Originally posted here, 3 Apr 2014.
Out and about
Andalucian countryside
Rota
Sevilla
Rota
Cádiz
Rota
Cádiz
14th century castle in Puerto de Santa Maria (obviously restored)
 The 'money shot'
 The coolest map of Cádiz you've seen today
July 22 - August 2, 2013

Andalucía

When the job gets tough,
the tough get…

No, that won't work.

Had a ~ two week-long
training event in Rota,
Spain, damn the bad luck. 

Naturally, I explored a bit during my free time.

 "Juan de la Cosa
Pilot of the Santa Maria,
made in this city,
the first map of America,
*
in the year 1500"

       * America refers to the entire Western
         Hemisphere, not the United States.
I'd originally planned to visit Gibraltar during my stay, but instead opted to make Ronda my second of two weekend-day excursions.  The roads from Rota aren't exactly streamlined for quick access to non-Seville locales, and hearing of the hours-long lines to get into Gibraltar, I could imagine having a grand total of two of three hours there before having to head back. I guess I decided seeing a giant rock was just not that important this time around.

During the week I made my (non-training) priority local, unique spots to savor rather than spend all my time each afternoon rushing to get somewhere, and then to get back in time for a decent night's sleep.

Playa Ballena & surrounding areas, Chipione, Santa Maria, and Rota itself were all convenient destinations for after-class weekday trips.  In each one I made it a point to enjoy a meal--all delish, all punctuated by coffee and some apples-and-cheese-themed dessert or fruit-flavored ice cream. 

Cádiz was close enough to hit on Friday afternoon, since I could get there in under an hour, and stay late without next-morning oversleeping consequences.  This city was immensely fascinating.  Parked the rental right near the western tip of the peninsula that forms the town, and must have walked ten miles that evening.  Tried a couple places for paella, but the restaurants wouldn't do paella for a party of one, and I could find no exception to this policy (maybe I'm just not a smooth talker).
The correct pronunciation of Cádiz is "CAD-deeze," not "ca-DEEZE."  This is because of that little tilde -- the apostrophe-like thing over the a in Cádiz.

Normally, all syllables in Spanish words receive the same emphasis (like the emphasis you place on the first syllable of "turnover" or the second of "momentum").  If turnover were a Spanish word, it'd be properly spelled tύrnover.
It was consistently hot and dry throughout (most days got up to 45° C, or about 113° F), and the late sunsets were a nice touch.  Central European time-the same clock we're on here in Italy - but 1100+ miles west. 

And you'd never know it from the lack of humidity, but, Andalucía and beaches are practically synonymous.  The beaches themselves weren't particularly spectacular (nothing compares to home), but they were clean and very busy. 
Having been continuously occupied for over three millennia, the city of Cádiz does what many European communities with even a hint of something superlative do: stakes a claim to something that, in the information age, is immediately debunkable.   In this case, the claim being the longest-occupied city in Europe (or in Western Europe). Unfortunately, roughly a dozen other European cities have been continuously occupied longer (including Lisbon, which puts the brakes on that whole Western qualifier).  Still, Cádiz is absolutely captivating-and when I take Mirna to Rota, it'll be one of our first visits.
Ronda
Seville was everything I expected, and in fact a lot more than I could see in the few hours I was there.  After spending far too much time gawking at the city's enormous cathedral and surrounding area, I headed for the river, the bull ring, stopped for an early dinner, and finally found some touristy spots in which to pick up gifts for Mirna and Austin.

Took a bit of climbing--down--to get this.  If it's easy to get there, I can deal with the acrophobia (even knowing I'll pay for it on the return).  Someone else had made it to this point, but unlike me--who'd come this far down--he'd made it this far up. He'd climbed up the side of the cliff from the Guadalevín River, and was stowing his gear when I got to this point.

The furthest spots I visited were Sevilla and Ronda-each one its own weekend day trip.  Ronda was by far the biggest surprise, being one of southern Andalucía's (many, I'm sure) best-kept secrets.  Occupying adjacent mesas straddling the  Guadalevín River, 400+ ft below, Ronda was a favorite hangout for Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles.  Some creative cliff-scaling, off-the-beaten track exploring netted a couple decent shots of the 250 yr-old "new" bridge, as you'll see below and above, in the first image (the big one at the top of this page).
Sunset on the Bay of Cádiz
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
 Santa Maria. Replica of map Juan de la Cosa gave the world in 1500.  First European map of the New World.

↑  Had a little fun with this photo.  These guys were impressive.  Going for it on a large concrete pad, mostly surrounded by a wall of blocks, in the middle of Old Town Cádiz.  Reminded me of the American Football games we used to play in the middle of Stillman Street.   Except better.
Sunflowers near Los Barrancos - click for larger image
Second-fave pic from the trip (Ronda 'money shot' being 1st) - click for larger image
Beautiful countryside in Andalucia - click for larger image
Los Arcos de la Frontera - click for larger image
Chipiona Beach - click for larger image
Scenic Andalucia - click for larger image
Sevilla - click for larger image
Cadiz - click for larger image
<- Guitarist, singer, and seller of
various trinkets. Sevilla. From
our brief conversation I
gathered he was about as
Spanish as I am. My guess?
Native of Ohio, or Indiana.

BTW, no, that's not Tony
Soprano @ 1ish minute
mark, and some of the
footage in this is C
ádiz.


<- Guitarist, singer, and seller of
various trinkets. Sevilla. From
our brief conversation I
gathered he was about as
Spanish as I am. My guess?
Native of Ohio, or Indiana.

BTW, no, that's not Tony
Soprano @ 1ish minute
mark, and some of the
footage in this is Cádiz.



Cádiz sunset
Playa la Ballena
Playa Ballena
Playa la Ballena
Chipiona
No Paulies allowed on Playa la Ballena!
Chipiona
Chipiona
Chipiona
Chipiona cathedral
Adjacent to the beachbound cathedral in Chipiona
Chipiona
Chipiona
Rota Beach
Playa Rota
Chipiona
Chipiona
Playa la Ballena
La Playa Ballena
Ballena Beach
Playa la Ballena
Cádiz
Rota
Cádiz
Cádiz
 Google Earth image of Ronda
  3D view of Ronda
courtesy Google Earth
(click for larger image)
  3D view of Ronda
courtesy Google Earth
(click for larger image)
Sevilla, Cádiz, Ronda, and various points throughout Andalucia

Sevilla, Cádiz, Ronda, and various points throughout Andalucia

Of course, the entire area is gorgeous; a photographer's dream.  And all travels came with frequent, picture-taking stops along the way. 

Mirna would've hated it.

Rough area of my exploraciones during my stay on Rota NAS.  A decade or so ago I'd have doubled this area, easily.  But time is slowing this old dog down.
   .  
Music, music, everywhere
Pastries from Rota will make your pancreas do backflips.
Cádiz
Cádiz
La Playa Ballena
 Knocking Around: España Sureño