Thursday, 29 July 2010

A day by the seaside

We fancied a day out today and recalled our friends Celia and Colin mentioning Rota, a town on the Atlantic coast north of Cadiz, approximately 140kms (86 miles) or 90 minutes drive west of Olvera. So we headed off at 10.30 this morning looking forward to a new place to visit.
We followed signs for the centre of town but found it impossible to park on the streets, yellow and blue lines everywhere. Eventually we saw the sign for the "El Merced" car park and followed the one-way system around and around and around again. We were very nearly on speaking terms with the clients in a roadside cafe....we passed it three times!.
Eventually, Anne spotted the final, well hidden car park sign and we parked in the underground car park.

We emerged into a warm but slightly overcast day and followed the signs for the Tourist Office located in the Castillo de Luna, the origins of which go back to the 13th century. The castle was completely renovated over an eleven year period, opening in its current beautiful restored condition as the Municipal Palace in 1999.

This tiled plaque in the entrance hall depicts the visit of the Catholic Kings to Rota in 1477.

Armed with our map and lots of other information provided by the very helpful tourist office staff, we started to explore the old town.

A monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus.

After a very short walk, we came to the 16th century Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la O.

Around the central nave are five chapels, all wonderfully decorated, one of which is pictured here.

The central nave with its beautiful ornate altar and ceiling.

We left the Church and headed in the direction of the sea.

"What do you mean, dogs not allowed!!".
The Playa de la Costilla stretches over 4kms with a lovely promenade along its length.

We headed off to the harbour area.

The Playa del Rompidillo, a smaller beach on the other side of the harbour area with views across to the joint Spanish/US Naval Base.

We liked Rota, apart from the difficulty we had in parking. The old town had lots of bars and restaurants, pleasant squares and the beach areas were really clean and tidy. Definitely worth another visit.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Country roads lead me home....

......there's a song there somewhere!!.
Google Earth is a wonderful tool for looking at the tracks and roads that criss-cross the countryside around us but Street View hasn't quite made it to areas out of town so it's difficult to gauge the terrain.
So it was, after leaving Setenil, we turned onto the A-7276 road towards Alcalá del Valle and then onto the CA-414 towards Torre Alháquime.

The dirt road started well, gently undulating and winding its way out into the country, passing by golden fields being harvested and sunflowers just past their best.

However, after driving on for about thirty minutes or so the road started to deteriorate, getting more rutted and looking more suitable for 4x4's or tractors than our little Kia.
Not put off however, and with Anne and Calcetines bouncing around in the back, we continued on into the wilderness.

We were rewarded with this stunning view of Torre Alháquime in the foreground and Olvera in the distance.

The ancient moorish pueblo of Torre Alháquime and civilisation wasn't too far away now.

Nearly there now, Torre pictured, after what to me was another adventure and another road discovered although I don't think Anne would necessarily agree with that sentiment.
In cooler weather, this would be a great walk. Perhaps one for later in the year.

Sunny Setenil

On another lovely sunny day, the temperature at about 30°C, we drove the twenty minutes or so to the nearby pueblo of Setenil, famous for its ancient cave houses.

We parked the car on a back road into the village and walked the short distance to the Plaza de Andalucia, intending to sit in one of the cafes and have coffee. However, we were a little early to sit outside with Calcetines so we went for a short stroll around this pretty village.
The entrance into the Plaza and below the view from above.

The 14th century Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación.

Being unable to sit outside at the cafe, we headed downwards to one of the many bars that nestle in and under the rock of the Calle de las Cuevas de la Sombra.

Where does time go.....!!

Unbelievably, we have now lived in this beautiful part of Andalucia for three years and nearly every day we reflect on how lucky we are to have had the opportunity to settle here.
We sometimes still think of our journey here on the good ship Pont Aven, looking back from the stern at the coast of England disappearing behind us, leaving all that was familiar behind. However, we were also looking ahead with both excitement and trepidation to a new life in a totally different place, hoping that it would all work out.

And do we have any regrets?. No, not one. We have enjoyed the culture, music, cuisine, scenery but most of all the friendship, warmth and generosity of the wonderful people here. We have made many new friends and continue to do so. Through this blog, we have met and made contact with people from all over the world, quite a few of whom are "Olvereños por el Mundo", people from Olvera currently living and working away from home. It's a particular pleasure to be able in a small way to offer a link to their pueblo, friends and family.
We still continue to try and integrate into our community by learning "Andaluz", not spanish, and by attending and supporting local events. My language skills still fall way short of the standard that should be expected after three years but Anne strides forward in leaps and bounds, spouting forth at every opportunity to the delight of our neighbours and spanish friends. However, we continue to progress and strive to move forward.
The only sad aspect in the last year was the loss of our dear old dog Peppie last August. She did so well to make the journey and adapt to life here only to eventually succumb to old age at the age of fourteen. We still miss her dearly of course but the pain has been eased by our new "pretend Podenco" dog Calcetines who now accompanies us on our adventures and continued exploration of this beautiful area in which we live.
So, all in all, life is still good. We have our health, although you wouldn't think so if anyone see's me huffing and puffing up the steep streets of Olvera, but hopefully we can continue in the months ahead to show you more of Olvera and its lovely people on the blog.
Please continue to post comments and send us emails as we love to hear from all who kindly take the time to look in.
Best wishes, Alan and Anne

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

An evening stroll

We went out this evening for a stroll around, trying to take advantage of the warm breeze and the cooling temperature of 30°C. It feels like the front room of our house is double that.

So just a few pics of our stroll out at about 7pm this evening.

We headed upwards towards the old part of town, here the steps up to Calle Barriete.

The tremendous views from here are always a joy to look at.

Calle Mirador and the view below down Calle Subida a la Iglesia.

Looking at the vista from the front of the church.

After about ninety minutes, we returned home to open up all the doors and windows and let the heat out........or was that in!!.