Our 2 week hideaway in Southern Spain
After boiling in Barcelona and melting in Madrid, we needed to get to a cool coast and fast. We found a farmstay in the far South of Spain and drove six hours straight from Madrid to get there in one day.
In the Cadiz Provence of the Andalusian community in Southern Spain, this farmstay, called Manzanete, was situated on a large flat marshland 10 kilometres inland from the coast. The rocky mountain ledge on one edge of the marshland was occupied by a historic town, Vejer de la Frontera all white and sprawling, it sat like the jewel in the crown of the surrounding area.
Our apartment was a semi-attached two storey, two bedroom stone building with a small green patch of grass in the back. Similar to our Tuscan farmstay, this time we had a car and was able to gain access to the mountains, beaches and towns and as such travelled each afternoon, exploring and enjoying the ever changing scenery and lively atmosphere.
Barbate was our closest town and with many supermarkets, restaurants and a large sandy beach, it attracted masses of Spanish tourists.
And if we thought that this coastal position would provide some reprieve from the Spanish heat, we were so mistaken.
To our delight, our hosts had two daughters aged 12 and 10. Our two girls played happily with them everyday and learnt a small amount of Spanish along the way. All four of us felt completely relaxed on the farm and was able to recharge our holiday weary bodies.
After spending way too much money through Italy and France, we ate all but one meal in our little cottage. We loved buying local produce and trying to recreate the Spanish starters and tapas.
We drove to Gibraltar for a hospital visit for our 9 year old who was still recovering from shingles. During the one hour journey we passed paddocks full of cows, horses and wind turbines. The landscape changed from isolated farming paddocks to busy beaches and white wash towns the entire way.
Once close to Gibraltar we could not mistake the prominent limestone rock, the Rock of Gibraltar, sitting just off shore. The drive across the airstrip was a unique experience and both the girls told us they didn’t believe us when we said that was the passage across.
After a late afternoon hospital visit one day, we returned a second day to obtain the doctors report and then drove to the other side of the island and enjoyed a few hours swimming in Catalan Bay.
This beautiful beach on the East side of the rock has the hottest sand we had walked on and was completely packed but we stopped here for the floating play equipment.
Our last few days of this wonderful two week break were spent site seeing in Vejer de la Frontera. During the day it is a complete photographers dream. The white streets are cool in the midday heat and the small eateries leave all their outdoor seating set up waiting for when the tourists return from the beach for alfresco dining in the balmy night air.
On the last night in our farmstay we were treated to a light festival where the street lights in Vejer de la Frontera are turned off and the entire town is lit by candles. It was magical, romantic and exciting all at the same time.
When were we there:
12 July until 26 July
To get a cheap Spanish holiday rental click here
To learn more about Andalucia click here
To learn more about Vejer de la Frontera click here