Between the mountains and the seas nestled in the hills in sunny Andalucia, Spain is a circuit of picture perfect white washed villages. Far in spirit from the beaten tourist route along the Mediterranean coast, Spanish tradition thrives in these small villages. Leaving the super highway that hugs the coastline, the windy local route gradually led us through the Spanish countryside until we received the first glimpse of a bright white village in the distance.
Casares greeted us with its picturesque and historical backdrop. It is said that Casares is Julius Caesar’s namesake village as while visiting the area Caesar had a skin infection that was cured by local waters.
Plaza de Espana
With fresh mountain water streaming from
the Fountain of Carlos III, built in 1785.
Walking in the footsteps in Julius Caesar made me realize how short our current history is and while mankind continues to walk the earth, these places remain for thousands of years. With only a population of 3,000 the streets of Casares are best suited for foot traffic. Small shops that each offer their specialty of bread, meats, fresh fruit and vegetables make for an adventure in grocery shopping.
As with other Roman ruins, fortresses were established at the highest point of the village. Walking up towards the peak of the town, it was evident the pride the residents had in their quaint white homes, which are frequently decorated with potted plants.
The San Sebastian Church, located nearby the town Plaza de Espana had recently celebrated Easter Sunday. Dating back to the 17th Century, this church holds the statue of the Patroness of Casares “Nuestra Senora del Campo.”
The wafting scent of Seville oranges enchanted us and led us to the top of Casares where the remains of an Arab Fortress and the Church of Incarnation, built in the 16th century.
The day was meant for us to travel from Puerto Banus up through Ronda to Sevilla for our week-long “Trail & Train” holiday at Epona Equestrian Center. So after our brief visit at Casares, we headed north and quickly saw Guacin in the distance.
Larger than Casares, Guacin seemed more suitable for visitors, although driving through the narrow streets we frequently held our breaths while just brushing past buildings, people and parked cars. Quickly arriving to the peak of the village, another ancient fortress greeted us. The Castle of Aguila, translated as “Eagle’s Castle” dates back to the Romans, and in subsequent years the Arabs extended the fortress.
The views overlooking Gaucin from the Castle are spectacular!
Of course, no castle would be not be complete without a proper church to worship in.
When wandering through the streets of these bright white villages, I could only wonder how and when they painted their buildings. All were picture, perfect white as if they had been painted just the day before. The lifestyle and pace of these villages emphasized the essence of life. To slow down and appreciate the people, scents, sounds and scenery around you. Life is too short to be constantly rushing around.
Alas, since we were on a deadline, we had to rush off like crazed Americans. Next stop… Ronda.