I See the Light

P1040471

After we left Cordoba we headed toward Seville (Sp). The landscape started to get a lot greener as we headed out of the desert areas. As we drove we could see a bright light in the distance, at first I thought it was a flare from some kind of refinery but as we got closer it clearly wasn’t this. Then I thought that it was something reflective in the distance but as we drove we moved around it and it was reflective from wherever we were so decided it wasn’t reflective. As we got even closer we could see rays of light shining from the ground to the top of a tower. The light at the top of the tower was so bright that if you looked at it you had to blink a few times before your eyes worked properly again – maybe a little dangerous near the road.

P1040485

It turned out that this was a solar power plant that uses 1000’s of mirrors to focus light to a central tower where it heats salt to the point it becomes molten and can be used to generate power even when the sun has gone down at the end of the day.

I had read about this method of solar power production a few years ago so it was fascinating to actually see.

Check out torresolenergy.com.

Advertisements

Mezquita

P1040262

On the way to Cordoba (Sp) we stopped at a little village for lunch called Cabra. After lunch Legoboy and I went for a short walk and discovered a crystal clear stream that was rushing out of the side of a mountain. The water was full of fish and the water was gushing out everywhere. We also encountered Olive plantations (groves?) as far as you could see in all directions.

We were able to camp right in Cordoba so we were able to spend the afternoon we arrived wandering the streets. Our first stop was the Mezquita or Cordoba Cathedral. A church was originally built here in the 6th century. Subsequently this church was demolished and a mosque was built on the site. The mosque was expanded over the next few centuries before King Ferdinand III recaptured Cordoba in 1236. Then in the 1500’s a chapel was built in the middle and chapels were added around the outside walls. So the building is a little mixed up and looks very Arabic as you enter with a very traditional Catholic church in the middle.

P1040336 P1040299 P1040292

We wandered through the Jewish quarter as well as past more churches and the Alcazar we got a little lost but eventually found our way back to Max.

P1040359

P1040391

The next day SWTTM and Legoboy went to a huge playground around the corner from where we were staying – it was a very popular place with a line up at opening time (1 euro entry fee).

P1040416

IMG_7529

The girls and I went for a walk to check out the Roman bridge and enjoyed a nice wander along the river. We then went in search of a barra (we would call it a baguette). After a short while we realised that it was Sunday so most shops are closed but we eventually discovered a little bakery.

P1040447

P1040441

The Alhambra

P1040177We arrived in Granada (Sp) and found our way to the top of the mountain overlooking the city. We found the signs to the carpark for the Alhambra and got a park. We could not see any signs for the Alhambra so as we saw quite a few people walking from the carpark up the hill we headed that way. Not sure why but that day there was a lot of people going to the cemetery – the Alhambra was in the opposite direction.

We had read that there can be huge line ups to get into the Alhambra and that you have to stick strictly to the tour time you are allotted for the tour of the palace. We didn’t have to wait too long and were able to get in the afternoon we arrived.

P1040149

P1040130

The Alhambra is a Palace fort. Construction was started in the 1230’s by the Nasrid dynasty and was taken over by the Spanish in the late 1400’s. There are distinct areas from the no nonsense military areas to the highly detailed palace. There are also communal baths and there is now a church where the original mosque stood.

P1040193

Outside of the walls is the Generalife Palace. This was a short walk from the main fort and is where the kings etc headed when they wanted to get away from it all.

IMG_7462

It was a very interesting place to visit and it is hard to imagine building a place like this so long ago. It is also hard to comprehend the fighting that must have taken place here over the centuries.

P1040219

The Desert

 

P1030959

We spent a day driving in the desert, there was no grass but everywhere we went there is stuff being cultivated, oranges, lemons and almonds.

P1030986

The mountains in the desert are quite spectacular with incredible rock formations.

We spent a night here near a place called Cullar (Sp) and the kids and I went for a walk down a dusty dirt road to have a look around.

P1040014

 

 

While on our walk we saw a ruin of an underground house as well as one that is still being used.

P1040013

 

P1040005

The next day we saw more houses built in the side of hills partly underground, it was interesting to see so many of them, some ruins and some still in use.

P1040057

P1040068

I was reminded of Sam who we met in Tassie when we were there. Sam has bought a block of land and plans to build an underground house I wont say bunker) so I thought of him as we drove through here – hopefully this may give him some inspiration and maybe his wife might see these houses and fall in love with the idea.

P1040028

As we continued to drive we began to leave the desert landscape and things started to get a little greener. Then we drove past the snow covered mountains of Sierra Nevada – it was a bit of a surprise to see the snow here.

P1040030

A Little too Squeezy

P1030878

I assume Valencia oranges come from Valencia and that explains why we are surrounded by oranges everywhere we go.

We stayed for the night in a campsite outside a little village called Carcaixent with orchards all around. To get to the campsite we had to drive through the orchards. The orchards have high walls built around them and these also run either side of the road. As we went along it felt like the walls got closer and closer and the vehicles we met coming the other way got bigger and bigger. I thought we were in real trouble when we were confronted by a cement truck, but fortunately there was a drive way entrance right there and I was able to move over just enough for us to squeeze by each other.

P1030877

At the campsite there was a Spanish hacienda and a playground as well as some walking tracks up into the mountains. After Legoboy had a play on the playground the kids and I went for a walk. Mini M&M and Bookworm hope that this counts toward their morning fitness Mr Dunham (CHCS PE teacher).

P1030912

It was probably best that SWTTM did not come along because the track got pretty narrow (maybe it wasn’t even there anymore) and steep before we enjoyed the view and headed back.

P1030926

The next day we headed off and Jack took us via a very interesting route through the countryside which while probably not the conventional route was interesting to see.

We drove into an area that grows lemons which had us driving along singing oranges and lemons the bells of St Clements which then had us wondering about this interesting rhyme.

SWTTM, Legoboy and I went for a walk and found a man training pigeons which were unlike any pigeons I had seen before.

P1030973

We also bought some baguettes from the baker who came around to the campsite –  first of all you wonder who is driving around blowing their horn constantly and then you realise it is the baker so you rush out to buy some lovely fresh baguettes – just like a local.

P1030976

A Little too Squeezy

P1030878

I assume Valencia oranges come from Valencia and that explains why we are surrounded by oranges everywhere we go.

We stayed for the night in a campsite outside a little village called Carcaixent with orchards all around. To get to the campsite we had to drive through the orchards. The orchards have high walls built around them and these also run either side of the road. As we went along it felt like the walls got closer and closer and the vehicles we met coming the other way got bigger and bigger. I thought we were in real trouble when we were confronted by a cement truck, but fortunately there was a drive way entrance right there and I was able to move over just enough for us to squeeze by each other.

P1030877

At the campsite there was a Spanish hacienda and a playground as well as some walking tracks up into the mountains. After Legoboy had a play on the playground the kids and I went for a walk. Mini M&M and Bookworm hope that this counts toward their morning fitness Mr Dunham (CHCS PE teacher).

P1030912

It was probably best that SWTTM did not come along because the track got pretty narrow (maybe it wasn’t even there anymore) and steep before we enjoyed the view and headed back.

P1030926

The next day we headed off and Jack took us via a very interesting route through the countryside which while probably not the conventional route was interesting to see.

We drove into an area that grows lemons which had us driving along singing oranges and lemons the bells of St Clements which then had us wondering about this interesting rhyme.

SWTTM, Legoboy and I went for a walk and found a man training pigeons which were unlike any pigeons I had seen before.

P1030973

We also bought some baguettes from the baker who came around to the campsite –  first of all you wonder who is driving around blowing their horn constantly and then you realise it is the baker so you rush out to buy some lovely fresh baguettes – just like a local.

P1030976