Surprise, surprise! An Aunt that I haven’t seen since 1996 turned out to be touring through Spain on a Rick Steves Tour!  She checked her schedule, and we decided we could meet up on All Saints Day, November 1st, in Arcos de la Frontera.

After a long 2 1/2 hour drive (which included a stop in the beautiful city of Ronda), as well as several roadside stops to clean up Ethan, who did not manage the windy road very well. In fact, his inability to hold down his breakfast (poor boy!) resulted in us also stopping at a little store and picking up some cheap pants for him—we had extra shirts, but no extra pants packed!

Anyways…back to Arcos de la Frontera, the beautiful city is perched on a cliff top overlooking the Guadalete River.

My Aunt was staying at a hotel set high up on the top of the city’s hill, and review of the hotel online warned us that it was a tight fit to drive a car up. Nevertheless, we decided to try for it anyways—and agreed to meet her in the town plaza close to her hotel.


As we wound up and up, the streets became more narrow, and we wondered what in the world we had agreed to. Finally, we looked reached a turn down a small road (or should we call it an alleyway?) that we were certain we could not make. We didn’t give up!  We let the GPS find another route up that had slightly wider roads (“wider” being the ones pictured below!).


With a little driving in reverse required (locals told us we couldn’t fit any further up one path), we finally made it the lovely destination plaza but found absolutely no parking. After a quick reunion with my Aunt, we jumped in the car and tried to make our way back down the hill.

Problem was…the only way out was through THIS archway!




I stood outside the car and carefully directed Jared through the archway. Even with mirrors pulled in, it was a very close call (okay, the car may have seen a tiny bit of paint removed from the front left side).


The roads opened back into this, and we breathed a sigh of relief!


My Aunt treated us to a lunch where we caught up on the last 16 years (ouch!), and learned more about her. She is an avid traveler, and had great stories to share about India, France, and her most recent trip…to Cuba!

I ordered the most delicious plate of green beans…SMOTHERED in garlic. One thing I’ve learned about Spanish food…they do not hold back on the garlic!  Also, it is fairly easy to find vegetarian options on the menu!

After lunch and a lot of chatting, we walked her back up to her hotel (leaving the car parked safely below). The plaza boasted of a beautiful chapel, and stunning views overlooking the farmland below the cliff.



My Aunt’s hotel, El Convento is a typical Spanish hotel with an unusually dramatic view. Check out how precariously the rooms are perched over the cliff side!


If you’re afraid of heights, this view is not for you!


You have to admit, that is one very beautiful view!



More fun views abound in the small city…


Statues showing a procession for Semana Santa (Holy Week—during Easter). They look a tad creepy, don’t you think?


After bidding farewell, we loaded back up and drove out of the city. This time we took the coast route, which was a bit longer…but much less winding for the weak stomachs in our family!

Driving away from Arcos de la Frontera, I just had to stop and snap a few more photos behind us. Talk about dramatic!



WOW—what a day!  It is such a joy to combine family or friends with a beautiful location to explore!

Spain is looking better by the minute!

And now…the more personal photos, as my kids were actually happy to be photographed that day!


My name is Alisa, and I am off traveling the world with my adventurous husband and rambunctious 3 small children. I love mountains, outdoor living, and I am crazy about vegetables. Most of all, I love making memories with my family, and I enjoy sharing our travels with others!
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One Response to “Arcos de la Frontera and a surprise!”

  1. What are the chances that 2 relatives can meet in such a remote place, at the same time? THAT IS CRAZY!! And I’m glad you had that chance! Looks like the scenery was beyond pics – WOW.

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