Two friends from Norwich arrived this weekend. They have already visited several times and been introduced to both the great food of this area and the numerous places of interest within a short drive of Ayamonte. This time we have decided to do a road trip to Granada, stopping off for a couple of nights in Cordoba and hopefully, when reading about our trip, more of you will be enticed to explore farther afield in this beautiful part of Spain that I now call home.
The first leg of the trip (Ayamonte to Sevilla) I have made several times but I never cease to enjoy the landscape. It begins with Umbrella Pines, Orange Groves and fields of Strawberries, then as you near Sevilla it changes to Olive Groves. Apart from the obvious detours you can also make en route there are a couple of items I have found particularly interesting. The first is the Ines Rosales Factory. In 1910 Ines Rosales began making tortas de aceite by hand and selling them at the railway station. Unable to keep up with demand she employed local women to help make them and today they are still made by hand using the same recipe and then individually wrapped. They are delicious on there own or with accompaniments such as cheese and fig spread. The second item is the Solar Power Station (known as PS10) which is situated just after the Mercadona Distribution Centre.
From Sevilla to Cordoba the landscape changes once again to gently rolling, arable farm land which has a very 'Spanish' feel to it. Cordoba itself is a lovely city, compact and very welcoming with a host of good restaurants. The Mesquita, of course, is top of the list of places to visit and just wandering round you could easily loose track of time and almost feel as though you have been transported back to the 8th Century. Other equally interesting places to visit are the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos with its tranquil gardens and fountains, the Juderia and, if you happen to be there in mid May, the Patio Festival.
The last leg of our journey was a spectacular drive through the mountains to Granada. As we had already visited the Alhambra several years ago we decided to explore the city itself and our first port of call was the Museum (Capilla Real) next door to the Cathedral. There is a beautifully carved tomb in there which contains the remains of Ferdinand, Isabella, two of their children and a grandchild and you can also go down a little set of stairs to view the very unassuming coffins. The Cathedral of the Incarnation was next and it is surprisingly light inside due to the very pale stone that was used to build it. Other places to visit include the Albayzin (old Moorish Quarter), Basilica de Nuestra Senora de las Angustias and, if, like us, you love tapas, Calle Navas.
The drive time to Cordoba was 2 1/2 - 3hrs and to Granada 4 - 4 1/2hrs down motorways and dual carriage ways with very light traffic and plenty of places to stop off for refreshments.