Life can really surprise you and bring you to places you never thought to exist. And that’s what’s so inspiring in life really. Not knowing where we will end up, but knowing that the possibilities are endless! There’s an infinite amount of people to know, places to see, foods to try and things to do.
This time I found myself in Andalusia visiting the cities of Lucena, Ronda and Zuheros and eating Ecuadorian ‘cazuela’ and Spanish barbecue with my boyfriend’s parents!
Travelling in Andalusia
We came to Andalusia by flying from Barcelona to Malaga. The flight takes about 1,5 hours and we had return tickets for 90 euros, which ended up being cheaper than a train.
Car is the best option to get around in Andalusia if you wish to see more locations and stay for a longer time. In general, it’s a popular way of travelling in Spain. There are also quite a lot of bikers here, but to bike already requires some stamina due to the height differences and the heat of the sun.
The other day, while the car showed temperatures of 35 degrees we took on a road trip around Lucena!
The roads here are quite simple and there isn’t much traffic either. Every now and then there is a gas station or a small house, but other than that there is basically just olive trees. Thousands and thousand of olive trees. It’s almost meditative to listen to the music on the speakers and look at the olive trees passing by.
What to visit?
In Andalusia, the biggest cities are Sevilla, Malaga, Granada and Górdoba. If you visit Andalusia for the first time, you would normally go to see Alhambra in Granada, flamenco in Sevilla and beaches in Malaga. We had already visited them, so I’m going to tell you about a few other places you can visit when these are seen.
We stayed at my boyfriends home city Lucena. The city is quite small, around 40 000 inhabitants, and located in the center of Andalusia near Górdoba and Granada. The city was lively for it’s night life being on the streets up till late. I met many nice people with who we went out for drinks. People stay outside standing by the tables. There was a popular Feria, a festive weekend, about to start but we just missed it. The city isn’t touristic at all, but has many services such as restaurants and bars in the centre. Otherwise it’s calm and comfortable city to live in, because you can reach easily mountains, beach or one of the locations up next.
Ermita de la Virgen de la Sierra de Cabra is a church on a mountain. There are many religious walks, “caminos”, been done around here in Andalusia, and this is one the most popular locations. The views are beautiful!
The city of Zuheros seems like a ghost town, because there’s nobody outside. It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon, so they were probably having a siesta as it is the habit still existing in Andalusia.
The city is built of white houses, which is to reflect the sun light away. It’s funny how the weather conditions have a say even on the colouring of the houses and in this way build up the landscapes of the cities! White houses are typical here in the South, but you can’t really see them in Barcelona. The views over Andalusia are amazing and the colours of this village make you want to shoot some photos!
It’s so cool to find these new locations you never knew existed. How differently people live in this world, really! I’m completely in love with these small streets where people have put their flowers in front of the flats.
In Zuheros you can also visit La Cueva de los Murciélagos – Cave of bats. We took a tour in the cave, finding one bat awake and one asleep. It was quite cold, and wet inside the cave, but it was amazing to witness how the rock keeps building itself into the most creative forms.
On another day we went to visit the city of Ronda, which is a bit more touristic and popular city. No wonder, it has the most amazing viewpoint Tajo de Ronda.
“The mountains surrounding the city were hiding places to the infamous bandits, bandoleros.”, tells a friend who knows the history of the city. It’s interesting to hear the history of the places you visit, that’s how they come alive.
Travelling with three guys is seemingly a bit different than travelling with girls. We took on a route down the cliff of the mountain and this required some adventurous mind, let me tell you. To access the bottom of Tajo de Ronda isn’t simple. Taking off my shoes and climbing myself down the rocks and bushes, I thought: “Well,this isn’t something we’d normally do with the girls”. But once we get down there, I know what the guys meant forcing me to come along. It was worth all the climbing, because it was beautiful!
We took off our shoes and cooled ourselves with the water running down which was perfect on a hot day of 40 degrees celsius. It felt like the time just stopped here. “Wow, how did I ever end up in this kind of a place?”, I thought to myself.
Oh, and the food!
The food culture in Andalucia is rich and you can find all traditional foods here, but the tapas and beer culture here is strong, as in all parts of Spain. It’s normal to spend your night on the small streets having bites to eat with a beer or ‘tinto de verano’, which is wine and sprite or lime soda mixed. The streets are lively until late, and people go to sleep later.
La Cazuela Ecuatoriana
My boyfriend is originally from Ecuador, but he and his parents have lived here since he was a young boy. To my luck, they still remember how to cook Ecuadorian food! I’m crazy about trying foods from different cultures and ecuadorian was something I still haven’t tried.
I was nervous about meeting the parents, but after finding out that they’re really cool and easy-going, I was happy to dig into my cazuela ecuatoriana with a good appetite.
‘La cazuela’ is made of a type of food banana used in many foods in South America, some vegetables, peanuts and fish. In Ecuador they eat a lot of fish and sea food and have fruits such as avocados and mangos in many different types, I was being told. The parents tell me that they miss the food in Ecuador, and as I eat more Ecuadorian dishes during our stay, I don’t wonder, they’re really rich, fresh and tasty. I wouldn’t mind trying more of this. 🙂
On Sunday we had lunch with the family on the countryside, where we got a plate of barbeque meat. All the meat was from the own farm of the restaurant owned, so this really was ecological meat. And you could taste it – it was amazing. I tried the blood sausage, ‘el solomillo’, which became my definite new favourite. I ate ours and half of my boyfriend’s parents solomillo.
The culture of eating with your family on Sunday’s in common here and I think it’s lovely. Even small children can be taken to a bar and family is around a lot.
I would never have found myself here without my boyfriend, and it brings a smile to my face to think, how life’s paths have taken me here! Never had I ever imagined to find myself here with this person even one year ago. I feel so grateful and happy about this trip.
Keep a curious mind on life and the world, and life will show itself as a sea of possibilities. Then, you might just someday find yourself looking out of a window of a car on the olive trees passing by, and think, this is now my reality.
Travel music of the trip: C. Tangana- Trouble
“No sé dónde estoy, pero estoy bien” = I don’t know where I am, but I’m good.