It’s always exciting when the first almond blossom appears on the trees in the garden, but when that day is also New Year’s Day, it’s even more special.
Happy New Year, everyone!
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Around three kilometres from the village of Periana is the old Moorish pool in the little hamlet of Baños de Vilo (Baths of Vilo).
During the 18th and 19th centuries this pool was considered one of the most important in Andalucía, so much so that in 1892 its waters were declared “medicinal mineral”. The magnesium, calcium and nitrogen found within the waters offered healing and therapeutic properties to those with skin complaints, and people flocked for miles around to bathe in the sulphurous-smelling pool.
Despite it’s popularity, there was much squabbling over ownership of the pool and even though some improvements were made, the facility was wrecked in 1907 when a huge storm ripped through it. Subsequently, the baths fell into disrepair.
The Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) of Periana acquired the property in the 1990s and restoration work began to recover the Baños de Vilo for tourism purposes.
Soon after you leave the village of Periana, heading north-west on the A7204, there is a split in the road. Stay on the A7204 towards Riogordo and Colmenar. A few hundred metres after the 10km road marking, look out for a tiled sign on the right-hand side of the road. Turn here and after about 100 metres you will cross a narrow bridge over the river Vilo.
Continue up the road for a further two hundred metres, until you see a sign on a white wall on the left. I parked my car here.
It isn’t obvious where to go, but you should head through the large iron double gates into a patio area, which looks like you are going into someone’s garden – but you’re not!
Ahead of you to the right is a path covered with flowers growing over an archway. Walk through the flowering arch and you will see a little stone bridge leading you across the river, with a small construction of walls and a stone tower on the far side.
Here you will see the turquoise water shimmering in the sunlight and you’ll probably also notice the smell of the sulphur, normally associated with natural thermal pools.
Here’s a cool video of Los Baños de Vilo
One morning last week, I stopped to have a word with this lady who was cutting the dead flowers from her magnificent display of geraniums.
She told me that she only gave them water twice a week and, of course, they enjoyed the sunshine – (don’t we all?). At the end of the season, she cuts the plants right back and takes them inside to store them. After re-potting in January, she gradually reintroduces the plants outside (poco a poco) – little by little to warm in the sunshine – and the following summer, they bloom again.
These geranium plants on her terrace are three years old.
The eagerly anticipated announcement that Game of Thrones fans have been awaiting has been made. The United States Ambassador to Spain, James Costos, has confirmed that Series 5 of the popular TV series will be filmed in Andalucía, Spain.
The Royal Alcázars in Seville (Reales Alcázares de Sevilla), which is the oldest Royal palace in Europe, has been chosen as the main venue for the filming of Series 5 of the Game of Thrones. The Alcázar, originally a Moorish fortress, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and the palace is one of the best remaining examples of mudéjar architecture. (Filming will take place from 14th – 22nd October 2014).
It has also been confirmed that filming will take place within the historic town of Osuna, in Seville province – the origins of which date back three thousand years.
Whilst the exact locations of all filming within Andalucía for the Water Gardens of Dorne is still being kept secret, it’s understood that the Alcázar of Córdoba, the Alhambra Palace in Granada and the Alcázar of Málaga have yet to be completely ruled out.
This is good news for Andalucía with a boost to the economy in the region of €80 million euros, creating around 900 permanent and 5000 temporary jobs, as well as a growth in tourism to the area.
EDITED TO ADD: The Spanish producer chosen by US TV network, HBO, for the filming of ‘Game of Thrones’, has just issued a casting call for Series 5. Interested persons should register with the following email address:
At this stage, specific characteristics for actors have not been announced – but hey – GO FOR IT!