The first two months of our 2008 European trip were spent learning Spanish and exploring Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain. Melissa’s sprained ankle slowed our pace, giving us time to savor the mingling of Christian and Islamic influences that make that area special. We returned in 2017 to view some of Andalusia’s most famous Easter processions and to visit the beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca. And in 2021, we took advantage of the covid-era decrease in tourism to visit the usually packed northeastern city of Barcelona.

When we visited

February to April 2008, March to April 2017, November to December 2021

Major stops

Malaga, Granada, Cordoba, Seville, Ronda, Orgiva, Aracena, Grazalema, El Rocio, Vejer de la Frontera, Antequera, Mallorca (Palma, Valldemossa, Pollenca), Barcelona

Memorable Moment

Touring the magnificent Alhambra palace at night by torchlight

Did you know?

Spain produces about 44 percent of the world’s olive oil—more than Italy, Greece, or North Africa. Spanish olive oil is our favorite kind, and we spent many bus rides traveling through the large olive groves of Andalusia.

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