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 The A to Z Of Rural Andalucia
 A land of startling contrasts
ANDALUSIA is like a woman, passionate, vibrant, alluring, warm and sometimes with a dark, brooding side. A land of startling contrasts, sheer beauty, majestic mountains, olive groves, National Parks and warm, friendly people.

The Andalusians live life to the full, be it in a crowded tapa bar, part of the roaring crowd at the bullfight, joining in with the swirl of flamenco dancers or just taking a paseo(promenade).

Life in ANDALUSIA is laid back with siestas in the hot Summer lasting half a day, and it is quite usual to see a peasant in the countryside asleep under a tree, all troubles postponed until manana.
 Pueblos Blancos
The Arabs transformed the landscape of SOUTHERN SPAIN and planted bitter oranges and lemons, grew almonds and cultivated the olive. 3/4 of Spain's' grey- green olive trees grow here and supply 80% of her olive oil. In the north of Jaen a single grove has 2 million trees. You can still see the everyday life of Arab culture in the small villages, towns and cities with houses built in the old style with Africa in the grilles and doors studded with heavy nails called media naranjas (half oranges).

Life in the PUEBLOS BLANCOS (White Villages) is little different now as in the past, with the villages being deserted by day in high Summer and alive at night. Family life, religion, food and wine are the pillars of society, communities are neighborly and social, sometimes sharing one telephone and shrine. In the Summer evenings chairs come outside for people to sit and have a gossip, and the evening paseo (promenade) is the social event of the day. With unemployment still high wild food will appear on the menu, with sparrows, thrushes, herbs and seeds being used in many local dishes. A quote from the philosopher Goethe says Nature goes her own way and all that to us seems an exception is really according to order.
DAIMALOS, is a very small village part of the Mudejar Route 47 km from Malaga and just 14 km from the seaside resort of Torre del Mar. The easiest way to reach DAIMALOS is via Arenas, keep going and round the next bend you will discover its cluster of white houses, apparently clinging together for fear of falling off the hill. Only around 100 people life in the village where life is tranquil and happy. Known for its oloroso wine, strangely the village doesn’t even have a bar!

DAIMALOS is probably most famous for its FOUNTAIN OF LOVE. A small watering hole situated on the right as you drive up to the top of the village. FUENTE PERDIDA is an Arab fountain from the 12th century during the Marinid dynasty. The water from this fountain is supposed to be an aphrodisiac and legend has it that if a single person drinks from the fountain they will be married soon afterwards.

The fountain is mentioned in the DAIMALOS settlement books as early as 1561. Villagers believe that if you are already married drinking from the fountain will help you conceive and the flowing water is supposed to increase sexual power.

ANDALUCIA is made up of 8 Provinces and is the essence of all that is Spain. The coast stretches from CADIZ and HUELVA on the windy Atlantic to dusty ALMERIA deep in the Mediterranean. It is the size of England with the terrain as varied as Scotland and the population of Ireland. SEVILLE, the capital of Andalucia, CORDOBA, and JAEN are the inland Provinces with MALAGA and GRANADA bordering the sparkling blue Mediterranean of the Costa del Sol and Costa Tropical.

Visit the pretty town of FRIGILIANA just 58 kms from Malaga on the Route of Sun and Wine and 7 kms from Nerja. FRIGILIANA sits on top of a ridge in the foothills of the Sierra de Enmedio, part of the Alhama, Tejeda and Almijara mountains.

The streets are narrow, steep and winding and it is easy to get lost in the maze of cobbled pavements that lead you up and down and in and out of the white-washed houses. Traffic is only allowed through by permit except for deliveries between 08.00 to 13.30 weekdays.

El Barribarto is the historical center of the town and its Moorish architecture and narrow streets are a reminder of the past influence of a culture never forgotten.

With 750 years of Moorish occupancy, FRIGILIANA can never forget the legacy of the Moors and every year celebrates for four days the customs, gastronomy and music of Three cultures, Christians, Moors and Jews. After the Christian conquest in 1487 there was a peaceful co-existence between these three distinct cultures for about 100 years.

The village suffered extreme misfortune with plague, storms, earthquakes and the phylloxera posts that destroyed the vines in this and other areas. Due to tourism Frigiliana regained its peace and prosperity and continues to do so.

As you walk through the narrow, winding streets of the old barrio today you will find plenty of shops selling a gamut of wares.

These are bars and restaurants to quench your thirst and appetite before you visit such monuments’ as The Palacio de los Condes de Frigiliana, the Ecce Homo Heritage, The San Antonio Church and the Phoenician Necropolis.
 Tabernas Desert
ALMERIA is the Province with the most sunshine and was once a great silk port, the province now produces strawberries and tomatoes to go to Northern Europe. Spaghetti Westerns were made in the desert at Tabernas so why not visit MINI HOLLYWOOD and have a drink in a saloon or watch a re-enactment of a gunfight. The Natural Park at Cabo de Gata-Nijar is beautiful and the coast has many fine beaches, and golf can be played inland at the Desert Springs course.

From ALMERIA drive to BAZA in GRANADA Province and visit the lake at Negratin and then carry on to Cuevas del Campo and Pozo Alcon where modern cave dwellers live. North of Pozo Alcon is the birth place of the Guadalquivir river and then you can continue on to CAZORLA in the Province of JAEN, which is one of the prettiest towns in the Province, with the old part full of history, caves, a beautiful castle and gypsy quarter.

Outside of CAZORLA is the hauntingly beautiful Sierra de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park and the Sierra de Castril. From Castril take a drive up to the Embalse del Tranco and across on a small road to join the main road for Villacarnillo to UBEDA and BAEZA and onto to JAEN city.

From here you can drive into CORDOBA Province via Martos and Alcaudete and enter the SUBBETICA CORDOBESA NATIONAL PARK. Continue on down to Priego de Cordoba and across to Montefrio and GRANADA.

With the snow-capped SIERRA NEVADA dominating the enigmatic Moorish city of GRANADAMULHACEN rising above at 3.478 m (11,411 ft), the city is one of the most beautiful in all of Spain. Full of romance and mystery with the sounds of flamenco never far away, there is much to see here. Visit the Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens, and join the gypsies in the Sacromonte for an evening of music and entertainment.

South west of Granada ALHAMBRA DE GRANADA sits on top of one edge of a gorge occupied by the River Alhama. The sandstone cliffs on the far side are pockmarked with dark recesses-home to the sleek, jet-black birds dancing in the air below. The industrial pounding of the river powering unseen below draws us down the steep cobbled track towards the old four mills. The zigzag path, once busy with workers and horse-drawn carts, is devoid of movement now.

ALHAMA DE GRANADA famed for its waters the name comes from the Arabaic Al Hamma, meaning hot springs. The Romans discovered, the springs and built baths here long before the Moors arrived

SEVILLE where the tapa was invented, is a city full of culture and architectural importance, of which Lord Byron was heard to say "A pleasant city, famous for its women and oranges". Have a drink and tapa in the Hostelleria de Laurel and they will take delight in informing you that Don Juan drank here!! The River Guadalquivir was once navigable this far making it the Capital of Andalusia, and when America was discovered the returning ships unloaded chocolate, turkeys, chillis, tomatoes, peppers and kidney beans for the first time.
 Jerez de la Frontera the Sherry capital
JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA is the sherry capital and is also famous for its horsemanship and horse breeding. The Cartujana, a horse particular to ANDALUSIA and originally bred by the Carthusian monks in the 18th century, is a breed that is highly regarded throughout the world. The ability and beauty of these majestic animals, as well as colorful and ornate horse-drawn carriages, can be seen at the Feria de Caballo (Horse Fair) in May and Fiestas de Otono (Autumn Fair) from late September-October.

The Cartujana horses can also be seen at the REAL ANDALUZA DEL ARTE ECUESTRE (The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art). Here the 'Sinfonia a Caballo' can be admired, a breathtaking ballet where horse and riders in immaculately choreographed harmony delight the audience with their powerful grace. The rich land around Jerez is grazed by the famous 'toro bravo' bulls bred on specialized farms for the bullring.

CADIZ has three millennium of history as a great port from Phoenician times and became the main port for South America. Situated on the Costa del Luz this is a very unspoiled coast line with miles of white sandy beaches and large rollers rushing in from the Atlantic.

The Province of HUELVA on the Costa del la Luz, borders Portugal and Extremadura and has many lakes and reservoirs and is famous for its superb strawberries having the most wonderful taste. It is the 3rd sunniest Province in Andalusia and one of the greenest. In the north is the beautiful park of Sierra de Aracena and the Picos de Aroche.

The Province of MALAGA has much to offer from the coast at the Costa del Sol, Marbella and Puerto Banus where you can celebrity spot, the ancient town of ANTEQUERA in the north, the area known as the AXARQUIA with 31 towns and villages, all with their own culture and customs, the town of Ronda with its famous gorge and bullring, and the city of MALAGA itself.

With the ALCAZABA looking down on this sprawling city take a walk around old Malaga and visit its impressive cathedral, Pablo Picasso's' house and who knows, you might even get a glimpse of another of Malaga's famous sons', the actor Antonio Banderas.

MALAGA is a colorful city with the blue plumbago and various colors of bougainvillea in every street, and do not miss a trip to La Concepcion Gardens, created over 146 years ago by Jorge Loring Ojarazavbel and Amalia Heredia Livermore.

Before you leave the Province of MALAGA take a trip north to the gorge at El Chorro, the lakes of the Guadalhorce, the Ardales Park and the Spa village of Carratraca. On the side of a mountain and at the foothills of the Sierra Blanquilla the village of Carratraca is watched over by "El Grajo" (Rook) mountain. Carratraca has been renowned for its sulfur water springs and their curative powers for hundred of years and especially during the 19th century which was the golden age for the village.

Our journey through ANDALUSIA has come to an end but you will discover many more beautiful places for yourself. Without doubt ANDALUSIA IS A LAND OF CONTRASTS.

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