Carmona

20 Nov

Two weeks of a merry band of painters making a racket and mess as they repaint my apartment building from the top down to maximum volume KISSFM radio (and storing their c*#p outside my piso) plus Ms Highheels click-clacking across her marble floors at all hours of the day and night drove me out of Seville in search of tranquillity and nurturing on what was predicted to be a very wet general election weekend.

Carmona is an ancient fortified hilltop white town 50 minutes and a 2.4 euro bus ride north-east of Seville. Think Toowoomba with relics from the Copper Age onwards and you are close to the genteel old world country charm of Carmona. Well, apart from the septuagenarian at the bus stop on my return journey who poked me with his umbrella to indicate that I should take my spot on the bench. ¡Si señor!

I’d pre-booked at family-owned and run Casa De Carmona on the basis of their gorgeous website. This five star boutique hotel started life as an aristocrat’s town residence in 1561. It stayed in the same family until 1987 and was lovingly converted into a hotel in 1991. Unfamiliar as I was with 16th century palaces I had trouble locating the reception area but the owner/manager Felipe Guardiola rescued me and settled me in with the minimum of formalities. You can see from my photos that their website does not lie, it is a truly special place where the guest is treated like an esteemed distant relative. Felipe is a sensitive, reflective soul who projects his ethos of ‘respect, kindness, warmth and elegance’ through his hotel and staff, who all seem to speak perfect English.

I spent a happy, wet few hours exploring the fortifications, the old town centre, the Convent of Santa Maria which is built on the site of a mosque, and the old Market Square followed by a spot of clothes shopping. For lunch I tramped up to the Parador, a converted Alcazar of King Pedro, perched on the cliff edge with a magnificent view of the rain falling mainly on the plain! More warm hospitality, wine and a delicious vegetarian menu in their magnificent dining room and I was well on my way to Nirvana.

The rain continued through siesta (blessedly quiet with only the finches in the tree outside my room providing the soundtrack) and into the evening. Once I’d dragged myself out of the huge bathtub I gladly settled into one of Casa De Carmona’s three lounges and then the bar until dinner in Restaurant Gracia where Felipe showed his considerable culinary skills by preparing the freshest Italian vegetarian cuisine for me. Is there no end to this man’s talents?!

Carmona was the ideal antidote to too much Seville madness and both Casa De Carmona and the Parador have been marked for return visits. Muchissimo gracias a los gentes de Carmona, muy amable.

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2 Responses to “Carmona”

  1. Brian Mitchell November 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Beautiful.

    Brian

  2. Charmaine November 20, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    Wow! looks and sounds wonderful….just not very slowly turning a gentle shade of green!

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