If you're searching for sunshine this summer, look no further than Ronda in southern Spain. With an average of 11 hours of sunshine a day during June, 12 hours a day during July, and a predicted rainfall of only 9 mm over both of those months, plenty of sunshine is pretty much guaranteed.
As it's Valentine's Day, we thought we'd write about our old rescue horse, Oberon, and his contentment with the new ladies in his life! If you've been reading our blog you'll know that we've had a rescued white male horse on the property for over a year now. He had been abandoned in the forest across the gorge from us and we were worried about him all alone over there, so we found out his history and brought him across the stream to La Cazalla.
As it's the time of year for our feathered friends to build their nests around the property again, and the proliferation of species at La Cazalla is bountiful, we feel the estate is the perfect base for birding. Its secluded valley location, with a stream running through it surrounded by forests and cliffs, provides an optimum habit for a variety of birds and animals.
Officially spring doesn't begin until the 20th of March, but it always seems to arrive early here in Andalusia and it's one of the most beautiful times of year. Wild flowers and blossoms burst from their buds and the mountainous countryside is speckled with colour. As we wandered past the Roman alberca last Saturday and spotted these wonderful daffodils and buttercups, we were inspired to tempt more visitors to come and enjoy the spring with us.
What more could you want?! The ancient port city of Jerez in neighbouring province Cádiz is well worth a visit during your stay at La Cazalla de Ronda. Just under 2 hours drive from our luxury villa rental in Ronda, Andalusia is a city famous for its Carthusian horses (considered to be the purest strain of Andalusian), flamenco and, most of all, its sherry wine.
According to UK study 'The Redefinition of Life's Luxuries', 95 per cent of parents believe the key to happiness lies in spending quality family time together. And it's not just among the Brits that this shift in attitude towards 'luxury' is happening: the US Harris Poll 'Enabling the Good Life Report' (April 2017) revealed that 76% of the 1,000 participants surveyed believe that a good life is defined by having meaningful connections with family. So how can we help you out with this at La Cazalla de Ronda?
‘Retreat’ - it is an interesting oddity that the dictionary meaning of the verb ‘to retreat’ is to withdraw from enemy forces, to fall back after a defeat, to run away or to change one’s mind, attitude or plans as a result of criticism or difficulty. Yet the modern connection with the word is entirely more pleasant and positive
Well, another Christmas is behind us, although here in Spain the most important day for giving gifts is yet to come - on 6th January is the Three Kings Day (la Fiesta de los Reyes). The local children will be beside themselves with excitement at dusk on 5th January when the three kings (Melchor, Gazpar and Baltasar) appear simultaneously throughout the entire land and distribute gifts. Here at La Cazalla however, we like to give gifts to our guests all year round!
The crisis in Catalonia… is in Catalonia. Ronda, Andalusia is 1,000 km/650 miles and a world of difference away.
This is not a political post. Nor is it a comment upon what's happening in Barcelona, as we are in no way qualified to appraise Spain's political situation. What we can say is that life here in friendly, peaceful little Ronda in Andalusia is entirely unaffected by what is currently happening in Northern Spain.
What does the word 'luxury' mean in 2017? Do we overuse this word, in the same way that the word 'awesome' is utilised so frequently that now everything is awesome? As we market La Cazalla de Ronda as a 'luxury villa rental', we thought we'd take a look at what makes an item or experience 'luxurious'.
What's the first image that comes to mind when you think of Spain? Blue skies? Beaches? Flamenco? Bullfighting? Paella? If you Google 'Spain' in images, actually the photos are predominantly of fantastic architecture and little white houses cascading down mountainsides. These are the pueblos blancos (white villages) and their strategically-defensive hill-top positions, narrow cobbled streets and brilliantly-white casas reflecting back the bright Andalusian sunshine make for interesting and picturesque places to visit. Here are five of our favourites within a short drive from your base at La Cazalla, our secluded luxury villa rental in Ronda:
Since our June blog with our top ten restaurant recommendations in and around Ronda, we have diligently endured further dining out experiences on behalf of visitors to the town (such a hard life we have here!) and therefore thought we'd share our latest discoveries with you. Without further ado, here are five more restaurants we highly recommend you eat at during your stay in Ronda:
A lovely family that stayed with us recently remarked upon how much they had enjoyed their day trip to Córdoba, so we thought it might be helpful to write a one-day walking guide to this ancient city. Cordoba is such a diverse city, where east truly meets west: the typical Spanish narrow streets, lined with white houses decorated with colourful flower pots, are surrounded by exquisite gems of Islamic architecture, remnants of a time when Muslims, Christians and Jews once lived peacefully side-by-side.
Something that crops up frequently in reviews from our guests is the beautiful location of La Cazalla and the wildlife that can be seen in and around the grounds. With this in mind, this year we asked our resident artist to create a map of the estate, to both help our visitors explore the property to its fullest extent and to demonstrate the flora and fauna they may encounter there.
August is upon us in Andalusia, signifying sultry summer days and cool nights spent in the plazas with friends. The summer sunshine also means the ripening of fruits and nuts, and before we know it, it will be time for the harvest again. At La Cazalla we are lucky enough to be blessed with grapes, figs, blackberries, olives, almonds, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, quince and walnuts, and throughout Andalusia people will be harvesting this produce and more over the coming months.
Andalusians have a reputation for being passionate, and according to award-winning flamenco dancer Sara Baras from Cádiz, passion is "the most important thing in flamenco". You don't have to understand Spanish to be able to appreciate this Andalusian art form. Flamenco shows are generally intimate, close-to-the-stage affairs. As the lights dim and the guitarist plucks the introduction, there's the click of heels and fingers, a swish of skirt, the song begins, and the raw emotion in the singer's voice will make your hairs stand on end.
If you're into adventure sports, like staying active during your holiday, or want to do something exciting with the whole family, there's plenty to do in and around Ronda, Andalucía. We've got mountains and caves, deep gorges, rivers and lakes, and the coast is just over an hour's drive away, so there truly is an outdoor activity for everyone. Here are some fun ideas for things to do, should you feel inclined to stray further than the swimming pool.
Seville: romantic, lively, passionate and historical, and being located along a flat plain on the Guadalquivir River, the city is entirely walkable for a perfect day of exploration. Seville is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia. Its Old Town, with an area of 4 square kilometres (2 sq mi), contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies.
Beer. The world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage and the third-most popular drink overall (after water and tea). The Spaniards' relationship with beer ('cerveza' en español) got off to a rocky start when Charles V arrived from Flanders in 1516 to rule and introduced his favourite tipple to the country. They hated him and his beer. Nowadays, Spain is Europe's fourth-largest producer of beer and in sultry Andalucía they drink it with great enthusiasm, icy cold.