Where do I begin? Having done this trip four or five times it has to be when, having left Malaga airport, you turn off onto the A 372 and can see the Grazalema signpost. Over the past decade, I have been returning to this area, each time whilst on the coach I find myself eager to share my experiences.
A couple of miles before arriving at our village which is hanging onto the side of the valley, I see the cork oaks, and as the coach winds its way through the hills I can see glimpses of Grazalema.
What brings me back?
Where do I start?
It is the walks, but also the wildlife and the names of the villages in the surrounding valleys; Benamahoma, Zahara de la Sierra, El Bosque, Montejaque, Benaocaz, Ubrique and Algondonales. I know there are other walking area’s and countries to visit [Corsica was a good Ramblers holiday], but I keep coming back to Grazalema.
During my last stay earlier this year at the Puerto de la Villa Hotel, our group had a very friendly welcome from the staff. I was looking forward to the fixed menu, what do other walkers think? I prefer this to a la carte. I have always enjoyed the surprise, and being informed the evening before which local Spanish dishes are on offer. I have stayed at three Ramblers Holidays hotels and they have, I find, improved each time, they offered authentic seasonal food. I love seeing Iberian black pork and that often served Spanish version of crème caramel. I also look forward to the evening ritual, in which we all gather to discuss the days walk, the menu for the following night, and the next day’s walk, this erupts into some pleasant banter, a good opening for the evening ahead.
Really, it’s all about the walks, and again for me it’s those wonderful names, Salto de Cabrero [goatherds leap] and Simancon. Been there done that, but this last time when I went up with Ursula [leading this May], it was clear at the summit, there were fantastic views. It is a manageable scramble. For me though the highlight of my last visit was when our leader Wendy Smith managed to get permission to go into the restricted reserve that contains the rare and beautiful Pinsapo pine trees. What was also fascinating was the sight of the Processional caterpillars up in the trees.
However, I was in my element when I came across some Scilla Peruviana, a squill that is related to the lily family. As we walked along the tracks between Grazalema and Zahara de la Sierra, I found myself constantly looking down, having previously seen these large low growing flowers, this time I caused a small wave of botanical excitement amongst our group.
Well that’s all I have to say now about the village, its surroundings, and wonderfully varied walks. There is a walk to suit every taste, whether it’s to look for Booted eagles, Choughs, Griffin vultures, or the flowers and vista’s. Grazalema as a walking base is well worth a visit.
Will I be back?
Yes perhaps in May, or September, but I will be going with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays to La Palma first in March.
Thank you for listening, was i rambling on a bit? Oops sorry for the pun.