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Zahara

Exploring the Andalucian "white towns"

overcast

Our first full day in Spain and we explored the mountain towns. Cartajima, where we are, is a tiny little town, with a one room market on a side street run by a sweet old lady who gives lollipops to the kids. The first night I went in and asked for eggs, it was late and she only had four left, two giant brown ones and two small white ones, fresh from the coop down the street. The availability of eggs is entirely dependent on how many the chickens lay that day.

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We drove up the road to Zahara on the recommendation of our Rick Steves guide book. I am officially an old lady - the days of Let's Go Europe are long behind me and spontaneity is a little less fun when traveling with two small kids. The town had a castle and a view, which is all we really require at this point.

As you drive into the outskirts, you are greeted by an expansive aquamarine lake. The day we went was really overcast and cool, so it's hard to see in the pictures, but it really is a beautiful color. The town is a typical Andalucian hill town - white houses, narrow cobblestone streets, and a church in the square. above the square is a parking lot with a view of the lake and a long narrow pathway leading straight up to the tower of the castle. The story is that the castle was taken from the Moors in the 1400's by tricking a sleeping guard into thinking no one was approachingn below. Once the soldier scaled the wall undetected, he opened the gate to let his compatriots in, and that was the beginning of the end.

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Now what remains is a tower you can climb up to for a 360 degree view of the surrounding lake and countryside. The stone staircases up are narrow and unlit, so you have fumble in the dark and hope for the best or use your phones flashlight app. On the day we visited, there were people milling around below, but no one who was willing to venture up, so we had the whole place to ourselves. It's a very nice side trip and well worth it if you are interested in the history of the area and/or you have kids you want to wear out.

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Posted by Restless Mama 03:16 Archived in Spain

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