With my confidence in my ability to drive in Spain growing by the day, on Monday we set out to visit one of the Andalucian white hill towns, Arcos de la Frontera. Arcos is about a one hour drive inland from El Puerto de Santa Maria, and was recommended by the Rick Steves guide as a particularly stunning representation of an Andalucian hill village. As we approached the village, I knew that Arcos was not going to disappoint.
Arcos is split into two towns – the “new town” and the “old town” on the hill. Following the advice of the guide, we parked in an underground parking garage in the new town and hiked about 15-20 minutes up the hill to the “old town”. It was a good thing we didn’t try to drive up there, as the ancient cobblestoned streets were just barely wide enough to accommodate our little Volvo.
As we wound our way up through the old town, I was reminded of the first time Michael and I visited Venice and would have to stop and take a photograph of something amazing every five feet or so. Arcos had a similar effect in that it was a photographer’s dream – so many interesting angles and textures and gradations of light. Absolutely stunning.
After a couple of hours of climbing up and down (but mostly up) very steep inclines and taking in a lot of breathtaking views, we were starting to need a little pick me up and so headed back down the hill to the new town for some café con leche. We found a sunny table on a pleasant little square and soaked in the atmosphere for awhile, then got back into the car and enjoyed a scenic drive back to El Puerto where we enjoyed a beautiful sunset from our balcony, and rested up for the next day’s long drive to the Rock of Gibraltar.