Bye, bye John and Jillian. Hope you arrived safe and sound at home. Thank you for wonderful days in Andulucia. Hope to see you again.
Regards from Simone!!
With a population of more than 700,000 inhabitants, Seville is Andalusia’s biggest and most exciting city. Its unique atmosphere – stylish, confident, ancient, proud, yet also sociable and intimate - makes it an absolute must for every Andalusia visitor. A couple of other must-sees are the city’s two great monuments: The Muslim Alcazar and the Cathedral with its famous Ghiralda. Both during the Moorish occupation and during the 16th and 17th centuries, this city had its high time. 1992 - the year of the world Expo - was one of the best for Seville in the more recent past, and the results of all this would definitely require more than a day to explore! But we can at least get a good idea of the area and learn a lot about this jewel on the River Guadalquivir!
Ready for a guided city tour in Seville? Yes of course!
Let`s start with the Real Alcazar - the royal residence. We booked tickets online far ahead.
In 1364 Pedro I ordered the construction of the royal residence within the palaces built by the city`s Almohad rulers. Within 2 years craftsmen from Granada and Toledo had created a jewel box of Medejar patios and halls.
Can you see the La Giralda - the bell tower of the Cathedral in the back ground?
the swimming pool of Maria de Padilla - perfect temperature all year round in the underground of the palace
the famous gardens of the palace
reminded us on the Alhambra
Jillian in front of the "Azulejos" - the word derives from the Arabic az-zulayj or "little stone". The moors created fantastic mosaics of tiles in sophisticated geometric patterns as decoration of their palace walls. The colours used were blue, green, black, white and ochre.
John,do you know what a Tapa is?
a Spanish wedding
The Catedral de Sevilla is a real gem and the most giant monuments of Christianity. It occupies the site of a great mosque built by the Almohads in the late 12th century. Work on the Christian Cathedral, the largest in Europe began 1401 and was completed 1506 more than 100 years later. Columbus`s tomb is one of the main sights inside. You also can climb the tower which offers a spectacular 360 degree view over Sevilla.
the grave of Columbus
Capilla Major - the main altar
Goodbye Pueblos Blancos, goodbye Ronda and the cosy Reina Viktoria Hotel. We are heading for Seville today, the capital of Andalusia.
we enjoyed the last curves of the trip before going on the highway and then into the middle of Seville, where we hopefully will find our 5 star hotel
Palacio Villa Panes....
having a Cava while our rooms get ready
The futuristic building from the German archtitect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann is the biggest wooden construction on this planet.
but first some Tapas!! Today we could even convince John not to order a sandwich.... and he loved the food
on top of the Parasol - the mushroom
looks like a rocket, but it is a bridge
our hotel Palacio Villa Panes at night
The Sierra de la Grazalema sure is one of the finest areas a motorcyclist can think of. Numerous smaller and bigger roads with endless curves are yet to be discovered in the area between Ronda, Arcos de la Frontera and south of Ubrique. In 1984 the Sierra was declared a natural park, thus, being the first of its kind in Andalusia. The limestone formations, which are typical for the Sierra, will find their highest point with the summit of mount Torreón on 5,420 ft. The layout of the Sierra de Grazalema is the reason for the nice weather south of it as it represents the first barrier for the clouds coming up from the Atlantic Ocean.
Near the little village of Grazalema, which rankes among the most beautiful Pueblos Blancos, you will find the Sierra del Pinar, the core and also the highest part of the mountain chain.
The good thing for us is that we can find the best motorcycle roads all over the Sierra de Grazalema. The most exciting of them might be the Paso de las Palomas, directly winding up and down the Pinar.
guess what John is showing him?
Puerto de las Palomas
Today we go to one of Andalusia`s least accessible areas, the UNESCO biosphere reserve," Parque Natural Sierra de las Nieves" southeast of Ronda.
Up the fertile Guadalhorce valley, 7 miles on from Alora, is one of the geographical wonders of Spain, The Garganta del Chorro is an immense gaping chasm 590 ft high, slashing through a limestone mountain. In some places, where the Guadalhorce river hurtles through the gorge, waters foaming white, it is only 30 ft wide.
coffee stop at the biggest man-made lake in Spain.
Along the fertile Guadalhorce Valley, shortly after the village of El Chorro, we come across one of Andalusia’s geographical wonders. The Garganta del Chorro is a gorge, in places a mere 30 ft. wide, which the river carved into a 600 ft. sandstone cliff. It can best be seen on the Camino del Rey, a wooden walkway along the cliff that was constructed for a royal visit early this century.
Sierra des las Nieves
Instead of settling on Andulsia`s plains, where they would have fallen prey to bandits, some Andalusians chose to live in fortified hilltop towns and villages. The way of life in these pueblos blancos - so called because they are whitewashed in the Moorish tradition - has barely changed for centuries. Touring the pueblos blancos, which crown the mountains rising sharply from the coast, will show visitors a world full of references to the past.
In a north-westerly direction, a fantastic motorcycle ride get you to the white village of Grazalema
Jimera da Librar
Grazalema is just one of the popular and most beautiful little white villages, the "Pueblos Blancos", spread out across Andalusia. Located right in the centre of the Sierra de Grazalema, this seemingly cluttered little village is nestled up against a basin between the mountains of the Pinar. Unfortunately, most of the traditional farming industry, such as sheep farming, cork harvesting, or trades such as weaving, and carpentry had to give way to tourism, which today serves as a source of income for the Grazalemeños.
Puerto de las Palomas - an amazing pass road and not a single car
we have to explore Ronda a bit in the afternoon
Ronda is most dramatically located on top of a sheer limestone cliff. The nearly unconquerable town was one of the last Moorish bastions in Spain. The Puente Nuevo, a bridge spanning the 300 ft. Tajo gorge, connects both parts of town. Most of the historic sights can be visited during a walk through the older southern part of town.
the "hanging" houses
Ronda is also said to be the cradle of bullfighting and its bullring is one of the oldest in Spain. Every ambitious matador dreams about fighting here in September, during the Corrida Goyesca.
We leave the endless olive orchards.Every now and then white villages built on and around hills appear in the morning light. Malaga, the Phoenician city, was an important trading port on the Iberian peninsula. The old town radiates from the catedral. The Museo del Picasso and the Casa Natal de Picasso, where the painter spent his early years, can be visited. We continue following the Guadalhorce River out of Malaga.In the afternoon. Ronda, one of the most spectacularly located cities in Spain, is our destination for the next 3 days.
we are leaving the Convento.......
......and riding through the Malaga mountains
as Dr. Frist gets in contact with everybody, we invited this guy from the Netherlands for a coffee. He did all the way down from Girona to Malaga on a bycicle. Wow!!
beautiful views down to Malaga and the Mediterranean Sea
the honeymooner`s goal was to have a swim in the Mediterranean and to visit Malaga. So we parked the bikes in our base hotel, got changed (a bit adventurous) took a taxi onto the Gibralfaro, the fortress of Malaga, for a little guided city tour.
the bullfight arena
Cathedral of Malaga, with one tower only
Picasso was born here
Like many cities along the Spanish coast, Malaga was founded almost 3,000 years ago by the Phoenicians. It saw different rulers - the Phoenicians were followed by the Romans, later the Arabs took over until in the late 15th century, Malaga was ruled again by Christians. Today Malaga, Andalucia’s second largest town, has a lot of industry and tourism. The historic city center is still very beautiful, you should take your time to visit a few of the main sights, for example the old Castillo.
back in the Tryp we took a swim
we have to leave the beautiful coast. Stil 120 km to go and it gets dark about 7.30h. A spectacular road is waiting for us up to Ronda.
we made it. This lovely couple is enjoying the sunset.
our hotel in Ronda
no Tapas today
We will take you way today off the beaten tourist path, and into the heart of the real Andalusia. Seemingly endless olive orchards will be our companions as winding back roads lead us through the rolling hills of rural Spain. The ride along the majestic limestone range of the Sierra Loja will mark the end of a perfect riding day. We follow stretches of the "Kalif`s Route" with the fortified villages. You will enjoy Convento de la Maddalena, our 5 star hotel in an old abbey in the afternoon.
Did you know that a third of Europe’s olive oil production originates from this area. Olive trees everywhere. Since the Roman times, olives and olive oil have been important parts of the Andalusian cuisine. The trees grow very slowly and become very old. The olives, inedible from the tree, are harvested in winter. The olives are preserved as tapas or pressed to oil. Thousands of square kilometers of olive orchards cover the area on our way to Antequera.
olive trees where ever you look
Convento de la Maddalena
Las Alpujarras lie on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada. The villages in this area cling to valley sides clothed with oak and walnut trees. their flat-roofed houses are distinctive and seen nowhere else in Andalusia. Local food is rustic. A speciality is plato alpujarreno: pork fillet, ham, sausage and blood sausage, accompanied by a pinkish wine (which we can`t taste) from the Contraviesa mountains. Local crafts include handwoven rugs and curtains with Moorish-influenced designs.
After having tried some local specialities, seen some cultural highlights along the route we go across the Puerto de la Ragua, a 6000 ft high mountain pass, which leads us back to Grananda.
the honeymooners in the morning sun high above Granada
La Alpujarra - Trevelez high above
Trevelez, in the shadow of Mulhacen is built in typial Alpujarran style and is very famous for its cured ham. The Meson Joaquin is the place to try a ham platter.
Jamon from Trevelez, cheese from the mountains and last not least local mayonnaise
The narrow road up to Puerto de la Ruga - a 6000 ft high mountain pass - which leads across the mountains of Guadix, is often snowbound in winter.
The castle of La Calahorra - built between 1509-1512 by Italian craftsmen
while we wanted to short cut and avoiding the highway we found.....
...... one of the most incredible roads I' ve ever been on (O-tone Dr. Frist)
but again the day is not over yet.... back in the parador we had to hurry up! Our destination the Catedral Santa Maria de la Encarnacion is closing at 6 pm
the impressive Cathedral of Granada, biggest in Spain, a huge complex - stunning. After the reconquering of Granada under the reign of the Christian Monarchs Isabell and Ferdinand, the former Mosque was transformed into a Catholic church. That is the reason, why the church in embedded by the surrounding houses, so that you don`t realise how massive the complex is.
the organ is considered to be a masterpiece
in the Capilla Real - the Royal Chapel - taking pictures was for forbidden. Sorry!
We will see whats coming ourt of the salt
With an altitude of 11,420 ft. the Sierra Nevada is said to be Spain's highest mountain range. The Spanish name translated into English means "snow-capped mountain range", and the Sierra Nevada, in fact, is covered in snow from November until May. The paved road, which is said to be Europe's highest pass road, leads you up from Granada and has its end at an altitude of 7380 ft. After this point there is only a gravel road, closed to traffic, leading up to the very top.
awesome curves, awesome views
Leo from Australia joined us for a coffee
but the day has not ended yet....
at 2 p.m. Carlos waited for us for a guided tour through the Alhambra and the Generalife gardens
the pomegranate gave Granada its name
water, patios, cypress trees, flowers - beautiful. A pity that you can't get the smell
the whole Alhambra complex
inside the Kings Palace
the Albaicin - the Arab quarter
thank you Carlos for a very informative tour. But the day still hasn't ended...
we went into the Arab quarter Albaicin for a Tapa dinner
and than to Sacromonte, a quarter of Granada well-known for its caves, where people still are living in, for a Flamenco show
the spectacular view to the Alhambra at night was for free
Our route today leads us down to the cristal clear waters and Spain`s most spectacular coast - Costa Tropical. The Phoenicians established a colony in Almunecar, in about 800 BC and this developed for six hundred years into an important port and town with the name Sexi. The Romans came to southern Spain at the time of the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage in 218 BC, followed by the Moorish, the Christians and pretty much every body else.
Jillian is ready to go. Just a moment Mrs. Frist, we have some glove problems
Sierra del Chapparal
Beautiful roads, no traffic
the so-called Tropical Coast
Castillo de San Miguel
The Nasrid Gardens were inspired by the Muslim conception of Paradise, a fertile place which provided pleasure to the five senses: color, light and shadow for sight, perfumed flowers ans shrubs for smell, sweet fruits for taste, the symphony of water for hearing and the texture of its material - wet or dry,smooth or rough - for touch.
and the gardems at night are just magic. It was a special experience
On this tour we will riding in Spain, more precisely in the Spanish province of Andalusia. This well-known area in southern Spain stil is an insider tip among motorcyclist. Lets see, stay tuned...
our start hotel is on of the most well-known Parador in Spain, the Parador de Alhambra. We are inside the Alhambra in an old abbey. The terrace is a nice place for the wellcome briefing. But bad luck - the Frists don`t have 2 of their 3 luggage pieces....
...so luckily I had a special gift forJillian. Yes she is on her 5th tour now.
congratulation to this nice t-shirt and maybe the most expensive one you have
she never was so happy to see the UPS car
yuhuuu, the luggage arrived
Jillian - happy and in a fresh dress
Entrance to the Parador. It used to be an abbey in the middle ages
the Generalife at sunset
even the floor is art.
inside our hotel - the former grave of Isabell and Ferdinand - before they moved them to the cathedral in Grananda
at night the place is magic. No traffic noise, no tourists - silence!