I didn’t take this next picture, but it is a very helpful, overall view of the white village of Arco de la Frontera, and makes a good context for the pics to follow.

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Here is the street that leads up to the grand church that towers over the village.

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On the right is a stairway that leads up to the church.

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At the top, the church towers over you.

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But a short walk takes you to the “balcony,” where you find you are on the edge of a high cliff that towers over the landscape below.

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So, now that you’ve seen some of a white village, what exactly are they?  The “pueblos blancos” are a group of white-washed villages in Andalusia (the south of Spain).  The ones we visited are all in the mountains.  Why are they white?  I’ve seen various explanations, but my favorite is that during the time of the plague, the lime in the white-wash had a disinfectant property that made inhabitants more resistant.  Now, of course, the white is necessary to keep the villages’ identity and make sure the tourists don’t lose interest.  Whatever the explanation, the villages are very beautiful.

Arcos has Roman ruins, and I was surprised by how casually some are still used, like these short columns.

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In Andalusia there are lots of pretty entrance courtyards.  Here’s a particularly impressive one in Arcos.

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This entry is to a convent bakery.

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The convent is cloistered.  There is no contact between the person hungry for baked goods and the sister inside.  The transaction is made via this rotating device.

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Cash goes in on the customer side, baked goods on the other, and the exchange is made by rotating the device.  Having dealt with the buying public long ago, I can see the advantages.

To me, southern Spain seems especially devout.

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I think this last mural is more beautiful for its age.  It wasn’t far from this abstract in aged stone.

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Here’s another very religious piece of art.  It’s a Holy Week procession that keeps marching all year long.

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We saw pictures and preparations for these marches last year in Sevilla, but never actually witnessed one.  It’s just me, I guess, but there’s something sinister about this.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I much prefer the abstract above.

I’ll end this with some secular art from the village of Grazalema that’s easy to relate to, depending on your point-of-view.

From the farmer’s side…

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or, from the bull’s side.

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In the next post I’ll show more about the white villages, especially a gorgeous garden that’s in bloom right now with roses and irises.