We are going to the middle of nowhere……..off the beaten track is an understatement….it is not a happenstance between location A to B…….you have to want to go here……….yes, frontier describes it nicely! This morning we discovered the “White Village” of Medina-Sidonia and this is the view from the village as we get ready to go out further into the frontier of Spain….I never in a million years would have thought Spain looked like this……..
and this photo was taken from the bus…..and through the tinted window, as we approach Arcos de la Frontera, another “White Village”! Oh yeah, and one way in and one way out.
We enter the village through a modern, fancy, narrow gate, which is actually a round-about too narrow for the bus to properly turn in. We quickly scramble from the bus, since the driver is stressed from the small roadway and the honks from the people in the backed up cars in the queue. The only parking lot is at the bottom of the steep limestone cliffs and we will get to see that on the way out, because the bus driver refuses to come around the round-about again.
The villagers get from the newer part of the village to the historical top of the village, via this little train, so we did likewise!
The main road to the top is very narrow and pedestrian-only, as it winds it’s way up and up along the cobbled street.
Along the way are small tables filled with vegetables for sale……..saves you from walking all the way to the bottom to pick up a few things……..
And small neighborhood tapas bars look inviting too……………
When we get to the top of the hill we see the first big church. As with many small towns there is a rivalry. It is among these two churches….. San Pedro and the Basilica Menor de Santa Maria. These are just two of the many churches in this village of 22,000 people, but the rivalry started when the Pope declared the Church of Santa Maria a Basilica because of it’s historical beauty and it’s Flemish tapestries. The parishioners of San Pedro protested and crusaders brought the incorrupt bodies, or relics as they are called by the church, of Saint Victor and Saint Fructuoso (3rd century) from the Roman catacombs of Saint Calixto, to be placed in San Pedro. They are both lovely churches, but on this day only San Pedro was open.
Here is the relic of Saint Victor……….
and here is Saint Fructuoso……….
The Basilica Menor de Santa Maria de la Asunción was erected after the Reconquista on a Visigothic temple and the remains of a 13th and 14th century mosque. Very impressive!
We’ll leave for now with this photo of San Pedro Church………taken from the Parador Hotel…… more from there tomorrow!