Back on Thanksgiving weekend, my friends and I did a road trip to Andalusia in southern Spain. This region is known among other things for its pretty white villages called Pueblos Blancos. We flew in to Granada via Madrid, picked up our car and started a two hours journey to our first stop, Setenil de las Bodegas. The town is unique in that the houses are built out of a network of caves and rocks atop high cliffs.
Cafes and restaurants lined up this tiny street. We stopped here for lunch. The rooms inside are actually caves and they use the rock itself as the ceiling. It is pretty neat to see!.
Only residents are allowed to drive on this tiny street. Every time a car came by, we had to stop walking and tried to squeeze and be as flat as we could :).
We walked further up the road to a viewpoint. All the buildings are painted white. There is a small church on top of the hill. There were children playing outside. It feels like people here are living a pretty laid back life. No hurry in the world!
Our next stop is Ronda. The town is famous for the beautiful bridge Puente Nuevo aka the New Bridge. The previous bridge was poorly constructed that the entire thing collapsed and 50 people died. The new bridge had also housed a prison during the 1930s civil war where captured opponents were tortured and then thrown out the window (nothing but the rocks underneath would welcome them. Ouch!!!).
There are several hiking trails to get closer to bottom of the bridge. On one trail, there were chains installed alongside the cliffs, however it was not maintained and marked closed. That would have been a crazy hike.
Standing on the bridge, we can see the other side of town where houses are built on the top of the gorge. Those people have the best view of the bridge.
The big building on the left is Parador de Ronda; a popular hotel that provides the best view of the bridge and the surrounding area.
Ronda also has a very nice Old Town and a lively new town. The streets were already decorated for Christmas, but disappointingly the lights were not yet turned on at night (it would have been magical if they were!).
The weather in November was nice and pleasant during the day, but dropped pretty quickly at night. The town gets quiet at night but we felt safe walking around.
After a good night stay and a nice stroll around town, we said goodbye to Ronda and continued on to Frigiliana.
Frigiliana is picturesque, more chic and the houses are bigger and modern. There was not many tourists when we were there, so it was easy to walk around and took pictures without people. The cobbled stone streets are painted with interesting designs and most houses were decorated with plants and flowers. Walking in this town somehow reminds me a little bit of Santorini and a little bit of Chefcheun in Morocco.
Our last stop was back in Granada. We had reserved tickets to see the famous Alhambra Palace, a must see site recommended by most travel books when visiting southern Spain. We made sure to get there early to beat the crowd so we could take pictures without too many tourists (we were second in line). The palace has a beautiful Moorish architecture; the details on walls, the doors and the ceilings were just mesmerizing. It was difficult to capture those details in pictures.
There is a beautiful garden with a pool outside the palace. The fall colors in November adds an extra boost to an already beautiful place.
Somehow this area reminds me of Santa Barbara in California (go figure!).
It took us several hours to tour the place and we were pretty quick too. There were many structures to see and if we were to do it again, we would use the audio guide to learn more about the place.
Here’s a scenic view of the Alhambra from a viewpoint in Albercin town:
With that we concluded our short introductory trip to Spain. We had definitely fallen in love with the scenery, the culture and the people. Although we found the food to be a bit too salty for our taste.