This summer I visited a series of White Villages in Cadiz, Andalusia. Sorry, the name White Villages has nothing to do with racism, such a hot touchy topic in the blogosphere. None of that here, thank you. They are called so because of their white limestone painted walls, which is supposed to reflect the summer heat. From a distance you see whole villages painted in white.
Small detour in our stroll here. You see, us pharmacists like to see pharmacies…
Most of the villages in this area were heavily settled in during the Medieval Muslim period of occupation in Spain when Andalusia was called Al Andalus. It’s pretty evident in the architecture, names of many of the places and influences in the traditional cakes and sweets, which are delicious by the way. More on this last point in my next post.
The funny thing was, we weren’t even going to go to Medina Sidonia. That afternoon we were on our way to some other White Village and Medina Sidonia was smack bang in the middle of our way. This place makes the best Christmas marzipan type of sweets, so I’ve been here a few times during Christmas with my mum to buy their sweets, and I had suggested that morning that we could stop in Medina Sidonia to have a proper wander around. Which we decided we weren’t going to.
On the road, when the signs to Medina Sidonia approached, we made a last minute decision to stop there. And walk around for a few minutes. We ended up staying there until the end of the evening. The plans to go to the other place that day disappeared.
If you’re travelling through Andalusia, and doing the Route of the White Villages, and reading a Lonely Planet, just bear in mind that this gem of a village isn’t even mentioned there. I visited quite a few White Villages this summer, and even though they were all gorgeous and had their own charm in their own way, Medina Sidonia was my favourite.
I think most of it’s charm is due it not being in the Lonely Planet, not being in the top tourist guides, and therefore not commercially exploiting itself to tourism. That way it keeps its authenticity with regards to how its current inhabitants live.
Lesson learnt: sometimes the best places are not the ones raved about in the top tourist guides.
Thank you for visiting!