Gordon & Joann Pitz…guest bloggers for our Culture Clue

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mapping out European culture with Untours
Joann & Gordon Pitz, our Untourists of the Week, have written wonderful travelogs of their Spanish Untours.  Here’s just a short excerpt of their observations and experiences in our “honey of a town” Priego de Cordoba.  Many Spanish Untourists find a week here, and a week in Barcelona to be the perfect city-country pairing.  We are amazed as well, at the knowledge and careful observation that Pitz’s bring to their journeys. 

Following our week in Barcelona (see that narrative), we took a high speed train journey through central Spain to arrive in Sevilla. The train trip was a joy – the US needs high speed trains like these!

Sevilla, along with Córdoba, and Granada, are the three major cities of Andalucia. Ten years ago we visited Sevilla for several days, and took a side trip to Córdoba (see that earlier narrative). This time we stayed in a smaller town, Priego de Córdoba, situated half way between Córdoba and Granada, with Granada high on our agenda.

Priego is a typical town of the kind found throughout Andalucia. It a prosperous farming town, surrounded by olive orchards. Untours had fixed us up with a flat in the old part of the city, where we enjoyed a spacious living room and several other rooms. From the living room on the (European) second floor, the gave on the roof tops of the adjacent buildings. We also had use of a pleasant patio behind the building.

The old part of Priego is a labyrinth of narrow alleys where the owners of many houses hang geraniums on walls to create a cheerful atmosphere. Every now and then an alley branches onto an elegant courtyard. Some of the alleys are so narrow one can easily touch both sides. The area is, of course, free from cars and trucks, but that does not mean it is quiet – there is always room for motorcycles.

Priego is set on top of a high cliff (the Adarve) which in moorish times was critical to the defense of the city. A walkway, the Balcon del Adarve, runs the length of the cliff, offering views over the nearby countryside. The railing and are interrupted every so often by water troughs that provide a continuous supply of spring-fed water. At one end of the Balcon is a memorial to a young boy.

Although not large, Priego has everything a tourist might need. There were two restaurants that we enjoyed a lot. We stopped every day at La Noria, to eat tapas and enjoy a glass of wine or jarillo of caña (draught beer). We also enjoyed the antics of the resident cat that seemed to thrive on scraps.

More upscale was La Balcon Del Adarve, where we dined on treats such as paté of pheasant or other tasty dishes.

Each of these restaurants was located on a small plaza. The plaza next to La Noria featured a dramatic statue surrounded by orange trees that dropped their fruit for autos and pedestrians to turn into orange juice. It also offered a handy area for local boys to play football.

The plaza beside La Balcon also provided ample space for children to play. The statues were rather less religious in spirit, and more heroic (though note the pansies), or commemorative – a memorial to the region’s artistic heritage.

In addition to the several spring-fed water troughs, Priego boasted a magnificent fountain, the Fuente del Rey, with 180 water jets and three separate levels, the central level containing a fine statue of Neptune.

Sculpture of NeptuneRead more about Priego architecture by clicking on the pictureThe beautiful view of the town's balcony mentioned in the text. Examples of the Moorish Architecture seen in Priego

See lots more intelligent commentary on Priego de Cordoba at the Pitz’s page here.  Thanks to Gordon and Joann for having such a wonderful trip and then being so talented at the writing and photography of it.

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