Thursday, August 25, 2011

Arcos de la Frontera Day Trip

Right now we are diligently working to unpack our household goods (that were delivered yesterday - hooray!).  Ok, actually we just took a siesta and will be heading out to dinner with friends in a little bit.  Hey, we're easily distracted by food and cocktails immersing ourselves in Spanish culture.

Anyway, before we head out for dinner and tinto, we figured we would post some pictures from a day trip we took several weekends ago to Arcos de la Frontera.  Arcos is a quick drive from Puerto and is a typical "pueblo blanco."  It normally takes about 45 minutes to get there, but we made an impromptu stop which we will blog about luego.  So, after our Garmin-navigated country drive, we arrived in Arcos.

We parked the car and walked up the street lined with orange trees
towards the center of the old town.
pueblo blanco = white town
Thank you beginner Spanish.
We mean "gracias."
The white walls.
How the walls stay blanco.

Meghann used her best Spanish to ask a woman to take our picture.
Turns out she was a German tourist, but was still willing to oblige.

Graham checking out the countryside abajo.

The view from the top of the pueblo.
Arcos is home to the Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Asuncion,
a gothic church built between the 16th and 18th centuries.

The bell tower of the Iglesia de Santa Maria.

The bell tower overlooks the Plaza de Espana, which is the town square.

Orange trees also surround the town square.
No one seems to pick the oranges.  Graham swears it's because of some
archaic Spanish law prohibiting picking the king's fruit.  Meghann has heard
it's because they taste like crap.

Instead of chancing eating forbidden fruit
(or disgusting fruit, depending on who you believe),
we decided a cafe was a wiser choice for lunch.
Our lunch started out with two Spanish staples.
Aceituna (olives) and sparkling mineral water.
Shade and olives, life is good.
Next we had salmorejo - gazpacho's hearty and delicious cousin.
And a typical Spanish tortilla.
Not to be confused with its Mexican counterpart, this is a potato omelette.
After filling up on Spanish food, we were ready to explore some of the local art galleries.
The upstairs of the gallery featured etchings, paintings,
bronze sculptures, and handmade rugs.

The downstairs was filled with ceramics and tilework,
including this set that illustrates the stages of a bullfight.

Another gallery tucked back in a narrow alley.
Its entrance sign depicts the many artisanal crafts of the region:
weaving, pottery, woodwork, esparto (grass weaving),
carving, painting, glassblowing, leather work, and metal work.
Azulejos are ceramic tiles commonly found in southern Spain.
They can be used to depict religious scenes, street signs, or decorative designs.
"Street of the Scribes"

The Iglesia de San Pedro is an early 16th century gothic church.

The buttresses for the iglesia leave (barely) enough room
to accommodate tiny Spanish streets and coches.
Some other shots from around Arcos, because Meghann loves to drive Graham crazy by taking a million pictures:

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