Cazorla to Granada (Andalucia, Spain)

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We’re not exactly sure what to expect today. We know we want to drive to Granada but the road is still a mystery. I love days like this where we set off with limited expectations other than to reach a certain destination. They leave a sense that anything is possible. And that it is. I mean … look at this gorgeous road we took through an olive farm.

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And these views of the mountains in the distance.

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After taking the scenic route from Cazorla to Jaen we are stunned to see a huge castle at the top of the hill. Mum had read that there was one there with fantastic views of the city but I don’t think even she was expecting this experience of n actual huge castle so high up in the hills above Jaen.

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Now, don’t get me wrong, entering a castle is serious business. You need to pass inspection from the knights in shining armour first. Apparently I passed and was allowed entry. Either that or the knight wasn’t paying good attention.

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Castillo de Santa Catalina (The Castle of Saint Catalina) was first built in the 8th Century as a Moorish fortress in the time of Islamic Spain. It was later captured and improved on by King Ferdinand III in 1246 after he pushed the Moors out of Spain. There’s a museum inside the castle that is well worth a visit. But the real beauty of this place are the views.

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They are incredible. This photo here shows a huge white cross that stands in memorium of soldiers killed in a war (I can’t read enough Spanish to know any more than this).

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After leaving the castle we drove to a small olive oil factory and took a look around. It’s not olive season here so the factory was running but not producing anything. It looked like they were cleaning. The Jaen region of Spain produces 50 per cent of all Andalucia’s olive oil, 30 per cent of all Spain’s olive oil and 10 per cent of the olive oil in the world. That’s some impressive statistics.

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We stop along the way to buy some supplies from a supermarket. We’ve been eating simple meals of bread, ham, cheese, vegetables, pasta, yoghurt and fruit while here; only dining out half a dozen times in the total trip (note: I’m writing this about a week after the events of the day). Supermarkets are always interesting and tell a lot about the culture and diets of the locals. Here, ham is clearly an important food and buying ham on the bone means something very different to what it does at home. These ham legs even still have the hoofs attached to show that they are real.

We arrive in Granada just on dusk and check into our hotel. We take a walk around the city and buy some dinner. I go for a huge plate of broadbeans with ham and egg. It’s absolutely delicious in its simplicity. Tomorrow we will explore Granada properly; we think it will be an interesting place.

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