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 a railing on the window, where they could dry in the fresh air for a few days).

We also watched a concert in the main square featuring marching bands from local towns practicing their marches for the upcoming Easter week processions. Think lots of dull, droning slow marches. Still, it was a little slice of local culture.

Where we stayed:
Casa de las Piedras on Calle de Piedras. This is a great family-run budget inn: only 22 euros for a big double room without bath (though with a sink). Much cheaper than anywhere else we’ve stayed so far. There’s a lounge with a fireplace and sofas and magazines, information about the park posted in the bobby, a good restaurant, friendly staff, warm blankets, and clean bathrooms. Plus, we could see the outline of the mountains from our beds. This place is definitely a steal!

Another lodging that looked good, and very small and quiet, was La Mejorana Alojamiento Rural in Calle Santa Clara near the Guardia Civil building. It costs about 50 euros per night and has views of the mountains.

Good places we ate:

  • Cadiz el Chico in Plaza de Espana. Most of the restaurants in town have similar menus, but the quality of the food was a cut above at this one. Plus, it’s no smoking.
  • El Torreon on Calle Agua. Terrific menu del dia (lots of choices) and good vegetables.
  • The restaurant at our inn, Casa de las Piedras. The breakfast buffet for 5,70 euros is a bargain. We drank that much in fresh-squeezed orange juice alone. Lunch and dinner dishes were good, too, and reasonably priced.

Favorite things in Grazalema:

  • Craggy gray peaks, up close and personal!
  • Fresh air
  • Small-town feel
  • White houses with roofs of terracotta tiles
  • Good tinto de verrano (basically wine-flavored soda pop)
  • Fresh orange juice
  • Feisty goats with kids
  • Lots of tweeting birds
  • The very patient woman in the post office who helped me fill out the paperwork to mail a package to the United States
  • A good environmental ethic (lots of recycling bins and signs about not wasting water—finally!)

Least favorite things:

  • The jamon from the Coviran (local mini-mart)—it was awful
  • The fact that we only saw a single cat in the village
  • Outdoor restaurants with absolutely no shade (don’t they know the sun is trying to kill us pasty Anglos?)

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