This picturesque region in the south of Spain has been a chosen holiday destination for the inspired traveler for decades. The sun soaked scenery relaxes the mind and allows true recuperation from many a busy and hectic life. I recently travelled to Faro airport from Manchester on an inexpensive Easy Jet flight. Before I knew it I had been transported from my dingey flat in Manchester to a beautiful hotel in Donana National Park. With that much wildlife and nature leaning on my doorstep I could feel the pressures of the big city sliding gently off my shoulders. It was time for a real break.
I used to ride a lot as a child but as the years past, I grew up and eventually moved away from the countryside in Berkshire where I was raised. I followed my carrer, guided carefully by my A-Levels and Univesrity and ended up for the time being in Manchester. And as many of you will know, that left little time for horse riding. I hadn’t had a holiday as long as I cared to remember so I did a quick, self explainitory search on the internet; Horse Riding Holidays. And there it was, plain as day. Equestrian Escapes, my saviour. They offer reasonably priced, well researched, quality holidays which are what they say on the packet. I was so impressed and thought as I am a writer, the least I could do is write them a short article about how much I enjoyed my holiday for their blog. So here it is.
My Break Starts Well
After a great nights sleep, I retired early on the previous night and achieved a fantastic fourteen hours sleep! That’s over twice what I’ve been getting over recent months. I ate a slpendid breakfast and set off to the stables. They all spoke English and helped me find the perfect horse. My Andalucian steed was a beautiful chesnut brown. He was a well mannered and patient horse, very pleasent to ride and not too wild but abundant with character. I found my feet again for the first time in years and felt years younger. That afternoon we hacked through Donana National Park for an hour and a half (my bum wasn’t up to much more) in the glorious sun.
Day three of my trip kept up the pace with a hack in the morning and, as I travelled in the summer I did miss the migrating birds of autumn and winter but my guide did point out a Spanish Imperial Eagle and then we went for a ride on the beach in the afternoon. What a wonderful day! Horse riding on a golden Spanish coast. How could I go home?
The next day I took a trip into Seville and visited the much documented and acclaimed banks of the Guadalquivir River. Called by some as one of the historical corner stones of Europe, I took a private horse drawn carriage tour. And was not dissapointed by the stunning bridges spanning it’s still water and the looming architecture combining centuries of culture, style and heritage.
The hotel in Seville
On my fith day in Spain I spent the morning and afternoon, split by a healthy lunch, having dressage lessons. I have never attempted dressage before, not even when I was younger but I really felt like I made some headway. I felt much more in control of the horse, and after attempting something outside of your immediate comfort zone (with no pressure from anyone besides myself) I felt that standard walk, trot and canter were far easier and the control I learnt followed through to my general horse riding ability.
Today I went on a memorable journey, one and a hlaf hours drive (but completely worth it), to Jerez de la Frontera. A place I will not be forgetting quickly. Especially after my dressage attempts the day before, this visit could not have come at a better time. I was going to pay a visit to The Royal Riding School. Internationally renowned for their skills on horseback, supreme training and quality bred horses they performed “How The Andalusian Horses Dance”. How I urge you to see that show in all of it’s elegance.
The painful reminder of day seven was that my holiday had flown by and already I was staring into the eyes of a nearing departure. This however didn’t come close to stopping me from enjoying a final days cultural exploration around Jerez. A truely beautiful place. And as if the holiday had not already come to a fantastic climax I sat down for a delicious local meal followed by flamenco dancing! Along with a long list of fine wines to taste and entertainment in the form of taditional dance I felt that this holiday had given me the umph I needed to keep me going when I was back in England. It would be a warm, happy time to resurface from my memories when faced by a daunting amount of articles to write with a rapidly looming deadline.
And just like that it was time to check out, and before I knew it I had landed in England. After a taxi, a wait at the airport and collecting my luggage I snapped out of my luxury trance and performed the last short leg of the journey to get me back home. Just in time to catch up before Monday. C’est la vie.
by Michael Bournon
The Holiday that Michael went on was aptly called The Magic of Andalucia just click to be taken directly to it’s itinerary.