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Monday Morning Photo - Wisteria Time in Andalucia

How quickly spring comes around after the short winter here in the Sierra Sur de Jaén. After lots of very much needed rain we´re back to the normal cloudless blue.  My garden is shooting incredbily with the moisture and now sunshine. And my beautiful wisteria flowers grandly albeit it short-lived. The big black carpenter bees love it. Each flowering season reminds me of the Botanical Gardens in Malaga and the ´tunnel´ of wisteria that I haven´t yet caught in bloom. April is a good time to plan to go if it´s on your list.  Here´s the botanical garden link La Concepción Botanical Gardens. And a sneaky peak at the wisteria. See the Monday Morning Photos list.

Hotel Los Castaños in Cartajma an Unspoilt White Village

Leaving the hustle and bustle of the lovely town of Ronda behind we felt ourselves slow down, breathing in the mountain air and relaxing. Slowing down because of the narrowing, winding roads. Breathing in the crisp, clean mountain air with the car windows open. The hugeness of the mountain range - Serrania de Ronda unfolded in all directions until we were immersed within 360 degrees of wild and unspoilt views, with the odd cluster of houses forming small, white villages as smudged dots on the landscape.

Then we found our destination - Cartajama, one of the 'pueblos blancos' in the Alto Genal Valley, and the lovely, little Hotel Los Castaños. We'd been advised to phone on reaching Cartajma but decided on a nosey-mosey around the charming streets with balcony and views to rival Ronda itself. Finding parking we grabbed our bag and arrived at a gorgeous old wooden door (I guess you know by now I love wooden doors) surrounded by plants.

With a warm welcome from resident owner Di we were shown around the lovely, cosy Hotel and I was instantly itching to take photos, whereas hubby was happy to siesta-test the bed. Peace reigned both outside and in. In the mid-afternoon I sat on the lovely roof terrace (between leaping up and taking photos) and heard nothing - not a thing. No cars or motorbikes, dogs or (loud, as they ususally are) Spanish voices.

Once I'd had a photo session, written a bit and thought hubby had had quite long enough as a bed-tester I made my presence known in our beautifully decorated, mountain-view bedroom and put the kettle on for him. The click didn't bring him round (my only grumble - a whistling kettle to wake husbands needed!)

We then set out to explore the next sugar-cube white village visible from our quaint terrace, Parauta. Another set of time-warped houses and village streets and again it was like a ghost town, nobody around. Charm oozes here and it's the first time I've ever photographed a rubbish bin - charming isn't it? And it's locked? Just in case you fancy pinching the rubbish?

Returning to  Los Castaños, after a welcome, roomy and solar-heated shower and more than ready for refreshment we went down to the large lounge, honesty bar, comfy sofas and a host of games (including some lovely wooden ones) and books. After a beer and losing four, stylish-wooden  games of Connect Four  we were joined by some other couples and led through to the open-plan restaurant with French doors and a plant-filled Moorish patio to rival the best of the Cordoba competition ones.

Dinner, cooked by Di, was very good indeed, a great wine list (or gin list if that's your tipple) leisurely served. Everything really was tiptop and beautifully cooked. What more can I say - Hotel Los Castaños is a treat. Welcoming, homely, well-decorated, eco-friendly, gorgeous surroundings, comfortable rooms, and great food. And then there was the breakfast spread....

Hotel Los Castaños - A lovely hotel, smart, small and personal.

Visit the Hotel Los Castaños website or see it on OnlySpain ~ Boutique Hotels.

See the Monday Morning Photos

 - Cave Paintings in Malaga that we visited while at Los Castaños

-  Cartajima, Serrania de Ronda

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