Our first stop on our road trip was the village of Cazorla. It is not only the most popular gateway to the Sierra de Cazorla Natural Park but also one of the most scenic villages in Andalusia. This was our first sight of it.
We stayed here as we wanted to explore the Natural Park which is a huge protected area and full of old castles, river gorges and lovely views. Our kind of place. Not to mention that the Guadalquivir, which runs through Sevilla and also the second longest river in Spain, originates here.
The history of the town goes back long way. It has been an important strategic point for the Romans, for the Moors and after the Reconquista for the Christian Spanish, too. Today it depends largely on tourism and thanks to this it’s full of hotels and nice restaurants. It is also famous for its olive oil and from its streets there are great views over the sea of olive trees that surround it.
For Christmas we got a great book from Paul’s mum called ‘Walks in Andalucia’. It is famous for being the first book in English that gave a comprehensive guide to walkers and I had seen it mentioned before on many hiking sites. The author is Guy Hunter Watts who since then has become our constant companion. We got to Cazorla in the afternoon and still had time to squeeze in a short walk around the village.
This was our first walk of many under the instruction of Guy. The hike was lovely, it took us up on one side of the mountain to the San Sebastian Hermitage then back on the side of the other mountain. We had some great views of Cazorla.
For dinner we tried a little tapas place suggested on Tripadvisor. We wanted to eat some meat and chose the ‘combinado Cazorleño’, four little squares of meat: beef in tomato sauce, pork with pepper, pork cheek and deer. Oh. My. Goodness. The most delicious, most tender, juiciest meat we have ever eaten. Since then our favourite dish is pork cheeks but nowhere has it tasted as good as here. Recommended!
It already looked like we chose a great place to do some hiking around it. Cazorla even looked nice at night with its castle lit up.