Our decision to spend a week in Andalusia in October was a good one. Not only were we able to soak in some sun, we also encountered beautiful landscapes and breathtaking architecture. The weeks leading up to the trip were extremely busy and passed in a blur, and I rarely had a chance to read the guide book I had bought. I knew I wanted to go hiking, see the Mezquita in Cordoba and the Alhambra in Granada. Anything else would be a plus.
We collected our rental car and started our journey to Benaoján. We drove along the scenic route- because that’s what we do. How else would we see the mountains, the horses, the mountain goats, the trees?
The next day we pulled on our hiking boots and walked the 14 km to Ronda. Along a river, past a cave, along railroad tracks, past grazing goats, through trees and to the view of Ronda’s Puente Nuevo. The town itself is also lovely to walk through.
Nothing prepared me for the stunning Mosque in Cordoba. I walked in and stopped in complete awe. The low light, the seemingly endless rows of columns and painted arches moved me to tears. Here, time played no role.
Back out in the sun, we walked around the town to explore the other hidden treasures.
Sometimes the places that weren’t really planned turn out to be gems. The day before our flight, I was sitting on our sofa flipping through “1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die“ when I came across El Torcal de Antequerra. A quick glance at the map confirmed my suspicion- it was in our area. The drive up to the crest was a bit unspectacular. It was only after walking down into the area that the amazing karst landscape filled with unusual landforms opened up. The icing on the cake were the ammonites we saw at the end of the hike.
We spent the past part of our trip on coast. From there we visited the Alhambra and spent time in the countryside. I’ve wanted to visit the Alhambra ever since I saw a picture many years ago and as soon as possible, I reserved tickets. In Cordoba it was the atmosphere, in the Alhambra it was the amazing beauty of the intricate carvings and designs that touched me.
Our last full day was spent in the back country.