Seville Snapshots: Arcos de la Frontera, Cádiz

Having just arrived in the southwestern Spanish village of Arcos de la Frontera with a government grant to teach English, the first two thoughts that I crossed my mind were the following: This Andalusian town is stunningly beautiful, and These Andalusian women are stunningly beautiful. As a photography enthusiast (and perhaps at the risk of discrediting myself), I have to admit that taking impressive-looking pictures in any of Cádiz’s pueblos blancos is, ahem, just about a sure shot.
When I started dating Esmeralda, a preschool teacher at that school and who is now my wife, it was springtime in southern Spain, which is of course feria season. While Sevilla’s April Fair is by far the most famous, nearly every village, no matter how small, boasts its own week of colorful festivals, and within a couple weeks of each other, both Jerez de la Frontera and El Puerto de Santa María each throw formidable (and fully open to the public, as opposed to in Sevilla) spring fairs.
Needless to say, the first time I saw Esme in her flamenco dress at one of these fairs, I was floored. I told her that I would love to do a photo shoot of her in full feria garb on my apartment building´s azotea (rooftop area of most Andalusian residency buildings, mostly used for hanging clothes to dry), which had a privileged view of the village, with the San Pedro and Santa María churches, and the Moorish castle, crowning the almost proto-cubist stacks which form the medieval white Old Town of Arcos.
These photographs are just two of a series which carries a great deal of emotional, and aesthetic, significance for me. I no longer live in Arcos de la Frontera — we moved to the Sevilla area a little over three years ago — and my understanding of this region and this country has grown far more complex over the last few years. But they say that first impressions can last a lifetime, and I’m determined to hold on to this vision of Spain’s simple luminous beauty as long as I can, especially during one the darkest period’s in this country’s history.
You can reach Lincoln by checking out his text and photo blogs:
I also want to give a shout out to this Antena3 initiative to defend Spain’s image in the fallout from the infamous NYT article:
If you’d like to contribute your photos from Spain and Seville, please send me an email at sunshineandsiestas @ with your name, short description of the photo, and any bio or links directing you back to your own blog, Facebook page or twitter. There’s plenty more pictures of the gorgeous Seville on Sunshine and Siesta’s new Facebook page!
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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. Love the photos!

    A little hackneyed, though, isn’t it? “Come up to my azotea and see my development bath…”

    I’ll let you off, though, since you married her 😉

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I just lauhged out loud and woke up the Novio, oops! In all fairness, I’ve met them both, early on in their relationship, and it was a flechazo to end all flechazos! Plus, the fairs in Arcos are in the Fall.

  2. Cat, you look STUNNING!!!

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Haha, definitely not me, but thanks! This is Esme, the wife of the photographer. I haven’t forgotten about you either – am just a bit bogged down with the master’s for the next week or so!

  3. Amanda Hamilton says:

    Those photos capture everything I love about Spain … The clear azure skies, the rich Spanish hair and skin tone, the deep red flamenco dresses …. Sighs ….. Guess I’m one of the lucky ones to have a house there I can visit, even if I don’t get there so often …! We’re closer to Cordoba than you … So my flamenco fix comes from the walls of the Mezquita … No hardship there! Thanks for this.
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I love Córdoba – such a great change of pace from Seville! I¡ve never not eaten well there and enjoyed Feria the two times of been there. This year, the patios for sure!!

  4. Cat you really look gorgeous in red !!
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Thanks, I only wish this were me1 the andaluza pictured is sevillana, and she’s my friend Lincoln’s wife, Esme.

  5. Indeed, Spain is famous for these two things that leave you spell bound every time you encounter it, first the scenic beauty of Spain and second the beautiful women in their Flamenco dresses. I got a bit of carried away after reading your story. Good post!

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      That’s great! I was instantly captivated by this region, and have fought hard to stay here. Now I can just enjoy it!!

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