There is so much more to Sotogrande then just polo and golf. This week I had the opportunity to sample something different, an overnight horse trek to the Castle of Castilla and back. Just 10 minute from the center of Sotogrande in the national park of Alciadesa is the home of the E3 Endurance Equestrian Experience run by Ferdy. This convenient locations was a great starting point, from here we headed out thought the park which is an easy ride taking in some of the most beautiful landscape, fauna and flora of this part of Andalucía. The route took us across 2 natural parks through the valley that leads up to Jimena, which was once ear marked for a new airport (thankfully that never got popular backing) and on to the old roman road the lead up to the Medival castle local known as the Castellar de la Frontera.
The day starts with a ride through the pine forest and if you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of a red dear in-between the trees. Then on over the main road with take you to an elevated spot where you can see the mountains all the way to Gaucin and beyond. Then down in to the valley wash will yellow fields of rape seed. From here we made our way to a quite spot in the tree for a packed lunch prepare by our host , as we tucked in to gourmet sandwiches, the horses got a change enjoy the fresh greens that had sprung up after the recent rains. Then we were off again passing through field with cows and small calf and even happened upon a local cowboy (vaquero) . With a lovely canter thought he valley we started up to the castle on the ancient road that winds up giving one glimpse of the final destination.
Once at the castle we checked in to the local hotel which was inside the castle walls and had views to the lake and surrounding mountains and after a freshen up we were off to Steves house where we had a delightful meal – a selection of tapas followed by home cooked chicken dish with free vegetables.
After a leisurely breakfast we saddle up and head of down the old roman road making way back. This time we took a different route back, the high light being a picnic lunch set up with chairs and a table on the banks of the river. The back through the national park and home - who said Sotogrande is golf and polo – there are many hidden treasure – come and explore!!!