Beautiful Spain

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Almost everything in Europe is accessible by plane in less than 3 hours.   With a Monday holiday and a missed holiday day from the previous week, we jumped on the chance to spend a long weekend in Southern Spain.  We flew into Malaga direct from Luxembourg, rented a car, and drove 45 minutes to the small town of Guaro.  Wanting a driving not beach vacation, we decided to stay inland and explore Southern Spain in a number of day trips.  Situated in the province of Malaga just a short 30 minutes from the coastal resort town of Marbella, Guaro is a small (2,500 people) “white village" in the Sierra Nieves Mountains.  There are orange, almond, and olive trees everywhere the eye can see in the part lush/part arid landscape of tightly compacted hills. The landscape mixed with the abundance of delicious (and cheap) food is my idea of heaven.

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Andalucía was everything we hoped it would be -  except warm.    I will refrain from complaining, but suffice it to say that the boys went to a water park one of the days where the max capacity reached twelve.  Upside: no line for the Labyrinth of Slides.  Downside: unheated pools of water to greet you on a mid 50s kind of day.  Teeth chattering aside, the boys loved it.

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That was the day I stayed back at the villa.  This villa.  Now you can see why I opted out of the Kamikaze Slide.  I re-read “Driving over Lemons” by Chris Stewart, went for a walk, and picked up a two liter bottle of olive oil from the Guaro village co-op.  If ever you are thinking of a trip to Southern Spain and want a village experience, I would highly recommend staying here.   It's perfectly located, wonderfully comfortable and the owner Andrew is a well-published travel writer and writes a blog about Andalucia.  It’s an AMAZING blog and full of great information about the area.  Read with caution as you will be dying to come for a visit -- we only scratched the surface.

Thinking back on our wonderful five days, three special images come to mind:

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1) Being in GAURO on a Saturday morning for a May festival that involved carrying a statue of Jesus (or a patron saint?) through the village streets and to the river.  Andrew told us about it, and it was one of the trip's highlights.  We were the only people in the whole village who didn't understand what was happening, but we gladly joined in the celebratory walk through town.  There's something about witnessing a tradition that goes back generations and seeing an entire village coming together that makes you wish you lived in a town where everybody knows your name.

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2) Having lunch in the hilltop town of CASARABONELA (thanks to Andrew's recommendation) -- devouring some nearby chicken, iberico pork chop, and lamb cooked in a simple wood oven and watching your children do a dance with the local kids.  A game of tag which leads to a game of soccer which leads to a conversation of hand gestures and lots of smiles.   

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3.  Stopping in EL BURGO on the way to RONDA in search of a special wood bowl and meeting Vincenzo -- a man who shares the same name and hometown of Sicily as my maternal grandfather!  Vincenzo walked me all over town in search of Jose -- the town's finest bowl maker. First to Jose's sister in law's shop, who sent us on foot to Jose's brothers house, who then escorted us to Jose's house where Jose wasn't home but his wife was. Still in her robe. No mind, after a quick change , she took me down to Jose's shop where where I found a beautiful bowl still fresh with oil. The kind of hand made bowl and the walk to find it that money simply can't buy.  Vincenzo gave me his number in hopes that I'll come back for a visit.

And we will.  I already have booked tickets back to Guaro for a week in July.  This time just me and the three boys while Brett says home to work.  I know Quinn is going to love this place as much as we all did.

Here are all the photos of the trip.