We spent three nights in Carmona. It was a nice base for seeing the cities around it. The first two pictures are of the paradore where we stayed. There are 102 paradores in Spain. They are all government owned hotels that are in old monasteries, castles, etc.
Linda and Leslie went on a bus tour of Carmona one evening. It was supposed to be an hour and it ended up being two hours. The next six pictures are from this trip. The streets are very narrow so it was quite the ride. The guide, Alfonso, was very passionate about his city. He also knew everyone. At one point, he let us stop to take pictures of a beautiful front door that led into a patio. Alfonso jumped off the bus, rang the doorbell and an elderly man in pajamas answered. He let us all come in to his patio and living room. The house and many of its furnishings were from the 16th century. It was pretty funny and pretty cool.
The 7th picture shows the gate into the city. It is from the 1 century BC. Unfortunately they put a little store right next to it, but if you look at the picture you can see the original Roman arch (sort of in the middle of the opening), then in the front the larger key shaped Moorish arch which came after they conquered the city, and then on the top the additional fortresses added by the Christians when they conquered the city.
We also got to stop at an olive oil factory. We learned quite a bit about olives. We learned that they ripen from October to December. In mid-October the olives are green and hard and they make an early harvest extra virgin olive oil that is delicious but has peppery overtones. In the beginning of November the olives are turning purple and they make an early harvest extra virgin olive oil that is much sweeter (and the most popular). After that harvest, the olives turn black and those are used for virgin olive oil. You also have to press the olives the day they are picked. Once we heard all that goes into the oil, we understood why it costs as much as it does. We got to do a tasting too. The oil was fantastic. Linda said she had never had olive oil that tasted so good.