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Report 2007: Rambling through Southern Andalucia

By kathyk from Michigan, Spring 2012

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Page 4 of 11: In Arcos de la Frontera

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On the edge of Arcos

After a little confusion, we found the public parking garage in lower Arcos, before the old town. People on SlowTrav (ST) advised not to drive and park in the old town, and this was pressed home by our taxi ride from the parking garage to our hotel. The taxi drive had to fold in his mirrors and let us off a little before our hotel because he said the street was so narrow that we would not be able to open the taxi doors in front of our hotel to get out. I earlier evaluated our two night hotel stay in ST hotel review section (link in Resources section).

Our luck was to be in Arcos during some fiesta, I do not remember which santo but we were able to join in on the tapas extravaganza. Tourism, handed us a map with the participating bars, the specificity tapa of the bar and one drink for 2 each. We sampled the majority of them. On the cultural side, we were also able to go inside all the churches, cathedral and a convent chapel (that is never open to the public) all free.

It was just before Holy Week but we got to see men carrying empty pasos through the streets, getting in shape for the real thing. Even with far less weight the practice looked difficult.

We of course had a drink on the balcony of the Parador and took in the vista on the balcony of the main plaza and witnessed an incident. A group of young students from France was there for a tour. One of the boys decided to climb over and hang on the outside of the fence. It is a straight, long drop down. A guardia on duty quickly commanded the boy back to the safe side. Then started a very Spanish drama. The guard continued to verbally ream out the boy, and all French people while he was at it. The teenager sat with his fellow French side-kicks. The guard "invited" the other Spanish adults who happened to be there to voice their opinions - which of course they did. What I found most curious is that the boys sat there and sort of took it. I think American boys would have sassed back, or given the man the finger as they retreated, though not too quickly as to show the man that they were leaving of their own accord. The French teachers/chaperones were nowhere to be seen.

Arcos is much recommended as a destination. It is a city with a great view and many old things to see. But I found it to be a little over touristed - yes, I was part of it. I say this in comparison to the next town we stayed in.

We did walk many streets and one of the best views for me was looking out over the roof tops and seeing all the dovecots, hanging laundry and cats sunning themselves.

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