Day 11 – Visit Cordoba * Journey to Ubeda
Travel day today. Stopped at a little gas station for a break and saw a huge field of cilantro growing. It had gone to flower for the corriander seeds. Very cool.
Stopped in Cordoba to visit a very old Mosqu that has a Catholic Church in the middle. It is like two different buildings .. But the active Catholic church is in the exact center of the old mosqu… Wow.
Had a carriage ride through town that finished just as the rain began.. Perfect timing.
On to our parador.. Another great place. This one has really high ceilings and an indoor patio.
Tomorrow we get to find out about growing olives and making olive oil!
Day 10 – Explore Ronda
Walked around Ronda today on a city tour. Good guide, the history of this city is very interesting.
In our free time we took a hike 1/2 way down the gorge to see the waterfalls. It was steep and no hand rails. Going down was not so bad but coming back was difficult. I almost had a panic attack several times because I am just not good with heights. It was a very nice view.
In the evening several of us went to a guitar concert. He was good. I have never seen someone play the guitar like that. He strummed and picked the top strings with his fingers at the same time.
I want to take a moment to talk about the hotel. It is in the best location.. Looking over the gorge and we have great balconies. The rooms are big and it is nice. The pillows are not very comfortable and the water temperature fluxuated the entire time I was showering. So far in Spain, they actually let you keep a towel for two days if you hang it back up. The towels have also been huge! No air conditioning but outside weather is cool so we open the window or door and let the air circulate. Such little differences make the trip more interesting.
For dinner we went to the McDonalds next door to the Pousada and had a beer, because we could!
We are walking quite a bit each day. I think the lowest mileage so far has been about 4. The walkways are also cobblestone and uphill more than this flatlander is used to. If I weren’t eating and drinking so much i would probably lose some weight.
Day 9 – Overland to Ronda
Goodbye Carmona… Wish we could have spent more time visiting!
We drove through the mountains today and it was beautiful. Stopped for a coffee at a little town and then visited a ranch that breeds bulls and horses.
The ranch was quite cool and the process is very interesting. I learn something new everyday. As it was pointed out today, your hamburger comes from a breeding farm .. Here they sell all the animals to the butcher, there is just a public art form th
at includes the public killing of one of the hundreds of bulls prior to the sale.
The bullfighter trains everyday and it is almost like a dance. Bulls are very smart and have never been in a ring before their single fight or the bull fighter would be killed instantly. The bull fighter we met was very nice and answered all the questions we had.
Our hotel is just beside a beautiful gorge. I will not get close to or look over the edge but I look across the landscape and it is amazing. We have a balcony that includes chairs and
tables.. So nice!
What is up with showers that don’t have full doors or curtains? I suck at those.. Water all over the floor. Maybe I will figure it out before the trip is over but I doubt it.
My sinuses are not bothering me today !! WooHoo.. That is so great!
Mom hasn’t smoked a cigarette since we left. She has done great, especially since they smoke so much over here. Today was a tough day for her but she made it to the end of the day without a smoke and without hitting anyone and only a few moments of grouchy. Way to go Madre’
Staying in a castle ontop of a hill… It is super cool and great view. Food is good but it isnt as good as last hotel. Room is much bigger and towels are giant! I have found out that I just cannot take a shower in a tub with a 1/2 shower door without getting water on the floor. I do not know why….
Went on optional tour of Seville today.
Paid 60 cents to use a public restroom, first time I’ve gone through a turnstile into a bathroom.
Overall.. Nice city and nice parks and outside cafes.
Big tourist event was the Cathedral. The statue of Christopher Columbus was more accessible and easier to see than the altar. The altar itself was a full wall of the story of Christ with gold plated carved mahogany. Started with a picture of Bethlehem and ended with Jesus on the cross. It was a marvel because of the engineering behind it but could not see past the bars in front well enough to appreciate the story it told.
Mom and I climbed 20 of the 34 floors tho the top of the tower. Stopped along the way to look out and takes pictures.
Back in Carmona we took a walking tour of the city. It was siesta time when we left and there were very few people out but by 6pm they were all around. What a great city. I wish I had skipped the tour and hung out here instead. I like small towns better than cities. They have a city map showing different numbered things. Those numbers are also on a brass or tile plate in the street.. Actually in the street like a grate. How cool is that? Tasted some local orange wine and local cheese in a visit to a pub. Tried a wine bag… Lol. It is hard to squeeze wine out of the bag and into your mouth without spilling it!
We were the only ones in the restaurant at 7:30, other people started arriving about 8:30. Takes 1.5 to 2 hours to eat so they didn’t get done till 10-10:30 and then home and then work tomorrow. So different than at home.
Off to a new city tomorrow!
Another great day.
We toured the University and spoke to two students about their classes and how they view their future. They have a special uniform with a cape and a book that tells the rules about how they are too wear it. They were fun.
Then a walking tour of Evora including two catholic churches and the creepy bone room. Mass started at noon and at 11:55 only 10 people were there. Our guide told us that most people would show up between 12:02 and 12:10…
Today is May 1st. Labor Day and Portugese Mother’s day so not too many shops open but quite a few people at the park and out enjoying the day.
Mom and I had lunch at a restaurant by ourselves. Mom ordered chicken salad. It was a beautiful plate of mixed lettuce topped by 4 pieces of broiled chicken. Since it was mother’s day, I celebrated with a coke.. Served with ice and a lemon… They knew we were Americans.. Lol.
Later we walked down to another hotel and had a cooking lesson. Much like you teach a kindergartener to cook, it was mostly done for us but it was fun anyway. Then while we had some wine and appetizers on the patio, they plated the food for us to eat… It was a good dinner.
The walk home was not a stroll. Several of us didn’t want coffee or tea so we left early. The old people hiked up those hills quickly. They use their walking sticks to go quickly not to hobble along. They told me that by the end of the trip I might measure up to their standards and to keep trying. I am going to sleep great tonight!
Only 4.8 miles today… Lots of hills and cobble stone streets..
What a great day!
We toured a rug museum and saw a demonstration of how to embroider a rug followed by coffee at an outside cafe.
Then we toured a cemetery. It was beautiful, not a word I would normally use to describe a cemetary. From the cemetary we could see the ruins of a castle on top of the hill and we all tried ro get a good picture of it.
Then we went to a winery. Saw a fantastic collection of carriages (as one lady put it, women collect shoes – men collect cars). I never imagined that carriages had places for hunting dogs, hunting ferrets, beds and toilets. Then we walked a long way (not really) through the vineyards to the winery. I never knew grape plants could be so beautiful. Part of the road had olive trees along the sides. After learning about how to make wine and how important it is to have a great wine master (we can’t remember what he is really called), we rode the bus back to the carriage area and tasted 3 wines. They were served with some bread and jellies and sausage and cheese and honey. All of it was good but the rose wine was the overall favorite.
After the tasting we had lunch! I had forgotten we were having lunch after the tasting and was not really hungry but it would have been rude not to eat, right? What a great lunch along with more wine of course. In the store we were sad to find out that we couldn’t ship any wine home and that the only place in the states to get this wine is Boston.
Then we went to a cork factory. It is really amazing how much time it takes to grow cork (it is a bark) and what they have to do to get it ready for use (drying and boiling it twice). The shop had some really great cork items for great prices (according to the ladies that had been pricing cork items). They only take cash so it was easier to keep spending under control, LOL.
Our hotel used to be a monastery and the rooms are called cells and they are small but they are nice and have everything you need.
After a short walk around Evora, my phone told me I was awesome because I walked over 4 miles today. We got a good laugh from that.
Dinner was very good – the service was outstanding. If I keep eating this wonderful food and drinking all this wine I will have to walk 5 miles a day when I get home to lose all the extra weight.
The weather has been beautiful every day so far and the weather channel says tomorrow is going to be beautiful again.
Note to self: when traveling overseas bring a wash cloth.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner