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Andalucia (Souhern Spain)

Because of some serious back problems we did not have a vacation yet this year :-(. Fortunately that has now been corrected by a short (10 days) fly & drive trip to Andalucia. It was the first time in some 20 years that my wife and I vacationed alone, i.e. without kids. Something to be recommended :-) Andalucia is a beautifull region of Spain, with loads of culture (thanks in no small part to the Moors) and a breathtaking nature (oh yeh - it also got beaches: the Costa del Sol). The first few days were rainy, but during the second half the wheather improved to the (expected) nice sunshine and comfortable temperatures (almost 20 Celcius).

Benalmádena in the rain We landed around 18:00 hours (i.e. 6 pm) at the Malaga airport. After getting our rental car and hotel vouchers for the Asociación de Hoteles Rurales de Andalucía, we started towards our first hotel: Hotel y Apartamentos La Fonda de Benalmádena. (see http://www.fondahotel.com/fondahotel/). Thanks to the (borrowed) TomTom route planner we made it - and it was worth it too. 7 photos
Alhama de Granada The first stop was close to our cousin's house near Ventas de Zafarayas. In line with the name of the association the hotel, Los caños de la Alcaicería was very rural indeed. The main attraction was a very nice village, Alhama de Granada and its environment. 50 photos
Alhambra The city of Granada, situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains is the home of the world famous Alhambra, a Moorish fortress and palace build in the 14th century. The Alhambra receives more than 80.000 visters per day, and is one of the most visited attractions in the world. In our opinion well justified. 58 photos
Orgiva Our next stop was the very nice and comfortable hotel Taray Botánico in the city of Orgiva, in the Alpajuras. The manager, who spoke good English, was extremely friendly and drew us a sightseeing map based on the current weather, which was still very wet with low hanging clouds. Most fotos are of the touristy village Pampaneira. 42 photos
Zuheros On our way to Cordoba we passed the village of Zuheros, where we hoped to visit the Cueva de los Murciélagos (the Cave of the Bats). Unfortunately they were closed (off-season they only open on Saturdays). Still, it was a very nice area to visit and the village itself is a prime example of the "pueblo blanco", the white villages. 9 photos
Cordoba It's hard to say which was the most impressive city we visited, but Cordoba, is a big contender. I was very impressed with the Mezquita, the Great Mosque of Cordoba that, although it has been turned into a Roman Catholic cathedral, still has the original Muslim architecture. I especially liked the red-white striped arches. Unfortunately I had decided not to bring a tripod and, despite boosting to ISO 560, I needed up to a 1/2 second exposure time. No wonder that many photos are "somewhat blurry". A good excuse to go back for a next visit in the foreseable future :-). 62 photos
Monasterio de San Francisco It's a good idea, we thought, to spend a night in a monastry. This is even more true if the monastry has been turned into a nice hotel, like the Monasterio de San Francisco. Conveniently situated in Palma del Rio between Cordoba and Sevilla, the hotel has plenty of history as well as a very nice, and modern, cuisine. 20 photos
Sevilla Towards the end of our short vacation we visited Sevilla, where I had stayed before for work and which inspired me to visit Andalucia in the first place. Finally the weather had turned nice, as you can see on these photos of the Plaza de España, the Cathedral, the city itself, and Alcázar of Seville 65 photos
Zahara de las Sierras Driving back from Sevilla towards Malaga airport we took some (very) scenic routes. Stopping at Zahara de las Sierras, also one of the white villages, we had some coffee in bar Perez and a picknick lunch on the square overlooking most the village. The remaining route was -again- very scenic, but a tad slow so we arrived rather late at our hotel. 40 photos
El Chorro The last day of the vacation we took a leisure tour towards El Chorro, with its large water resevoir and the site of the famous El Caminito del Rey, the kings little pathway, created to build the dam for the reservoir. Lo and behold, some people were there risking their lives on this -by now- very treacherous via ferrata. 35 photos