TRAVELS/SPAIN: ANDALUCIA

E’ tempo (cioè, io non vedevo l’ora) di inaugurare anche la “rubrica” dei viaggi. Viaggiare è una mia grandissima passione, ed oggi vorrei mostrarvi qualche scatto, e degli appunti a cui tengo molto, di un viaggio in Andalusia che risale all’estate 2007.
Il nostro itinerario è iniziato da Malaga, cuore culturale ed economico dell’Andalusia, a poco meno di una decina di kilometri dalla vivace cittadina di mare (Torremolinos) dove eravamo alloggiati. Più che in altre città dell’Andalusia, a Malaga è impossibile non notare un perfetto connubio tra il passato storico della regione (la dominazione araba antecedente la monarchia cristiana) e le radicate tradizioni spagnole (la corrida).
Tra le meraviglie da scoprire sicuramente l’Alcazaba (una cittadella araba circondata da splendidi giardini) e il Castello di Gibralfaro, da cui si gode una splendida vista sulla città e il suo porto. (foto 6) per gli appassionati della “corsa dei tori”, impossibile non entrare a curiosare nella Plaza de Toros di Malaga, e visitarne il museo.
Da non perdere infine il Museo Pablo Ruiz Picasso, inaugurato pochi anni fa in onore del grande pittore contemporaneo.

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A circa due ore d’auto da Malaga sorge Granada, in prossimità delle montagne della Sierra Nevada. “Granada” in spagnolo significa “melograno”, frutto che è diventato simbolo di questa città. Se vi trovate in zona non potete fare a meno di visitare il famoso complesso dell’Alhambra (il cui nome arabo può essere tradotto come “la Fortezza Rossa”) con i suoi splendidi giardini. Armatevi di pazienza soprattutto nel periodo estivo, perché gli ingressi giornalieri sono a numero “chiuso”, quindi se arrivate tardi rischiate di non poter entrare in giornata e dovere ritornare. La lunga attesa verrà però ricompensata ampiamente: passeggiare nei giardini della cittadella, all’ombra di alberi secolari, tra centinaia di specie di fiori mai visti, nel silenzio e nella calura delle prime ore del pomeriggio, è sicuramente un’esperienza particolare.

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Scendendo verso il centro di Granada, si scopre una città fortemente legata alla sua passata appartenenza ad un Califfato: dappertutto è possibile rintracciare, negli edifici, nei monumenti e persino nei tratti somatici degli abitanti, una fortissima influenza araba. Caratteristica è la zona attorno alla Cattedrale, dove negli stretti viottoli adiacenti ha luogo un grande mercato. (in particolare di venditori di spezie) l’atmosfera è quella di un grande e confusionario bazar all’aria aperta, sotto tendaggi dorati fissati ai cornicioni delle case che danno sui vicoli. Una città suggestiva, quasi da mille e una notte.
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Proseguendo il nostro itinerario arriviamo a Cordoba, a due ore e mezzo d’auto da Malaga.Cordoba ti colpisce per l’ordine e la cura delle abitazioni e dei monumenti. Dal centro storico dipartono piccoli vicoli stretti, con case l’una in fila all’altra, dagli infissi colorati di giallo e verde scuro, e vasi di fiori multicolori appesi alle pareti d’un bianco candido, accecante dove batte la luce del sole.Viene naturale spingere lo sguardo oltre i tanti cancelli in ferro battuto a delimitare giardini meravigliosi e nascosti.
Ci ha sorpreso trovare anche resti di templi di epoca romana “accostati” a reperti di periodi storici più recenti, tutto viene valorizzato ed integrato.

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La più popolare “attrazione” di Cordoba è però la Mezquita, definita la moschea-cattedrale per il fatto che alla bellissima costruzione musulmana si sono aggiunti nel tempo stili rinascimentali, gotici e barocchi.
Impossibile non rimanere estasiati dalla bellezza e dall’imponenza della costruzione, il cui interno, un labirinto infinito di colonne (circa 850!) di marmo e granito, va a creare a soffitto una serie di archi di pietra bianca e rossa. L’effetto finale studiato per le colonne e i suoi archi è quello di centinaia di alberi di palme che si aprono a ventaglio nella sala.

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Un appunto particolare va al quartiere della Juderia, l’antico quartiere ebraico della città. (oggi pieno di negozietti di souvenir per turisti)  nonostante tutto, ancora oggi rimane il fascino di un quartiere intimo, fatto di stradine strette e attorcigliate che improvvisamente si aprono in piccole piazze pittoresche.
Il nostro viaggio continua alla volta di Gibilterra, territorio inglese d’oltremare. Gibilterra è un mondo a parte, completamente slegato dalla cultura spagnola se non per lo strano misto di inglese e spagnolo che si sente parlare e per l’uso combinato di euro e sterline.E’ singolare il fatto di trovarsi davanti ad una cittadina in puro stile “british” (fast food e tipiche cabine rosse del telefono la fanno da padrone) che si estende per poco più di 6,5 kilometri con una propria dogana, ed un proprio aeroporto. (a proposito, per giungere a piedi in centro si è per forza costretti ad attraversare a piedi la pista!)

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Se vi trovate a Gibilterra non rinunciate ad una escursione sulla Rocca, la Upper Rock, un enorme spuntone di roccia a picco sul mare. è possibile salire con la funicolare, ma risulta molto più comodo andare in auto o con le guide di tour organizzati. (permettono di risparmiare molto tempo ed una lunga scarpinata sotto il sole cocente)
sulla Upper Rock è possibile visitare la bellissima grotta di Saint Micheal, piena di stalagtiti e stalagmiti, e la riserva naturale che sorge sulla cima della montagna, dove farete la conoscenza di una simpatica quanto nutrita colonia di scimmiette senza coda, arrivate dall’Africa e stabilitesi col tempo anche a Gibilterra.
Dalla cima della Rocca si gode una vista a dir poco mozzafiato, e nelle giornate più limpide si riesce a scorgere persino l’Africa, su questo lembo di terra proteso tra Atlantico e Mar Mediterraneo, considerato un tempo il confine del mondo conosciuto oltre il quale era proibito spingersi.

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PICCOLE NOTE SU:

EVENTI E MANIFESTAZIONI: l’evento estivo più importante è sicuramente la “Ferìa” di Malaga (o Gran Fiesta del Verano) che per dieci giorni a metà Agosto viene celebrata per commemorare la reconquista della città da parte dei cattolici nel 1487. Nella prima sera i cittadini si riuniscono sulle spiagge della Malagueta, per ascoltare il “Pregon de la feria”, ovvero l’inaugurazione della festa. A mezzanotte, al porto e nelle zone antistanti, iniziano gli spettacoli pirotecnici.
Durante i giorni di feria, dalla mattina fino a tarda sera, ogni via attira l’attenzione dei cittadini e dei turisti, con spettacoli di ogni genere e movimento. Il centro storico diventa un luogo assolutamente da vedere, con le migliaia di persone festose e i banchi che vendono qualsiasi cosa (souvenir, fiori, dolci, panini, pesce fritto etc), e quasi tutte le donne e le bambine indossano i classici abiti della tradizione da “gitanas” (gonne lunghe a balze con pizzi e pois e corpetto)
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CIBO: in Andalusia c’è solo l’imbarazzo della scelta! Inutile dire che è d’obbligo la sera prima di cena (si cena tardi, intorno alle 22.00) fare un piccolo (ma piccolo non sarà, date le porzioni sempre abbondanti!) aperitivo a base di “tapas”, tanti assaggi di pesce, carne e/o verdure; ogni localino avrà le sue specialità del giorno, quindi si ha solo l’imbarazzo della scelta.
Il pranzo si svolge intorno alle 14.00/15.00, la cena intorno alle 22.00. Il pomeriggio fino alle 17.00 ha luogo la siesta, ragion per cui troverete le città o i paesini deserti e con le serrande della maggior parte dei negozi abbassate.
Ottimi, neanche a dirlo, i ristoranti di pesce (a noi Restaurant Juan, a Torremolinos, è rimasto nel cuore – C/ Mar, 11 y Paseo Marítimo, 28, Torremolinos, Spagna) – in foto: patatas bravas, calamari alla romana e dorada a la plancha.

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45 thoughts on “TRAVELS/SPAIN: ANDALUCIA

  1. eh eh that’s right! yeah, you have perfectly described what i was thinking of your country! I envy this system, cause i think it’s a merit system, and in Italy it’s NOT like this at all for our generation.
    Exactly because we are an old country with a rich historical path, our system, and our government, of course, it’s a bit surpassed, and young people struggle to insert in the society.
    Our system it’s less progressive than Spain, i think we’re at a turning point in our history, but it’s difficult to achieve big improvements.

    • Hello there! I love so much Spain, and in particular Andalusia, for the architecture, the food, and the beatiful landscapes, of course!
      For me was a wonderful holiday! Hope one day to visit again!

      • ih ih! i think so!otherwise, poor husband, all alone 🙂
        In which country of USA do you live? i’ve been in West Coast, i made a trip two years ago trough California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada, i’ve loved it so much. Sure i’ll return as soon as possible in others country. I think also United States are a good places to stay 🙂

      • I live in New Mexico, which is in the Southwest region of the United States. We are moving in June 2015 for a one year fellowship – and then we will move once more to “settle down.” I don’t know where yet… What are your favorite places to visit in the USA? Colorado and California are quite beautiful, as are all of the states that you visited. You are well travelled!

      • yeah, i really love to travel and discover new places!mmh .. i loved so much Gran Canyon, Bryce Canion, also Zion is nice .. the best city for me remains San Francisco, i’m totally in love with! Yosemite was really great, we made lot of trekking..
        Las Vegas it’s ..just too crazy 🙂
        I love America! New Mexico must be nice too..

      • Oh, wow – you ARE well-travelled! The hike in yosemite sounds nice. I love San Francisco, too! There is a great blog about the restaurants there – http://vittlemonster.com – you should check it out! New Mexico is nice! We are in the high desert, so there is a lot of mountains, skiing and natural beauty in the North, while the South is much more hot and flat. I imagine where you live is quite beautiful and also cosmopolitan?

      • Nice blog, i subscribe it! Thanks!I live in a small town which is near Milano (Northern Italy).. yes, Milano is sure a cosmopolitan city, but where i live it’s quite calm, and all around the town we have hills with lots of agritourism, they’re like your ranch, with horses and so on… 🙂

      • yes, we’ve quite a good choise, i think..If you’ll visit Italy, you can’t miss Florence and Rome! Milano is less interesting, it’s a big industrial city. (altrough the night life is animated)
        In the upper Northern Italy you can visit Dolomiti, Valle D’Aosta and Trentino Alto-Adige, if you like hiking and the mountains view. Have a good day! Cris

      • Thank you, Cris. Italy is on my bucket list. The North of Italy sounds quite special – and I hear amazing things about Florence and Rome. You must enjoy your life in such a beautiful, culturally rich country!

      • yeah, i’m proud to be italian 🙂
        but i think that USA are also charming, it’s a younger country, and i think that americans are more open-minded than italians, when i made my trip two years ago the strongest impression that i keep back with me was “if you have strong will you can make whatever you want.”. i had a very beautiful impression.

      • Cris, I can see why you would be proud to be Italian. There is such a long and RICH history in European countries, like Italy. And your food is among the best in the world. Hehe. 😉 You are right about America. If you don’t make your own way and pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you will fail in life. There is a strong belief in working hard and paving your own way – or floundering and not achieving what you wish for yourself. You are a very discerning visitor! I wonder if Italy is a bit like Spain – when I lived there, I noticed that the younger generations were very progressive and moving the country towards new ideas and different a different vision than their predecessors.

      • eh eh, right! Yeah, you perfectly described what i think of your country! I like your system, ’cause it’s a merit system, and in Italy it’s NOT like that at all.
        Exactly cause we’re an old country with such a long historical path, we have a system and a government too, a bit “surpassed”.
        Young people struggle to become part of the society, and our approach, in general, is less progressive. I think (i hope!) that we’re beginning a transformation, but it seems so slowly right now .. but i never give up 🙂

      • Ah, yes – I have read a bit about what you describe – about Italy and other countries in Europe. Sometimes change happens slowly – but is more likely to succeed and keep a country stable. It must be very difficult to struggle for young people – what is needed? More jobs? More education? Every country has it’s struggles; you are right to stay positive!

      • Hello! I must starting say that i can speak from a good private situation: working hard in these years i was able to find a job that i like and to continue making it.
        Biggest problem for me are: more job needed, (but i must say that industries like handcraft and agriculture lack of young italian workers, which prefere to have an academic career); plus, for me our academic system is not well organized, and the number of out-of-course students is very high, so young people in general entered society very late, instead of yours.So they make house, family, a good job always later, and the circle never close.
        Plus, salaries are fixed, in 10 years they remained the same, instead of the cost of living that increased more and more. When we made the passage from “Lira” to “Euros”, the conversion was totally wrong, cause 1.000 Lire were 0,50 Euros,but all shops considered that 1.000 Lire were 1 Euro, so the cost of life redoubled..and so on …but like i said before..i’m going straight forward!

      • Your explanation makes sense. The challenges are access to organized education; appropriate salaries to meet standard of living needs; the transition from the Lire to the Euro. Plus, fixed salaries do not create a feeling of motivation to do more and do better. Your country, like ours, has challenges. We can only do our best and hope that our nations continue to improve. I admire your work ethic, positive attitude – and sense of adventure for life! 🙂

      • Thank you to you! I’m really curious about your country, Usa will probably be the place where i would live (in addition to Italy) 🙂
        Maybe i’m asking too much!

      • Maybe you can be a dual citizen? 🙂 The best of both worlds? 🙂 The grass is always greener – I have always wanted to live permanently in Europe. We could trade places for a bit, haha. Look me up the next time you visit the US!

      • ehe, you’re right, but in reality we both live in two beautiful countries! uhm .. it’ll be good, be a dual citizen, but just trade places will be great! 😀 in Italy we don’t exchange apartements, it’s not a common habit .. but in America there is someone who did it, for holidays, right?

      • Sure!One day i would like to make a home exchange .. sure it’s cheaper than an organized tour! Italians in general are really gelous of their home ;), so they don’t make such exchanges often.. (only in big city in which tourism is more developed)

      • Italians don’t do exchanges because they are protective of their homes.. is that what you mean? I can understand that – it could be daunting to have a stranger in your house, for sure. I have never been one to do the tours – I did one and it felt quite touristy! I like to blend in where I go. Hopefully you will get to explore more of the US soon – it is such a large place with so much to see – much like Europe. 🙂

      • Yes, you understand well (sorry for my bad english)! Me too i made a tour only one time, but i prefere to be more “independent” when i’m on a trip. I hope so, to visit US many times again!

      • No, your English is excellent. Sometimes my reading is the problem. Haha! Yes, being on your own is the way to go. So much more rewarding – you meet great people, don’t stand out as a tourist and visit places you wouldn’t on a tour. Much more relaxing and freeing. I hope you do visit the US – you have already been more places in this country than most Americans! 🙂

      • ah ah really? I really love to travel both in Italy and in foreign contries, i love to keep in touch with different way of life and cultures.
        Travel if for me pretty much a lifestyle, even though
        recently i travel in reality less than I will.
        I’m a traveller for passion, but i have both the “person of habits” side, which is glad to return to her cozy and safe home 🙂
        I agree perfectly with what you say about experiencing travel on your own, it’s such more satisfying! Have a god day!

      • I just saw your post about your renovation plans for your glorious new pad. You will make it the perfect, comfy den to return to after your globe trotting. 🙂 Congratulations! Keep up your passion for travelling!

      • Thank you! Yeah, a safe nest in which i can return after our trips 😀
        Sure i’ll keep up my passion for travels, like my passion for cooking, photography, interior design, and so on .. i’m a person who makes ton of activities (none of them very well, i fear :O)

      • You too, i think! I read the page “About me” where you describe your life and your beautiful family (animals included 🙂 ) and i thought “we’re both really busy in our own way!” I feel that we put the same energy in everyday life 🙂
        Thanks for your appreciation for my blog, it makes me happy, I always try to make it interesting!

      • Cristina, thank you! Yes, we are both busy in our own way – doing the things that we love. 🙂 I am looking forward to your next blog post. I love seeing and hearing about your travels, baking and interior design. And your photos are always gorgeous! 🙂 Have a great day (or night – since you are in the Italian time zone). Do you celebrate Halloween in Europe (it’s 31/10 in the USA).

      • Right!Two busy and lovely women we are! 🙂
        In Italy it’s 31/10 currently 12.15 a.m. (lunch time), and yes, we celebrate Halloween, but, like i said to another blogger, we don’t make special decorations in the houses or in the streets, only some decoration in the shops.We celebrate with a party between friends or a masquerade ball. Kids don’t make “trick or treat” at the door’s houses.
        In Italy it’s quite an “imported feast”, but we all celebrate 01/11, “All Saints’ Day”, which is more a family feast.

      • Your Halloween sounds so much more fun with the party and the masquerade. I love these ideas – much more fun than knocking on doors for candy – in the cold late at night! 🙂 The All Saint’s Day feast sounds fun. What do you eat traditionally? You should do a blog post about it. We don’t have that here, as far as I know… though some Catholics must celebrate it. Probably on a smaller level in the US.

      • Really? ahah! I don’t know yet where i’ll go tonight! I was baking cookies (maybe in one of the next posts I’ll post the recipe 🙂 ) and it’s getting late!Uh-oh! It’s a good idea, the post of the typical recipes for All Saints’ Day.. altrough in Italy every region has her own typical recipe .. you know, in Italy we love good cooking 🙂

      • Oh, cookies! You make such good cookies! I am looking forward to the post. What are you making!

        I hope that you have a great, fun night. I am so excited to see a post about typical All Saint’s food. That would be super neat! 🙂 Yes, you Italians know your food – and every region has a special cuisine!!!

      • Hello!We’ve a good night walking around the city streets looking at the kids with their bags full of sweets .. so cute they were!And then watching a movie in a small cinema and ..of course eating the cookies I made!So good, i’ll post the recipe asap! I hope to have some time tomorrow..

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