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Tour of the Llanos del Endrinal

At Fuerte Hoteles we love listening to our guests, so we have decided to give a bit of space on our blog to a very special guest who has shared something special with us: she has given us her holiday diary from the five days she spent at Fuerte Grazalema. Her name is Petra, she’s German and she has described her experience of hiking, nature and sport for FuerteNoticias.com. Each week, we will publish her particular view of the Cadiz sierra, in Andalusia.

Would you like to know what her impressions were? Well, let’s start with her first day. Destination: Llanos del Endrinal (Endrinal Plains) Over to Petra:

Day 1: Monday, 27/05/2013

Our first excursion took us from the hotel to a fountain, along a beautiful and steeply sloping route through radiant natural areas, which is very stony and whose colours have been washed away by abundant rainfall. We were able to spot aromatic and medicinal plants of all colours.

Weather permitting, turtles can sometimes be seen in the stream. The route then took us to Grazalema along an old cobbled road dating back to Roman times. It passes through orchards and goes past hen coops, where we found a proud and particularly handsome type of rooster.

Grazelema is one of the villages on the White Villages Route, decorated with flowers and with red tiled roofs. One day every July, a bull is led down a narrow alleyway to pay homage to the Virgin Mary, accompanied by courageous men. A stroll through the village reveals quaint fountains, the old façades of the houses and the remains of a Roman gate. The village of Grazalema enjoys beautiful and far-reaching views over the surrounding countryside and the Fuerte Grazalema Hotel.

The weather gradually improved and we were sweating by the time we had finished the climb up to the natural park. We saw more wild herbs, orchids, irises with navy blue flowers and a plethora of other beautiful plants. There is one very peculiar plant: when they are withered, the plant’s small round fruits turn in to “firecrackers”.

In the past, the fruits of this plant used to be burned with its branches to scare off threats such as enemy soldiers and wild animals, as the spherical buds create a noise that sounds like a hail of bullets. People used to know how to take advantage of all aspects of nature. Nowadays you only hear the birds calling; and we saw a vulture. The animals of the forest leave their tracks, either by digging in the ground to search for roots or gnawing pine cones and pine trees. The path took us cross country, across stones and rocks. The smell of the plants was carried by the pleasant breeze.

The mist never cleared from the mountain peaks, but we were well aware of their presence. However, after a while we got tired of looking at the numerous flowers of the plants along the path. We reached the summit without any problems and Rosa’s boyfriend took us back to the hotel in his car from Grazalema.

Thanks to the explanations given by Rosa and Christo, and obviously by Gloria as an interpreter, I was able to discover many things. In total, we walked about 12 km in four and a half very pleasant hours. And right now I am writing from a sun lounger close to my room at the hotel and a vulture is spiralling above my head.

What a great end to a fantastic day!

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