Beer and Tapas tour 2011 travel blog

a close up of the white town

Colourful washing

Narrow cobblestone streets made for motor bikes

An impressive entrance

A beautiful old church

We woke up to a beautiful summer's day and a lovely view out over the valley. At breakfast I embraced the Spanish selection and scoffed the cured meats, cheeses and crusty bread drizzled with olive oil. Ronda is a very hilly town (which was just as well after the breakfast)and we walked up and down quite a few staircases as we made our way to the 14th century Arab baths, said to be the best preserved ones on the Spanish mainland. We had some great views of the puente nuevo, the amazing bridge which crosses the gorge along the way. We left Ronda and headed through Grazalema, a charming whitewashed, red roofed town in the heart of the Sierra de Grazalema. The road was windy as we headed over the hills. We stopped for lunch at a bar in Arcos de la Frontera. We both had soup and crusty bread, I had gazpacho, which is chilled thick tomato soup and Grae had a chicken broth. It was impressive heading into Arcos as it sits high on a ridge and towers over you as you drive closer. We visited the historic centre which was compact and the mirador, a jaw dropping lookout perched on a cliff and overlooking the farmland in the valleys below. We continued on to Jerez de la Frontera, famous for its sherry and flamenco dancing. We were booked into the very hip Hotel Palacio Garvey, which was filled with modern artwork and furniture. It was a four star hotel and our room had the biggest bed ever, the bathroom had a double vanity and a spa bath. The hotel is centrally located to all the historic sites and we had our first tapas experience at dinner. It wasn't a huge success, dry pork, cheeses, paella and spicy sausage. At least the beer and wine and company were good. You have to remember that neither Grae or I speak any Spanish so when ordering food there are going to be some hits and misses (don't think it's similar to Italian because it isn't and the accent is very different).

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