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We decided it would be fun to drive around in the local country and explore the villages of Rute and Iznajar.  Juan, our wonderful landlord, had furnished us with grapes from the vine in the courtyard.  It was time to cut the vines back and he saved us some of the most delicious, sweet white grapes.  We took them on every picnic!  Anyway, armed with our maps and Garmin, we set off for Iznajar, driving the most spectacular scenery roads along the way.  They were harvesting some olives at one point, and we learned these were for green olives--they were not yet ripe, when all are picked and crushed for olive oil.  Anyway, we entered the village of Iznajar after a fair amount of driving and drove on some of the steepest grades I've ever been on!  Wow, was the view from the top spectacular!  The town is on an embalse, or reservoir of the Genil River.  The plaza by the church of Santiago is the place to get the best views, but there are charming walks all over town.

a view from almost the top!

A peek through the buildings to the reservoir

After a picnic bite, we decided to head for Rute. It was a charming village too, but unfortunately the Museum of Anis and the Museum of Ham were closed at the time we were there.  I'm not a huge fan of anise, but my sister in law is--but later on in the trip I'd find her some great anise flavored cookies made by a Dominican order.  Cookies that were sin sin!

A charming little duck pond house in Rute

Beautiful old olive trunks along the way

Then we did a backtrack maneuver, and headed to Almedenilla, a village about 10 lk east of Priego.  Once a Roman town, it has a villa which is still being excavated.  We were amazed at the stunning job they've done.  The painting on the walls, the mosaics, the fountain.  They have a lovely museum separate from the villa, ask at the visitor's center how to get there and pay attention to the opening hours and things like that...

Roman mosaics

at Almedinilla

This was quite a bit of driving today; we were tired.  We came home and cooked for ourselves--had a steak, salad, and carrots.  Good meal, good wine, good company, good night!

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