Showing posts with label Osuna Spain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Osuna Spain. Show all posts

Thursday, December 29, 2011

TP Thursday: Osuna, Spain The Land of Olives

The air in Osuna, Spain was so thick with the scent of olive oil that we’d often pause stop during our walks through town to take deep breaths just to savor the invisible delicacy.


Osuna, the Andalucian town 90 minutes from Seville, is in the midst of The Land of Olives. Lucky for us that our November visit was during harvest.  (This tree at the Santa Teresa Company’s 1881 Olive Oil plant is more than 100 years old.)

Spain is the world’s leading olive oil producer with more than 300 million olive trees and groves that cover more than five million acres - 80% of the total crop is grown in Andalucia.


Trucks stacked high with branches laden with olives rumbled along the city’s narrow streets as they made their way to one of several olive oil processing plants.

DSCF1614In Osuna  more than 250,000 kilograms of olives are refined every day and 30 million liters of oil are bottled each year.

There were simply enormous amounts of  olive oil. . .as evidenced by these storage tanks  and the tanker trucks at Coreysa’s olive oil plant an easy walk from our hotel. 


Coreysa was founded in 1917 by Daniel Espuny Aleixendri, whose  family in the 14th Century owned oil mills in Northern Spain’s Catalonia region.  He worked his way to Osuna and started what today continues to be a family operation, today it is run by his grandchildren and their children.
Across town at another processing plant, the entry gate displays the generations who’ve carried on the family’s oil production since it was begun by Daniel Espuny Aleixendri.

We often buy a couple of bottles of wine to bring back from our travels but this trip the wine was left behind to make room in the suitcases for the olive oil.

DSCF1690 These bottles now have a place of honor on our kitchen counter. Not only is the oil superb for eating, but its taste – and smell – are great reminders of our short stay in The Land of Olives. 

For those of you cooks out there: the larger 500ml bottle cost a bit over $4US in Osuna (back home at our neighborhood grocery similar Spanish oil sells for $28). The smaller bottle was a gift from the fellows  I wrote about in an earlier post who introduced us to gourmet tapas.

Note: Today is Travel Photo Thursday so head to Budget Traveler’s Sandbox for more photos from bloggers around the world.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Barcelona: Adios Espana

We begin the final phase of this Spanish Adventure tomorrow (Sunday) when we board our Celebrity Constellation cruise ship here in Barcelona bound for Ft. Lauderdale.

We’ve already vowed to return to Andalucia, the area where we spent most of this trip; there are far too many towns like tiny Osuna just waiting to be discovered by us.  We’ll likely not return to the Costa del Sol as it was a bit too touristy for our travel tastes. It was a nice contrast though to the interior towns of Seville and Osuna.

barcellonaandconnie 003 And speaking of contrasts, we are now in Barcelona, a metropolis of 1.6 million people. Our hotel is in the Barri Gotic, or Gothic Quarter.  We’ve strolled through the area on previous cruise ship stops, but as is our only complaint with such stops, they usually don’t allow us to see a city at night.
barcellonaandconnie 002 So we are soaking up the ambiance of the night as we stroll our ‘neighborhood’ streets  - a warren of medieval twists and turns past buildings that date back to the 15th Century.

It is interesting to be back in a big city especially one that is known for pickpockets and theft.  Our Hotel Colon, provided a security checklist for us upon arrival that included tips for street safety – jewelry, money and all non-essentials are left in the room safe each time we venture out – night or day.

barcellonaandconnie 008 And days have been spent strolling the famous pedestrian street, La Rambla, where the flower stalls were a bright contrast to a rather gray morning yesterday.
La Rambla gets its name from a seasonal stream that once ran here; rather hard to imagine this busy walkway was once  a stream.

barcellonaandconnie 009 The only thing that might have been brighter were the fruit displays inside the Mercat de la Boqueria, the sprawling municipal market just off La Rambla, that is a highlight of a trip to Barcelona.

We’ll ease into leaving Spain as we will visit Alicante and Malaga before we head  for the Atlantic Ocean.  That is a good thing. . .it will be hard to leave this fascinating country.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

TP Thursday: Andalucian Enchantments

osuna 010

Spain comes to life about 7:30 each evening. Strolling to cafes, tapa bars, shopping and visiting all begin following the afternoon siesta.  But even with people beginning to reappear, we often found ourselves on deserted plazas or taking  routes that lead us down empty cobblestone streets in both Seville and Osuna.

The Main Square in Osuna, a gathering place for young and old in the daytime sun, emptied at sunset when the autumn chill made it too uncomfortable to sit around visiting. But it's emptiness made it the perfect place to fall under the spell of Spain's enchantments.

Travel Photo Thursday is the creation of Budget Travelers Sandbox so be sure to take a look at all the photos there. And I am posting this on Wednesday evening in Spain as Thursday will be a travel day - hopefully it is Thursday somewhere or will be soon. . .

Monday, November 7, 2011

La Casona de Calderon - Osuna

“So, what about Osuna?” I asked Joel as we surfed the Web prior to this trip. 

Map picture

We wanted a place somewhere between Seville, where we spent the first four days of our visit and Malaga where we will meet friends later this week.  We wanted a place that could be reached by train or bus.

I was looking at a web site called Inns of Spain when a photo similar to the one below made me suggest Osuna:

osuna 004 The photo is of the lobby/courtyard of La Casona de Calderon – a 17th Century noble family’s home in Osuna that has been converted into a hotel with 15-en suite guestrooms and a restaurant. A visit to the hotel's website and I knew I wanted to stay here even though we knew nothing - then - about the town in which it was located. 

The rates for this time of year were so reasonable that we decided to splurge and booked ourselves a Junior Suite at 270E for three nights.

Elena Calderon, along with her sister Aurora, three years ago opened the hotel in this mansion that has passed through generations of their family. She greeted us and showed us to our ‘room’. When Joel said, “This is a junior suite?!” she answered that we'd in fact been upgraded to the suite – we'd call it a casita, a small house!

So here is our ‘suite from the outside (yes, the whole thing is ours)’:

osuna 011

And then you step inside (I am at the table writing this post):

osuna 003  
An open stairway leads  to our bedroom and master bath (there is a second tiny half-bath under the stairs.

osuna 002

We’ve peeked at the regular rooms and and the junior suites and they are equally as well decorated – just smaller. And really this is far more room than two people need but our host's generosity is appreciated. The hotel's common areas are filled with collectible art; it is a museum hotel that has given us a taste of the real Spain. It is everything I'd hoped for and more.

Our days begin in the covered courtyard  - we dine on a European-style breakfast of cold cuts, cheese, fruit, pan and locally made olive oil, which is included in the price of the room.  We’ve ended each day there as well sipping wine and watching the moon play hide and seek in the clouds above us.

No doubt about it, we've found an Andalucian  treasure.

A donde va? Osuna!

“A donde va?,” asked the rotund bus driver as I stood at the Seville bus station. “Osuna a  la once (own-say).” I answered.

osuna 001[ “Where are you going?” the bus driver asked. “Osuna at 11,” I answered.]

And 30 minutes later at precisely 11 a.m. we were off on our second phase of this Andalucian Adventure.
Osuna is located an hour and a half from Seville, nestled into the Sierra Sur foothills; an agricultural and  university-town. 

osuna 005 Signs  remind visitors that we are in one of the towns on “La Ruta de Washington Irving.” (Irving’s “Tales of the Alhambra” is set in Granada but  begins with his trip from Seville to Granada through the Andalucian countryside.)

We came here not for the town, but for the hotel that called out to us during an internet search back home several months ago. More on the hotel in the next post. . .today is about the town; a place quite popular as a base for hunting and fishing trips in the surrounding areas.

Although Lonely Planet’s “Spain” guidebook devoted a portion of a page to the town it didn’t prepare us for the enchantments that it held.  Enchantments, remind me of Don Quixote’s travels – so it seems fitting that we are under their spell in a hotel that is on Plaza Cervantes, named for the author of the fictional character.

The first thing we noticed was that prices here are so incredibly inexpensive that we pause each time a bill is presented. . .”It can’t be THAT cheap, can it?” we ask ourselves.  (For example, two caffes con leche (cafe lattes) with a large glass of fresh squeezed orange juice was 3.5E this morning - $5.)

osuna 009 We’ve wandered cobble-stone streets racking up double digit miles on the pedometer passing blocks of mansions dating back to the 1700’s; a church built in the 1500’s, a university with centuries of history. Plazas, fountains, squares; gathering places for young and old. 

And then there’s the olive oil factories that fill the air with the smell of olives and olive oil. Those, too, will be written about later.

And then there’s  the Roman ruins. . . We are headed out to see them this afternoon – obviously way too much to see and do!

Hasta manana!

Note:  We’ve enjoyed using our Spanish – limited as it is – but it wouldn’t be necessary to speak the language to visit this area. 

The photos in order: from the bus arriving in Osuna, one of the many “Ruta” signs in town and a view from the university parking lot out over town – the large building in the distance is a hospital.


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