|First a note about the first picture - the Toro de Osborne. The Osborne bull is a 14 meters high black silhouetted image of a bull in semi-profile, and is regarded as the unofficial national symbol of Spain.
The Osborne sherry company (founded by Thomas Osborne Mann in 1772) erected large images of bulls starting in 1956 to advertise their Brandy de Jerez. They were in black (with the brand "Veterano" in red on it) - advertising located on sites near to major roads throughout Spain. The original image was smaller and in a slightly different design. It got bigger as a law barred publicity within 150 meters of a road.
Later on a new law was passed in 1994, this time prohibiting such advertising. By this time the signs were nationally renowned, so although some campaigners wished them completely removed, public response resulted in the signs being retained, but completely blacked out to remove all reference to the original advertisers. The Court eventually allowed these signs to remain on the grounds that it has become a part of the landscape where it is present and its "aesthetic or cultural significance" thus turning it into a figure of public domain.
There are now only two signs in Spain with the word "Osborne" still written on them. One is at the Jerez de la Frontera airport in the province of Cadiz, and the other is in the nearby town of El Puerto de Santa María, where the Osborne headquarters are found.
The image of the bull is seen on hillsides trhoughout Spain, so we have seen it many times. And then, we visited El Puerto de Santa Maria and learned that it was originally the logo for Osborne sherry, we decided it was time to post a picture.
Back to our travels...
After leaving El Puerto de Santa Maria we drove to Granada to visit the Alhambra. We took a day and a half to drive along the coast for a little while and then inland on mountain roads overlooking olive groves and cork trees.
We started out by heading along the coast to Tarifa at the tip of Spain. Along the way we stopped at a beach in a little town called Zahara de los Atunes to dip our toes in the ocean.
A bit further along, we stopped at Playa Valdevaqueros, a popular windsurfers' beach to check out the windsurfers. We tried to get pictures but it was virtually impossible. The wind is so strong that when we went out onto the beach, it was like being in a sandstorm - we were getting extremely sandblasted and windblown. Not easy to deal with and not at all good for the camera lens. Suffice it to say that the windsurfers are excellent and very dedicated to their sport to deal with the conditions.
Next we stopped at an overlook near the Straits of Gibraltar and caught a glimpse of the coast of Africa across the water. Our cell phone's text message had just welcomed us to Morocco, so we were pretty close!
After that we headed inland and started our meandering on the mountain roads. It was a pleasant journey through the different scenery of Spain. It was also a test of Jose's driving skills as we traveled on very windy cliffside roads and often had to maneuver through very narrow streets (perhaps "alleys" is more accurate). As usual, Jose managed it all.
The mountain roads took us past white washed villages in the hillsides. We also saw many herds of goats along the way. One morning we stopped in a parking lot in the center of town to fix breakfast. While we ate we watched the local Guardia Civil stop cars, obviously looking for someone. They eventually took a guy into their custody. As the Civil Guard was leaving, we heard the braying of a couple goats behind us, part of their morning ritual perhaps. Then along came a man and his mule, traversing the parking lot. All part of our Spanish experience.