Once in a while, while the proverbial cat’s away, we, the pets, like to come out to play. And that’s what we have done here. We have taken over the blog - just for now - to have some fun while our family is away having their own on vacation. By way of background, we are a happy and settled menagerie of three - two cats and a dog - living in the foothills just outside of the historic town of Ronda. For those of you who don’t know the area, it is located in Spain’s southern region of Andalusia offering visitors majestic mountain views and, just over an hour south of us by car, a sunny and inviting coastline. Most of the time it’s really busy here as we have to share our home with two adults and their two boys, and often it gets even busier with multiple guests enjoying their vacation rentals while staying either on the top floor of our main house or in the adjacent cottage by the pool. Occasionally, we get just a little more tranquility. That happened recently when they all went away for three weeks at the end of winter and left us with The Roaming Sitters. While those two gave us lots of attention, there were times when they would sneak off for a few hours here or there to sample some of the local sights and fare. They would then return boasting of beautiful places they had visited and food, beers, and wine they had consumed. It made us just a little jealous. Why couldn’t we sample some local fare for ourselves? So we decided to get online and see what we could find. Check out our profiles, and let us know what you think and whether you want to pay us a visit someday soon.
Hello, my name is Kismet. My ancestry is German, or so I am told, but I see myself as all Spanish. Alas, a lady does not reveal her age so let’s just say that I look great for mine - as you can see from my picture on here - and I am young at heart. I can be very shy when I first meet people but once I get to know you and feel comfortable being around you I will most likely become very affectionate. I like to go on long walks come rain or shine. Each day I love to charge up, along and down the hills that surround my home. I do have a habit of walking on ahead as I get bored and sometimes excited at the various distractions, but I never venture too far unless sheep are involved. I particularly like stopping at my favorite watering hole on the final stretch home, the Hotel Molino del Puente. It’s an old mill house converted into a really nice hotel, and the British owners are warm and welcoming. I have been told that the food is great and that the place is worth visiting even if you go there just to eat and don’t need a place to crash (because remember, you can perhaps come back to mine). I normally just enjoy a drink there before heading back, and then often have a quick dip in the stream close to home to freshen up. Once back I can just relax and enjoy sneaking onto the sofa while you are not looking waiting for you. I am very easy going overall and am sure you will like getting to know me, spending time with me, and, when I lie on my back legs in the air, rubbing my tummy and whispering sweet things in my ears.
Hi there, Dorito here. I am the new boy in town. I have a very friendly personality that I hope you will instantly to warm to. I am young, good looking, youthfully cheeky, at times mischievous and, so I was told by The Roaming Sitters, just a tad irresistible. If, because of my boundless energy, I ever get a little exhausting when you just want to relax, forgive me as the remainder of the time I will shower you with loving attention and charm. I adore being touched all over and even tickled in all the right places. I also like playing games including hide and seek - either with myself or various objects you might leave lying around. While this could drive you mad at times, remember it’s just a game and that when you look in my eyes as I snuggle up to you, you’ll not be able to resist loving me even more. Unlike my housemate Kismet, I do not venture too far from home. I am more interested in tearing around the pool or sunbathing on the roof, though very occasionally I get stuck up there and will need rescuing by you. As I still enjoy a youthfully fast metabolism, I love mealtimes, but that comes with risks. My insatiable enthusiasm while food is being prepared has left me vulnerable to being injured. One of these days I will get stepped on or kicked accidentally and it will hurt. Luckily it’s never happened in a serious manner, but I should really learn to be a little calmer at dinner time. Come night though, I will just want to cuddle up next to you, or, better still, lie on top of you. Then, when the sun rises in the morning, I will make sure I wake you up so we can play some more.
I’m Lilly, but some call me Other. When you first meet me you might accuse me of coming across as a little disgruntled, but you would be wrong. I am really just content within myself and with life in general which has been good to me. I accept that the energetic redhead just trying to entice you showed up not that long ago and that now there’s a younger model in town stealing people’s attention. That fine, though, as I am at a stage in life where I like a calm existence even if it risks showing me as a bit of a loner these days. Don’t get me wrong, I am friendly, but while the kids play outside in the sun, I am happy to come in and take a nap on my chair. Being somewhat more mature now, I don’t like being touched quite as much as the young ones do, but I will be both happy and grateful for the attention you give me. After supper, I tend to go for a stroll and then settle in for the night. The nice family I live with, perhaps anticipating that one day I would settle down a bit more, built me a lovely cottage in the grounds. They provide holiday lets there but keep the attic of the perhaps aptly named Casa Abuela (Grandma’s House) available for me. It's really cozy in winter as the boiler is up there and keeps me nice and snug at night, though perhaps you would like to take its place while you’re in town.
So that’s what we have to offer you, our prospective suitors. As we don’t travel away from home, you will have to come visit us at Finca Retama. It’s really beautiful around here as you can see from the pictures, and each of us will make you very welcome in our own way. You can just lounge by the pool, eating, drinking and enjoying our collective company. When tired of that, you can venture out on great walks past olive groves, farms, sheep with their shepherds, and soak up the beautiful scenery. And, if and when you get itchy feet, there is a multitude of other places to visit while we take a nap or just fool around among ourselves.
First of all, just minutes up the road by car, you will find Ronda. This historic town is ancient. It’s been around for almost thirty centuries - yes, you read right “30” centuries - and is one of Spain’s oldest urban areas. With its famous bullring, Ronda is built atop the deep El Tajo gorge. The views, stretching out for miles, are spectacular. As you walk through the narrow streets of the old town and take in the beauty of this part of southern Spain, you can stop for delicious tapas or more extensive meals washed down with local wines or beers. You can walk around the Old Town with its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses and just enjoy that sense of the history of Old Spain. Ronda is a must if you find yourself in this part of Andalusia.
If you have time, there are so many other great places to visit further afield that are easily reached as a day trip. For instance, you can head down to the coast, cooler in summer and likely warmer and sunnier in winter. One day The Roaming Sitters took a trip down to Marbella and walked along the promenade before enjoying a great seafood lunch looking out across the Mediterranean. After lunch, they took a drive along the coast with all its beaches and views from certain points right across to north Africa.
Another day they went to Seville, the regional capital and a much bigger version of Ronda. With another famous bullring, it is full of history, beautiful architecture, streets and squares full of orange-bearing trees, delicious food everywhere, and just a lively, happy atmosphere. Worth visiting there is the Alcázar castle with its Moorish influence; also the Gothic cathedral in which Christopher Columbus is buried, and its Giralda, the former Islamic minaret turned into a beautiful bell tower.
Then there was the day they headed south again but this time to Gibraltar, that big rock that the British pinched in 1713 and that is today home to 30,000 people. As there is no sales tax there, they meant to do some shopping for us but selfishly forgot and ended up checking out the monkeys who have also colonized The Rock, and, no surprises here if you’ve read some of their earlier blogs, scoffing down fish and chips with insufficiently chilled English beer. Shame on them resorting to that foreign muck when all this wonderful Spanish fare is right here on the doorstep.
There are so many other places they could, and probably should, have visited had time permitted. If you head east from here in Ronda, just under two and a half hours away you will find Granada with its Moorish-inspired Alhambra. Head north for a similar amount of driving time and you will hit Cordoba, a former Roman and later Islamic center of note. There you can visit the famous La Mezquita mosque from the eighth century later converted into a Christian church. If you want to go west just over 90 minutes you will hit Jerez with its Moorish fortress. Today it is perhaps best known as the center for Sherry production and trade, and for its famous horses and their Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art and, perhaps most notably, for Flamenco dancing. After all, this is where it all started.
Come visit. We will be waiting.
The Roaming Blog
From Europe to Asia. From cities to villages. From mansions to cottages. Follow us on our journey as we celebrate a new type of travel - House Sitting. Learn how to start you house sitting career, tips for making the most of your travel, and the tricks for being the best house sitter you can be.
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