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If we add all this to a past full of legends and cartoons of those that we like so much, we come to a conclusion: Arcos de la Frontera does not lack “a parsley”!
So we test our spinning classes and the firmness of our buttocks to travel, span by inch, this beautiful white town of Cádiz . It costs up and costs down.
Yes, we are aware that you also have to rest, but you know that in this world … Everything has a price .
The white of its streets … Arcos de la Frontera © Getty Images
Like the girl that everyone looked at and pretended to, Arcos, because of its strategic situation at the top of a hill - called La Peña -, was always in the spotlight of all the civilizations that passed through Cádiz. Phoenicians, Romans, Visigoths … Who would not infatuate her?
But it was the Muslims who, after conquering it in the eighth century, made it a kingdom of Taifa and endowed it with the essence of what it continues to be today. But let's go step by step…
There can be no better awakening in Arcos than one who lives, watching sunrise, from room number 14 of the Parador, the accommodation chosen in our case. When the first rays of sun are already warning of its appearance, it will be a good jersey to cover itself - which at that time is still cool - and go out to the balcony. Held on the void, with nothing under us and the incredible panoramic view of the river valley and the old town of Arcos, we will live the best start of the day that can be expected .
Terrace of the Parador de Arcos de la Frontera © Parador.es
We enjoy the succulent breakfast buffet - what we are going to do - and we take a look at the rooms and patios of the Parador, located in the Old House of the Corregidor, before meeting Luisa, guide of the company Infotour and our cicerone.
Because Arcos is a town that must be understood by going hand in hand with its history . And right in front of our accommodation, it begins to take shape. Let us sit down: we are in the Plaza del Cabildo, and just in front of us stands the Ducal Castle, a former military fortress during Muslim rule, which opens its doors to be visited on a few occasions a year.
As it will be weird that we are so lucky, we just know your past from the outside. Thanks to Luisa we learned that, according to legend, it was due to an oversight of Zoraida “the blackberry queen”, who went down a full moon night to bathe in the river, so that the Christian troops hidden under the rock discovered the secret passages which she used to access the castle. They then assaulted the Muslims by surprise, thus regaining power over Arcos.
Ducal Castle of Arcos de la Frontera © Getty Images
There is another story that tells that, also since that time, there is a dragon that sleeps inside La Peña . The neighbors say that there are days when, in the silence of the night, he is heard growling among the cracks …
Leaving mysteries aside, we look out at the Peña Nueva Balcony, located in the same square, to admire again the incredible views. There is the Guadalete, bordering 200 meters below and bathing the vast landscape.
Without moving from the square - go if it is well taken advantage of! - we approach the immense Minor Basilica of Santa Maria de la Asunción, a church built on the remains of an Arab mosque. In the 18th century it was named “ Parroquia Mayor, Oldest, Insigne and Principal de Arcos”, causing the jealousy of the neighboring Church of San Pedro, more ancient and with which there has always been a competition on the deck of the “well I more” .
View from the Peña Nueva Balcony in Arcos de la Frontera © Getty Images
That one acquires an important relic? The other is done with two. That one has an impressive organ inside? The other finds an even more dazzling one.
And thus they enliven the religious history of the people by giving us what to write in this article . Anyway, both deserve a visit for what each one means to Arcos, that is undoubted.
Church of Santa María de la Asunción in Arcos de la Frontera © Getty Images
We cross the cobbled streets of the historic town of Arcense, declared a Historic-Artistic Monument . We venture on tiptoe in some of the interior courtyards of the stately homes. The neighbors strive to decorate them with flowers and pots of all sizes and colors, making the town a more beautiful place if possible. And that is precisely the essence of Arcos de la Frontera : his careful care for simple things.
When walking through the town its doors and windows attract attention. Luisa lets us know: the size of the first, huge in reference to that of a person, is because many years ago the streets were approximately one meter higher . The slopes were then much steeper, so they resorted to “file them” as a method to make life easier for the Arcenses, who today need several steps to access the interior.
Its white walls, mottled with flower pots, are the hallmark of Arcos de la Frontera © Getty Images
In the windows, another peculiarity: its earmuffs . What is it about? Well, a wide separation between fence and wall . A hole wide enough to practice the art of gossiping among neighbors without being seen. But there was another quite frequent use that we like even more: the one given by couples in love who "peeled the turkey" through it and, when no one saw them, they took the opportunity to drop the odd kiss.
It won't hurt a technical stop at La Cárcel, a popular Dean Espinosa street bar where you can peck some Payoyo cheese and some croquettes . Before continuing, we cross the street to another classic: the Young Flamenco Tavern . A cover of mojama - it is necessary to remember that we are in Cádiz and that the coast is not so far away - and a salmorejo will be enough to leave us satisfied.
Whitewashed white architecture and windows with their earmuffs in Arcos de la Frontera © Getty Images
With the satiated appetite, more walks: through the Plaza Boticas, through the Convent of the Mercedarias, the San Juan de Dios Hospital or the Mayorazgo Palace . And so, without waiting for it, we come across the Mirador de Abades and its views of the Arcos Reservoir, one of those places that do not take the fame they deserve but fall in love with.
Having seen the center of Arcos, we set course for another jewel. In the Km4 of the regional road 6105, in an idyllic setting chaired by a beautiful French château, are the wineries of Huerta de Albalá, the home of the two red wines - something unusual in Cádiz, land of white grape - most popular The whole province: Barbazul and Taberner .
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It is essential to take a guided tour through its entrails, discovering its 75 hectares of vineyards and then visit the wineries. The smells, the French oak barrels, the love they put into every detail … All this becomes the special flavor of their wines that, of course, must be tasted .
And, to finish off the day, play stop at the Arcos Reservoir . There you will have to choose between enjoying the surroundings by practicing one of the activities proposed by Arcos Active Tourism - from canoes or cycling to windsurfing - or sit down to rest on the terrace of El Sombrero de Tres Picos, a charming restaurant overlooking the reservoir where, with a glass of Barbazul on the table, we will witness the sunset that this trip deserved, without a doubt.
Getting lost in the streets of Arcos de la Frontera is simply beautiful © iStock