Andalusia
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The Andalucian Countryside
Andalucia, Spain, is located in the southern Iberian peninsula. The vast area consists of eight provinces. Among them are Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, and Seville. I sampled the hams, paellas, wines, and olive oils and enjoyed the tastes and smells of the Andalucian menus. The region is rich in culture and history. The flamenco and bullfights are favorite attractions here. Much of the Moorish-influenced architecture dates to the days of Muslim rule. Muslims ruled Andalucia from 711 when Tariq, an Islamic Berber, conquered the area and called it Al-Andalus. He established it as the Islamic Empire. Al-Andalus was a huge cultural center of vast beauty. In 1492, the fall of Granada put an end to Muslim rule when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled the Muslims from Spain. Andalucia was born and it has been Spanish ever since. Driving through the countryside, I saw beauty around every curve in the road like the rows of olive and oak trees, and fields of grain. I laughed when I saw the huge Osborne Sherry Company's black bull on the hilltops. These large boards were erected all over Spain to advertise their Brandy de Jerez. I found them charming and so very Spanish. I saw this region of Spain as vast and very beautiful with its mountains, dry plains, and lush forest areas. So many different types of landscapes within the region. I recommend a good guidebook and an up-to-date Michelin map. When renting a car, do so in the States when you book your trip. Happy traveling!
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