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Andalusia Spain

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We arrived in Malaga, picked up our rental and were off to Torremolinos (Costa del Sol). We stayed in Hotel Don Pablo a hundred meter from the beach. Not a bad hotel, but it wasn't a 4* in my opinion... maybe a nice 3*, anyway the room was clean and on the seventh floor... way too high for me, but the view was nice. During the next seven days we visited the Spanish region of Andalusia, which is home to one of the most amazing collection of historic towns and cities anywhere in the world. Granada, Ronda, and Malaga spread out across the Andalusia landscape offering a historical past to rival any. Andalusia has more than eight hundred kilometers of Atlantic and Mediterranean coastline, and lots of interesting places to visit for those who want to explore "real" Spain with its culture, history and traditions. We also found that it has a very diverse landscape, from the beaches on the coast to the fertile valleys and the mountains of the Sierras, which we couldn't get too (maybe next time). Folklore is an important part of the Andalusia culture and throughout the year traditional celebrations are held. Flamenco dance and music originated here and competitions are held regularly. We missed out on any celebrations, but did get to see an excellent Flamenco show in Sevilla. The Costa del Sol is perhaps the most known area of Andalusia, where you can enjoy glorious beaches, a superb range of sporting activities and excellent Spanish cuisine with a wide choice of evening entertainment. Marbella has a wealth of high-class shops and restaurants, and Puerto Banus is a delightful marina where we strolled along the harbor, enjoying the yachting atmosphere and the bustling activity of the smart bars, shops and fish restaurants. The yachts are for the rich and famous of course… Our trip to the historic city of Granada, which was about a two hour drive inland from the Costa del Sol, was well worth visiting for its beautiful Moorish buildings as well as being the home of the famous Alhambra palace, one of the most remarkable buildings ever constructed. Not far north from Marbella is the historic town of Ronda, famous for the ravine that cuts the town in half, and for being the birthplace of bullfighting. The Ronda bullring is one of the oldest in Spain. The character of Andalusia has been strongly marked by its distinctive white houses, which make a striking impression as you travel through the countryside. The pueblos blancos or white villages are easily accessible by car from the coast and are delightful villages with narrow streets and pretty squares. The architecture has an unmistakable Arab influence and the old Moorish villages with their white houses and domed roofs. We didn’t get the opportunity to visit Costa de la Luz, which extends across the Atlantic coastline of southern Spain from Algeciras to the Portuguese border. We must try and make it next time because this relatively unknown area of Spain is easily accessed from just across the border in Portugal. With fine sandy beaches, pine woods and a beautiful climate, this would be the perfect place to enjoy the more peaceful and tranquil aspects of coastal Andalusia. Also, we’d like to visit the famous towns and cities of Jerez, the home of sherry and Cadiz. We had 3 wonderful days in the beautiful city of Seville, which offered a delightful mixture of the areas cultural heritage. We also visited the coastal town of Tarifa, which is a windsurfer’s paradise and hosts the world championships. Like any of our vacations which we truly enjoyed... we can't wait to go back. Like our good friends Feli and Bogdan who went to Portugal last year... they can't wait to return. I guess you have to expect that.

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