Andalucia – Pueblos Blancos – part 2

RO: Dintre toate satele albe tipice Andaluciei, cel mai cunoscut pare sa fie Setenil de las Bodegas si adevarul e ca micul sat construit sub roca este de-a dreptul fermecator! Case albe ascunse pur si simplu sub stanci uriase (fara ca rocile sa fie modificate sau sculptate in niciun fel), de parc-ar fi niste pesteri imaculate, ferite de caldura tipic andaluza, aceeasi atmosfera de permanenta fiesta, atat de specifica sudului Spaniei si-n plus, pare ca vrea sa concureze cu renumitul Chianti toscan, pentru ca Setenil produce un vin senzational de bun! Pai intre noi fie vorba, asa se explica numele satului (bodegas inseamna vinarii in spaniola). Si chiar daca fiecare straduta merita descoperita si luata la pas (peste tot in arhitectura locului se gasesc influente maure), sunt doua artere principale renumite, pline de baruri si restaurante locale, si anumeΒ Cueva del Sol (Pestera Soarelui) si Cueva de la Sombra (Pestera Umbrei) – numite asa in functie de cat de luminata de soare este fiecare πŸ™‚ Lesne de inteles de ce se inghesuie localnicii pe partea umbrita si muuult mai racoroasa. Din pacate insa noi am prins un targ in ziua in care am vizitat Setenilul, si intreaga Cueva del Sol era plina de dube si masini unde se vindeau diverse prostii (chinezarii in principiu). Ei bine, multumita satului Setenil, putem spune despre provincia Cadiz ca este preferata noastra din Andalucia!

EN: From all those typical white village from Andalucia, the most renowned of them all seems to be Setenil de las Bodegas and truth is that this small village built under the rock is as charming as can be! White houses simply hidden under huge boulders (without modifying or carve them), as if they were immaculate caves, sheltered by the typical Andalusian heat, the atmosphere of permanent fiesta, so typical to southern Spain and above all, seems that Setenil wants to compete with the famous Tuscan Chianti, as it produces an extremely delicious wine! And between you and me, that explains the name of the village (bodegas means wineries in Spanish). And even though each tiny street is worth being discovered (there are Moorish influences everywhere), there are two main streets, both full of bars and local restaurants, and those are Cueva del Sol (Sun Cave) and Cueva de la Sombra (Shadow Cave) – named after the amount of sun that each of them gets during the day πŸ™‚ It is clear why the locals choose the chilly and sunless side. Unfortunately, when we visited Setenil there was a local fair on Cueva del Sol and the street was full of vans and cars selling different kind of unnecessary things.Β  Oh well, thanks to Setenil village, we can conclude that Cadiz province is our favourite from Andalucia!
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RO: Cumva GPS-ul ne-a jucat feste si ne-a indrumat pe un drum complet neasfaltat catre Grazalema. Nu c-ar fi fost cu suparare, ca asa relief interesant si arid nici c-am fi vazut pe drumul principal, insa ne-a intarziat traseul cu cel putin o ora πŸ™‚ Si cand esti pe repede inainte si vrei sa vezi tot ce inseamna pueblo blanco, nu prea-ti pica bine πŸ™‚

EN: Somehow the GPS tricked us and guided us on a dirt road to Grazalema. Not that we would mind, as we wouldn’t have seen such interesting surroundings and arid vegetation from the main road, but it delayed our itinerary with at least an hour πŸ™‚Β  And we’re in a hurry to see all the pueblos blancos in the area, it’s not quite ideal πŸ™‚
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RO: Grazalema este perfectiunea intruchipata cand vine vorba de satele albe πŸ™‚ Este mic, cochet, imaculat, plin de baruri si restaurante locale si cocotat in varf de stanca, cu privelisti superbe imprejur si multe, tare mult precipitatii de-a lungul anului. Ceea ce a facut ca vegetatia din parcul national Sierra de Grazalema sa fie de-a dreptul spectaculoasa (comparativ cu peisajele aride pe care le vazusem pana acum prin Andalucia). In plus, satucul e faimos pentru branza payoyo, produs artizanal specific provinciei Cadiz, produs din lapte de capra. Nu am incercat-o, insa cica ar fi considerata una dintre cele mai bune branzeturi din lume, cel putin asa se mandresc spaniolii πŸ™‚

EN: Grazalema is simple perfection when it comes to white villages πŸ™‚ It is small, fancy, whitewashed, full of bars and local restaurants and perched up on the rock, with gorgeous views around and lots, but lots of rain during the year. Which actually made the vegetation in the Sierra de Grazalema National Park to be quite spectacular (comparing to the arid scenery that we have seen so far in Andalucia). In addition, the village is renowned for the payoyo cheese, an handmade product typical for the Cadiz province, made of goat milk. We did not try it, but we’ve heard that this is one of the best cheese in the world, at least that’s what the Spanish people say πŸ™‚Β 
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RO: Urmatoarea oprire pe traseu a fost Arcos de la Frontera, desi planul nostru initial, complet nerealist, cuprindea o serie de alte sate albe din preajma Setenilului: Olvera, MontecortoΒ sau Zahara de la Sierra sunt doar o parte dintre ele. Nici nu mai mentionam de faimosul Caminito del Rey, caruia data viitoare cand vom ajunge in Andalucia ii vom aloca o zi intreaga. Am ales insa dramatismul unuia dintre cele mai frumoase sate albe, intr-o locatie absolut impresionanta, cocotat pe o stanca inalta si abrupta la marginea raului Guadalete, renumit pentru arhitectura exceptionala si puternicele influente maure. Ba chiar unii compara Arcos de la Frontera si il gasesc similar cu Santorini-ul grecesc πŸ™‚ Iar daca barurile de tapas, cerveceriile sau tavernele traditionale in care se aude flamenco in surdina nu sunt suficiente pentru o experienta cat mai autentica, atunci o noapte de cazare intr-un asa numit parador (un hotel dichisit tipic spaniol, de regula construit intr-o cladire istorica) cu siguranta va fi cireasa de pe tort. Ca exemplu, cel mai renumit parador din Spania este Hostal Reis Catolicos din Santiago de Compostela. Exista insa si paradores mai accesibile, cu preturi mai putin prohibitive, cum ar fi Parador Arcos de la Frontera (aproximativ 120 euro/noapte in plin sezon de vara). Fiecare sat alb in parte are povestea si specificul sau, insa Basilica Menor de Santa Maria din Arcos este de-a dreptul senzationala!

EN: Our next stop was Arcos de la Frontera, even though our initial plan, completely unrealistic, contained several other white villages around Setenil: Olvera, Montecorto, Grazalema or Zahara de la Sierra are just a part of them. Not to mention the famous Caminito del Rey, where we’ll spend an entire day next time when we’ll be in Andalucia. But we have chosen the dramatic scenery of one of the most beautiful white villages, in an absolutely gorgeous location, perched up on tall and steep limestone hill on the edge of Guadalete river, renowned for its exceptional architecture and its strong Moorish influences. Some people even compare Arcos de la Frontera and find it similar with the Greek Santorini πŸ™‚ And if the tapas bar, the cervecerias or the traditional taverns where one can hear flamenco in the background, are not enough for a fully authentic experience, then a night of accommodation in a so called parador (a swanky Spanish hotel, usually built in a historical building) will for sure be the cherry on top! As an example, the most famous parador in Spain isΒ Hostal Reis Catolicos from Santiago de Compostela. But there are also more affordable paradores, with cheaper prices, likeΒ Parador Arcos de la Frontera (approximatelyΒ 120 euros/night in high season). Each white village has its own story but Basilica Menor de Santa Maria from Arcos is just gorgeous!
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RO: Vejer de la Frontera ne-a cucerit insa pe deplin. Poate pentru ca l-am vazut pe fuga, la apus, si-am ramas cu regretul ca nu l-am descoperit mai pe indelete, poate pentru ca ne-am pierdut pe stradutele-labirint din centrul vechi sau pentru ca ne-am lasat cuceriti de influentele maure in arhitectura, mancare ori buticuri dichisite. Si adevarul e ca Vejer pare sa fie satul alb andaluz ideal: are casele alb imaculat, deseori cu usi pictate in stil marocan, are Costa de la Luz la numai 10 minute, are localnici primitori si mai presus de toate, are o gastronomie senzationala. De altfel, multi turisti considera mancarea locala atuul satului Vejer, si adevarul e ca mixul de tapas spaniolesti cu influente marocane suna tentant.

EN: Vejer de la Frontera conquered our hearts completely. Because we’ve seen it on the run, at sunset, and we regretted that we did not discover it from tip to toe, maybe because we got lost on the mazy streets from the old town center or maybe because we were seduced by the Moorish influences in architecture, food or fancy boutiques. And truth is that Vejer seems to be the ideal Andalusian white village: it has whitewashed houses, with doors often painted in MoroccanΒ doors, it has Costa de Luz just 10 minutes away, friendly locals and above all, it has an exceptional gastronomy. Actually, lots of tourists consider the local food one of the aces up the sleeve of Vejer and we have to admit that the mix of Spanish tapas with Moroccan influences really sounds tempting.
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RO: Desi noi am ales sa ne focusam in principal pe satele albe andaluze, recunoastem ca dupa doua zile de alergat doar dupa astfel de satuce, devenise destul de greu sa le diferentiem. Motiv pentru care am ajuns sa credem ca poate ca ar fi fost mai intelept sa alternam satele albe cu marile orase din Andalucia, care sa schimbe pe alocuri peisajul. Insa la sfarsitul celei de-a doua zi am pornit catre sud, spre Tarifa, unde am stat si cazati la Hotel La Codorniz (3 stele, 63 euro/noapte bungalow), insumand aproximativ 200 km de condus (nu pare mult, insa drumurile pot fi destul de solicitante in partea centrala a Andaluciei, inguste, sinuoase si cu o singura banda pe sens). Dar despre Tarifa vorbim in partea a treia a povestii andaluze πŸ™‚

EN:Β And even though we have chosen to focus mainly on the white Andalusian villages, we have to admit that after two days of running after this type of villages, it became quite hard to make a difference between them. That’s why we finally concluded that it would be wiser to alternate the white villages with the big cities of Andalusia that could sometimes change the scenery a bit. But at the end of day two we headed to south, towards Tarifa, where we actually spent the night atΒ Hotel La Codorniz (3 stars, 63 euros/night/bungalow), driving a total of 200 km (not that much, but the roads in central Andalusia can be quite hard, narrow, sinuous and with only one lane). But we’ll talk more about Tarifa in our third part of the Andalusian story πŸ™‚
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One thought on “Andalucia – Pueblos Blancos – part 2

  1. Iti urmaresc blogul de mult timp si voiam sa te felicit pentru ceea ce reusesti sa faci!
    Imi plac la nebunie momentele suprinse intr-o fotografie sau poveste si nu pot face altceva decat sa-mi doresc sa vizitez aceste locuri minunate!

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