Three Days in Andalucía: What Makes Spain’s Southern Jewel so appealing (in a Nutshell)
The post is written by our reader, Stephen Cartwright
Prior to taking a spur-of-the-moment jaunt to Southern Spain from Portugal, I had always associated Andalucía with tourists, bulls, wine, and sandy beaches. Having packed a pretty extraordinary series of experiences into three days of sightseeing and discovery, I left with a completely different view of the traditional go-to destination for many Europeans.
By my means (I had just quit my job two weeks before) I was expecting an expensive and potentially unfulfilling trip. Like many of us who are used to counting our pennies before we make a decision, checking our credit to see what the 3 bureau credit report has to tell us, or taking the ‘sensible option’ and denying ourselves an occasional splurge, I was weary. However, while sitting in a coffee shop in the Algarve, I decided to go for it. I booked a coach to Seville and decided to see where it took me.
I arrived in Seville, the capital of Andalucía, and checked into my hotel with beads of sweat running down my face. A quick shower and small snack later, and I wandered out to see what this place was all about. Less than five minutes later and I was in the Gothic Seville Cathedral, looking at the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. Unreal.
From there I headed to the incredible Moorish Almohad dynasty’s Alcazar castle complex. With so many incredible sights, unreal tapas and an evening of flamenco dancing, I headed back to my hotel feeling pretty darn blown away.
Nothing could top Seville, or so I thought. An older Scottish lady I had made friends with in Seville recommended that I visit Cordoba. I thought ‘why not?’. It was July, and very, very hot. Our coach felt as though it took an age to travel the 95 minutes or so north, but when I got there, it was certainly worth it.
Cordoba was an important place to both the Moors and Romans, according to our silver-haired tour guide. Put it this way: when you see La Mezquita – the world-famous mosque dating from the eight century that I had no idea existed before – you will understand. I witnessed some of the greatest architecture I have ever seen, and sipped coffee while I looked at Byzantine and Renaissance art work. I decided to opt against heading to the bar, as had another trip the next day.
Malaga. I learnt later that I had pretty much done things the wrong way around, and maybe should have started here. I decided to abandon the city for a while and instead head to the beach on the Costa del Sol… for an hour or two. Which turned into a week…
In short, I ended up meeting an American girl and dating her for the next three months, staying at her place in Cabopino Marina before marrying her two years later. We got married in the Mayor de la Encarcion church, and are expecting our first child in June 2018.
For me, a random choice to head to Andalucía ended up being the most important of my life…