Andalucia – ‘Heart of Spain’

Deep within the south of Spain, there is a region known as Andalucía.  Its coastline includes the popular destination of Malaga and more traditional seaside towns such as Nerja.  Granada and Seville are its cities, where shisha cafes embody its Arabic influence.

Granada Cathedral

Granada Cathedral

The coastal towns attract those in search of the salty air and the cities more than saturate the needs of the culture vulture.  However, deep within the centre of Andalusia, some may say at the very core, you’ll find an authentic Spanish village.  When travelling there, leave your window open and let the scent of fresh olives bombard your sense of smell.  You’ll want to eat one and probably will very soon (accompanied with a glass of wine, of course).

Iznajar is located upon a lake within the rolling mountains of Andalucía.  The more I write and say the word ‘Andalucía’, the more magical and mysterious it seems.  It has the same twang, same phonetic obscurity of a place such as ‘Narnia’.  When you’re here, I’m sure you’ll agree, maybe Andalucía is the Narnia of Earth.


Iznajar Lake

Strolling along the river bed towards the Lake you’ll feel a million miles away from the over commercialised destinations that pepper the coastline of Spain.  Here, you can unplug from the madness and reconnect with natural beauty.  The fact that you cannot reach this location by public transport exemplifies its uniqueness; simply a campervan, motorbike, pushbike, hitchhike or car.

In the town you’ll find the conventional white buildings with red roofs and a range of tapas bars.  Tortilla, cold beer, chorizo, cold beer, smile to a local, Ola, attempt to speak some Spanish….it’s a good life.  What you’ll notice here, is that existence is a little slowed down; you’ve got time to contemplate, time to watch the sunset, time to put your feet into the lake, time to sit on the cobbled wall and just wonder.  You’ve got time to realise what a privilege it is to just be alive.

Lakeside with Iznajar behind.

Lakeside with Iznajar behind.

At the lakeside in Andalucía, on the beaches of Indonesia, in the mountains of Nepal, upon the sand dunes of Peru; travelling teaches you that the world is a wonderful place.  We sometimes get caught up in the bullshit; the stress of the job, the negativity within the news and the never ending strive to obtain more.  Just like small fish entangled within a net, we allow our whole reality to become burdened.  But when the fish decides to relax and free himself from the net, then there’s an entire ocean waiting to be discovered.  The world is spectacular, diverse and free.  No matter what they say or how they think, it still belongs to you, so grasp it.

Dusk falls and we’re standing on the bridge crossing the Lake in Iznajar, a shoal of fish can be seen in the water below.  My mind drifts (as it always does); I’d like to come back here in spring with my kayak, fish in the lake and camp in the hills.  I think I will.

For those looking for a self-catering retreat based in the hills of Iznajar with perfect hosts, please check out Casa De Arroya.

This blog post is dedicated to Lotta & Gus, thanks for everything…TO TRAVEL IS TO LIVE!