In the South of Andalusia

Sunset in Gaucin, Spain. We are here for the weekend, taking a break from Sevilla at the beautiful Sierra retreat of Alex’s cousin, Mary Lawler.  Alex took this excellent photo at the town festival last night, as the bands were setting up to play in the town square. A crowd was slowly assembling, and paella, embutido, and vino tinto were to be had basically for free.  We didn’t make it to the show – in typical Spanish form, it wouldn’t kick off until 10 PM.  When we arrived at 7:30, lunch was still being served.

Among the dozens of tiny pueblos blancos in the mountains surrounding Ronda in Southern Andalusia, Gaucin has a reputation as a magnet for Brits, many of whom have relocated permanently. They were surely on display last night, but seemed to mix well with the rest of the crowd: older locals sharply dressed for a night out on the town, Spanish hippies spinning to whatever music they could get their ears around, and the odd sheepish family from Chevy Chase trying not to be the loud Americans. If you’re in this part of the world and really need a Brit fix, there’s only one place to go: The Rock.

Gibraltar wasn’t on my tourist radar until we noticed it on the horizon from Mary’s patio in Gaucin. Once we saw it, Alex and I somehow found it hard to resist the pull of the “End of the Ancient World.” I’m glad we went, but Gibraltar will likely rank high on our list of places we won’t ever feel the need to re-visit.  I had a terrible plate of fish and chips, we saw Morocco again, and, for once, we had no trouble finding an English-language bookstore.

That’s Spain in the distance. Morocco would be over my right shoulder, too far off to be visible to our camera. In fact, Gibraltar yielded almost zero sense that Africa was just a few miles away, and the drama of our first encounter with the Mediterranean wasn’t dramatic. That said, Coco met some macaques.

So, Gibraltar is checked off a list that didn’t exist prior to yesterday. Moving on to today’s action.  Today was a mix of more earthy delights, as Alex and William and I went on an early run up to Gaucin’s Castillo del Aguilar and then around Mary’s mountain. Fabulous views were our reward, even if the castle was locked.

We made it to the castle later, then spent the afternoon in intense siesta and at La Cueva del Gato (see the other post for action footage). The castle is one of the best we’ve seen so far.  Like so many around here, it was built on a Moorish installation which in turn sits atop a Roman outpost.

Back to Sevilla tomorrow morning. Back to the girls’ rigorous homeschool schedule, William and my Spanish lessons, and Alex’s tireless efforts to keep us on schedule. From the “Nice Problems to Have” file, we are actually quite busy there, and haven’t even had a chance to visit the Cathedral yet. Can you imagine?!?!?!

Here’s a shot from Mary’s amazing patio this morning, with the Castle visible along the ridge to the right. Gibraltar would be just to the left of the castle, were it not for clouds. Next time.


Leave a Reply