Dear Guests and friends of Casa Mosaica,
I’m sorry I have been rather slow at sending out newsletters this year. On our last trip to Gaucín from mid April to the end of May we were finally able to get out and about and visit some new places, have some lovely experiences and I have something new to write to you about, the restaurants and bars in the village are all open again and travelling is finally easier, we had no problems getting in and out apart from minor delays at Malaga. For anyone flying into Gibraltar, it might be worth printing off your booking form and bringing it with you, just incase you are asked where you are staying.
Spring is such a wonderful time of year in Andalucia, the countryside is so green and the wild flowers are just stunning, it’s the best time for those active guests who enjoy hiking, riding and cycling and the Gaucín Town Hall have produced details of wonderful walks which are available on the Wikilock App, making it easy to find and follow new routes which are regularly updated. Our first weekend back we drove to Ronda and walked with friends to Benaoján to have lunch at the excellent restaurant at Molino del Santo beside the rushing river, about a 3 hour walk, through wonderful countryside with swathes of beautiful wild iris.
As we set off from Ronda we came across a “romería”, so called because pilgrims traditionally walked to Rome and therefore became known as “romeros” it is a pilgrimage celebrating a local Saint around which fiestas are held, at a local shrine, chapel or sanctuary a few miles out of town. The departure from town is a proud public ceremony, with flags carried by horsemen, decorated carts, men and women who are serving a penance, followed up with tractors and agricultural vehicles and often a municipal band. Visitors are welcome, especially when seen to be enjoying the festival. The many horse-men and women are beautifully turned out as you can see.
After a 2 year absence, the Art Gaucín Open Studios were held again over the last weekend of May and the first weekend of June. We had a wonderful time visiting all the artists and I’m very pleased with 2 abstract paintings I bought from Jenny Collins, which guests of the Apartment will be able to see when I hang them from August onwards. Catherine Hunter exhibited her ceramics on La Fructuosa roof top terrace, with wonderful views and Joseba Sánchez Zabaleta’s studio was as good as ever to visit. Read more about the Gaucín artists here: artgaucin.com
We had a really delightful overnight stay in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, an easy and beautiful 2 hour drive from Gaucín. It is a wonderfully manageable Cadiz city, famous for its production of Manzanilla (almost identical to Fino sherry) and the departure point of Christopher Columbus. Situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir River with views and a ferry over to the Doñana National Park.
The seafood is delicious, we throughly enjoyed tapas in the lovely bars in the Plaza de Cabildo and along the beach front Bajo de Guía. It’s all easily manageable on foot, there is a wonderful market and I can recommend the Posada del Palacio
as a delightful place to stay. Although we did not make it this time the Castillo de Santiago and the Median Sidonia Palace sound interesting places to visit all seeped in the local history. It would make a great stop off after a visit to Gaucín and we cannot wait to get back there. There is also a famous horse race on the beach in August.
Another interesting new place we visited this spring was Setenil de las Bodegas, only an hour's drive northwest of Gaucín. As the route to Setenil takes you past the Roman ruins of Acinipo, with it’s wonderful ruined amphitheatre it might be nice to combine the two if you have not yet been. Opening times of Acinipo, free entry, are on their facebook page Acinipo Enclave Arqueológico
Setenil was occupied during the Roman invasion of the region in the 1st Century AD. Modern Setenil evolved from a fortified Moorish town overlooking a sharp bend in the Rio Trejo, the castle dates from the Almohad period in the 12th century. It is a pueblo with a distinctive setting famous for its dwellings built into rocks. My local friends tell me that Bar Frasquito is the best place for lunch and there is a nice little museum. Do note, as you can imagine it does involve quite a bit of steep walking and I have to admit quite touristy.
Well, it’s so good to be more or less back to normal after the last couple of years and to see almost all the Gaucín bars and restaurants back. There have been some changes: at the Fructuosa Hotel Restaurant, there is a new chef starting this month. Paquelo Bar Restaurant has great new management and delicious food. Azulete has new young owners with excellent International food, and Paco Pepe's opened again while we were there after 2 years closed.
Casa Mosaica is very busy until the end of October this year and finally I will be able to welcome my NHS health worker for her free weeks holiday in September. Thank you to all my guests who return, we do enjoy it and appreciate your visits and your kind comments.
A few photos from our last days in May, and very much looking forward to returning to Gaucín in August for the long awaited return of the village Feria, where I shall no doubt take some colourful photos for my next newsletter.
Thank you and best wishes to you all from Emma & Michael, Ruffi, Raffa and my 2 sweet fluffy boys.