older English couple who’ve been in Spain for many years. In exchange for room and board, we’re helping with the cooking and cleaning, working a bit in the garden, forging a few Spanish documents on the PC (the bureaucracy here is amazing), and varnishing/painting a… Read More

Limping Back to the Alpujarras

Limping Back to the Alpujarras

Southeast of Granada lies the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the highest in Spain, providing the city with a (nearly) year-round snowy backdrop. The high peaks are best left to skiers at this time of year, but the steep, arid, terraced valleys along the southern flank–known as las Alpujarras–are a tourist/hiker destination at any time of… Read More