Mezquita in Cordoba

In January we decided to take a road trip to Jaen province to visit two of the most historic cities in Andalusia, Ubeda and Baeza, both declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO in 2003. The drive from Sedella took us just over three hours; there are a couple of other routes but the quickest is on the motorway A-44 via Granada. It's a great drive through the mountains and lakes and you will even have a glimpse of the Sierra Nevada!

We stayed right next door to the cathedral at the 4 star Hotel Puerta de la Luna in Baeza, formally an old palace which was beautiful and very central to the city. We were even upgraded to a suite, as it was off-season! There was an open fire in the hotel lounge for cosy winter evenings, which we found extremely welcome, as the change in temperature was noticeable compared to the sunny warm days we enjoy during the winter living in the South! There is a pretty outdoor area with a pool and alfresco dining for the summer months with a great view of the cathedral bell tower.

Read more: DISCOVERING THE DELIGHTS OF JAEN PROVINCE

Weekly market with fruits and vegetables in a white village of Andalusia© Jan B van der Marel

A lot of villages and towns in the Axarquia have weekly markets on a fixed day where bargain hunters can buy the most delicious locally grown fresh fruit & vegetables. At the colorful and lively street market each vendor has a fixed spot. Some villages also have regular flea markets which are usually held in the summer months during the fiestas. We usually go to Caleta de Velez on Saturdays and Torre del Mar on Thursdays. Sometimes we also explore the flea market held in Algarrobo on Saturday or Nerja every Sunday (so called Rastro in Spanish).

Most of the market stalls offer a variety of fresh products including vegetables, fruits, nuts, olives, herbs & spices, flowers & plants, etc. Furthermore you will find craft stalls selling jewelry, pottery, ceramics and many other creative products. Other products you will find are clothes from all over the world, watches, handbags, shoes, luggage, sunglasses, kitchen items, CDs, linens & towels and seasonal products such as blankets and swimwear.

Read more: Weekly markets are a nice Andalusian event for bargain lovers

Mezquita in Cordoba

Three years ago we were last in Andalusia at the invitation of our old neighbors from Huizen in Holland, so it was about time for a new visit!

This year we decided to go on a round trip to see more of beautiful Andalusia. The kids looked after each other and our 2 dogs at home in the Netherlands, so we could leave together safely. We flew to Málaga and were again able to enjoy the hospitality of Jan and Marita in their beautiful casa near Canillas de Aceituno. Two wonderful, pleasant and relaxing days we talked, walked in the campo, swam, lazed and enjoyed the Spanish cuisine, including Chivo (goat), the local specialty in restaurant La Sociedad, in Canillas de Aceituno and green curry with shrimps on the beach in Torre del Mar, my favorite resort.

On Saturday morning we said goodbye and left for Seville, where we arrived in the afternoon after a beautiful journey through vast fields of olive trees, sunflowers and here and there of course the Osborne bull. On the way we drove into a village for a nice cup of coffee in a real Spanish bar with super friendly people who didn't speak a word of English (and we spoke little Spanish). However, that is never a problem here, the people are so nice and helpful, you can also get along well with sign language !

Read more: Our surprising round trip through Andalusia

Second-Home-Andalusia Malaga blog Jan-2015-

Every so often we love to spend some time in Málaga which is around 1 hours drive from where we live in the mountain village of Sedella. Málaga can often be overlooked by it's more celebrated neighbors Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada but in our opinion it has an equal amount to offer and is our favorite city to immerse ourselves in the history, culture and thriving bar and restaurant scene. There are a great selection of hotels in the city including The Petit Palace, The Larios and a new hotel called Casa Miraflores where we stayed recently. Situated in the Casco Antiguo (historic centre) it is an old town house which has been totally renovated to a very high standard. The rooms are located around a central Andalusian Patio and there is a comfortable lounge area on the top floor. Breakfast is included in the price.

This was a great base for us food lovers. As soon as we stepped out of the hotel onto the street we were surrounded by tapas bars, restaurants and bars where you can eat Málaga's famous pescaito frito (fried fish)! 

Read more: A must do in Andalusia: Visit the city of Málaga!

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