Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cazorla is a small town up in the hills east/southeast of Ubeda, in the middle of a national park. We went up there with friends John and Pam, from JBU days. The castle in the background guarded a border crossing in the old days, but became outdated after the conquest. they've turned it into a great museum, and you can climb all the way to the top (inside, of course)! The town boasts winding, narrow streets, and if you don't know exactly where you're going, and how to get there, I'd suggest parking the car and walking! which we did!

Surrounded by mountains, and fairly high up, Cazorla gets a lot of winter snow. the "snow chain" sign was still up on the highway, although it wasn't too cool out. we need to come back in the fall, and see the trees turning colors.

You can still see evidence of the Arabic architecture in the town, with light-weight arches and columns set against the heavy European stone construction.

Took a trip in the countryside, up in a Cazorla national park near here. We ate lunch by the roadside – baguettes with ham and cheese, chips ahoy, carrots, etc. The view from the lunch shelter was a beaut! You can hardly see it from the photo below, but there’s a quaint little town down in the valley below. Back to the right of this shot are the head-waters of the Guadalquivir River that finally winds its way down to the southwestern coast - the principle river of Andalucia. Crystal clear and VERY cold water. We went back later on with a church group from Ubeda, and did a lot of rock jumping, reminded me of the "good old days" back at school. Somehow Ben's glasses got lost, so he'll have to get a new pair in the US.

This was such a beautiful sight - looking down on soaring eagles and up at sailing vultures. clean air, fresh breezes, clear skies and deep valleys. We wandered all over on graveled country roads looking for a waterfall. never did find it, but we had a great time.

Ben climbed down a little ways form the lunch shelter – and if you can see him there, perched on the rock, you know how far it was! He went down there looking for the rusted out carcass of some vehicle that left the road at one time, and never made it back up. Of course, Ben made it back, it just took a long time to climb back up!

We took a trip to the royal palace, and did the tour thing. They said there were around 2800 rooms, of which we only saw about 28. That was enough! Tired feet and weary bodies demanded a rest! The palace was really beautiful, with lovely statues, decorations, wallpaper and even the molding around the ceiling. It must cost a fortune to keep up, and those poor house-girls who have to do all that sweeping and mopping! Seriously, myriads of tourists kept pouring in and out of the place. Maybe it IS a going concern after all!

Even though we all wore jackets, I got a pretty good sunburn. We rode a “topless” double-decker bus all over town, stopping off whenever we wanted to see something; museums, statues, plazas, and even a “Friday’s” restaurant! Ben found stuff on the menu that he loved to eat in Guatemala, but didn’t show up on the US menus in Dallas.

These "living" statues in Madrid provided a lot of fun. drop a nickel in their basket, and watch them move!

No comments: