Before getting started with today´s topic, here are some impressions of our drive from Cordoba to Barbate:
Medina Azahara de Cordoba
“Medina Azahara” is located about 8kms outside of Cordoba and is an archeological site showing the remains of a palace city. Around 950 a.d., the royalty living in Cordoba decided they wanted to get out and built this city in the outskirts. There´s a shuttle from the parking and museum area to the excavation. Please look up the opening hours! We arrived later than expected and only had 30 minutes to visit, which is enough to see everything but can get hectic.
Additionally, we didn´t want to miss Ronda, a city famous for its bridge over a gorge. As my mum told me that it´s one of those “cities for lovers”, my first thought was “More like city for getting rid of your lover…”. On another note, it was a very picturesque place with great views and therefore a good day-trip location.
As for the journey itself, that was a real treat! We drove through the mountains, through Marbella and then along the coast, passing Gibraltar and many beautiful beaches along our way.
I just love those days by the sea. We usually have a few beach days before heading home after a family holiday and they are always the perfect end to our trips. Barbate as a city does not have much to offer except restaurants and the beach. The beach get´s quite crowded at certain times, there is no natural shade anywhere and around sunset the mosquitoes get unbearable. I won´t sugarcoat it. On the other hand, we still had a great time. There is a beautiful hike onto a cliff and to a viewpoint. We felt extra motivated that morning, went even further and walked into the next village. At around 10am, the first fellow hikers crossed our path, but we were happy that we had escaped the midday heat. In total, the hike was around 23kms long.
The rest of our time there was spent relaxing at the beach or in our apartment, which also had an amazing view of the sea. Now, I did say that the beach wasn´t paradisiac at first glance. That doesn´t mean that I didn´t enjoy my time there. I did pretty much the same thing every day. It wasn´t special but it was time for myself, time to do nothing but exist, and that is incredibly fulfilling. A typical day would look something like this: I´d wake up around sunrise, get ready, grab a book and a towel, and go down the few metres to the beach. Around that time, only a few elderly people were around, walking and talking to acquaintances. I´d do some yoga, read a bit and just stare at the ocean, listening to the waves and feeling the wind on my face. Not thinking, not planning, not judging, just staring. Then, the sun starts to rise higher into the sky, covering the beach in soft, warm light. Sometimes, if it was already warm enough, I´d jump into the water for a bit. Otherwise, I´d go up into the apartment and have breakfast with my family. Then I´d sit on the balcony, doing some language exercises or again, just sitting and doing nothing. Later in the day, I´d go to the beach again, lay down and soak up the sun. Blinded by the brightness of the sun, I´d just listen to the people around me and all other background “noises”. However, in this moment of complete relaxation, it didn´t feel like noise, it felt like life passing by in slow motion, nearly stopping and giving my time to destress. At some point of lying in the sun, I always get goosebumps. Not because I´m cold, but somehow that´s my body´s way of saying somethng along the lines of “This is awesome, that´s just the kind of relaxation I needed”. I´d go swimming for a bit, do some people-watching, read, sleep, go for something to eat, chill in the apartment, go to the pool, back to the beach, into the water…Then the sun sets. And just like that, another beautiful day was over.