Spain

Thanksgiving 2017: The White Villages of Andalusia

Thanksgiving 2015, we went to Machu Picchu. Thanksgiving 2016, we saw the Northern Lights at Iceland. Thanksgiving 2017…….we wanted someplace warm that we can discover for few days and I had to use our $300 American Airlines voucher from our Christmas trip delay. We were looking everywhere and finally decided southern Spain to explore the Pueblos Blancos (White Villages) of Andalusia!

We landed at 9:45 AM in Granada, the airport is so much smaller than I thought as Alhambra is Spain’s most visited attraction! We had some trouble locating the meeting point to wait for the car rental shuttle at first. It was located right outside the airport, turn right on the road up to a small bus stop, it has a “meeting point” pole. We waited for few minutes and finally, the Enterprise shuttle arrived! The car rental is located a few minutes from the airport, there’s a gas station there so pretty easy to locate for the return.

Our first White Village was Setenil de las Bodegas, 2 hours away. Note that the main road of the village is restricted access to visitors so we kept going up the little hill and found parking there:

November, being the low season, was wonderful…great weather, no crowds, and easy parking! We walked across the road and checked out the view looking down at the white village.

Do you see the rock covering the houses on the left side? That’s the landmark of Setenil de las Bodegas, a village built under the rock!

I was super excited to go down to check out the village! Another view of the village, now you know why they call them the white villages?

Before we check out the village, we should have lunch first 🙂 We picked Bar Frasquito located right on the main street. We ordered grilled fish, fried octopus, a kebab meat plate and when we were thinking to order another plate, the waiter who barely speaks English indicated that we ordered too much food LOL. For drinks, Jason and I have our favorite European Fanta!

While waiting for the food, Sokunna and I checked inside the restaurant to use the restroom and it was amazing to see how the roof is the rock!

Alright, food arrived! Yummy and fresh, the delicious grills!

The kebab on the other hand, looked different, we guess the meat was pork and okay taste.

The location couldn’t have been better! We saw cars from locals squeezing in perfectly into this road with all the restaurants’ tables and chairs LOL. I was admiring how and why they build houses under this huge rock?

Our lunch cost $43.63 USD (36 euros) for 4 of us with drinks and Brian ordered a glass of white wine too! After lunch, it was time to check out this cute village!

While Brian was enjoying his cup of “Americano” coffee haha!

Along this short road, there is a souvenir shop and lots of restaurants.

Christmas decoration LOL!

Continued on to the main street of the white village.

The village was very quiet and peaceful, we enjoyed it so much!

Then, we saw a sign “panorama” so we followed the direction, walked up those stairs, and up to the top of the big rock.

There are viewing platforms up there and the view was incredible! Brian immediately said this is ten times better than England (the Cotswolds we visited back in October) LOL!

Panorama of the village, those white houses looked like miniatures!

We kept walking along the road on the edge of the rock and have a few different perspective of the village underneath our feet.

The opposite side has another road of houses built under another rock, space is not limited here so why they built like that? Free roof? Haha!

We almost reached the end and turned back down those stairs.

We walked across a bridge to get on the other side of the village with more restaurants and shops (they were closed though probably due to the low season).

Look at this natural “tunnel” hehe!

The village is quite small that you can walk one loop in 10 minutes but with stops for photos, you can easily spend an hour here!

I like how they use the pots of flowers to give this otherwise white bridge colors. Can you see me? This bridge is quite high for shorty like me 🙁

After Setenil de las Bodegas, we plugged in the GPS to Ronda, our destination for the night. Along the route, we kept going up and through the hill, there were a few “mirador” which means lookouts/viewpoints. You see just covered in shadow is the tucked under the rock main road that we were walking around.

The cathedral up on the hill that we saw on the viewpoint before:

After another 30 minutes drive, we arrived Ronda!!! Where’s the famous bridge and mountain cliff? We couldn’t see it on the way there though! We stayed at Parador de Ronda, the most famous hotel in Ronda with the view of the El Tajo Gorge and right next to the bridge, Puente Nuevo (meaning new bridge). There’s private parking in the hotel but pricey at 18 euros per night. We checked in our room with panoramic view.

The room was spacious with a couch in the sitting area. Like other European room, the “king” bed is two beds…they looked like full beds instead of two twins. The floor is the wooden floor that I rarely see in hotel rooms.

The bathroom is also spacious although I wouldn’t call it luxurious.

The most beautiful area in the room is this awesome balcony for the panoramic view of the gorge! I took a shower and then change into my comfortable maxi dress to have a photo with this beautiful balcony.

The view from our room, gorgeous!!!

The gazebo on the right side is the Mirador de Ronda. While waiting for Brian and Sokunna, Jason and I decided to walk over to check out the views. Once we walked out of the hotel and made a turn, we saw the famous bridge, Puente Nuevo! It was late in the afternoon and the sun’s direction was shining on the bridge.

We walked to the Mirador and there has no view of the bridge but the views are still pretty. On the left side is our hotel.

Jason went to tell Sokunna and Brian to come over and there, a photo of us two 🙂

There was this guy who’s selling handmade name made out of colored wires. It’s such a cute souvenir to bring home so Sokunna and I both got one with our names and bicycle!

It only took him 15 minutes or so to craft one, yay got mines!

And then he made Sokunna’s.

Once he’s done with Sokunna’s, we walked fastly to the other viewpoint on the cliff to photograph the bridge after the sunset…hoping some colors. We have no idea where the trailhead to go down so we just use our instinct and walk across the bridge to the Old Town section and followed along the edge. We saw a small “park” and there has the sign to go down to the Mirador 🙂 The trail was easy at first and it gets steep on the dirt road with loose rocks.

We got down and there were a handful of people down there including a photographer with a tripod setup. The viewing “platform” has no guardrail so don’t get too close to the cliff. The view of Puente Nuevo is the best here!

Jason was leaning on a big rock to get the angle and saw some metal rails to go down the cliff, woahh who would do that?

Being afraid of height, there is no way I will even get close to it. I kept a good distance while waiting for the blue hour and slowly, the bridge was lit up by floodlights.

Panorama of the Puente Nuevo and El Tajo Gorge!

Blue hour with the lit up the bridge in golden color, such a big contrast!

Brian decided to hike down to the gorge to check it out; not that ladder route we saw but there is a trail that goes down which looked very steep from our hotel side. He was very quick went down and back up; he said the trail actually isn’t that steep as it looked!

Puente Nuevo took 34 years to build to connect the Old and New Town of Ronda. Prior to Puente Nuevo, there was an old bridge with a single arch design that was poorly built and collapsed which killed 50 people. The rocks staked on the cliff of the viewing platform:

After the blue hour, we walked to De Locos Tapas for dinner which I made a reservation for 7 pm. The restaurant is highly rated in TripAdvisor and people advised to make a reservation in advance to avoid being turned away. 7 pm which sounded very late for me was actually the earliest I could find LOL! Many restaurants in this part of Spain opens at 8 pm for dinner OH MY! It was a good 15-20 min walk to get all the way through the Old Town and we passed many nice buildings along the way that we had to stop for photos.

Very classic Spanish architecture with arch columns and a bell tower:

The restaurant is located next to the gate:

We got there a few minutes before it opens. Once it opened, we were seated upstairs (only a few tables there). The menu was handwritten, each tapa dish is inexpensive so we can try out a few; that’s the reason Jason and I both love tapas in Spain!

Ready for our 10 “course” dinner? hahaha!

Beef carpaccio, yummy but it had one taste of herb that I don’t like.

The quail eggs were decorated like a bird nest, it was very good both in taste and presentation!

The “nest” was made from fried thin noodle-like, it was very crunchy. The “plate” was a small piece of wood looked like a mini chopping board. Love their creativity!

The Thai prawns, the waitress advised us to order 2 orders because one only has 2 shrimps. The shrimp was fresh and craspy fried.

The duck breast was tasty:

This was a fish dish, I think.

Foie gras, it tasted okay but the texture wasn’t as smooth as the ones I had in France.

Another fish dish…

Octopus, not as tasty, I wish they grilled it.

Beef kebab, it was more tasty than the kebab we had at lunch.

Note that most of their sauces have truffle which Jason and I like but Brian doesn’t. For dessert, we ordered white chocolate with berries and Bailey ice cream. Our white chocolate with berries was so good and not overly sweet! Sokunna said her favorite dish was the dessert! My favorite was the quail eggs.

The 10 dishes were 60 euros and we tipped them 5 euros. Trying out different dishes was nice and the food was good but not impressive. I missed the tapa restaurant we had in Seville – Albarama Restaurante Tapas, that one was impressive! After dinner, we had a long walk back to the hotel all the way from the Old Town to the New Town. Ronda was quiet at night but the streets were well lit and we felt absolutely safe walking around at night here! We all like the atmosphere in Ronda!

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