Spain had been on my mind lately. Then I heard that Spain was getting ready to welcome travelers again; which definitely got me plotting yet another d’aventure. There are still many places I want to explore in Spain when the time is right -it is one of my favorite countries- but because Mike and I have been on post-Covid diets for the last few months, my thoughts went straight to the idea of returning to Antequera and taking a fitness escape with a company called Sendero Sur.
Yes, we’ve been here before…more than once…(my last time was 2014 and that trip is on this blog).
For some odd reason, I always think a fitness escape sounds like a fun thing to do! Mike, on the other hand, wonders what is wrong with me? Something he has wondered pretty regularly over the last 41 years for sure!
Travel in the time of Covid has its challenges. For the most part, our flights went smoothly. However, before we left home we had to fill out a health information form on-line with the Spanish Government and receive a Q-code to present at the airport upon arrival. As we entered the line for that, I was ahead of Mike and they scanned mine and said… OK, keep going. Then I stepped through and turned to wait for Mike and noticed they were hustling him away to a blocked-off area. I had no idea what was going on and wasn’t able to find out. Since I do speak some Spanish, I was fretting about not being with him to at least try to help communicate -whatever the issue was. Turns out when I’d filled out his on-line form for him, I’d mistakenly clicked a wrong button with an answer that sent up a red flag for them. I’m sure you can imagine how annoyed he was by that. He hasn’t quite forgiven me yet. He managed to sort it out on his own and we were finally on our way….until we couldn’t find our baggage!
It took a few minutes of standing by the carousel that was supposed to be for our flight to realize that they have a separate baggage claim area for luggage that was checked outside of the EU. We had to go in a completely different direction than the first baggage carousel, enter a secure area, find our bags and then walk past a customs agent in the “nothing to declare” line. Then off to find our transportation from Malaga to Antequera -about an hour-ish drive inland, which was quickly accomplished and we were on our way.
We are staying at the Finca Eslava Hotel -which is charming. “Finca” roughly translates to estate or property. Eslava is the last name of the owners. It is a remodeled 18th century “country house” -probably built by someone with some extra money to throw around. The rooms are somewhat rustic, but it works. Don’t let “rustic” give you the wrong idea; it is a 4-star hotel. In Europe the hotels are rated based on their standard and quality (and probably a bit of exaggeration) -from 1 to 5 stars.
This hotel is the perfect location for Sendero Sur because the hotel also operates a membership gym “out back” called the Aqua Slava -so there are facilities available for some of the sessions that require gym equipment. “Aqua Slava” is a play on the owner’s name. In addition to the expected gym equipment, there is a very nice lap pool and a smaller outdoor pool for use by the hotel guests and gym members. I don’t have pictures to share because they are sensitive to protecting member privacy and have signs up asking people to not take pictures inside.
I am quite charmed by this hotel, so I keep taking pictures of it.
As you enter to the lobby area from outside:
The doors were reflecting the outside view so I tried it from the inside looking out:
The lobby area is a courtyard with a fountain in it and lots of greenery. Various gathering rooms are arranged around the sides, along with the registration desk and the walkway through to the bar, dining room and outdoor dining patio.
We were walking back from dinner one night and I decided to take more pictures! This one shows the reception desk.
As you walk between the lobby and the bar/restaurant area, you pass a little side courtyard that has quite a few bonsai-style trees. The door is kept locked, so I took this picture through the door window.
A few days after I took this picture, I noticed that the door was open as we were passing. I think the person who is cultivating these trees was there to water. I snuck in and got a close up -but as I turned away, there was a man standing in the doorway giving me the “what are you doing in here?” look. As Mike and I stepped out of the little courtyard and started toward our room, I heard the “snick” of the lock being turned.
The bar area:
There are normally bar stools by the bar, but they’ve been removed due to Covid protocols. The black door at the end of this hallway is the dining room, which is quite nice -but we haven’t been seated in there so far. We have been eating our meals on the patio.
About where I’m standing to take this picture, off to the side is the display of Iberian Ham. This is a special process for curing pork.
Nearby is a display of the cheeses they sell. This picture is maybe a third of the display case.
There is also another small display case with sausages and other unusual looking things, plus some honey.
Looking toward the door to the bar area:
In the bar area, there are giant wine bottles on display. In addition to serving wine in the restaurant, they will sell wine to be taken with you when you leave.
On the evening of our arrival, Mike and I decided to start our fitness escape off right -so we sat down for a beer. One of the things I love about Spain is that when you’re having a beer, they often give you a small dish of olives and garlic that have been pickled in some way. It really is something that seems to go quite well with beer.
By then, even though we both managed to sleep a bit on the plane, we’d been up for over 24+ hours and it was time to settle down for the night because our wake-up call the next morning would be quite early so that we could begin our d’aventure.