So this weekend we loaded up my ‘pimped ride’ and took the bicycles and headed off to Grazalema Natural Park. The park is just inside Cadiz province, close to where Malaga, Cadiz and Sevilla provinces meet.
for a quick hello with family and then on up towards Seville, passing Zahara and its lake and then on to the villages of El Bosque and Prado del Rey, where our rural hotel was located.
The park is one of the most stunning in Andalucía, and is full of rugged limestone peaks, with a mixture of rare pines and oaks – the village of Grazalema at its heart, perched some 800 metres above sea level.
Supposedly it is one of the wettest parts of Spain, getting a regular soakings from weather systems that come in off the Atlantic – luckily the sun was out for us, but the scenery reflects its climate with plenty of lichen clad trees and tiny ferns growing out of the crevices in the limestone. Crocus-like 'Colchicum' were already flowering and overhead eagles were a regular sight.
By accident we discovered the somewhat neglected Roman site of Ocuri, where right up in the Sierra they built Roman baths! You can still see many of the structures.
The whole area is full of history – last year we went to explore the Cueva de la pileta cave on one of the few days it is open to see the ancient cave paintings there from prehistory.
We stayed in the cute little Cortijo Huerta Dorothea. The team there are super friendly and helpful with park information, cycle routes etc.
A big thank you for my editors at SUR in English and the advertising manager for our trip – a very generous wedding gift.
(P.S: when you arrive in the tourist honey pot of Grazalema village, avoid eating in the picturesque square – we’ve done this twice now and each time realised that the quality is poor, as the bars there make no effort – discover something off the beaten track and I am sure the quality will be better.)