Hacienda, Villamartin, Spain
Two more days sightseeing in the local villages. Our Wednesday trip is to Arcos, a medium sized town about 35km west of the hacienda and marking the boundary of the "white villages" area. I had passed by it last weekend on the way to Jerez and some of last week's group went there one afternoon. Like so many of these villages, it is perched on the apex of a hill, with a clearly defined centre arranged around the church. We parked at the bottom of the hill and made slow progress up through the streets till we came to the main square. This had a church that was being refurbished and a "mirador" or viewing point with some very dramatic views over the valley below.
The church in the main square that is currently being refurbished
We missed the Tourist Office being open by ten minutes but have discovered that The Rough Guide to Andalucia is actually very good, even including some maps of the white villages. So after a spot of lunch outside a bar, we are off down the south side of the town towards the bigger church.
Later on, back at the hacienda, the puppies were out again. Getting bigger by the day, though still rather wobbly!
Our Thursday trip is to Zahara, perhaps the most photogenic of the white villages, perched on a hill above a reservoir and with a ruined castle at the top of the town. As usual, we arrived in the early afternoon just as the siesta was starting and we had another walk up through the streets from the car park. We are certainly feeling that this is providing another decent work out to go with the yoga each day.
As we came up to the top of the hill with the castle on, one of the local vultures was just make a turn over the castle and I was able to get the closest view I have had of one so far. Luckily the camera was at full zoom already. At its closest it was maybe 20 yards away. These birds are just an amazing size - maybe 8 foot wingspan. We saw another half dozen today in the far distance.
Slighly enlarged picture of the vulture that flew past just as I reached the castle
We spent about four hours in the town in the end and this is definitely one of the highlights of the local area.
Tonight we decided to watch a movie on Fiona's Apple - the first tv anyone has watched for some while. Our selected movie was "Juno" which I thought was really good. I think the screenplay may have won an Oscar - I wouldn't be surprised if it did. And a great soundtrack - Cat Power, Sonic Youth, Mo Tucker, etc. I loved the final scene when the two lovers were playing their guitars together. Very moving film I thought.