Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Day 6 Road Trip

We got up early this morning and packed all of our belongings. Cheris and Rob had arranged for a taxi van to pick us all up at 9:30AM and take us to the airport to collect our rental cars. We squeezed into the van with all our luggage and we fit!
We picked up our cars successfully, fortified ourselves with coffee and hit the road. Davis was thrilled with our car. It's a Leon which is a Spanish car and is a white station wagon. It's a stick shift that runs on diesel and Davis loves the sound of it. Michael is very good at driving it.
We drove toward Seville with Rob leading the way. Graham was very sick and had been coughing all day. We felt so bad for him and it made the kids sad too because they couldn't split up and ride with their friends. Still, because we were all Walters in our car, we were able to listen to our audio book, Ink Death and that made the time pass by quickly.

We drove through rolling hills covered with groves and groves of olive trees as far as the eye could see. We passed a two huge black billboards in the shape of giant toros. It was a beautiful drive. We came over a huge bridge over the river and into Seville. Our plan was to have lunch in Seville, but as the day was the first day of Spring Break and the Santa Samana, the streets were crowded and our drive through historic Seville was very crowded though extremely interesting. We aborted that plan and drove to a little town on the other side of the Seville. We found a restaurant with seating in a dusty courtyard and a interesting menu. We sat down and were presented with huge pieces of fluffy white bread. We were about to order when it started to rain and we all ran into the restaurant. I had a nice paella and we all enjoyed the ambiance of the busy restaurant filled with customers celebrating the holiday.

After lunch, Cheris had found us an ancient Roman ruin to go see. Graham slept in the car, but the rest of us climbed up the hill and for 1.5 euros, secured entry to the most amazing site. It was a huge city of Roman origin, built in 59. It was amazing. There were ancient baths, still tiled with beautiful mosaics of birds and tigers and women. The best part was a gladiator stadium. It was in great condition and was almost empty of an visitors. We felt very lucky to have stumbled upon it. We also discovered a great need to show the kids the movie, Ben Hur.

After our excursion, we drove toward our destination for the next three days, Molino Rio Alajar. We had rented these rural cottages in Andalusia about an hour from Portugal on the internet and hoped they were a bit like Villa Pia, a wonderful place we had stayed in Italy. We first came Alcazar, a larger town on the hill dominated by a huge castle. Then we made our way down a winding road down a mountain, surrounded by breathtaking vistas and dripping wet greenery all around. We caught glimpses of the village of Alajar at the bottom of the mountain, all white washed buildings and red tile rooftops.
We finally found our small turn off and drove down a path with stone walls pressing so close to the sides of the car, forded a rive and drove through the gates of our cottages! It is a beautiful place. The grounds are spectacular and the cottages are perfect. There is foosball, tennis, patank, table tennis, a rope swing, five dogs, pigs and endless hiking paths. We are in Tortuga cottage. The two bedroom, two bath house is charming and comfortable. We have a big kitchen/living space with a fire place and a dining table surrounded by bay windows. The floors are heated and it is very cozy.
Cheris and Rob drove down into the village for some provisions and we all ate sandwiches and drank Rioja and settled into our beautiful new home for three days. Graham fell asleep immediately, but the kids played outside until dark. It was great.

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