We went on a car trip to Andalusia between October 7 and 22.Â We did not book hotels in advance, thinking that the peak season was over.Â Actually it wasn’t over.Â Still, this did not present a difficult obstacle except that the Alhambra was booked so we did not go to Granada.
We broke up the long car trip to Andalusia (Seville, Cordoba, Ronda and other white hill towns) by stopping in Valencia and Lorca on the way, and Alicante on the way back.Â We were in Valencia for “Valencia Day”Â whichÂ commemorates King Jaime Iâ€™s triumphal entry into Valencia in 1238, when he liberated the city from Moorish rule.Â There were grand fireworks that night.Â We stayed in a hotel adjacent the new “City of the Arts and Sciences” and were blown away by the architecture and ambiance.
After two nights in Valencia we drove to Lorca and stayed in the only hotel in the old city.Â We toured the citadel and the site of the old Jewish community and synagogue.
After two nights in Lorca, we drove to the Andalusian white hill town of Ronda.Â Driving on the very narrow and steep streets of Ronda is not for the feint of heart.Â I had to back the car up an extremely narrow and steep street after a wrong turn. This was harder for me to do than maneuvering the boat in a tight marina in a blow.Â Once we dumped the car, we found Ronda a wonderful town to explore on foot.
We found a room in a small hotel that had just been converted from an old mansion.Â It was right on the cliff.
We had to leave Ronda after two days because the hotels were sold out.Â We found a rural hotel near the smaller white hill town ofÂ Zahara de la Sierra.Â From there we exploredÂ Zahara de la Sierra, Grazalema, and the nearby countryside.
After two nights in Zahara de la Sierra we drove to Seville and stayed three nights.
From Seville we had a short drive to Cordoba where we stayed in a small hotel in the old Jewish Quarter.
From Cordoba, we headed back towards Sabbatical III berthed in Sant Carles de le Rapita, stopping to see the Volvo Ocean Round-the-World Race boats and festivities in Alicante the day before the start of the race (formerly called the “Whitbread”).Â It was a beautiful day and people thronged the docks.
The next day we were back in Valencia to spend the afternoon with Jane and Chimo, who became our good friends when we shared a dock in Turkey for more than one year.Â They and their sail boat have since returned to their native Valencia.
We are now back in Sant Carles preparing Sabbatical III for months on the hardstand.
My twin sister Fran and her husband John visited us on Sabbatical III for six days beginning September 26.Â We did not go sailing but we visited the beautiful spots around Sant Carles de laÂ RÃ pita in our little SEAT Ibiza rental car.Â Plus, we had some amazing Catalan meals.Â We always returned to the boat for the night and had leisurely breakfasts aboard each morning.