Re-discovering Andalucía

After living in Spain for almost two years, it only makes sense that a lot of the novelty of this new and foreign life wears off and life becomes less exciting and more… normal. Well, as normal as it can be when you’re an expat living in a different country. That being said, I love having visitors! Familiar faces can spice up an otherwise repetitive daily schedule, and seeing my family or friends always makes me feel better! It also brings me back to why I’m here in the first place… I love Spain and Andalucía and it’s always a treat to be able to show it off to the people you love.

During Semana Santa this year my dad and my sister came to visit! They both had been to Spain before (my dad’s mom was Spanish, and they had both come to see me when I was studying in Granada), but I was so excited to show my sister around Arcos and to show them both around different cities that they’d never been to.

Dad and Jessica with Arcos in the background

We started off with a tour of the old town of Arcos. It’s really beautiful and I knew my sister would love photographing it! We walked through the winding streets and saw this different churches and went to the different look out points for great views of the countryside surrounding Arcos.

My sister Jessica, Paco and Me in front of the Santa María church

Typical white-washed walls with lots of flowers hanging. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

San Pedro church (Photo Courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

Of course, afterwards we got the obligatory churros con chocolate and my dad and Paco became best friends. Theres nothing like greasy fried sticks of dough to make a meet-the-parents moment less awkward!

Dad and Paco sipping coffee. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

The next day we headed to beautiful Ronda. I can never get enough of the views of this place. Maybe one day I’ll even get adventurous enough to hike down there to the bottom of the gorge… but that means hiking back up too!

The Guadalevían river flowing through the Tajo gorge. (Photo Courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

 

Dad and Jessica striking a pose in Ronda

The Puente Nuevo in Ronda

Although we had a bit of a cloudy/drizzly day in Ronda, we still really enjoyed it. I always think it’s so interesting that Ronda has the same population as Arcos, yet there is so much more action going on in the center of town. There are lots of shops and cafes and a couple pedestrian-only streets that give the town a really lively ambiance.

 

Our next day trip was to the lovely city of Sevilla. I love going to Sevilla and sometimes wonder whether I’d prefer living in a bigger city, but visiting during Semana Santa made me grateful that I don’t live in such a touristy area. There were tons of crowds and lots of streets were blocked off for processions, plus many of the stores had closed early too. But either way, we took a stroll around the Plaza de España, my dad and Jessica visited the Royal Palace and the gardens, and Jessica and I went up on the giant setas. My dad loves Seville and its no wonder why. It’s so beautiful!

Paco and me in the Plaza de España

Plaza de España (Photo Courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

Inside the Royal Palace (Photo courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

 

The Setas in Sevilla (Photo Courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

View of Sevilla from atop the setas

 

Exploring the Setas (Photo courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

 

Sunset over Triana

 

The next day, we were lucky to find ourselves with a beautiful sunny day as we headed to Cádiz. Driving into Cádiz always gives me horrible flashbacks to the many many bus trips taken to Cádiz to do lots of residency paperwork, but as soon as we get into the old town I fall in love with the city again. Surrounded by the ocean on the west and the Bay of Cádiz on the east, there are always beautiful sights to see, and then there is the city itself with its giant cathedral and shadowy cool streets.

A beautiful fountain and a giant old tree in a park right on the water (Photo courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

Me and Sissy in the park

 

The plaza in front of the Town Hall (Photo courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

Colorful buildings along the coast (Photo courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

That night, we got to see one of the Holy Week processions that parade throughout Arcos all week. Last year I had seen this same procession during the day, so it was really cool to see at at night with all of the candles lit. Though I’m not at all a religious person, I can definitely appreciate the beauty of the processions and the hard work that it takes to be one of the people carrying the heavy figures.

The Virgin heading up into the old town (Photo Courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

 

I swear this has nothing to do with the KKK. The traditional hoods are designed to hide the person’s face, though I cannot explain their pointy form. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Alventosa Photography)

Their last day here was a bit rainy and cold. Jessica and dad bought the last minute souvenirs, and we spent the afternoon inside relaxing with some pizza. It was a really great visit and it made me even more excited to take Paco home to Buffalo with me in June!

See you soon sissy!

To check out more of my sister’s amazing work check out her website Jessica Alventosa Photography here!

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