Mijas, Spain

Now this was a great shore excursion.  We docked in the big city of Malaga which is on the Costa del Sol.  The drive to the high up village of Mijas took about 40 minutes.  Every single house is white and there’s a requirement that all houses must be painted each year to remain fresh looking.  Our tour guide was very relaxed and took us on a walk to show us the main sites and then left us on our own until it was time to meet the bus.  Our group was the very first one to arrive in the morning, early enough that no shops were open yet.  It was great because we had the whole town to ourselves for about an hour.
DSC_1291
DSC_1273
DSC_1299
The local bullring.  Every tour guide said that bullfighting has become more controversial in the last few years.  The province of Cataluña sp? (where Barcelona is) plans to stop bullfighting next year.  The Canary Islands doesn’t allow it either.
Courtyard of Mijas Museum
This courtyard was in the town’s museum. 
DSC_1319
A 20 minute tour by donkey cost 10 EU.
DSC_1313

Seville, Spain

Todays tour going from the port in Cadiz to Seville was a 1.75 hour drive each way.  There were 50+ people in our group and Seville was packed with more tour groups and so many tourists that we felt like sardines most of the time.  It was a miracle we didn’t get lost from our guide because he was practically running a marathon.  Most every picture I took was from a walking mode. There was another trip option that we now wished we had gone on that would have dropped us off and we would have been on our own until time to get on the bus again The central core of Seville is small and it would have been easy to walk to many attractions.  As it was, we spent most of the tour in the cathedral below.  This cathedral is supposedly the 3rd largest in Christendom.  It took over a hundred years to build between 1401 and 1507. 
DSC_1131
And if you didn’t know it before, Christopher Columbus is entombed inside the cathedral.  Evidently his body was moved 5 times for various reasons so all the previous locations also claim to have his body.  But DNA proved that Seville has the real McCoy, even though there’s only 150 grams remaining of  his body.
DSC_1173
DSC_1170
The Royal Palace (Reales Alcazares), built by Moors in the 1300’s  is a beautiful structure with it’s  intricate designs, courtyards, mosaic tile work, fountains, terraces, and arched patios.  I liked this building better than the cathedral.
DSC_1187
DSC_1188
We did not get to see the gardens other than to walk/run through on the sidewalk to get to the street and the bus. 
DSC_1200
Then the bus took us to the entrance of Plaza de Espana.  The tour guide stayed on the bus and told everyone they had 5 minutes to dash into the Plaza and take some pictures. 
Seville is a difficult city to drive and park in and we thought that by doing this tour we wouldn’t need to come with the motor home.  But our appetite was only teased.
We’ve been told and read over and over that Europeans have very small motor homes and that our 24 footer is almost too big.  On the drive from Cadiz to Seville we saw our first RV.  It was a Class A, about 30-32 feet and pulling a car.

Tenerife, Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are part of Spain yet they are about 850 miles away whereas it is only 180 miles to Africa. Even though Tenerife is the largest of the islands, the distance from the northern to southern most towns is about 80 miles. Our tour guide said the cost of living is less in Tenerife than in Spain because it is a duty free zone and they don’t have the 20% VAT tax.
Our tour departed from the dock in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and took us to several places in the northern part of the island. In just that small area the temperature kept changing constantly. On and off went everyone’s jackets and sweaters regularly. At one point we drove through a tropical forest and all the windows of the bus fogged up. It only rains about 20 days in the year but the elevation of the tropical forest is so high that it is in the clouds much of the time. The guide said the southern part of the island is warm and sunny even in the winter and that is where the resorts are.
The bus (called Wa-Wa in Tenerife) took us up 4000 feet in elevation on such a narrow, curvy road that often times when a car came from the opposite direction, someone had to back up in order to get past.
DSC_1062
There were no flat areas anywhere. The mountains are all straight up and very jagged. In fact, the highest mountain in Spain, Mt. Teide at 12,198 feet is on Tenerife. First we drove to a beach and got out and walked around a bit. Then we drove over the mountains to the village of Taganana on the opposite coast from Santa Cruz.

 

 

DSC_1061

There, we went into a restaurant and had some local wine, cheese, bread, and olives.





 

 

DSC_1075
We walked around in the village and also went into an old church.





 

 

 

DSC_1079
With it’s sugar-cube houses on the green slopes, Taganana is very remote and one of Tenerife’s oldest villages.




 

 

 

DSC_1080
Mostly potatoes are grown on the terraced plots.





 

 

 

DSC_1087
We stopped at another beach that was very rocky and wild looking. This was a walkout along a rock.




 

 

 

La Laguna, Tenerife
Next, we drove to La Laguna, a city that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was the ancient capitol of Tenerife. All the houses are painted in vibrant colors and the city is very clean.

 



DSC_1101

Approaching the outskirts of La Laguna, you can see how colorful it is.

Our guide took us to a nice hotel on the town square where we could buy a cup of coffee that Tenerife is famous for. I can’t remember the name, but it consisted of espresso with a liqueur, condensed milk and lemon. Delicious!


Duck's house in La Laguna

This is a house for the local ducks.





 

 

 

Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Driving back to the ship in Santa Cruz.





 

 

 

Santa Cruz de Tenerife
View from the port looking towards the city. See the thick clouds over the mountains? Those are the Anaga mountains that we crossed. crossed.