One of my favorite places in Spain is the city of Ronda. Population 36,000 and on top of a 100 meter deep gorge made by the River Tajo. My first visit in 2004 was cold and windy – this was not much different! The rain threatened but held off while we made our way through the town on Saturday. Ronda is a quick drive from Sevilla with the Amarillos bus line (2.5 hours por pueblo, 1.5 directo). The drive winds down into the Malaga province where mountains sprout out of farmland and loom over the serpentine roads. Despite the pitch darkness that awaited us in Ronda, our bus driver had no trouble passing slower cars on the way. Anda!
– the gorge. In my mind it is one of the most tremendous sights in this country.. one of those places where Mother Nature mixes with history and surprises you. Even on this overcast day, it is an awesome view. I often wonder what it would be like to look at this every day – specifically to live in one of the houses along the edge. One of our waiters told us he forgets its there, since he sees it every day. I suppose it is the same for New Yorkers and the Empire State Building, or someone out west working at the Grand Canyon. Take note, friends. Take a mental snapshot and give yourself a moment to realize where you are!
– the mines. This was a new stop for me. At the price of 4 euros, you gain entrance to Los Jardines de Forestier and La Mina – both part of La Casa del Rey Moro. The gardens were constructed in 1912 as part of this household, and the same guy that designed Parque de Maria Luisa in Sevilla took part in this design as well. The mine zig zags down the length of the gorge, and was originally constructed as a secret military structure when Ronda was involved in conflict, and served as a means of delivering water from the river up to the top of the gorge. The most amazing sight waits for you at the bottom of this damp structure: a view out onto the river, at the very bottom of the gorge.
– el camino. You can hike down into / around the gorge for an awesome view of the Puente Nueva. This is not something I was able to do last time, so it was a hidden bonus. We saw people traipsing around inside the gorge – looking like toy figurines from above – and found the way to descend. Every step afforded an even better view than the last. I think the highlight for all three Northeastern US natives was the sight of leaves changing color. We miss them so much!
–miscellaneous. We managed a super cheap hotel from hotels.com and split the $86 euro charge three ways. (see Hotel
Polo for off season rates). Found a bar called “El Grifo” – literally, the faucet, where you can sit yourself down at a table with a tap and pour your own beer, and watch your progress on a tv screen above the bar (this would be a hot mess in America, I’m sure). Also followed some advice from the Lonely Planet: Andalucia guide and enjoyed a tea time out at Teteria Al Zahra.
All in all, marvelous albeit misty weekend in Malaga province. Next weekend?
My very own Granada…….